Chancellor's Award for Student Achievement

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Achievement recognizes a graduating student each academic year. The recipient is selected on the basis of academic achievement and love of learning, overcoming barriers in pursuit of academic goals, future leadership potential, involvement in campus life and other examples of achievement.

Scott Houston

B.A., Human Development

Scott Houston

Scott Houston’s passion for his subject is such that he reads not only his assigned books but also the supplemental materials. He takes advantage of every extra-credit opportunity. His work to earn high grades is manifest in his 3.95 GPA. In short, he is a model student, motivated, dedicated to his topics and taking an active part in class and group discussions.

It’s taken a lot of determination for Houston to get where he is today. As a young adult, he spent 15 years living on the streets of Longview, Wash., in and out of jail for drug possession and parole violations. “I learned a lot” from that experience, he said. “I learned how to conquer my own fears. And I learned about barriers and systemic failures that make it difficult for people to keep moving forward.”

Initially he enrolled at Lower Columbia College to earn an associate degree in welding. He also took courses in chemical dependency and drug and alcohol counseling. When he transferred to WSU Vancouver in 2021, he chose human development as his major. He has focused his research on behavioral health services for incarcerated people. “Not only are Scott’s exemplary academics at WSU Vancouver testament to his perseverance and resilience, but he leverages his past personal challenges in the passion and direction he brings to his work,” his professors wrote in nominating Houston for the Student Achievement award. “He is very motivated to be successful.”

This spring he completed his internship as a mental health specialist at CORE Health in Longview. “It allows me to float around for different opportunities in behavioral health services,” Houston said of the internship. One area where he felt he might be particularly effective was community outreach to encourage people to get services. People on the street knew him, he said. They would listen and talk to him.

Besides excelling in his coursework, Houston has been active with campus activities, including the Human Development club and OSI trips, such as skiing and camping.

As for his future, Houston is contemplating work in behavioral health services but is also interested in pursuing a master’s degree. Whatever he decides, “I want to improve people’s lives,” he said. “I want to improve my own life.”

Past award recipients

2021 – 2022
Zoe Minden

2020 – 2021
Rebecca Daniel

2019 – 2020
Vince Chavez

2018 – 2019
Loren Horowitz

2017 – 2018
Navaraj "Raj" Lamichhane

2016 – 2017
Julian Rivas

2015 – 2016
Allegra Koupal

2014 – 2015
Kathrynn Gonzalez

2013 – 2014
Helena Lucia

2012 – 2013
Monica Santos-Pinacho

2011 – 2012
Dora Hernandez

2010 – 2011
Jerry Gowan

2009 – 2010
Mary Krzysiak

2008 – 2009
Amy Burton

2007 – 2008
David Neuhauser

2006 – 2007
Richard O'Brien

2005 – 2006
Laurie Giacomini

2004 – 2005
Melissa Huse

2003 – 2004
Kimiyo Kanekoa-Rivera

2002 – 2003
Robin Shanafelt

2001 – 2002
Jon Hartinger
Noelani Punwai

2000 – 2001
Major W. Harris Jr.

1999 – 2000
Laura Ellsworth

1998 – 1999
Michelle (Smith) Musso

1997 – 1998
Jimmie Wright

1996 – 1997
Karen Brown

1995 – 1996
Melody Miller

1994 – 1995
Pam Hilberg
Dennis Lambie

1993 – 1994
Michael Martin

1992 – 1993
Adam Baker
Paula Martin