Posted on November 30, 2022 by College of Sciences

dean and students

back row: Brianna Faz, Isabella Sarno, Dean Silva, Jeff Dong, Carli Peterson
front row: Samantha Oviedo, Tiffany Barker-Edwards

The Dean's Fund for Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding students from each department. Each year faculty nominate students who best exemplify excellence in their given fields.

Congratulations to the Following Students

Department of Chemistry

Samantha Oviedo
Samantha is a senior biochemistry major, part of the ESTEEMED and RISE Undergraduate programs, and the president of the American Chemical Society Student Chapter. Since her freshman year, she has participated in research. As a first-generation student, student leader, and researcher at UTSA, Samantha has made it a priority to develop programs that encourage young people like her to pursue careers in research. Following her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in biochemistry and focus on the development of new therapeutics.

Department of Computer Science

Jeff Dong
Jeff is a senior computer science major minoring in mathematics and is a member of the Honors College. He participates in the annual RowdyHacks event – a hackathon hosted by ACM. He devotes much of his time to school and projects related to computer science, including developing and coding animations that visualize "interesting" mathematical concepts. Upon graduation, Jeff plans to enter the workforce as a data engineer or analyst; his dream is to one day pursue his master's degree.

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Tiffany Barker-Edwards
Tiffany is a junior geosciences major focusing on earth system and climate. She has participated in internships that included working with her professors and graduate students to perform a wide variety of analysis and identify fossils, to working with an engineering firm to conduct Proctors Compaction tests, Atterberg Limits Test, and calculate the wet density and moisture content of the soil – all skills which she says are better preparing her for her future career in geosciences. After her undergraduate studies, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a master's in geology and environmental science.

Department of Mathematics

Carli Peterson
Carli is a senior mathematics major. Since arriving at UTSA, Carli has pushed herself to achieve excellence in academics and beyond and has been on the President's List and honor roll every semester. She is an avid volunteer with animal organizations and is part of several prestigious honors organizations. After graduation, Carli plans to begin working for a research organization that provides clinical development services with the goal of accelerating the development of safe and effective medical therapeutics. She feels confident that her work will help thousands of people get the treatment they need to live a fuller, more satisfying, and, most importantly, longer life and is extremely excited to see where this journey takes her.

Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Brianna Faz
Brianna is a senior biology major minoring in cellular and molecular biology. She works three part-time jobs, in addition to her full-time class schedule, including as a medical scribe, all while maintaining an outstanding 3.92 GPA. She also volunteers with an adult literacy group and a free healthcare clinic. Brianna intends to apply for medical school upon graduation and ultimately serve underserved communities – giving back to the community she came from.

Department of Neuroscience, Developmental and Regenerative Biology

Isabella Sarno
Isabella is a senior neuroscience major minoring in biology and psychology. She became involved with the Wicha Lab: Brain, Language, and Cognition as an undergraduate research assistant where she recruited participants, learned the process of building and carrying out a study, conducted data analysis, and experienced the hurdles of writing, editing, and publishing results and findings. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. upon completion of her undergraduate studies.

— College of Sciences