Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2013 OLÉ Award Recipients

TAMPA, Fla. (October 10, 2013) – The University of South Florida’s College of Education (COEDU) is pleased to announce the 9th Annual Outstanding Latino/a Educator (OLÉ) Awards. The awards are given annually to outstanding Latino/a COEDU students who demonstrate exceptional performance and potential in the areas of teaching, research, and service.  The OLÉ Awards are highly regarded and a source of pride for recipients and their families, as well as faculty, the college, and communities supporting the educational advancement of Latinos. The criteria for the awards are posted on the section About the OLÉ Awards.

This year, eight students were nominated for the OLÉ Award by professors and instructors who recognized their outstanding talent. Dean Vasti Torres attended the event and remarked that nominees for the OLÉ award should be proud of their heritage and accomplishments. They are certainly an impressive and inspirational group, and each recipient received an award and a scholarship to further their studies. Award winners received an engraved glass award, while those students recognized with an honorable mention received a certificate signed by Dean Torres, the OLÉ Committee Chair, and Co-chair. Click here to view photos of the OLÉ Awards Dinner event. Winners and honorable mention in the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level are listed below.

Undergraduate Level

OLÉ Award recipient: Alejandra Torres. Alejandra is a senior, majoring in secondary biology education. Born in Mexico and raised in Florida, Spanish was Torres’s first language. As a first generation in college student, she participated in the College Assistance in Migrant Program (CAMP) and now volunteers by tutoring others in the program. Drs. Allan Feldman, Dana Ziedler, Benjamin Herman nominated Alejandra for the OLÉ award. See the video of her nomination below.

Honorable Mention: Valeria González. Valeria is a senior, majoring in social science education. Born in Puerto Rico, González moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. She serves as the only bilingual tutor in the tutoring lab at Hillsborough Community College, regularly helping Spanish-speaking students. Drs. Bárbara Cruz and Cheryl Ellerbrock nominated Valeria for the OLÉ award. See the video of her nomination below.

Master's Level

OLÉ Award recipient: Maggie Mularz. Maggie is a graduate student in elementary education. She brings her Cuban heritage and international experience in theater and choral music to her studies and works at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa. Maggie has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and worked with special needs children and those in the foster care system. Dr. Anne Anderson nominated Maggie for the OLÉ award. See the video of her nomination below.

Honorable Mention: Scott Sandoval. Scott is a graduate student in secondary English education. As USF’s Student Body Vice President, Sandoval also sits as a Board Member on USF’s Board of Directors. He is president of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, which participates heavily in different philanthropies and community service projects. Dr. Joan Kaywell nominated Scott for the OLÉ award. See the video of his nomination below.

Doctoral Level

OLÉ Award recipient: Jessica Vázquez. Jessica is pursuing a Ph.D. in School Psychology. Of Puerto Rican and Colombian heritage, Vásquez is passionate about promoting children’s positive development. She is collaborating with the “Starting Right, Now” program in the Tampa Bay area to investigate the mentoring relationships between unaccompanied youth and their mentors. Dr. Linda Raffaele Mendez and Sarah Kiefer nominated Jessica for the OLÉ award. See the video of her nomination below.

For related information in Spanish, you may see a press release published by Centro Tampa. Congratulations to the 9th Annual OLÉ Award recipients!