2016 News Releases

Texas Woman's to host Winter Commencement Dec. 14, 16-17

The Fall 2016 semester at Texas Woman’s University will draw to a close with commencement ceremonies scheduled Wednesday, Dec. 14 in Houston and Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 17 on the university’s Denton campus.

Approximately 1,474 degrees will be awarded during the ceremonies, including 1,254 in Denton and 220 in Houston

The Houston ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Hilton Americas Hotel. Susan Cooley, Ph.D., a healthcare consultant and TWU alumna, will deliver the commencement address.

The Denton ceremonies, which include candidates from TWU’s Dallas Center, will take place in the Kitty Magee Arena of Pioneer Hall, located on Bell Avenue. Carmen Cruz, Psy.D., assistant director of the TWU Counseling Center, will deliver the commencement address for the 10 a.m. ceremony Friday, Dec. 16. Dena Jackson, Ph.D., vice president for grants and research for the Dallas Women’s Foundation, will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Jackson is a TWU alumna.

Arcilia Acosta, president and CEO of CARCON Industries and STL Engineers, will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony Saturday, Dec. 17. Britton Wood, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist at Britton Wood & Associates in Fort Worth, will deliver the commencement address for the 2 p.m. ceremony. Wood is a TWU alumnus.

For more information on commencement ceremonies, visit our Commencement Ceremony Information page.

A number of students walking across stages in Denton and Houston this semester have remarkable stories of significant achievement. Many of these are veterans of the United States Armed Forces, whom Texas Woman’s University — a Military Friendly® School — is proud to serve. Among the active military and veteran students graduating in the Houston ceremony are:

  • Sabrenda Littles, who will receive her Ph.D. in nursing science after having received her doctor of nursing practice degree from TWU in August. Her research focus at the university has been on posttraumatic stress disorder and its effect on military families. Littles, a current member of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, plans to teach graduate-level classes to nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, and to continue her research;
  • Stacy Sellner, who served as a medic in the U.S. Army and was decorated with the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal. Sellner will receive her master’s degree in occupational therapy; and
  • Savio Felix Vaz, who served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, will receive his master’s degree in business. He currently is a lead hybrid interventional radiology technologist at St. Luke’s Hospital in the Texas Medical Center and hopes to move into hospital management in the near future.

Students graduating in the Denton ceremonies include:

  • Noelany Pelc, who will receive her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. In addition to her studies and serving as an undergraduate instructor, Pelc made extensive contributions to her profession at the national level by helping to author a revision of the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women. Pelc currently is an assistant professor in the Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy at Seton Hall in New Jersey;
  • Robert D. Allen, who will receive his master of arts in music. Allen, a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard, also is an accomplished opera singer, musical theater performer and soloist. Among his many musical and academic achievements are two performances at Carnegie Hall. He currently sings bass with the Texas Voices in Plano and aspires to become a professor of music and Air Force Band vocalist;
  • Anupreet Mahadevan, who will receive her master’s degree in health care administration. Mahadevan entered TWU’s health care administration program in Houston in 2013, but had to take a leave of absence when her husband’s job moved them out of the country. After two years, her family returned to Texas, but were moved to Dallas. Her TWU professors based in Houston agreed to let her continue her coursework via live web sessions in Dallas. Mahadevan — who works full time as the clinical research regulatory coordinator for Children’s Medical Center in Dallas and is a mother of two — maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average;
  • Cindy Amador, who will receive her master’s degree in teaching, learning and curriculum, and will become the first person in her family to earn a graduate degree. Amador originally came to Texas Woman’s to participate in the SMARTTTEL (Science and Mathematics for ALL: Rural Teacher Training through Technology for English Learners) program, which is designed to help teachers in rural school districts meet the needs of students who are learning English. While participating in the program, Amador got married, had a baby and was a full-time math teacher for the Decatur Independent School District. Her goal is to one day teach at the collegiate level and help English Language Learners achieve their degree goals;
  • Zaynab Wazeer, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in child development and a 3.95 GPA. As a Muslim from Sri Lanka, Wazeer said she has been subjected to stares and questioning glances, and she previously avoided going anywhere alone. That changed when Michael Bergel, Ph.D., a TWU associate professor of biology and native of Israel, told her she should gain more confidence and not let anyone bring her down; and
  • Bryan Johnston, who will receive his master of business administration degree. He previously served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer and in the U.S. Navy as a gunners mate. Johnston is one of TWU’s rare “grandfather graduates,” as his first grandchild was born in 2015. He will return to TWU in the spring to pursue a master’s in teaching with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.

Media Contact

Karen Garcia
Senior Writer
940-898-3456
kgarcia@twu.edu