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Alumnus, Student, Staff Member Earn Awards for Service, Dedication
May 21, 2018
An alumnus, a graduating senior and an advisor at The University of Texas at Dallas were recognized for their dedication and service at the 2018 Honors Convocation.
David Lozano BA’09
David Lozano BA’09 received this year’s Undergraduate Alumni Achievement Award, whose recipients are accomplished in their industry or profession and engaged in their local community.
Lozano is executive artistic director at Cara Mía Theatre in Dallas, writing, directing and producing original bilingual plays for the Latino community. He is also an activist who advocates for funding of culturally specific arts organizations.
When he came to UT Dallas in 2001, it was only to study theater performance under drama professor Fred Curchack. At the time, he had no intention of pursuing a degree, but was cast in a play that Curchack was directing. He was hooked.
“I was passionate about research and learning my craft,” Lozano said. “I felt like I was breathing nutritious air. I decided I was where I needed to be.”
It took him longer than most to earn his bachelor’s degree in humanities from the School of Arts and Humanities, as he also worked full time at the theater. Trained in physical theater, Lozano prefers to work on collectively created plays that focus on actors’ improvisations rather than a script.
“The presence and dynamics of the actor are the starting point,” Lozano said.
Besides creating new works, Cara Mía’s resident artistic ensemble produces classic plays by nationally acclaimed Latino playwrights. It has produced world premieres of major Mexican-American writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Jimmy Santiago Baca and Cherrie Moraga.
“My experience at UT Dallas has helped me to become a better storyteller through theater, filling out my capacity as an artist,” Lozano said.
Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award recipient Megan Badejo has served in many leadership roles at UT Dallas while earning a near perfect GPA as a healthcare studies major. Since fall 2016, she has been an intern at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, researching orthopedic pediatric spine disorders. A summa cum laude graduate, Badejo is heading to Texas A&M’s College of Medicine in the summer.
Megan Badejo (center), with her parents, Michael and Margaret Badejo
Her parents emigrated from Nigeria before she was born, but her family back in Africa experienced common medical conditions ranging from high blood pressure to asthma that unfortunately were fatal.
“I knew I wanted to be in the medical field early on as a result of the losses experienced in my family. After my time at Scottish Rite, I became interested in orthopedic pediatrics. I do want to be a surgeon, but I also want the interaction of following up with patients and knowing them as people, and I now know that is possible from what I saw during my time as an intern,” Badejo said.
Badejo has served in student leadership roles as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a mentor with the Undergraduate Success Scholars Program and vice president of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students.
She has contributed more than 1,200 hours of volunteer service during her undergraduate career with organizations such as Mission Arlington, Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.
A collegiate athlete, Badejo also helped the women’s basketball team win two conference championships and advance to the NCAA Division III National Tournament, competing in the Sweet 16 in 2015. She also motivated her teammates to contribute more than 500 hours of community service.
Keeping up with her academic load was a challenge during the basketball season. But Badejo said faculty scheduled her tests around her team travel schedule and classmates would record a lecture that she could not attend.
“Being really organized has helped me balance it all. And I’m only doing things I’m passionate about. If it’s meaningful to me, I’m going to do my best to keep up with it,” Badejo said.
Advisor of the Year Shirley Wilson has been an advisor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science since December 2012. She also has been a freshman admissions counselor, transfer admissions advisor, community college outreach specialist and financial aid advisor. Wilson said she tries to be an empathic and student-focused “sounding board” who can answer questions for students that they don’t even know how to ask.
“I am adept in mentoring students, explaining career and course paths, and identifying at-risk students. College students today face more challenges than maintaining good study habits and keeping up their GPA. Everyday life sometimes gets in the way, from work and family life and maintaining positive mental health,” Wilson said. “I want students to understand that it is OK to reach out for help. As their advisor, I am there for them and so is the entire UTD community.”
She also expressed gratitude for her co-workers who create an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.
“There is no greater source of inspiration and motivation than to walk into work every morning and be greeted by supportive team members,” Wilson said. “My fellow ECS advisors inspire and challenge me to be a better advisor for our students.”
Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].