Announcing Mr. and Ms. UST for 2023
During halftime at the University of Saint Thomas-Houston’s exciting Homecoming Men’s Basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 11, officials crowned two outstanding students as Mr. and Ms. UST—Calvin Nguyen and Lucylitzy Bautista. These two student leaders reflect the enriched formation from UST’s core curriculum. Moreover, they demonstrate the Basilian Fathers’ core values of goodness, knowledge, discipline and community.
Mr. UST Calvin Nguyen
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Calvin Nguyen is the son of proud parents who immigrated from Vietnam following the war. In the spring of 2024, the first-generation college student will complete his MA in Theology. In addition to his scholastic achievements, the young man has embraced campus life in a big way, assuming leadership roles across various departments.
Among his service roles, Nguyen is or has been a member of the Presidential Ambassadors, Filipino Student Association, Cytotoxicity Research Group, Welcome Week, Orientation Coordinator, Campus Ministry, and Celt Crew.
“More than anything, I cherish my position in Campus Ministry,” Nguyen said, “where I have the opportunity to positively impact the faith lives of students.”
The 2023 Mr. UST aspires to continue in ministry following graduation. Yet, when he first arrived at St. Thomas, he was determined to be pre-med.
Nguyen said, “I look back and laugh at how absolutely certain I was that I wanted to be a doctor, and I was worrying about four years down the line and proceeding full steam ahead. But over time at UST, I learned to let myself experience whatever age I am and not worry about my next step. I developed perspective about what matters and doesn’t matter in life. It became clear that God has put more in the world for me. By the end of my senior year, I discerned that ministry is my path for now.”
The faithful theologian commented that the UST experience can be surprising.
“Growing up in Houston, you always hear about the big universities here,” he explained. “But at UST, I was surprised to discover that faculty and staff were involved with every student, and the commitment is unmatched. That involvement led to my acquiring so many life skills here.”
Nguyen prizes the memory of the time he has had in campus ministry. Furthermore, he is grateful for all the UST people—friends, mentors, research partners, professors, advisors and more—who have supported and cheered him on.
“If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Nguyen’s next step is to keep working with college students in ministry.
Ms. UST Lucylitzy Bautista
Bautista is a chemical engineering major who plans to pursue a career in biopharmaceutical engineering.
“UST introduced the Chemical Engineering program when I was deciding which university to pick,” Bautista recalled. “I knew I wanted a university that would encourage the development of my faith while challenging me academically. When I toured UST, I learned about the healthy relationship between faith and reason. Understanding that both work in harmony instilled me with peace about my decision.”
Bautista, a first-generation college student like Nguyen, applied to St. Thomas, was awarded an academic scholarship, and her dream school became possible.
Ever on the lookout for ways to serve, this young leader is the founding president of the UST student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a Freshmen Symposium mentor, and the Student Body President. She has also made time to participate in the Society of Women Engineers, Society of Physics Students, Celt Women Network, Filipino Student Association, Department of Residence Life, Department of Physics and Engineering - Teacher Assistant, Minority Science Engineering Improvement Program, Registered Student Organizations, Presidential Ambassadors, and was a Junior Resident Assistant.
“I’ve changed at UST,” Bautista said. “My leadership skills have grown exponentially. I’m more confident, not just in academics but in my faith and soft skills. One of the things I’ve learned here is how the world is only as limited as you make it. If you want it, it’s possible.”
One of the memories she will always treasure is of her physics professor, Dr. Amanda Taylor.
“Dr. Taylor would always have snacks in her office, and the door was open for any students to come and talk,” Bautista recalled. She would welcome and encourage us, building relationships with everyone. She embodies what UST is. Like her, I want to carry that with me—remembering that people are the most important thing, and it’s about loving them. That’s the greatest commandment.
Bautista plans to have a job lined up by spring 2024 when she receives her BS in Chemical Engineering.
Mr. & Ms. UST to Represent St. Thomas
As Mr. and Ms. UST, Nguyen and Bautista will represent the University during the coming year at various events and act as spokespeople for UST when needed.
Meanwhile, the duo is supported by an entire Homecoming Court of remarkable seniors: Paige Odenbach, Gabriela Espinoza, Daniel Lam, George Fakes, Johnathan Nguyen, Christel Vallagomesa, Luke Sebesta and Margaret Edozie.
As evidenced by these admirable students, the University of St. Thomas-Houston enriches intellectual growth as well as the spiritual, moral, social and physical dimensions.