KATY (Covering Katy) – When Richmond resident Claudia Chirinos Pickmann heard her name called on Saturday at the University of Houston – Victoria’s Katy campus commencement, it was the fulfillment of her mother’s dream.
“My mother brought me here from Peru to have a better education and more opportunities,” Pickmann said. “I know I’m making her proud. She passed away, but I’m sure she will be celebrating in heaven,” Pickmann said.
Pickmann was selected as the UHV School of Business Administration Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the fall semester.
Adonai Hernandez of McAllen was named the school’s Outstanding Graduate Student.
Each semester, professors from UHV’s three schools select outstanding graduates to be honored during commencement. UHV held its fall commencement Saturday in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, in Katy.
“Claudia and Adonai have achieved a great deal in their time at UHV,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. “Both displayed the desire and perseverance to advance their careers while attending to work and family obligations. This caliber of graduate always will be highly sought after by employers.”
Pickmann will graduate Saturday with a Bachelor of Business Administration in supply chain management. She chose that concentration because of the wealth of available opportunities for supply chain managers.
“Supply chain is a crucial process,” she said. “It can make or break a company. UHV has given me the foundation to be highly competitive in the market. I’m thankful for faculty members going way beyond their duty. The combination of case studies and exercises have helped me prepare for my career.”
The journey to graduation day took some time. Pickmann stepped out of school to care for her sick mother and took a break when her child was born. After transferring to UHV, she attended full time, volunteered at hospices and worked for Maryalice Haest, a Houston art designer. She helps Haest obtain gemstones.
“It’s related to my field of study because I have to negotiate pricing with suppliers, purchase raw materials and assist at various showcases in the Houston area,” Pickmann said.
Pickmann would like to find a buyer job in the future. She’s interested in working in the health or nutrition fields.
She was named to the UHV President’s List in fall 2015 and spring 2016 for achieving a 4.0 grade-point average. Even with those grades, Pickmann said she was shocked by the outstanding student award.
“I feel honored to be chosen,” she said. “It means all my hard work – despite all the challenges – has paid off.”
Hernandez earned a Global Master of Business Administration. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Hernandez previously obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration in public accounting and auditing from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Mexico. Hernandez has more than 15 years of experience leading financial areas in multicultural companies.
“Adonai is an excellent student who has demonstrated the capabilities necessary to be successful in his career,” said Jifu Wang, a UHV management professor who taught Hernandez’s capstone course.
Hernandez served as the financial director at Seadrift Coke in Calhoun County for five years before moving in June to McAllen to become director of finance for Woodcrafter, a consumer goods company that has operations on both sides of the boarder.
“The new job has been a good experience,” Hernandez said. “What I’ve learned in the international finance and accounting courses has helped me get more familiar with the company and will help me in strategic decisions in the future.”
In 2014, Hernandez was one of 29 UHV students who traveled to China to study Chinese leadership management and tour several commerce and cultural sites.
“During the trip, Mr. Hernandez was a good team player and a significant part of the group,” Wang said. “He is a highly intelligent individual with passion and motivation, and I am positive he will succeed in all his endeavors.”
Hernandez said the trip was one of his favorite aspects of attending UHV, but it was far from the only highlight.
“The quality of the program and professors gave me the knowledge that I needed in my new position,” Hernandez said. “The program was flexible enough that I was able to work full time and move elsewhere. I’m very proud to call myself an MBA graduate from UHV.”