• by Steve Lang •

Katherine Mancha, San Antonio, and Santiago Castillo, San Benito, were named the 2019 Sul Ross State University Woman and Man of the Year at the annual Honors Convocation, held Monday (April 29) in Marshall Auditorium.

Sul Ross President Dr. Bill Kibler presented the awards. The Man and Woman of the Year award is the top honor Sul Ross seniors can receive.

Mancha, who will graduate May 17 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, was nominated for her scholarship, leadership and volunteerism. Her future plans include medical school.

“Katherine is one of those students who consistently remind us of why we love teaching,” her nomination stated. “She is empathetic, measured, discreet, warm, friendly, patient, and delightful to be around.

“(Mancha) also gives back to her community. She has worked numerous hours at the Alpine Humane Society as well as participating in teaching events for children, such as the CDRI’s (Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute) Reptile Fair and Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! Event….To continue the list of descriptors, she is dependable, pro-active and trustworthy. And she is smart. She will graduate with Honors and has been a McNair Scholar.”

In addition to excelling in the McNair and Honors programs, Mancha has maintained a 3.7 or higher grade point average each semester at Sul Ross and has served as a tutor at the Tutoring and Learning Center, including senior tutor during the current academic year. She is also a member of the Biology Club and Chemistry Club.

Castillo, who will graduate May 17 with Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting, has been active in the Student Government Association (SGA), presently serving as vice president and previously as treasurer. He has also served as treasurer of the Honors Club and Business Club and is a student affiliate member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

“Santiago…is fantastic in everything he does and shows great enthusiasm,” his nomination stated. “He is a hard working student, a great leader and courageous man.”

Castillo has been named to the Dean’s Lists for the past five completed semesters. He has been selected for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop, the Diamond Symposium hosted by the Dow Chemical Co. and for the KMPG PHD Project Conference.

The following departmental awards were also presented at the convocation.

Animal Science

Outstanding Student in Agricultural Education: Mikayla Lozano, Lampasas

Outstanding Student in Animal Production: Pamela Wright, Round Rock

Outstanding Student in Pre-Veterinary Medicine: Victoria Romo, El Paso

Outstanding Student in Science: Callie Czaja, Floresville

Outstanding Graduate Student: Burt Justin, Williston, SC


Distinguished Scholar Athlete Awards – Fabian Baeza, Van Horn, Male Scholar Athlete Medal of Honor; Kelly Swenson, Austin, Female Scholar Athlete Medal of Honor; Kyela Cosby, North Zulch; Darrian Doederlein, Lamesa; Alexa Gallardo, El Paso; Taylor Gass, Gail; Alyssa Lanahan, El Paso; Michael Munden, El Paso; William Serrano, Pecos; Caleb Thomasson, Ackerly

Behavioral and Social Sciences

Clifford B. Casey Book Award: Tyler Phillips, Houston

Outstanding History Major – Phi Alpha Theta Award: Sarah Adams, Midland

Outstanding Political Science Student: Lindsey Hall-Schwegmann, Live Oak

Outstanding Psychology Student: Kaylee Plowman, Alpine

Biology, Geology and Physical Sciences

Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Biology: Mancha; Amy Oxenham, Alpine

Outstanding Graduate Student in Biology: Melissa Schenkman, Midland

Julius Dasch Memorial Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Geology: Erin Bittner, Dale

Lance Forsythe Memorial Outstanding Graduate in Geology: Corbin Carsrud, Alpine

Outstanding Student in Introductory Chemistry: Makayla Yantis, Monahans

James G. Houston Organic Chemistry Award: Jonathan Carrasco, Presidio

Business Administration

Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Business Administration: Castillo

Outstanding Master of Business Administration Student: Abiola Orimolade, Alpine

Outstanding Online Master of Business Administration Student: Griselda Munoz, Fort Hancock

Computer Science and Mathematics

Outstanding Underclassman in Computer Science: Samuel Perkins, Alpine

Outstanding Senior in Computer Science: Bryant Miranda, Natalia

Outstanding Freshman in Mathematics: Mauricio Perez, El Paso

Outstanding Senior in Mathematics: Ernesto Rivera, Alpine


Excellence in Education – Counseling: Steffie Senter-Hutchins, Midland

Excellence in Education – Educational Diagnostician: Noelle Spieker, San Angelo

Excellence in Education – Educational Leadership: Isela Pena

Excellence in Education – General Education: Rebecca Garcia, Alpine

Outstanding Clinical Teacher: Leinora Alimboyoguen, Alpine

Outstanding Intern Teacher: Laura Rodriguez, Sabinal

Outstanding Student Teacher: Rivera

Albert B. Tucker Reading Specialist: Carmen Miranda, Socorro

Fine Arts and Communication

Big Bend Arts Council Art Supply Award – Outstanding New Art Major: Dara Mahoney, Lubbock

Charlotte Senneff Art Supply Award – Outstanding Art Major: Victoria Rios, Del Rio

Theatre Freshman of the Year: Crysty Graves-Herrera, Monahans; Desiree Rendon, Uvalde

Outstanding Freshman in Music: Justice Santa Cruz, Van Horn

Outstanding Instrumental Music Student: Ryan Heckart, Runaway Bay

Outstanding Music Student: Omar Guerrero, Presidio

Outstanding Communication Student: Melissa Morales, Alpine

Homeland Security and Criminal Justice

Outstanding Criminal Justice Undergraduate Student: Linda Padilla Cruz, Alpine

Outstanding Homeland Security Undergraduate Student: Samantha Sanchez, Alpine

Outstanding Criminal Justice Graduate Student: Adrian Medina, El Paso

Outstanding Homeland Security Graduate Student: Robert Marcum, Austin

Honors Program

Honors Program Graduates: Bittner; Mancha; Taylor Schneider, Alpine


Strength and Conditioning Award: Richard Trevino, Danbury

Student of the Year: Baeza

Teacher Education Award: Isaac Tovar, El Paso

W.H. Perryman Outstanding Kinesiology Major: Alexis Ruiz, Uvalde

Languages and Literature

Outstanding English Major: Michelle Ramos

Nelson Sager Outstanding English Graduate Student: Raleigh Darnell, Carbon; Naomi Presley, Lamesa

Natural Resource Management

Outstanding Underclassman in Natural Resource Management: Preston McKee, Hope, NM

Outstanding Upperclassman in Natural Resource Management: Erica Dunn, Alpine

Outstanding Graduate Student – Conservation Biology: Barbara Sugarman, Alpine

Outstanding Graduate Student – Range Management: Jacob Locke, Alpine

Outstanding Graduate Student – Wildlife Management: Maribel Glass, El Paso

Outstanding Field Volunteer – Daniel Botello, Alpine