Alumna Terry Aaron has a passion for helping students succeed. The key, she believes, is connecting them with a mentor.
Dr. Aaron, director of Continuing Education Services at Tarrant County College Southeast Campus, received the Outstanding African-American Alumni Award at the annual African-American Alumni Banquet in March. Also honored was Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Aaron earned a Ph.D. in urban and public administration in 2011. Her dissertation research led to the creation of the Mentoring Summit, now in its third year at TCC. In addition to promoting mentorships, the program awards scholarships to deserving students.
“Students who connect with someone on campus are more likely to be successful and complete college,” she says. “The Mentoring Summit gives students the opportunity to make these connections.”
Aaron’s community involvement includes serving on the Eastside YMCA board, as well as holding leadership positions with the Texas Association of Black Professionals in Higher Education-Tarrant County Chapter, the Texas State Christian Education Association, the Region IV International Christian Education Association, and the Region IV International Christian Women and Missionary Association.
Thompson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1981, manages the day-to-day operations of more than 15 programs and 300 employees who work to keep Dallas County residents safe and healthy. He develops the department’s $125 million budget and manages city, county, state, and federal contracts.
“The education I received from UTA was instrumental in helping me become the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services,” he says. “Beyond the classroom, the campus activities helped me develop my leadership and management skills.”
Thompson served on the North Texas Behavioral Health Authority Board of Directors and as a member of the Site-Based Decision Making Committee of the Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center. He was nominated for the 2008 Janet Emerson Public Health Servant Award and received the 2009 Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance Health Care Award.
Established in 1995, the Outstanding African-American Alumni Award honors African-American graduates who have made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments and careers have brought credit to UTA. Banquet proceeds benefit the African-American Endowed Scholarship Fund.