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Five of eight UTSA students selected for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program for spring 2013 were COLFA students. The congressionally funded program is sponsored by the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The COLFA awardees were:

  • Kevin Forester, Modern Languages & Literatures
  • Ana Garcia, Psychology
  • Tori Gillum, Political Science
  • Ricardo Gonzalez, History
  • Esther Reyes, Modern Languages & Literatures

Gabriella Zundt, a communication and psychology major, was awarded the Gilman International Scholarship for summer 2013.

Rising Public Servants

Several COLFA students have held prestigious political internships this past year.

Travis Merriweather

Travis Merriweather was a White House Intern in summer 2013. He served as the Chief of Staff intern to the First Lady, working in the Office of the First Lady within the Executive Office of the President.

Four of the eight students selected to participate in the 2013 UTSA Legislative Scholars Program were from COLFA:

  • Amarro Nelson, a master’s student in sociology, interned in the office of Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon.
  • Eliana Briceno, a Spanish and sociology major, interned in the office of Rep. Dawnna Dukes.
  • Cornin Marak, a political science major, interned in the office of Rep. Lois Kolkhorst.
  • Travis Miller, a political science major, interned in the office of Rep. José Menéndez.

Liz Cali, Ph.D. student in the Department of English, was awarded a President’s Dissertation Fellowship for the completion of her doctoral thesis.

Three COLFA Ph.D. students were named University Fellows, a program for doctoral students to develop academic skills while providing service to their departments and the university. The $25,000 awards provide support for one academic year. The recipients are:

  • Sonia Valencia, English
  • Jennifer Bonavia, Anthropology
  • Griette van der Heide, Anthropology

Two students in the Department of Anthropology were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. The program helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States, and reinforces its diversity. The recipients are:

  • Chris Jarrett, Cultural Anthropology
  • Jennifer Bonavia, Biological Anthropology

Adrian McIntosh, Modern Languages and Literatures major in Japanese, won a trip to Japan by coming in first in the free speech division of the 24th Annual Texas Statewide Japanese Language Contest. The contest is sponsored by the Japan- America Society of Houston. For the competition, McIntosh composed and recited an original two-to-three minute speech in Japanese.

Members of the UTSA Concert Choir joined the San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers on a concert tour of Italy, including singing at a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, and the Basilica of San Marco in Venice.

Combined UTSA/Mastersingers chorus sing at the Church of Santa Maria in Marostica just outside of Venice.


Erin Ranft, recent English Ph.D. graduate in the Department of English, was awarded a Summer NE H Fellowship to participate in an African American Poetry Project at the University of Kansas.

Eric Ysasi, a recent Modern Languages & Literatures graduate, was selected by the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) to teach English and participate in other educational and instructional activities in Japan for one to five years.

Kasidee Schnee, 2013 communication graduate, has been admitted to St. Mary’s University School of Law with a dean’s scholarship.


David Ray Vance, Associate Professor in the Department of English, received the University of Texas System prestigious Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Only a select number of faculty members across the System are chosen for the monetary award.

Congratulations to COLFA faculty members who received University Excellence Awards:

  • President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence
    Jill Hernandez, Philosophy and Classics
    Eileen Achorn, Psychology
  • President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in University Service
    Mary McNaughton-Cassill, Psychology
  • President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Performance, Creative Production, or Other Scholarly Achievement
    Matthew Dunne, Music
  • President’s Distinguished Diversity Award
    Ann Eisenberg, Psychology,
    Rhonda Gonzales, History,
    and Raquel Marquez, Sociology,
    were among the group awarded for the Women’s Professional Advancement and Synergy Academy

Ken Little

Ken Little, Professor of Art, was appointed by the Texas State Legislature to serve one year as the 2014 Texas State Visual Artist 3-D. Nominees for consideration must have reached the highest levels of excellence and success and have earned a reputation for their work.

A great year for Joanna Lambert, Professor of Anthropology, who has been appointed to serve 3 years with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Geneva, Switzerland as an African primate expert on the Primate Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission. IUCN, founded in 1948, advises the UN general assembly on issues related to nature and biodiversity.

UTSA Professor Joanna Lambert (center) with colleagues in Uganda

Lambert has also been named a Fellow of the Royal Linnean Society of London. Founded in 1778, this is the oldest active natural history and biology society in the world. The Society is named in honor of the great Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) whose botanical, zoological and library collections have been in its keeping since 1829. The Patron of the Society is HRM Queen Elizabeth II and other Fellows include Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, and HRH Prince Charles of Wales.

Additionally, Lambert was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was selected for her scientific or social efforts to advance science and its applications. Specifically, she was honored for her significant contributions to the field of primate feeding biology at evolutionary and ecological scales. AAAS, established in 1848, is the world’s largest general scientific society.

Ethan Wickman, Assistant Professor of Music Composition & Theory, had a major compositional work premiere at the National Presidents Day Choral Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy included Wickman’s 23-minute work, titled “Let the Word Go Forth,” which took its text from important presidential speeches of JFK.

Wendy Barker, Professor in the Department of English, had a poem, “Books, Bath Towels, and Beyond,” chosen to be included in Best American Poetry 2013, published by Southern Review.

Wendy Barker

Joel Christensen, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Classics, was selected to serve as a fellow of the Center for Hellenic Studies for the 2013-2014 academic year. The fellowship provides access to Harvard University’s online resources, a travel allowance, and guidance and consultation from senior fellows.

Jill Hernandez, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Classics, won the Robert Papazian Annual Essay Prize. The prize was established by the International Journal of Philosophical Studies in memory of a young man executed for his ideas and political ideals. The topic for which Hernandez won the prize is Integrity.

Raquel Marquez, Professor in the Department of Sociology and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, was included in the Online Schools Texas list of Top 14 Hispanic Professors in Texas. The goal of the list is to highlight postsecondary educators who have been recognized recently for excellence in the classroom or in the community.