2021 Student Success Advocate and Champion Award Winners


Hodges Mitchell II, 2021 Student Success Advocate
Director, Office of Accounting

A Student Success Advocate is an individual who works behind the scenes to impact student success at UT Austin. Recently, Hodges was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Texas One Stop, as well as the enhancement of student billing and payment systems through the work of the Tuition Payment Funds Flow Committee.

Hodges’ nominator explained that “Hodges views our students as more than financial bars or outstanding debt. They are each an individual with the goal and aspirations of becoming a lifelong Longhorn. He is a consummate collaborator who is continuing finding ways to enhance and streamline our billing and payment systems. His supportive spirit and creative problem solving has helped hundreds of UT Austin students reach their goals.”

“Student success does not only happen in the classroom,” said Dr. Michael E. Nava, Executive Director of Student Success Initiatives. “It takes the work and commitment of so many individuals throughout our campus who are willing to put students first. We are honored to recognize Hodges for his extraordinary work.”

Vanessa Garcia

Vanessa Garcia, 2021 Student Success Champion
Academic Advising Coordinator, Vick Center for Strategic Advising

A Student Success Champion is an individual on the ground, working directly with students supporting their success at UT Austin. The selection committee was especially impressed with Vanessa’s leadership in the creation of the Vick Center’s Mentorship for Student Success program and her continued work as an active member within the UT Austin advising community.

Vanessa’s nominator shared that “Vanessa’s genuine compassion for the growth and well-being of her students and her sheer effectiveness as an advisor is second to none. Vanessa’s role is unique, multifaceted, and demanding. Vanessa has a deep and relentless commitment to help students explore and become who they want to be, and she gives her time generously to her fellow advisors who are striving to do the same.”

Dr. Nava added, “Academic advisors play a key role in our students’ success, which has been made more evident by the support they have provided our students during this extraordinary year. Vanessa Garcia is one of the leaders in our academic community, and it is a privilege to showcase her outstanding work.”

More About Vanessa

This is the second year that Student Success Advocate and Champion awards have been given to UT Austin faculty and staff. Each spring, faculty and staff are invited to nominate themselves or a colleague for the awards. Winners are selected by committee and receive a certificate and an award commemorating the honor. Winners typically are recognized at the annual Student Success Symposium; however, the 2021 Symposium was canceled as a result of the Texas winter storm. Student Success Initiatives looks forward to honoring both Hodges and Vanessa at a future Symposium.