I endorse Karina Judith Ortega for the Newman Civic Fellowship. Ms. Ortega attends UNT Dallas as a Presidential Jaguar Scholar, the highest award a first year student can attain. UNT Dallas is the only four-year public university within the City of Dallas. It is a Hispanic and Minority serving institution. I nominate Ms. Ortega because she embodies the caring purpose of this university. Dallas is divided by a prosperous North and a poorer South. Ms. Ortega is committed to improving quality of life in southern Dallas. One of her passions is as an animal activist. Here's why that matters in southern Dallas. About 350,000 dogs live in Dallas, but only the South has a runaway stray dog problem because only 15% of its 153,000 dogs are spayed and neutered (compared to 80% in the North). Ms. Ortega has been active in civic efforts to dramatically reduce the estimated 8700 loose dogs that roam southern Dallas on a given day. I am proud of her commitment. I also want to assure the selection committee that, as President, I will fully support Ms. Ortega as a mentor and as a funder should she be fortunate enough to be selected as a fellow.
When I was younger, my dog China passed away from Parvovirus because my family was unable to pay for her medical care. At the time I was unable to do anything that could have changed the circumstances. Because of my inability to change things then, I am now an animal activist and student pursuing a Human Service Management & Leadership degree at the University of North Texas at Dallas. I volunteer with Dallas Pets Alive, a local non-profit that provides animals with a home, nutrition, and medical care. I have helped the Positive Alternative to Shelter Surrender program save hundreds of dogs and cats from being euthanized, which has led to the Dallas Animal Services site to transition into becoming a no kill shelter. I also raise awareness about the stray animal problem in Southern Dallas, and with the help of a local City Councilman I am currently developing the plans for an ordinance that requires residents to spay/neuter their pets to prevent more animals from living on the streets. On campus, I began the Finding Right & Natural Destinations organization, and I am currently arranging for a mobile vet clinic to visit campus monthly to offer low cost vaccines and spay/neutering for the animal residents in South Dallas. China's illness influenced my life so that I now make a difference as an animal activist to impact my community.