>>Mark Sheridan, Dean, Graduate School: We’re here tonight to celebrate graduate education at Texas Tech and to recognize our graduate fellowship recipients as well as our graduate fellowship donors.>>Donna Rogers, Fellowships and Awards: It’s our one time of the year where all the donors get to see where their investment’s going, and the student recipients get to see where their investment came from and who gave to make their education possible.>>Melinda Anderson-Guerrero, Fellowship Recipient: I received the Urbanovsky fellowship. It means everything. It’s validation for the topic of my dissertation.>>Mark Sheridan: Graduate fellowships are so important to Texas Tech because they enable us to recruit and retain some of the highest caliber graduate students to the university.>>Melinda Anderson-Guerrero: My dissertation topic is how land use, particularly outdoor learning environments, may influence early childhood health.>>Christina Najera, Fellowship Recipient: What brought me here to Texas Tech University is their graduate program in the College of Media & Communication. They have the best labs in research in the entire nation.>>Donna Rogers: The students come from all walks of life. They’re non-traditional, they have families, they have full-time jobs, they’re part-time, they’re full-time, they come from every department on campus.>>Christina Najera: I am the recipient of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington graduate fellowship. I really appreciate their award and their gift because if it wasn’t because of them, I wouldn’t have been able to be here at Texas Tech.>>Mark Sheridan: Tonight, we’re going to inaugurate the distinguished alum award. We’re going to recognize a former graduate student alumnus who has made important contributions.>>Gabriel Flores, Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Trying to figure out how I can sort of play my part in the cycle and return that to people who deserve it as well.>>Mark Sheridan: I want the students, the current recipients, to hear his story and see how meaningful a fellowship or a scholarship is to a student and how that changes their life.>>Gabriel Flores: Hoping to pass along a message to people to maximize the opportunity, to show gratitude through making the most of it.>>Mark Sheridan: Graduate students are the fuel that drives research and creative activity at a research university like Texas Tech.>>Gabriel Flores: To see this number of people receiving fellowships, to see the turnout for the event, the energy, I think it’s reflective of what’s happened at Tech since I’ve been here.