• Clairisse Cheniae '17

With the support of the Education department and Career Services at Southwestern, Cheniae earned one of up to three scholarships awarded by TASPA for 2016. Since 1989-1990, TASPA, a professional association primarily made up of Texas public school human resources administrators, has awarded scholarships to assist college students seeking their initial teaching certification and/or endorsement. 

Growing up in Virginia, Cheniae planned to become a large animal veterinarian. From fourth grade through high school she volunteered at a local nature center, helping others learn about animals native to the area, interacting with children and their parents and leading small groups.

Cheniae continued her interactions with animals after moving to Texas. She volunteered to place dogs with foster families and facilitate adoptions at the Austin Animal Center. She supports horses and clients taking part in hippotherapy at the Ride On Center for Kids (R.O.C.K.) in Georgetown, and she volunteers at Retama Park in San Antonio for CANTER Texas. Her care for animals and people is also evidenced by her work as a Resident Assistant at Southwestern.

Ultimately, her curiosity about the natural world and her experiences guiding children and expanding their knowledge transformed her career interests. She decided to pursue elementary education, with a focus in science, and will graduate in May 2017 with teacher certification.

“I may not be a large animal veterinarian,” Cheniae said, “but I may teach future veterinarians and inspire them to delve into the world of science.”

Cheniae will be recognized at the TASPA annual winter conference in December 2016 in Austin.