By Jeffrey L. Boney
The Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. with One Delta Plaza Educational Center (ODPEC) recently honored four NASA African American women leaders at their 17th Annual Jazz Soirée Scholarship Fundraiser that was held at the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel in downtown Houston.
The soirée supports Houston Alumnae Chapter community service programs. This fundraising partnership also allows ODPEC to support its programs and projects.
The theme — “Harlem Renaissance: All That Jazz” — provided the historical musical framework to celebrate four pioneering STEM leaders and local “Hidden Figures” serving at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. The event raised tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships to be awarded in early 2019 to high-achieving, college-bound students.
The four NASA honorees receiving the Geraldine Pittman Woods Award for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) were: Donna Blackshear-Reynolds, Chief of the Spaceflight Operations Resources Office in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer; Debra L. Johnson, Johnson Space Center Director of the Office of Procurement; Annette Moore, Johnson Space Center Chief Information Officer; and Vanessa Wyche, Johnson Space Center Deputy Director. Johnson, Moore and Wyche are all members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Blackshear-Reynolds is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Houston musicians Joe Carmouche and Lloyd Hughes entertained attendees with their unique and widely-respected smooth sounds of jazz. In addition to live entertainment, the event also included dinner, dancing, a silent auction and a host of vendors. There were 22 celebrity waiters, who each contributed $1,000 or more to the event, which will be added to the more than $120,000 in scholarships that are awarded by the Houston Alumnae Chapter this academic year.
Angela Sterling, Tonja Jackson and Gwendolyn Drumgoole served as the jazz soirée co-chairs.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, founded in 1913, is a private, not-for-profit service organization of predominantly Black, college-educated women committed to transforming lives and impacting society. In 105 years, 300,000 women have joined the organization, which has more than 900 alumnae and collegiate chapters in the United States and abroad.
The Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (HAC) — chartered in 1927 — was the first Black Greek letter organization to establish a chapter in Houston. Today, 91 years later, more than 300 financial members continue to implement the sisterhood, scholarship and service demonstrated by Delta’s 22 visionary founders. This commitment continues under Tina Marie Jones-Green, who is the President of the Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Audrey Gassama is the Board Chair of One Delta Plaza Educational Center.
Congratulations to the honorees!
This article originally appeared in the Houston Forward Times.