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TWU Home > Marketing & Communication > News Releases

TWU to recognize outstanding students at Honors Convocation


DENTON — Texas Woman’s University will recognize student artistry and academic excellence during Honors Convocation ceremonies Thursday, April 19. Convocation begins at 10 a.m. in the Margo Jones Performance Hall, located at Oakland and Sawyer streets on TWU’s Denton campus.

Christie Nelson-Sala of Richardson will receive the Pauline Bishop Leman Memorial Award for outstanding artistic achievement. Outstanding Senior awards, which are based on academic excellence and involvement in extracurricular activities, will go to Kelley Humphries of Coupland, Tiffany Larsen of The Woodlands, Russell Mariott of Houston and Cydni Vandiver of Muleshoe. Samah Elhajibrahim, a master’s candidate from Haifa, Palestine, and Luis Columna, a doctoral candidate from Floral Park, San Juan, Puerto Rico, will receive the Outstanding Graduate Student awards.

Christie Nelson-Sala

Ms. Nelson-Sala, a dance major, has distinguished herself as a student, choreographer and dancer.

Twice, her work has been chosen to represent TWU at the American Dance Festival Association. She has created four choreographic works within the dance department, and her work is being shown in the Greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. She recently was commissioned by Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas to create a dance for high school students, and also has been commissioned to create dances for two professional dancers, Nicole Wesley of Atlanta, Ga., and Jeanne Mam of Dallas.

Ms. Nelson-Sala is the assistant director of DanceWorks, TWU’s pre-professional dance company, and is one of the main organizers for the annual KidsDance program and other K-12 presentations.

Kelley Humphries

Ms. Humphries, a biology/pre-med major, will graduate in May with a 3.95 grade point average. She has been accepted into TWU’s master’s degree program in adapted physical education for fall 2007. After completing that program, she plans to attend medical school and specialize in orthopedics and sports medicine.

While at TWU, Ms. Humphries conducted undergraduate research in exercise physiology and adapted physical education. She has received the Redbud Outstanding Student Leader Award, the Jo Kuhn Leadership Award, and has been named to the ESPN Academic All-District VI College Division Women’s Basketball Team and the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Women’s Basketball first team announced by Black Issues in Higher Education magazine.

She was selected to represent TWU Athletics at the 2006 NCAA Division II National Leadership Academy.

Tiffany Larsen

Ms. Larsen, a government/legal studies major, will graduate in May with a 3.99 GPA. She plans to attend law school at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall.

Ms. Larsen served as an intern in the Dallas office of U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson in fall 2006 and currently is one of only eight students from Texas participating in the Speaker’s Internship Program for the Texas House of Representatives. She has received TWU’s Redbud Outstanding Campus Leader Award, Residence Hall Government Leader of the Year Award and has been named the Society of Distinguished Leaders’ Regional Student of the Year.

She has been involved in the Athenian Honor Society, Honors Scholar Program, Student Government Association, Barristers, Student Code of Conduct Committee and the Residence Hall Association, among others.

Russell Mariott

Mr. Mariott, a business management major, graduated in December 2006 with a 4.0 GPA. He plans to attend Texas Christian University in the fall to pursue a master of business administration degree.

Mr. Mariott served as president of the TWU Student Government Association in 2004-05, and was the first male in the history of the university to hold that office. He also founded the student organization HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) at TWU, which consistently ranks as the largest collegiate HOSA chapter in Texas.

He was involved in the Honors Scholar Program, Sigma Beta Delta Business Honor Society, Students in Free Enterprise, the Student Senate, and also was a member of professional organizations such as the Denton Chamber of Commerce, the Dallas/Fort Worth Business Group on Health and the North Texas Society for Human Resource Management.

Cydni Vandiver

Ms. Vandiver, a history major, will graduate in May with a 4.0 GPA. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in history at Southern Methodist University in the fall, then pursue her doctorate in the field.

She served as president of the Residence Hall Association and has been involved in a number of student organizations, including the Athenian Honor Society, Honors Scholar Program, Omega Rho Alpha English Honor Society, Golden Key International Honour Society and the Student Government Association.

She has received the Redbud Outstanding Student Leader Award, the 4-H Gold Star Award and the Southwest Association of College and University Residence Halls Top Ten Program Award. She also has been named Outstanding Residential Leader and TWU Housing Most Spirited Leader.

Samah Elhajibrahim

Ms. Elhajibrahim, a master’s candidate in government, holds a 4.0 GPA. She hopes to pursue her doctorate in political science and Middle Eastern Studies.

Ms. Elhajibrahim is a member of Gamma Beta Phi, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Who’s Who, the American Political Science Association, Middle East Studies Association of North America and the Southwestern Political Science Association. She also is a member of United for Peace and Justice. She has presented her research at the TWU Student Creative Arts and Research Symposium, the American Political Science Association and the Southwestern Political Science Association.

Luis Columna

Mr. Columna, a doctoral candidate in adapted physical education, holds a 4.0 GPA.

Four of his works have been published, and he has made more than 15 professional presentations locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. He also has been a guest lecturer at TWU and Caribbean University in Puerto Rico in more than 15 courses. He is a member of Who’s Who, Phi Kappa Phi honor society, the National Consortium for Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities, the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.


For Further Information Contact:

Karen Garcia
Senior Copywriter
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: kgarcia@twu.edu

Page last updated January 22, 2009

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