Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas Orange Jackets recognize professors with Tenet Awards

Kennedy Weatherby
Environmental engineering senior Sophie Snapp presents an award to Dr. Janet Ellzey, a professor in the mechanical engineering department, at the Texas Orange Jackets Awards on Oct. 23, 2023.

The Texas Orange Jackets honored four professors with the Tenet Awards at their semesterly Professor Tea event on Monday to celebrate their exceptional contributions to the University. 

The Texas Orange Jackets, the oldest women’s and nonbinary honorary organization on campus, celebrated its centennial anniversary this year, marking a century serving in their role as the University’s official hosts and planning group service projects on campus. Students nominated professors Christine Williams, Ashley Farmer, Janet Ellzey and Stephanie Holmsten for a specific Tenet Award: community, scholarship, leadership and service, respectively.

“Life happens together, and we have to acknowledge, celebrate and uplift that,” said Nikita Kakkad, biomedical engineering and Plan II senior. “The Tenet Awards recognize that all of us have had incredible mentors and leaders to look up to who have brought us to be where we are.”

Kakkad said she nominated her thesis advisor and sociology professor, Christine Williams, for the community award because of Williams’ passion for fostering growth in the classroom. She said Williams prompted her to include all perspectives, improving her thesis describing OB-GYN physician narratives after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

“She pushes back and challenges people on what they say sometimes, but she does it because she knows the potential we have and how wonderful we all can be,” Kakkad said. “Her mentorship has been really huge in my life for me to grow as a researcher.”

Britney Tran, an international relations and global studies and government senior, said she nominated her professor, Stephanie Holmsten, for the service award because of her encouragement and mentorship of her students. She said Holmsten exemplifies service by uplifting Tran and other students’ ambitions in public service.

“(Professor) Holmsten really puts in the time and effort to get to know each student individually and learn about what they’re interested in, what their goals are,” Tran said. “Seeing the way that she exhibits such kindness for her students is really inspiring.”

Holmsten, who is also associate director of the International Relations and Global Studies programs, said she particularly takes pride in the Human Rights and Global Societies Coffee Chats. Holmsten said these student-led discussions exemplify the importance of creating a welcoming space for students to express their ideas, listen and reconsider their points of view.

“Everybody needs to feel like they are seen and heard,” Holmsten said. “For the Orange Jackets to be leading the way in that and then to honor me for the little pieces that I can do in creating belonging in my classroom was just really powerful.”

For the scholarship award, Nickoll Garcia, an applied learning and development youth and community studies junior, said she nominated Ashley Farmer, an African and African diaspora studies and history professor, because she fills a crucial gap in students’ understanding of history, particularly the contributions of Black women.

After taking her Intro to African American History class, Garcia said Farmer’s lecture on the Selma to Montgomery march of 1965 made her recognize her place in history and felt inspired to make a similar impact as those who came before her.

“I cried in class when she made us think about marching for a cause and seeing rows of police officers with weapons and their dogs waiting for you to walk on another side of the bridge,” Garcia said in her speech. “She has taught me to find a cause that will inspire me to not put my head down and cry but to look forward and to take the next step across the bridge.”

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