July 21, 2022
Laura Zavala-Membreno has been named the new interim director of the Women and Gender Resource Center in the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. Zavala-Membreno will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Center, which challenges gender inequities on campus to help all students, faculty and staff succeed.
“It's an honor to serve in the role of interim director,” she said. “The work of the WGRC fulfills a mission close to my heart, and I look forward to the ways that our office can continue to support our students on their path to success at UH.”
Zavala-Membreno took over as interim director on May 2, but she has been with the University of Houston since 2018, first as a contract counselor and now as a psychological counselor and group coordinator in Counseling and Psychological Services. In addition to serving as the interim director, Zavala-Membreno will also continue to work one day per week at CAPS.
Before joining UH, Zavala-Membreno worked at the Houston Area Women’s Center for 10 years supporting survivors of gender-based violence.
She serves on the Division’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and is currently chairing its Improving Work Environment Subcommittee, but she has also made numerous professional presentations, been honored for her work several times, and is involved in different programs and organizations. She was recently appointed to the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education University of Houston Chapter’s Leadership Board, but she is also a Las Comadres College Mentoring Program Mentor and a UH First-Generation Champions member. She is also a founding member of Latinas REACH (Realizing Educational Attainment as a Community of Hermanas) and has cohosted the Dreamers+ Speak Series hosted by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and Center for Student Empowerment.
Zavala-Membreno has earned two degrees from the University of Houston: a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Masters of Education in counseling, and she is currently earning a Ph.D. in higher education leadership and policy studies from UH.
Donell Young, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said he’s thrilled to have Zavala-Membreno step into the vacant director’s role. She has proven to be dedicated and committed to student development, Young said, and her counseling background has allowed her to work with diverse client populations in a variety of settings. “Laura is a valuable member of the UH community, and she has been working with students for many years,” Young said.