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

2020: January - March
2019: January - March | April - June | July - September | October - December
2018: January - March | April - June | July - September | October - December
2017: January - March | April - June | July - September | October - December

October 2020

Danielle Llaneza, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, has been accepted into the New York Academy of Medicine as a student member. This will allow her to become more involved in issues relevant to public health. Llaneza’s research focuses on investigating the biological and psychological aspects of disease in adult minority populations. She is a graduate fellow in the UHAND program, a partnership between the University of Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Autena Torbati, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, has been selected as a member of the student advisory board for the Psychology of Women Quarterly. Torbati will contribute to the peer review process for the academic journal, reviewing manuscripts focused on different disciplines within psychology.

Amy Barton, a doctoral student in the school psychology program, had an article titled “From graduate school to academia: Guidance from the Early Career Committee” accepted for publication in Communiqué. The journal is sponsored by the National Association of School Psychologists.

Shawn Kent, an assistant professor in the special populations program, was named vice president of the Texas Council for Learning Disabilities. After his term ends, he will serve a one-year term as president starting July 1, 2021. The council is committed to improving the education and quality of life for individuals with learning disabilities.

September 2020

Dr. Karen Dickinson, who earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction — health science education in 2020, recently published an article in the journal Surgery about her systematic approach of customizing the curriculum for general surgery residency training to target specific learning needs and optimize resources. Sara McNeil, an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, was a co-author. Dickinson also recently published an article in the Journal of Surgical Education utilizing the principles of universal design to optimize learning during the pandemic. Susie Gronseth, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, was a co-author.

Zainab Al-Shidhani, a doctoral student in the curriculum and instruction – learning, design and technology program, has won the Association for Educational Communications and Technology’s “Outstanding Practice by a Student in Educational Technology in an International Setting” award. She is recognized for her work with the INCLUDE Collaboratory, an organization that helps traditionally marginalized students thrive through inclusive instructional design and implementation.

August 2020

Several faculty members were selected for the 2020-21 UH Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy, a professional development opportunity to develop leadership skills to promote student success: Shea Culpepper, Sissy Wong and Jie Zhang from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction; Keith Butcher, Tiffany J. Davis, Elsa Gonzalez and Kristi Santi from the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies; and Rachael Whitaker from the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences.

Kellian Hughes, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – special populations program, won the 2020 Teacher of the Year award from the Council for Learning Disabilities. Hughes is a special education facilitator in Alief ISD.

The UH student chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, advised by Clinical Assistant Professor Saira Rab, earned “star status” from the national organization. The recognition honors chapters for “engaging, student-centered events” and “meaningful experiences for members.” Trystn Cardenas, a student in the human development and family studies program, is past president of the chapter, and several other College of Education students are members.

Julie Dunsmore,  a professor of human development and family studies, has been elected to fellow status in the American Psychological Association’s Division 7 (developmental psychology). Her research focuses how children learn about emotions and develop emotional skills through relationships with important people in their lives.  

July 2020

Maria Cruz, who earned an M.Ed in administration and supervision in 2018 and a B.S. in human development and family studies in 2014, has been promoted to assistant principal of Truitt Middle School in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, where she is currently a testing coordinator. Cruz was part of a graduate degree partnership program between the College and the district.

Khalilah Campbell-Rhone, who earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – K-12 in 2014, has been named officer of special populations for Houston ISD after serving as principal of Worthing High School in the district. She previously taught as an adjunct professor for the College.

Jamie Enriquez has been named assistant principal of Bane Elementary School in Cypress Fairbanks ISD after serving as an instructional specialist at Reed Elementary in the district. Enriquez earned an M.Ed. in administration and supervision in 2017.

Sahar Eshtehardi, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, will serve as student representative on the board of directors for the American Psychological Association’s Society of Pediatric Psychology (Division 54). In addition to attending all board meetings, she will attend and assist with conference planning.

Three faculty members received UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program awards for 2020-21. Funds will go toward implementation of an open or alternative textbook in their courses:

  • Justin Burris, clinical assistant professor of mathematics education
  • Shea Culpepper, clinical full professor of mathematics education and director of teacher education
  • Carrie Cutler, clinical assistant professor of mathematics education

June 2020

Margarita Tovar, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – K-12 program, has been elected to the board of the Association of Hispanic School Administrators to serve a two-year term. Tovar is principal of Dogan Elementary in Houston ISD.

Samantha Brooks, who earned an M.Ed. in administration and supervision in 2008 and an Ed.D. in professional leadership in 2018, has been named the new principal of North Houston Early College High School in Houston ISD after serving as dean of instruction at South Early College High School in the district.

Four alumni who graduated in 2019 have won Teacher of the Year awards from their respective schools:

  • Megan Harper, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching, was awarded 2020 First Year Teacher of the Year at Carleston Elementary in Pearland ISD, where she is a third grade teacher.
  • Kallie Holtkamp, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching, was awarded 2020 Rookie Teacher of the Year at Glenn York Elementary in Alvin ISD, where she is a fourth grade teacher. Holtkamp also went on to win 2020 Rookie Teacher of the Year for the district.
  • Krystal Kennedy, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching, won 2020 Rookie Teacher of the Year at Franz Elementary in Katy ISD, where she is a first grade teacher.
  • Anicia Rodriguez, who earned a B.S. in human development and family studies , was awarded 2020 Rookie Teacher of the Year at Briargrove Elementary in Houston ISD, where she is a fifth grade teacher.

Margaret Hale, clinical full professor and chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, has been selected to serve on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Advisory Board for Adult Literacy to help support the city’s literacy efforts.

Amy Murdock, a doctoral student in the higher education program, has been awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the UH Asian American Studies Center to serve as a mentor to undergraduate students. The program is part of the Center’s new Multicultural Success Initiative grant focused on expanding mentorship, research and community engagement to support Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander students and the community.

Hope Pacheco, a student in the higher education Ph.D. program and an assistant dean of students at UH, was named the 2020 Outstanding Field Instructor of the Year by the UH Graduate School of Social Work. Pacheco works towards social justice through a program she started called Las Comadres College Mentoring, which supports first generation female Latinx students.

Yonelly Gutierrez, a program manager in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, has been elected president of the UH Hispanic Alumni Association. Gutierrez will begin her two year term in August.

May 2020

Johnny Paz, who earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction in 2014, has been named the new assistant principal of Cleveland High School in Cleveland ISD after serving as assistant principal of Hambrick Middle School in Aldine ISD.

Darryl Henson, who earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership in 2014, was named superintendent of Marlin ISD south of Waco. He previously served as assistant superintendent of school leadership at Cedar Hill ISD and principal of North Forest High School in Houston ISD.

April 2020

Students and faculty in the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences had a strong presence at the Texas Council of Family Relations 2020 annual conference in Houston in March:

  • Erica Jordan, the department’s assistant chair for student success, served as chair of the 2020 conference, themed Building Resilience Within All Families.
  • Kadija Moon, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, won first place in the graduate research poster division for her poster titled “Psychological Outcomes of Individuals Reared in a Military Family.”
  • Amanda Ogbureke, an undergraduate student in the human development and family studies program, presented her research poster on cyberbullying among adolescent students. Her faculty advisor is Clinical Assistant Professor Saira Rab.

Sahar Eshtehardi, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, will serve as the diabetes special interest group trainee member at large for the American Psychological Association’s Society of Pediatric Psychology (Division 54). She will collaborate with diabetes psychologists and assist in furthering diabetes research. She will serve from May 2020 through April 2022.

Leticia Guzmán, who earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership in 2019, was named acting superintendent for Royal ISD in Pattison, Texas. She previously served as director of federal, state and special programs for the district. Guzmán also earned an M.Ed. in administration and supervision in 2009 and a B.S. in teacher education in 2000 from the College.