Johnnie Bird, UConn SSS ’05, and Jose Santana, UConn SSS ’01, were both awarded Alumni Achiever Awards at the 2015 annual CAEOP Conference, held on October 9, 2015 at Central Connecticut State University’s Downtown Campus in New Britain, CT. The two men were honored for their significant professional achievements and commitment to giving back to the community.
Johnnie earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the University of Connecticut. He is the founder of Hoops Star Academy, which combines training youth in basketball with instilling knowledge about money management and college awareness. His DoMode organization assists young people with pursuing their passions. Johnnie authored a book, The Toughest Two: A Journey of a Walk-On, detailing his challenges while transitioning from an inner-city high school in Bridgeport, CT to college. Currently, he works as a financial aid officer at Yale University.
Jose earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Material Sciences, all from the University of Connecticut. Currently, he manages the Wet Chemistry & Analytical Chemistry Laboratories at United Technologies research Center. Jose serves as a mentor for UConn’s TRIO McNair Scholars Program, has been a UConn SSS Leadership Conference keynote speaker, and advocated for TRIO programs at the 2016 annual COE Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C.