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Meet Outstanding Students in Our Community

Caitlyn Cooney,

Delta Delta Delta Sorority, College Panhellenic

CC

Caitlyn is a junior here at UTA and spends her time between volleyball and her sorority. Joining a sorority gave her the opportunity to widen her social life and get more out of her college experience. Her goal this year is to build a better relationship with athletics and Greek life by getting support for each others events. Caitlyn is on her chapters Social committee (spring 2014) and  Recruitment committee (fall 2014) as well as volunteers with Side Out Foundation (breast cancer awareness).

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Concepcion  Camargo,

Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, College Panhellenic

Concepion

 

Concepcion Camargo, was reconized on the 2013/2014 Dean's List and a recipiant of the 2013/2014 Manuel Gamio Scholarship; A scholarship from the Center of Mexican American Studies for outstanding academic achievement in Mexican American Studies and service to the Latino community. In her spare time she volunteers at Mission Arlington, area nursing homes, Habitat for Humanity, and cleaning up Kappa Delta Chi's adopted highway

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 Jason Hays, 

Beta Theta Pi, Interfraternity Council

Jason Hays

How many people can call themselves "World Champion"?  Jason Hays can.  Jason Hays, member of Beta Theta Pi here at UT Arlington recently won the 2014 Senior World Irish Dance Championships.   Jason has been in England since February training for the event.  Jason started dancing at the age of seven and not only has won several North American and Regional Championships he has also danced with Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames.  Jason was the New Member Class President for his class of Beta Theta Pi.  His communications advisor Melinda Long was actually the person who encouraged him to take the semester off to focus on his dancing in England.  Jason plans on returning to UTA in the fall to continue classes.  To read more about Jason read the recent article and watch the video that was published in The Shorthorn


 

Savannah Lovelace, 

Delta Delta Delta, College Panhellenic

Savannah Lovelace

After a personal experience with a young 3 year old boy and a degernative eye disease that left him blind Savannah was motivated to combine her love of math, engineering and mission experiences.  This summer she is setting out to volunteer as a Civil Engineers Assistant in Burundi, Africa where she will help with the design and construction of a school for the blind and deaf.  Read the full story in her words below.

"It was the spring of my Senior year and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. All my friends had already decided their majors and what they wanted to do and I was completely clueless. At the time, I was working at Primrose School of Castle Hills. There was one little boy in particular who I adored- and so did everyone else. Even the chef would stop what she was doing to come and say hi to him. His name was Austin. There was something different about Austin, however. When he was 2 years old, he got cancer in his right eye. The doctors could not get it all out and as a result, he had to get a fake eye. The next year when Austin was 3, he got cancer in his left eye. The same thing happened and he had to get another fake eye. He was now completely blind. I knew Austin when he was 5 and I had only known him blind. Every day, he would come in from the room next door and say "Ms. Lovelace?" and I would say "I'm over here Austin, just follow my voice!" And he would come over to me and whisper in my ear "Let's play hide and seek." This was my favorite game that he liked to play, considering the circumstances. He would sit down in a chair and say "Okay go look for me in the trashcan" or "look for me in the bathroom" and I would walk to each place and find out that surprisingly, he wasn't there. He would just laugh and laugh. Austin touched my life so much that I considered majoring in business and doing non-profit work. However, I love math and missions and ultimately decided to do civil engineering.


I went to my room and googled "engineering missions" one night and came across Engineering Ministries International. They gather together architects, engineers, and design professionals and travel to poverty stricken countries to build primary schools, care centers, hospitals, and many other buildings! I was amazed by their ministry and stalked their website for a couple of months. The requirements to go on a trip were to be at least a junior in your studies, and be able to describe your field and how you are going to use that in whatever you are building. Since I am only a freshman and I am not knowledgeable in engineering at all yet, it seemed like the door had closed for that opportunity. However I did not want to give up. I found the CEO's email address and told him about my passion and love for missions and told him how the ministry that he runs is something that I would love to do for the rest of my life. I asked him if he would make any exceptions. 

A couple of months later, December of 2013, he replied. He told me that he saw my passion and heart to work in this ministry and was willing to make an exception for me. He told me I could pick any trip I want to go on and go on it. I then had to wait until March 2014 for the summer schedule to come out. I waited and waited anxiously to choose a trip that I felt called to. Finally, in the middle of March the schedule came out. I clicked on the project trip page and the very first trip listed was to Burundi, Africa, to design a school for the Blind and Deaf. This immediately made me think of Austin and it touched my heart so much that I emailed the CEO and told him that I had to go on this trip because of this boy that changed my life many months before. He informed me the next morning that he was actually in Burundi at the time and was able to talk to the project leader in person about me going on the trip. 

The Brethren Movement in Burundi, which is known as the Community of Emmanuel Churches in Burundi (CEEM) established the Ephphatha School for the Deaf in 1981. In 1988, they established the Kanura School for the Blind. Right now these schools provide primary level education and vocational training to the 186 students that attend. The government of Burundi acknowledged the need for the increasing capacity of CEEM’s schools for the blind and deaf and donated 5 acres to expand their education to secondary level and which will ultimately allow them to pursue university degrees.I will be serving as a Civil Engineers Assistant as we plan the master design for this Secondary School from May 28th to June 9th.

I have always loved missions; I have been to the Dominican Republic twice, and I went to Uganda last summer. I cannot wait to see what the Lord does through my team and I during this trip to Burundi this summer. I will not only be able to immerse myself in their culture, but also learn more about my field of civil engineering hands on. It is really a once in a lifetime experience and the many puzzle pieces that fit together for me to go is absolutely amazing."

 

Savannah Lovelace pic 1

Children from the village surrounding the Hope Orphanage in Uganda. (2013)

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Children from the surrounding villages in Monte Plata, Dominican Republic at the Vacation Bible School. (2011)

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Children from the Vacation Bible School held in Caraballo, Dominican Republic. (2012)