16:13 PM

EDGE Grant Recipients: Where Are They Now?

Each month, UHD Staff Council Staff Affairs awards an EDGE grant to promote education and self-development to one worthy UHD employee. How has the investment paid off? Let’s talk to two recipients – one who has applied their grant to continuing education and another who is soon to put hers to use. 

Christian Purdy, M.Ed.
Interim Sr. Talent Development Specialist

Employment Services & Operations

Purdy Headshot1

From the moment Christian Purdy heard about the EDGE grant during New Employee Orientation, they were enthusiastic about the opportunity for further education. “I love developing new skills I can use to serve my community, and I was thrilled to hear that UHD supports staff members’ efforts,” they said. 

Purdy used the funds to pursue the course “Storytelling for Influence” from IDEO, a global design company that uses a human-centered, design-thinking approach to its online learning offerings. 

While initially struggling with the course, Purdy made it through by committing to dedicating a set amount of time each day. “One thing I’ve been able to apply immediately is the idea that storytelling isn’t just about saying words, showing slides, and ‘selling’ an idea,” Purdy said. “Storytelling, especially in professional situations, can be an invitation for others to envision and experience a future that includes the solution you’re working on.” 

Purdy previously earned a certificate in Design Thinking Fundamentals from IDEO and is currently working on an Advanced certification. “I plan to guide teams in using design-thinking skills themselves,” they noted. “Being an advanced user of those skills would enable me to share them more broadly with the UHD community.”  

Purdy expressed gratitude for the opportunity, “I want to thank everyone involved in the program, from Staff Council, to my manager, Donnie Kesterson, and everyone in between who has made the program possible. I appreciate your investment in the professional learning of UHD Staff!” 

Anne Zwicky

Distance Education & Interlibrary Loan Librarian

W.I. Dykes Library

Zwicky Headshot1To successfully support their constituents, college librarians need to keep up with the latest research and technology options. National conferences can play a big role in supporting librarians’ continuing education efforts, and without the EDGE grant, Anne Zwicky might not have been able to attend the annual conference of the Association of College & Research Libraries. 

“With the increase in flight and other travel costs, my department was not able to fully fund my attendance,” she said. “The conference presents a great opportunity for academic library professionals to discuss mutual issues, craft innovative solutions, enhance relationships with faculty, and re-engage with students as they forge a future of learning, equity, diversity, inclusion, and access.” However, thanks to the EDGE Grant, she will be able to go to Pittsburgh in March to participate in four days of workshops, panels, and library community. 

“I am so thankful Staff Council supports UHD employees with this program,” she said. “The application process is not difficult; there’s no reason anyone should hesitate to apply.” 

About the EDGE grant

EDGE grants are provided to UHD full-time staff members as part of an ongoing effort to encourage staff to invest in their own professional development. Grants are funded through Staff Council fundraising efforts and through the generous support of the Office of the President. To learn more about the EDGE grant, including deadlines and eligibility requirements, visit the UHD Staff Council website.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.