13:18 PM

Scholarship Helps Answer Students Calling

UH Red Rose scholarship winner and student Patricia Ortiz. Red Rose scholarship recipient Patricia Ortiz

One of the highest honors awarded—the Red Rose Scholarship—at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) has been bestowed to Houston native Patricia Ortiz.

Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of their academic achievements, leadership ability and community involvement. Each student receives $3,000 per academic year and must maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average.

For Ortiz, 25, receiving the scholarship was perfect timing.

"It was a blessing. The scholarship has provided me the opportunity to complete my degree," said Ortiz. "I was worried about how I would pay for college since I couldn't work and keep my internship. I have several siblings that are trying to get their education, so this is a really big help."

Ortiz is presently interning at Humble Area Assistance Ministry (HAAM)—a faith-based organization that provides residents with basic needs.

"I want to work with the elderly," said Ortiz. "Taking care of older relatives and religion are both a big part of my Mexican culture, so choosing the geriatric branch of social work was more of a calling than a career choice. It came very easy to me."

The volunteer work she has done as part of the curriculum at UHD has played an important role in preparing her career. She is a member of University's Social Work Student Community Advocacy Network (SWS-CAN). Through SWS-CAN, she volunteers at many local charity organizations, including St. Vincent de Paul and the Houston Food Bank.

"Patricia's sincere concern and desire to work with clients who are vulnerable is an asset to the social work profession," said Angela Goins, lecturer, social work. "She is generous of heart, genuine, compassionate and kind to not only the less fortunate, but to her fellow students and faculty which makes her shine."

Ortiz is the second member of her family to graduate from UHD. She plans to graduate in May with a bachelor's in social work.