Student First Award Winners Strive to Enhance Student Experiences
Two UT employees who recently were honored with Students First Awards for December have one thing in common: love of students.
Sabina Serratos, director at the Office of Latino Initiatives and interim director of Orientation, and Betty Stanford, administrative assistant and scholarship coordinator for the Office of Financial Aid, were nominated by students and chosen from among many strong nominees.
Serratos and Stanford both go well beyond their prescribed work duties in order to help UT’s students. Perhaps that’s because they love their jobs and the students.
Stanfod’s career has been dedicated to getting students the financial aid they need so they can afford their educations. For example, when one student desperately needed employment to be able to stay in school, Stanford not only found the student a paid work-study job, but she also offered the student a position in her area. She’s gone as far as allowing students to live in her home in order to help them save money for tuition.
“She is a great, considerate, kind, generous, friendly person … She is dedicated to the improvement of the University’s image and students’ lives,” said Stanford’s nominator Joan Pewett, a graduate student in the College of Education.
Stanford said, “The satisfaction I get is from the belief that I make a difference in the life of students.”
Serratos also has put students first throughout her career, whether in financial aid, as director of Latino initiatives, or as interim director of orientation programs. One of Serrato’s nominators wrote, “When I arrived here, I didn’t know anything or anyone. Sabina got me in touch with the Latino Student Union and involved me in many activities. She is the reason why I am still here at UT.”
Serratos said, “When I see a Latino student on campus, I can see myself in them. It is important to me that they feel a sense of belonging here in the University's community.”
That’s one reason she has hired a total of six Latino students to work in UT’s Orientation Office. “It is necessary and important to show diversity at the door of our University. Especially since UT's mission statement talks about diversity,” said Serratos.
In addition to being recognized, Serratos and Stanford each received a $75 gift card from Barnes and Noble and a $25 gift card from Starbucks.