October 29, 2010
College of Human Sciences Honors Distinguished Alumni
The Distinguished Alumni Awards are given to graduates of the College of Human Sciences who have advanced the reputation of the college through their significant achievements.
Written by Karin Slyker
- Brenda Barrington-Mendiola, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, earned her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics Education in 1980, her Master of Science in Home Economic Education in 1981, and her doctorate in 2009. She spent much of her career acting as a champion for the thousands of children who passed through schools under her supervision. After four years as superintendent, Barrington-Mendiola retired from Irion County Independent School District in June. Under her guidance, ICISD boasted an elementary campus rated as exemplary four times in the past seven years and a recognized high school that won a bronze award from U.S.News and World Report in 2006. She also teamed with others in the district to secure more than $600,000 in competitive and non-competitive grant funding over the years, and $9 million bond for school construction projects. In 2009-2010, she also served as an adjunct professor of superintendent courses for Angelo State University.
- Sharon D. Staley, owner of Sharon Staley Interiors of Houston, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Art in 1971. She believes that good design starts and ends by incorporating a client’s needs into a functioning, comfortable environment. Her client-first philosophy has also guided Staley’s life outside of work, as her integrity and professionalism have led to a life full of community service and volunteerism. During her decades of involvement in various positions with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Staley has also served as an advisor to Texas Tech, the University of Houston, The Art Institute of Houston and Houston Community College. She has volunteered for organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Harris County Heritage Society, and is on the board for the Texas Nature Conservancy. She has raised money for the American Cancer Society, Operation Rainbow, chaired the Project Hope Gala and helped design facilities for use by programs supporting AIDS patients, homeless women, drug recovery groups and the Ronald McDonald houses in Houston and Galveston.
- Mary M. Bell earned her Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning in 2005. In the last five years, Bell has emerged as a key player in national military and defense financial planning matters. She recently served as an advisor to the Department of Defense’s Office of Personal Finance, lending technical expertise to defense leadership and financial education initiatives for service members. Over the summer, she worked as a financial counselor for the Survivor Outreach Services program at Fort Riley, Kan. to help the Families of Fallen Soldiers. She also worked to enhance the web content for the Department of Defense’s financial readiness campaign. Bell is pursuing her doctorate in financial therapy at Kansas State University and working as a graduate assistant for grant from the Department of Defense and USDA to help military and military dependents further their education during their military experience.
- Catherine S. Nathan received her doctorate in early childhood/special education in 1989. During her 17 years as director of Texas Tech’s Child Development Research Center (CDRC), Nathan’s dedication and hard work led to advances such as a $5.2 million facility expansion that doubled the capacity of the center. Her commitment carried over into community service and within various professional organizations, as well. Nathan continues her advocacy in retirement as president of the board for Upstarts: Education for the Real World, an innovative program for at risk youth, and Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition and Texas Association for Infant Mental Health. She resides in Spring Branch.
- Ethel M. McLeod purchased a friend’s telephone answering business in 1954. It was called Stenocall, and employeed one person with 13 accounts. The company gained momentum in 1961, after McLeod and her late husband, Don, purchased Lubbock Radio Paging. The merger of these two companies added one-way paging, a popular service among physicians in Lubbock and the surrounding area. Fast forward to 2010, Stenocall is now a communications industry leader in Lubbock, offering bilingual telephone answering, bilingual inbound telemarketing, cellular phones, two-way radios and voicemail. The McLeods participated in various boards and philanthropic organizations, plus they funded scholarships and donated to programs such as the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery. They also helped build the infrastructure of the university through contributions to the Don and Ethel McLeod Tennis Center and Jerry S. Rawls College of Business building.