College Roundup - University of Houston
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College Roundup A selection of faculty, staff, student and alumni happenings

 2019 | 2018: January - March | April - June | July - September | October - December

2017: January - March | April - June | July - September | October - December

August 2019

Michelle Hall, who earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership in 2018 from the College, has been named assistant principal of Turner Elementary School in Willis ISD. Hall was previously the icoach at Meador Elementary.

Yonelly Gutierrez, a program manager in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, accepted an appointment to the UH Hispanic Alumni Association board in August. Gutierrez, who earned an M.Ed. in higher education in 2019, is responsible for fundraising, evaluation and planning efforts within the organization.   

July 2019

Several faculty members received UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program awards for 2019-20. Funds will go toward implementation of an open or alternative textbook in their courses:

  • Eulises Avellaneda, a clinical assistant professor of bilingual education
  • Kristen Hassett, a clinical associate professor of special populations
  • Laura Turchi, an assistant professor of secondary education
  • Jane Cooper, a clinical assistant professor of teacher education
Sarah Mire, an assistant professor in the counseling and school psychology programs, and Jorge Gonzalez, a professor in the school psychology program, have received a grant from Social Motion Skills to conduct a program evaluation study for the organization. The Houston-based nonprofit provides social-skills training for high-functioning children with autism.

Patrick Lukingbeal, who earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology and individual differences in 2015, has been named executive director of UH Integrated Enrollment Services. Lukingbeal previously served as director of UH Wellness and is currently an adjunct professor in the College’s counseling program.

June 2019

Ashley Taylor, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, had a manuscript accepted for publication in PLOS ONE, a high-quality peer-reviewed journal. Her research focused on physical activity and sleep problems in homeless adults. UHAND, a project between the University of Houston and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, is supporting the research.

The Elevate Collegiate Charter School – whose board includes Associate Professor of School Psychology Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz – will open in fall 2020 in Houston. Aguirre-Munoz became a founding board member of the school, part of the Building Excellent Schools Network, in 2018.

Charles Dupre, who earned an M.Ed. in administration and supervision in 2003, was named the 2019 Region 4 Superintendent of the Year. Dupre is currently superintendent of Fort Bend ISD and an adjunct professor in the College’s Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.

Guillermo Ortega, a doctoral student in the higher education program, received the UH Center for Mexican American Studies graduate fellowship. The fellowship awards applicants who have strong research skills and interest in the area of Mexican American and/or Latino studies. Ortega will begin the fellowship in August.

Aurora González de Freire has received the 2019 Julius Glickman Educational Leadership award from Humanities Texas and the Members in Print award from Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for “Harvey Bear Gets Rescued,” her disaster-preparedness children’s book based on Hurricane Harvey. González de Freire earned a B.S. in teaching and learning in 1997 and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction in 2003 from the College.

Thomas Cotter, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – K-12 program, has been named principal of Wesley Elementary School in Houston ISD. Cotter was previously assistant principal at North Forest High School in the same district and won HISD’s Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year Award in 2019.

May 2019

Heather Lowrie, who earned a B.S. in teaching in 1997, was awarded Teacher of the Year at Fort Bend ISD’s Neill Elementary, where she is a fourth-grade teacher. She went on to be a top five finalist for District Teacher of the Year.

Margarita Tovar, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – K-12 program, was promoted to principal at Dogan Elementary in Houston ISD. She previously served as assistant principal for the school.  

Tracey Bennett, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – K-12 program, was named principal of Horne Elementary in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. She previously served as assistant principal at Andre’ Elementary in the same district.

Ashley Taylor, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, was appointed student representative for the UH Institutional Review Board 1 in May. The board is responsible for protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects in research.

Marti Jones, who earned an M.Ed. in counseling in 2013 and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology in 2016, received the Carolyn Payton Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association’s Division 35, Section 1 (the Psychology of Black Women). Jones will assume a tenure-track faculty position at the University of North Texas in August.

Ashley Ramclam, Amy Barton, Kimberly Smoots and Dieu Truong, doctoral students in the school psychology program, and Associate Professor Milena Keller-Margulis received a $3,000 grant from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students to support a new faculty-led internship immersion program in Mexico.

Dieu Truong and Ashley Ramclam, doctoral students in the school psychology program, have been appointed to the student advisory board for the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge at the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. The board supports the foundation’s research team in creating culturally responsive outreach and connecting with local families affected by autism. Truong and Ramclam have recently given two presentations to diverse families in the Houston area in regards to autism research.

Anne Perry, an Ed.D. student in the curriculum and instruction – history/social education program, was awarded the Billie P. Spellman scholarship from the UH chapter of Phi Delta Kappa. She also received the Scholarship for Education Research from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.

Ananthi Sankaranarayanan, a doctoral student in the curriculum and instruction – math education program, will present her research at the Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching in San Antonio in July. Her research focuses on word problems for young language learners.

Bobby Martinez, who earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – K-12 in 2014, accepted a position as executive director of school leadership for Alvin ISD beginning in June. Martinez is currently principal of Manvel High School and is an adjunct professor in the College’s Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.

Lynnette Gilbert, who received an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction – art education in 2017, has accepted a position as a tenure-track assistant professor of art education at Arkansas Tech University.

Heidi Powell, who earned an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from the College in 2006, recently was hired as a tenure-track assistant professor and is director of the MA Art Education Online Program at the University of Florida. Powell was a director of program development and lecturer at the University of Texas in Austin for five years.

Kathy Brown, who received a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction - art education in 2018, has accepted a position as a tenure-track assistant professor of art education at the University of North Texas in Denton. Her dissertation explored social justice curricular work in art methods courses.

April 2019

Dieu Truong, a doctoral student in the school psychology program, was awarded a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services pre-doctoral fellowship by the American Psychological Association in April. The fellowship aims to increase the number of ethnic minority professionals in psychology and improve psychological and behavioral outcomes in minority communities.

Several current and former doctoral students attended and/or presented their research at the 2019 Region 5-Texas Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education Conference in Nacogdoches in April. The conference brought together scholars around the theme of “Social Activism: Making Multicultural Education Intentional for Everyone.”

Students in the Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction program:

  • Neha Anand (science)
  • Uchenna Emenaha (science)
  • Roseline Enemodia (early childhood)
  • Rosa Mack (literacy)
  • Ananthi Sankaranarayanan (math)
  • Sunny Stubbs (literacy)

Students in the Ed.D. in professional leadership program:

  • Marisela Martinez (social studies)
  • Sarah Straub (social studies ’16); conference coordinator
  • Ogechi Ukoha (social studies)

Esmeralda Valdez, a doctoral student in the higher education program, received the 2019 National Association of College Auxiliary Services Mereese Ladson Scholarship. The scholarship is intended to promote the advancement of diverse, career-minded higher education professionals through professional development. Valdez is executive director of university services at UH and received an M.Ed. in administration and supervision from the UH College of Education in 2013.

Elsa Gonzalez, an assistant professor in the higher education program, and Tiffany J. Davis, a clinical assistant professor and director of the M.Ed. in higher education program, each received the 2019 Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award from the UH Women and Gender Resource Center. The award recognizes faculty who have made significant contributions to teaching, research and service, including service to women and advancing gender equity on campus. They both will be recognized at the Faculty Scholar Awards event at UH in April.

March 2019 

Several faculty and staff members were honored at the UH Inventor Patent Awards and Celebration of Researchers’ Luncheon in March.

  • 2018 Authors of Scholarly Book Publications:
    • Cathy Horn from the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
  • 2018 New Researcher Grant Award Recipients:
    • Jennifer Chauvot, Jerome Freiberg, Conra Gist and Mimi Lee from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction
    • Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz, Consuelo Arbona, Jorge Gonzalez, Sascha Hein, Sara Jones, Han Joe Kim, Norma Olvera, Lorraine Reitzel and Bradley Smith from the Department of Psychological, Health & Learning Sciences
    • Frank Fernandez, Cathy Horn, Lyle McKinney and Virginia Snodgrass Rangel from the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies;
    • Patricia Paquin from the UH Charter School
    • Paige Evans, Leah McAlister-Shields and Mariam Manuel from teachHOUSTON

LaTonda McQueen, a master’s student in the administration and supervision program, was named teacher of the year at Matzke Elementary in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. She teaches fifth-grade math at the school.

Tori Amason and Yolanda Barnes, doctoral students in the higher education program, presented a workshop at the Empower Women's Leadership Conference in March at UH. The session focused on ways in which language perpetuates gender inequality.

February 2019

Ashley Thompson, who earned a Ph.D. in measurement, quantitative methods and learning sciences in 2016, was selected as a district finalist for Teacher of the Year in Fort Bend ISD. Thompson is a technology integration champion and sixth-grade science teacher at Hodges Bend Middle School.

Four school administrators, who are affiliated with the College of Education, received principal or assistant principal of the year awards from Houston ISD in February:

  • Khalilah Campbell-Rhone: secondary principal of the year
    She received an Ed.D. in professional leadership – K-12 in 2014, is an adjunct professor in the College and is principal of Evan E. Worthing High School.
  • Thomas James Cotter: secondary assistant principal of the year
    He is a doctoral student in the professional leadership – K–12 program and is assistant principal of North Forrest High School.
  • Sean Negron: elementary assistant principal of the year
    He received an M.Ed. in administration & supervision in 2017 and is assistant principal of McReynolds Middle School.
  • Amy Poerschke: elementary principal of the year
    She received an Ed.D. in professional leadership – K-12 in 2017, is an adjunct professor in the College and is principal of Durham Elementary.
Kayce Solari Williams, clinical assistant professor and health program director, won the UH Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life Faculty Advisor of the Year Award. As part of Women’s History Month, she also was honored by Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston and KMAZ 102.5 FM with a certificate of excellence for her valued contributions to the Houston community. Solari Williams received both awards in February.

Sahar Eshtehardi, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, was selected in February to serve as student ambassador for the American Psychological Association’s Society of Pediatric Psychology. She also was selected for a summer internship focused on cancer prevention and research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Marina McCormick, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – special populations program, presented at the 2019 Texas Deafblind Symposium in Austin in February. Her presentation was called “Early Emergent Literacy for Infants and Toddlers with Deafblindness.”

Kristian Lenderman, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – special populations program, earned the Julius Glickman Educational Leadership Award from Humanities Texas for her “exceptional leadership” in the field. Lenderman, a facilitator at Northbrook Middle School, was recognized at a Spring Branch ISD board meeting in February.

Sunny Stubbs, a doctoral student in the curriculum and instruction – reading, language arts and literacy program, received a competitive research award from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to fund resources for the theatre program at Northside High School in Houston ISD. Stubbs teaches theatre arts and advanced theatre productions at the school. The funds will be used to build a classroom play library, sponsor a playwright instructor and buy high-quality costumes.

Kellian Hughes, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – special populations program, presented at the Academic Improvement in Education conference in San Antonio in November. He presented on maximizing in-class support for school administrators. He also presented at the Region IV Mathematics conference in January in Houston. He presented on co-teaching models and teacher classifications.

Salma Akbar, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – K-12 program, was named teacher of the month at Harmony School of Innovation in Sugar Land. Akbar heads the science department and serves as site coordinator for “Project Lead the Way” and event coordinator for the parent teacher organization.

Marina McCormick, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – special populations program, has been selected to receive the Ann Silverrain Award at the 2019 Texas DeafBlind Symposium. The award honors individuals who make an exceptional effort to improve the quality of life for those who are blind or deaf. The award will be presented Feb. 23.

April Peters-Hawkins, associate chair of the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, has been accepted into the Women in Educational Leadership Program offered by the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She will attend a two-day program, including workshops, lectures and case discussions, in Cambridge in March.

Kenya Ayers, who received an Ed.D. in administration and supervision in 1999, was named president of Tarrant County College Northeast in Fort Worth, effective July 1. She is currently vice president and chair of the board of the Northwest Educational Council for Student Success in Arlington Heights, Ill. Ayers earned an American Council on Education fellowship in 2013 and completed her internship at UH in the president’s office.

January 2019

Marissa Moreno, a doctoral student in the higher education program, was selected as Lee College’s 2019 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development excellence award recipient. NISOD is an national organization that promotes teaching and leadership excellence at community colleges. Moreno will receive funds from Lee College to attend the NISOD International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in May in Austin.

Yolanda Barnes, a doctoral student in the higher education program, was selected to be a fellow in the Houston chapter of the New Leaders Council. The nonprofit is a training program for progressive millennials. Barnes’ research includes looking at the ways in which federal and state policies unintentionally create college access barriers for underserved student populations.

Shontoria Walker, a student in the Ed.D. in professional leadership - literacy program, has been named to the International Literacy Association’s 2019 “30 Under 30” list. The list honors rising leaders who are creating positive change in the world of literacy. Walker was recognized for her work using culturally relevant pedagogy to influence literacy education for African-American boys in Houston.

Ariel Taylor, who received an Ed.D. in professional leadership – K-12 in 2017, has accepted a new position as an assistant professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin College of Natural Sciences. She will be teaching courses for the UTeach teacher preparation program for STEM majors.

Ashley Mullen, a doctoral student in the higher education program, received the 2018 Junior Faculty Education Research Award from Baylor College of Medicine. She is currently an assistant professor at the School of Health Professions at Baylor. Her research focuses on clinical education and student success.