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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Starling Receives Roueche Award for Excellence

Starling Receives Roueche Award for Excellence

An Alvin Community College Speech instructor has been named ACC's 2017 recipient of the League of Innovation in the Community Colleges' John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award.

Instructor Maria Starling was nominated for the honor by the ACC faculty and staff. Starling teaches Dual Credit courses at Alvin, Manvel and Turner high schools.

“I am so grateful and bubbling with excitement,” Starling said. “To be named the recipient of this noteworthy award has my energy level skyrocketing.”

The Roueche Excellence Award recognizes outstanding contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff. Recipients are recognized in a series of activities and promotions, and honored at the annual League for Innovations Conference in March in Maryland.

“I am very pleased that Maria was selected for the outstanding faculty award,” ACC President Dr. Christal M. Albrecht said. “Students have stated that she is an inspiration to them and that she has allow them to ‘blossom and express themselves in ways they did not know were possible.’ We are truly fortunate to have someone so passionate and talented teaching for us at Alvin Community College.”


Starling was nominated by her peers at the college for her excellence in the classroom and her willingness to promote the Dual Credit program.

“One of her goals is work along-side the Dual Credit department to identify strategies to promote recruitment and retention of dual credit students throughout the community and beyond,” the nomination letter states.

Maria has also been recognized as one of the Top 40 Educators Under 40 in Houston, the Golden Apple Educator Award and was named the Communicator of the Year by Texas Southern University. She has also coached students for the Harvard Debate Competition.

Starling said speech education is her passion and she hopes to instill that passion in her students.

“’Learning is Relative,’” she said. “That is the motto I live by as an educator. My love for speech communication is the driving force which lead me to pursue a career in education. It has always been my goal to inspire and serve as a gateway which students learn to overcome speech apprehension, communicate effectively and see the world of communication as exciting and instrumental in their everyday life.”

Starling began teaching at ACC  as an adjunct instructor as well as a speech instructor for the Upward Bound program, which prepares first generation college students for higher education.

“All I could think of from semester to semester ‘one day I will have an office here and be official,’” she said.

The fact her nomination came from fellow faculty members was a very humbling honor, Starling said.

“To be nominated by my peers illustrates that what we do for students doesn't go unnoticed and I am most appreciative my fellow colleagues saw something in me,” she said.

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