Three students were recently selected to receive The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Student Awards in Arts and Humanities for exceptional work in creative writing.
The students, representing UT Austin, UT Arlington and UT San Antonio, will be honored at the Board of Regents’ meeting  on Thursday, May 15. Each student was awarded $1,500 to be deposited in their respective academic departmental budgets.
"After graduation, I plan to pursue the arts on both a personal and community level"
Catherine Cleary, a student at UT Austin, was selected for excellence in poetry writing. While working toward her undergraduate degree, Cleary has also completed a certificate in nonprofits and social entrepreneurship and hopes to further her education by pursuing a master’s degree in creative writing.
“After graduation, I plan to pursue the arts on both a personal and community level,” Cleary said. “It’s my dream to direct or found a nonprofit that brings art education and creative therapy to students who have little access in their schools to the benefits of the arts.”
Regents Outstanding Student Awards in Arts. Samantha Jones and Catherine Cleary.
Samantha Jones, a student at UT Arlington, was selected for excellence in short fiction. Pursuing a minor in creative writing, Jones said she has a sincere desire to connect with readers through stories about real situations and overcoming obstacles.
“I write with the intention of becoming a real voice inside the reader’s head, drawing them into a story that is not their own, but could be,” Jones said. “I genuinely value the opportunity given to me by the University of Texas at Arlington to hone a lifelong hobby into a true craft.”
“To even be considered for this award is both inspiring and an unbelievable honor"
Alison Ochoa, a student at UT San Antonio, was also selected for excellence in short fiction. Currently an undergraduate biology student, Ochoa, while not immersed in an academic program focused on the development of creative writing skills, has developed a passion for expressing herself through words.
“To even be considered for this award is both inspiring and an unbelievable honor,” Ochoa said.
The Regents Outstanding Student Awards program is designed to provide a framework that fosters excellence in student performance, rewards outstanding students, stimulates the arts and humanities and promotes continuous quality in education.
“The arts and humanities are an extremely important aspect of higher education, and the Board of Regents is proud to have the opportunity to present these awards to such deserving students,” Regents’ Chairman Paul Foster said. “I congratulate our winners today for their outstanding contributions and wish them continued success as they promote the importance of expressive written art at UT System institutions.”
Established in February 2012, the Regents’ Outstanding Student Awards in Arts and Humanities commend students at UT System institutions excelling in one of four disciplines: musical arts, visual arts, poetry writing and short essays.
To learn more about the nomination and evaluation process and for details on future awards, please visit the Regents’ Outstanding Students Awards in Arts and Humanities website .
About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System  is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.