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

2020-21
2020: January - MarchApril - June | July - September
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

March 2021

Detra Johnson, an assistant professor in the professional leadership – K-12 program, has been elected to serve as the 2021 chair-elect of the Research on Women and Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). 

Professor Norma Olvera won a 2021 Hispanic Health Professionals Leadership Network Award from the National Hispanic Medical Association for her work to improve health in traditionally underserved communities. The award was presented at the association conference in March.

At least 10 alumni have won Teacher of the Year awards from their schools for 2020-21, a particularly challenging year amid the pandemic.

  • Seven won Beginning Teacher of the Year awards in Houston ISD:
    • Guadalupe Banda, first grade teacher, Pugh Elementary
    • Tierra Harris, kindergarten teacher, Woodson Leadership Academy
    • Rosa Ontiveros, fourth grade teacher, Grissom Elementary
    • Maria Reveles , third grade teacher, Pilgrim Academy
    • Jordan Shaw, eighth grade teacher, West Briar Middle School
    • Ebonee Thomas, fourth grade teacher, Blackshear Elementary
    • Vanessa Trejo, kindergarten teacher, Rucker Elementary
    • Banda, Harris, Shaw, Thomas and Trejo were part of Teach Forward Houston, a special program at UH that prepares HISD graduates to return to the district as teachers.
  • Jessica VanCleave, who teaches second grade, won Rookie Teacher of the Year from Alvin ISD’s Pomona Elementary.
  • Hussein Pacha, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2018 and a master’s in administration and supervision in 2020, won Teacher of the Year at Houston ISD’s Arabic Immersion Magnet School.
  • Amanda Posterick, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2004 and a master’s in curriculum and instruction in 2009, won Teacher of the Year at Klein ISD’s Metzler Elementary.

Four faculty members earned UH Teaching Excellence Awards for 2020-21: Clinical Assistant Professor Justin Burris (recognized in the clinical category), Clinical Associate Professor Susie Gronseth (recognized for innovation in instructional technology), Assistant Professor Ruth M. López and Rosenda Murillo (honored as an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award winner).

Associate Dean  Ezemenari Obasi, who directs the UH HEALTH Research Institute, won a UH Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award for 2020-21. The award recognizes faculty who have a “substantial continuing record of outstanding research” and related activities.

Alex Jones, who earned a B.S. in teaching in 2006 and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction in 2007, received the Wilhelmina C. Robertson Excellence in Science or Mathematics Teaching Award from the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Jones teaches science at Horn Elementary in Houston ISD.

February 2021

Stephanie Giuseppetti, who earned a B.S. in teaching in 2015, has been named Teacher of the Year at Katy ISD’s McElwain Elementary, where she teaches second grade. Giuseppetti completed her student teaching at Mayde Creek Elementary in Katy ISD.  

Danielle Llaneza, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, has been awarded a Research Pilot Award from the Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program for her work with adult cancer patients and survivors of color during COVID-19. The program is funded by the National Cancer Institute. Llaneza is a graduate fellow in UHAND, a partnership between the University of Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Mark McMahon, a doctoral student in the professional leadership – K-12 program, has been awarded the Governance Research Encouraging Achievement in Texas scholarship from the Texas Association of School Boards. McMahon’s research focuses on school board governance in high-poverty districts. He is currently assistant principal at Hood-Case Elementary in Alvin ISD.

January 2021

Ashley Taylor, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, was selected as a 2021 MD Anderson Outstanding Research Trainee in Cancer Prevention from MD Anderson Cancer Center. Taylor’s research includes reducing cancer-related health disparities within African American and Hispanic populations. She is a graduate of the UHAND program, a partnership between UH and MD Anderson.

December 2020

Georgina Rosenbrock, a doctoral student in the school psychology program, recently published an article in the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities about how parents perceive their children’s autism and the family’s adjustment.

Samantha Tan, a doctoral student in the school psychology program, recently published an article in the journal Communique about the actions school psychologists can take at a systems level concerning physical health disparities. The journal is sponsored by the National Association of School Psychologists.

Taewon Kim, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, published a chapter in the book “Career Development and Counseling: Putting theory and research to work.” The chapter is titled “Unemployment and underemployment: Prevention and counseling implications.”

Ashley Ramclam, a doctoral student in the school psychology program, was selected as convention chair-elect for the Student Affiliates in School Psychology board, the student-led organization of the American Psychological Association. Ramclam will help keep graduate students up to date on issues pertaining to school psychology and encourage their participation.

November 2020

Danielle Llaneza, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, has been selected as a peer-mentor for the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity Peer Collaboration Program. Llaneza will serve a four-month term working to bring together minority graduate students across psychology programs.

Thomas Marshall , a student in the M.Ed. in higher education program, was named a policy fellow for the Intercultural Development Research Association Education Policy Fellows Program. The organization strives to achieve equal educational opportunity for all children and prepare them to succeed in college. Marshall will gain real-world advocacy experience and training during the 2021 Texas legislative session by executing a digital communications and community engagement advocacy program.

October 2020

Jordan Pemberton, an undergraduate student in the health program, won an oral presentation award at the American Physician Scientists South Regional Meeting. His presentation, “Observation of Metastatic Variance in Melanoma Metastatic Cells,” explored the characteristics of aggressive skin cancer cells.

Shemeka Phipps, a residential life coordinator for UH Student Housing and Residential Life, was recently selected to serve as an at-large council member for the Learning Communities Association for a three-year term. The association promotes student success through “learning communities,” or fostering community among faculty, staff, and a cohort of students in a learning environment. Phipps earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – special populations from the College in 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.