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eConnections - May 2014 Issue

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eConnections - Your monthly e-newsletter from the UHCL Alumni Association
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May 2014
Tracy McKinley

eDUCATION ALUMNA COULDN'T WAIT TO GIVE BACK

When University of Houston-Clear Lake alumna Tracy McKinley received her first paycheck, she gave a portion of it straight to UHCL. Barely an alumna at that point, McKinley was eager to give back to the university and to do so in a way that would help future students.

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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

you have to believe IN PURSUING
THE BEST OPTIONS

Alumnus Christopher Mathey believes that when it comes to pursuing your dreams, hard work is one of the best ways to discover your best options.

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SCHOOL OF eDUCATION ALUMNA COULDN'T WAIT TO GIVE BACK

Tracy McLinleyWhen University of Houston-Clear Lake alumna Tracy McKinley received her first paycheck, she gave a portion of it straight to UHCL. Barely an alumna at that point, McKinley was eager to give back to the university and to do so in a way that would help future students.

“I felt like without the opportunity to get my degree through UHCL, I wouldn't have gotten my first paycheck,” says McKinley, now a special education teacher at La Porte Junior High School. She graduated from the university’s School of Education in fall of 2012 with her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies. Not long after that, she became a Lifetime Member of the UHCL Alumni Association.

Like her plan for her first paycheck, McKinley’s decision to attend UHCL was straightforward.
“I knew I wanted to pursue a teaching career, and UHCL’s School of Education has a reputation of excellence,” says McKinley, who was further attracted to the campus by its natural beauty, diversity of organizations and activities.

Once here, McKinley knew she had picked the right location to pursue her bachelor’s, and perhaps someday a master’s, degree.

“During the time I spent at UHCL working toward my bachelor’s degree, I began to see UHCL as my second home,” says McKinley. “The college is not only family friendly, but also has a feeling of family itself.”

That feeling of a familial connection is what often leads alumni to become Lifetime Members. In addition to strengthening connections with the university though the association, Lifetime Members are given free parking in student lots at the university, access to computer labs and most importantly for McKinley, library privileges at the Alfred R. Neumann Library. As a teacher, especially one who routinely explores resources for students with emotional needs, the library access is invaluable. It was also a familiar place for McKinley, who spent countless hours there while pursuing her bachelor’s degree.

In addition to the perks Lifetime Members receive, they have the added advantage in knowing that their contributions help fund one of the largest, privately funded scholarship programs at UHCL. Since its inception in 2000, more than $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded from the endowment to new and returning students.

McKinley was one of those students.

“For me, scholarships helped make the dream of attending college an affordable reality. The financial support that they provided enhanced my college experience by allowing the opportunity to work fewer hours,” says McKinley. “This not only allowed me to spend more time on my academic studies, but it also allowed me the time to be involved in other campus related activities.”

To learn more about how you can become a Lifetime Member of the UHCL Alumni Association, visit the “Membership and Benefits” section of www.uhcl.edu/alumni or contact the association at alumni@uhcl.edu or 281-283-2021.


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you have to believe IN PURSUING THE BEST OPTIONS

ChrisMatheyAlumnus Christopher Mathey believes that when it comes to pursuing your dreams, hard work is one of the best ways to discover your best options.

A native of Northfield, Massachusetts, Mathey came to University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2008 to pursue his master’s in sociology, which he earned in 2012. Being an out-of-state resident, he looked for opportunities to help defray the expense of his education. Scholarships seemed like one of his best options so Mathey applied for the Alumni Association Scholarship.

Mathey’s diligence in the application process for the scholarship paid off when he was named a recipient in 2010.

“Getting the scholarship helped me to continue the pursuit of my education and was the springboard that allowed me to be doing what I am today,” says Mathey. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in sociology at Texas A&M University, where he is studying the sociology of business and how people react to changes in the economy.

“The scholarship was the validation that I was on the right track, that my work was important and that others saw the value of it and wanted to help me to continue.”

Along with the study of economic sociology, Mathey studies the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on soldiers returning from combat. He cultivated an interest in the sociological impact of PTSD while at

UHCL, where he witnessed first-hand the effects of it on friends who had served, especially those who were not able to make the transition back to civilian life.

Mathey is on track to begin comprehensive exams and receive his doctorate in fall 2015, alongside his sweetheart and fellow UHCL graduate Rachel Gunter, whom he met at UHCL. Gunter completed her bachelor’s degree in historical studies in 2010 and her master’s degree in the same program in 2012. She is currently working on the requirements for her doctorate in history at Texas A&M.

When asked how he felt about receiving the scholarship, Mathey says, “I was humbled and honored to be recognized and it motivates me to give back one day and establish my legacy at UHCL.”

As someone who has successfully navigated the scholarship application process, Mathey has this advice for those considering submitting an application: “Research the requirements and even if you don’t meet them now, pursue what you need so you will qualify. Give yourself time and do it right. Don’t limit yourself by feeling like you won’t qualify. Do what it takes to meet the requirements and go for it.”

For information on this and other UHCL Alumni Association scholarships, visit www.uhcl.edu/alumni.

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