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Scholarships and Award Recipients

2020 Scholarship Recipients

Staff Council Miguel Hernandez Undergraduate Scholarship

Tara Smith









Tara Smith | Research, Instruction & Outreach Librarian, University Libraries, Division of Information Technology

I am the Art & Design, Communication Studies, and Anthropology Librarian at Texas State Alkek Library. I am also the library photographer for events, staff photos, and for many library website features. I have been admitted to the College of Applied Arts at Texas State to pursue a degree in Interior Design. My professional and educational goals are to learn more about the applied arts, interior design, and architecture and to achieve a degree in interior design.

Frances Padilla Estavillo and Theadocia Hodges Richey Staff Council Endowed Scholarship


Paloma Gray











Paloma Gray | Publications Writer, Texas State University Graduate College


Paloma Gray is the Publications Writer at The Graduate College. In her role, she serves as the webmaster for the department’s website, reviews internal and external communications, creates a weekly newsletter, manages the department’s social media platforms and graduate student blog, produces digital and print promotional materials for various initiatives and events, and coordinates video and photo-related projects. She holds a master’s degree in mass communication from Texas State University, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in electronic media and mass communication. 

2020 Award Winners


Angelika Lester Wahl Staff Diversity Enrichment Award

Sylvia Gonzales – Grant Director (Non-Faculty), IMPACT and Maestros





Sylvia T. Gonzales is the HSI STEM Impact & MAESTROS Director, member of the Hispanic Policy Network, and US1100 faculty.  Sylvia is the first in her family to go to college and is working on her Ed.D. in Positive Organizational Leadership from Abilene Christian University.  Sylvia continues to ensure the undergraduate student experience is authentic as she has served as an advocate, mentor, and leader to underrepresented college students for 21 years.  She has helped with the grassroots development of 6 federal grant programs in TX/NM, including Title III, V, and TRIO grants. She is also an active member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Alliance for Hispanic Serving Institutional Educators and helped establish the Bobcat Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) certificate program and serves as co-chair on the First Gen Proud Working Group at Texas State University.  Sylvia has received numerous awards and recognition for her contributions, including HPN’s Latinx Star Award, a “Program to Watch” designation by Excelencia in Education, Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, and NASPA’s & Studer Foundation First-Gen Forward designation. 


Rodrigo Rodriguez Outstanding Custodian Award

Mary Esquivel – Custodian, Department of Housing and Residential Life







Mary has served in two capacities at Texas State. She worked for the University for 26 years (24 as head custodian), retiring in 2008. Mary returned in 2010, working for Residence Life as custodian now for over 10 years.


Dr. Lawrence Estaville Employee Excellence Award

Patricia Clarke – Administrative Assistant II, Faculty Development










Patricia started her career with the University in 2015 with the Office of the University Registrar.  In 2019, she transitioned to a newly created role as an admin. in Faculty Development where she had the opportunity to serve faculty through orientations, workshops, and community events.  Patricia received my Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in 2018 from Texas State and consider it an honor to be a Bobcat as both alumni and staff.

Earl L. Moseley, Jr. Community Service Award

Jessica Soukup – Systems Analyst I, Student Affairs Technology Services






Jessica is an LGBTQIA+ Trainer, Speaker, author and Activist determined to make a positve difference in the lives of queer and transgender people. Jessica is the vice board chair for the Transgender Education Network of Texas, Co-Chair for GLSEN Austin, and the Education Chair for Alliance at Texas State University. In 2020, she presented a TED Talk titled Overcoming the dystopia of a transgender childhood at TEDx Texas State University.


Deborah and James Mathews - Excellence in Collaboration/Outreach Award

Jeremy White – Grant Specialist, Project Maestros











Jeremy earned his Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Texas Tech University in 2013. He is a Texas State Alumni, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Theatre. Jeremy has two dogs named Buffy and Spike. In his spare time, he writes and has articles published on comedy websites and The Hard Times.