President's Commission on Student Centeredness

April Students First Award Winners Announced

Dr. Rekha Chaudhary
Assistant professor, dean honored with Students First Award
By Jacob Corkins

The Students First Award requires that nominees display enthusiasm and passion for students. For the month of April, the two winners of the award are Dr. Rekha Chaudhary, assistant professor of medicine, and Dr. Zauyah Waite, dean of students, who show plenty of both.

The committee’s unanimous vote comes from a list of qualities that both winners have: student-centeredness and the drive to go beyond normal standards in order to help students succeed.

A nominator of Chaudhary, who works with medical students, wrote it is “[her] enthusiasm, creativity and standards of excellence” that set her apart from other faculty.

Chaudhary said she “felt like Miss America” after discovering that she had won.

Her passion for treating patients and her view of students as colleagues-in-training have set her apart from others, according to nominators.

“I see them as doctors already … It’s just a matter of two years before they’re my peers, and I don’t feel like that is enough time to treat them differently,” Chaudhary said.

Nominators of Waite said that she is a hard worker and that her tireless efforts to help students were worthy of recognition.

“Her positive practices and work ethic on putting students first make me want to work even harder. She is constantly wondering how she can improve her practices, but I think she is doing exactly what is right, making the student body come first,” wrote one nominator.

 Dr. Zauyah Waite“I have one of the best jobs around,” Waite said, adding that being dean of students is “a great opportunity to impact the lives of students.”

Waite also has taken on the task of reinventing the Rocket Launch Program to make students’ introduction to UT as informational and exciting as possible.

Winners of the Students First Award receive a $75 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble and a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks.




Nominate a Peer

  • The President's Commission on Student Centeredness is now recognizing University employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to help students and ensure their success.
  • The contest winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to the UT Bookstore, a $25 gift certificate to Starbuck's and a specially designed pin.
  • They also will be eligible to win $1,500 as the student-centered employee of the year.
  • Nomination Form
Last Updated: 6/26/15