11:16 AM

Meet the New 2022 Mr. & Ms. UST

During its Homecoming celebrations, the University of St. Thomas-Houston announced the two exemplary seniors who have been selected as Mr. and Ms. UST 2022. John Tran ’22 and Reeja Awan ’22 reflect the essence of what a Celt can be and achieve.

Reeja Awan’s Double Major and Service Leadership

A go-getter, Awan is double majoring in psychology and communications. Next, she is entering UST’s Master in Sport & Performance Psychology program to pursue a career helping athletes.

She has served as an intern on the Campus Activities Board; Secretary and PR for Health Occupations Students of America; Chair of RSO; Vice-chair of Orientation; and Manager for Men’s Basketball.

Awan said she has found community at St. Thomas.

“I didn’t want to be just a number,” she said. “At UST, I’m part of a community that empowers its students to be themselves and pursue their dreams. When I first visited this campus, I felt so connected to the faith and people dedicated to helping me find a community that genuinely cared about my success as a student. Looking back at it now, I know I made the right choice, and I will always be grateful for everything that I found here.”

John Tran Part of a UST Family Tradition

Majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience, Tran dreams of becoming a doctor and will start medical school next year. UST has been like home to the young man.

Tran said, “I was blessed to have had my first experiences at UST as a 10-year-old kid when my older siblings were attending university here. When it was my turn to apply for college, there was little doubt about where I wanted to spend my next four years. I can never thank this school enough for opening so many doors of opportunity for my family. I was lucky to witness each of my siblings shape out their dream futures through the experiences they built at St. Thomas. Though they all went to the same college, they found their unique paths because of their time there. Now, their careers vary from financial consulting to product testing at Nike to optometry and dentistry.”

During his time at UST, Tran has served within the Club Sports Association, Mendenhall Summer Institute, UST Orientation Leaders, Campus Ministry, UST Presidential Ambassadors, HOSA, Latino Medical Student Association, Psi Chi, Campus Activities Board interns and the Filipino Student Association.

Involved on the selection committees were Karen Bautista, Dan Garcia, Stephanie Canahuati and Ernestine Zawitkowski.

Important Roles

Event Coordinator Stephanie Canahuati, who helped with selection, said, “The roles of Mr. and Ms. UST are essential to the University, as they capture the real essence of what a Celt can be. These roles are meant to showcase incoming students, current students and alumni that the University of St. Thomas cultivates leaders who are grounded in goodness, discipline and knowledge.”

Assistant Dean of Students Amanda Villanueva added, “And to have selected these Tran and Awan outstanding students from a candidate field that was so robust speaks volumes for these two students who came out on top.”

Awan and Tran will represent the University in the coming year at various events like Celts Day of Service and Mardi Gras (as King and Queen). In addition, they will serve as spokespersons when needed and sit on committees and be guests at alumni events and activities.

The new Mr. and Ms. UST cannot say enough about the value they received from UST’s close-knit community.