Eric and Diana: Lifetime Learners,
Staff Council Scholarship Winners

Fall 2014 Scholarship Winners

Eric Fackler and Diana Kao, both Program Coordinators for McDermott Scholars program, are two of the ten UTD employees receiving $250 scholarships from the UTD Staff Council this semester.  “This is a scholarship for the staff, funded by the staff,” said Eric, “It’s much appreciated and it’s really cool.”

Mareze Crone, Farah Ellenbogen, Eric Fackler, Blair Flicker, Kortney House, Diana Kao, Rebecca Newcomb, Athula Pudhiyidath, Michael Seeligson, and Jessica Watts received the honor on February 11, 2015, at the Staff Council meeting.

Eric is studying History, “I hadn’t been in the classroom for 10 years; it was an incredible experience to get back.” As for his future plans, “I love working in higher education. I’d eventually love to be both staff and faculty of higher education, an administrator and educator.”

Diana added, “I knew I wanted to go back to school, and it was through working in the McDermott Scholars Program that I thought I found what I enjoyed and did well – marketing!”

Diana added, “Applying for the scholarship is a really good process because each time you are justifying to yourself and to others why you are pursuing your studies; the application provides accountability and an opportunity for self-examination. The application requirements themselves don’t take long to write out – it’s the thought process that takes more time.”

Eric’s recommendation to future applicants, “I’ve been on both sides of the applications process, first as a reviewer and later as an applicant;  I wouldn’t change anything about the process. People who short the essay or don’t really provide any explanation of what they are doing are hurting themselves. It’s not the review committee’s job to imagine their motives; they are looking for a balance of need and desire: people who really want to learn to better themselves. Put some thought into your application and, especially, your essay.”

The Staff Council funds their scholarship program through proceeds from their poinsettia and Valentine's Day sales. Both Diana and Eric give back by participating in the sale.  Additionally, Eric is a Staff Council Representative serving first on the Benefits committee and then the Communications committee.  Diana gives back to UTD serving during Welcome Week and on the Student Leadership Awards (SLA) committee.  As a former winner of the SLA, she is brings unique qualifications to the committee.

Diana found out about the scholarship opportunity perusing the Staff Council website at

All staff members who meet the following criteria may apply:

  • Attending community colleges, universities or accredited vocational schools
  • Minimum of six months of employment at UTD
  • Benefit Eligible (50% or more)
  • Overall GPA must be maintained as follows:
    • 2.5 GPA - Undergraduate
    • 3.0 GPA - Graduate
  • US citizen or permanent US resident
  • Complete official application by stated deadline



Last Modified: May 29, 2015