UHCL Alumni Celebration on tap Saturday, Oct. 6

The University of Houston-Clear Lake celebrates the achievements of alumni and honors faculty during its 2012 Alumni Celebration Saturday, Oct. 6, at Space Center Houston, 1601 NASA Parkway.

This year’s event will include the presentation of three Distinguished Alumni Awards, one Early Achievement Award and two Outstanding Professor Awards. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., with a cash bar and live music, with dinner and the awards program beginning at 7 p.m.

“UH-Clear Lake alumni make a difference in our community and our world every day,” says UH-Clear Lake Director of Alumni and Community Relations Charity Ellis. “Their stories are our stories and we are proud to celebrate and share each one.”

Honorees at this year’s event include three Distinguished Alumni Award recipients:

• Texas Children’s Hospital Senior Vice President Cris C. Daskevich,

 Art teacher and artist Douglas W. Hiser Jr.

Science Applications International Corp.Senior Software Engineer and musician Juan Manuel Traslaviña.

Mitali Paul, chief operating officer with Select Specialty Hospital in Omaha, Neb., is this year’s Early Achievement Award recipient.

Finally, Outstanding Professor Honorees for 2012 are James C. Benson, associate professor of Legal Studies, and Kim Case, associate professor of Women’s Studies and Psychology.

All are invited to attend this event, but an RSVP is required. For ticket and sponsorship information, call 281-283-2040 or visit http://www.uhcl.edu/alumnicelebration.

More information about the award winners includes the following:

Distinguished Alumni

Cris C. Daskevich graduated in 1997 with Master of Healthcare Administration/Master of Business Administration degrees.

Natural-born leader Cris Daskevich wants the best outcomes and patient experiences for the families she serves at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. In her role as senior vice president, Daskevich is instrumental in developing and implementing Texas Children’s new vision for women, fetal and newborn care.

At the Pavilion she leads inpatient and outpatient operations, strategic planning, business development, and cultivates clinical and business partnerships across the Texas Children’s system. Her leadership skills have been recognized with many awards including Witt/Keiffer and Modern Healthcare’s Up & Comer Award, the American College of Healthcare Executive Regent’s Early Career Executive Award, the UHCL Healthcare Administration Distinguished Alumnus of 2002, and the 2005 UHCL Early Achievement Award.

Most recently she was named as one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women by Houston Woman Magazine. Daskevich is a dedicated mentor, policy shaper and advocate for her profession, which is evident in her local and national involvement in the American College of Healthcare Executives and her active committee and board of directors’ roles in Texas Hospital Association. Local community work has included March of Dimes, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and Junior League of Houston.

Douglas W. Hiser Jr. graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Writing, photography and drawing are just three of the artistic pursuits he enjoys An art teacher at a local high school, Hiser gets to share his passion with budding artists. When he’s not teaching, he is producing his own paintings and literature and has published 20 books that include his essays, fiction, poetry, art and children’s stories.

A featured artist for the Armand Bayou Nature Center Earth Day Fest and the Galveston FeatherFest, Hiser continues to share his wildlife art with the community. He has served as a member of the National Artist’s Society, Bay Area Writer’s League, Galveston Ornithological Society and Bay Area Artist’s Colony Board of Directors.

His many community service activities allow him to offer his expertise in some of his other interests and have included volunteering as a coach for Santa Fe Soccer Coaching Camps and work with the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network and Bat Conservation International.

Juan Manuel Traslaviña earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1987 and his Master of Science degree in 1993. Considered for Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations, Traslaviña not only loves creating music, but also enjoys supporting his alma mater. He shares his talents frequently with UHCL when he performs his classical-flamenco-jazz music at the biannual UHCL Commencement Kick-off event and numerous other university activities. He has performed twice at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and has produced, engineered and performed music with artists from around the world.

When he is not performing, he is drawing upon his UHCL education and working for local aerospace contractor SAIC, providing software engineering skills to NASA’s International Space Station program.

His space connection, though, includes his music too. His CD “Liberation” was taken on two Space Shuttle flights. And while he might have been considered for Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations and other music awards, he has also been recognized for his engineering work at NASA by receiving several NASA awards including Group Achievement Award from Johnson Space Center Director, Achievement Award for Excellence in Program Performance, two Bravo Awards and four Kudos Awards.

Traslaviña also hosts a monthly Technical Speaker Forum that brings together professionals from industry and academia at Johnson Space Center to share their experiences and lessons learned on various topics with the NASA community.

Early Achievement

Mitali Paul who was awarded Master of Healthcare Administration/Master of Business Administration degrees in 2005, is the recipient of the 2012 Early Achievement Award.

Making a difference in the health care arena has always been a passion for Mitali Paul, chief operating officer with Select Specialty Hospital in Omaha, Neb.

Beginning her career in 2003 at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, she has grown professionally ever since. She completed an administrative fellowship with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2006 and served in various leadership roles before moving to the Harris County Hospital District in 2010 where she served as director of Ambulatory Care Services.

Committed to community service, Mitali has served on various committees for the American College of Healthcare Executives where, in 2011, she led the annual golf tournament, which resulted in the highest net revenue for the chapter in a decade. Her other volunteer experiences included serving on the board for the Indian American Cancer Network, a local non-profit organization.

She has served on guest panels for career services at the National Association of Health Services Executives Student Summit, Houston Leadership for Tomorrow, Rice University and UHCL, and mentors students and early careerists, living up to her dream of making a difference.

2012 Outstanding Professor Awards

James C. Benson, associate professor of legal studies and one of two recipients of the 2012 Outstanding Professor Awards, has practiced law for more than 23 years in the areas of probate, guardianship and elder law. He joined the faculty at the university more than 35 years ago and previously served the university as the assistant vice chancellor and provost.

In his role as an associate professor in the School of Business, Benson coordinates the undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program. His many accolades include the President’s Cabinet Philanthropy Award, the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the President’s Cabinet Leadership Award.

Benson is a Fellow of the College of the State Bar of Texas, and is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Houston Bar Association and the Texas Aggie Bar Association. He is also certified by the state Bar of Texas as an attorney ad litem for guardianship proceedings. A Vietnam veteran, Benson has been instrumental in honoring veterans at UHCL. He is a graduate of University of Houston College of Law, holds a doctoral and master’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M.

Kim A. Case, associate professor of women’s studies and psychology at UH-Clear Lake,

already has a long list of honors during her relatively short career. After being a Minnie Stevens Piper Teaching Award finalist in 2007, Case went on to win the nomination from UHCL in 2009, a prestigious honor that is decided by a committee of students and her peers and includes nominations from students.

Other awards include the Michele Alexander Early Career Scholarship and Service Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, APA Division 9, and the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Institute Scholar Award. She works with students in her lab conducting research on prejudice confrontation in social contexts and strategies for raising awareness of group privilege in educational and community settings.

As an active member of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, she serves as Editorial Board member of the Journal of Social Issues. As an elected member of the society’s council for the 2010-2013 term, she also served on the executive council for 2011.

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