Monday, October 05, 2015


Meet a Roadrunner: Alumna Carla Pezzia is a champion for the disenfranchised

Carla Pezzia

Carla Pezzia

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(Feb. 19, 2014) -- Meet Carla Pezzia. Her recently completed dissertation on alcoholism and mental health is helping to improve the lives of people in Panajachel, Guatemala.

Pezzia is a recent graduate of UTSA's doctoral program in anthropology. In recognition of her "methodologically innovative and relevant" research, her dissertation, "The Sober Self: Discourse and Identity of Recovering Alcoholics in the Western Highlands of Guatemala," won the 2014 Outstanding Dissertation Award by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).

According to Jill Fleuriet, adviser and mentor to Pezzia, "her dissertation in sobriety and alcoholism is groundbreaking. It combines phenomenological philosophy with applied anthropological and epidemiological methodologies to document the experience of sobriety among the Kaqchikel Maya, a medically underserved, socioeconomically marginalized indigenous group in Guatemala. Her work is at the forefront of alcoholism treatment research and medical anthropological research on addiction."

Fleuriet says Carla was one of her top Ph.D. students because of her ability to critically synthesize literature and assess research, and her leadership in professional outreach, community participation and university involvement. At UTSA, Pezzia was president of the Anthropology Graduate Student Association and the Graduate Student Association, along with being a teaching assistant.

Pezzia credits much of her success to her mentor.

"We met regularly, and her constructive feedback really strengthened me as a student and future scholar," Pezzia said.

At UTSA, Pezzia received the Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Fellowship and Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, and was awarded funding from the anthropology department and the English department's Brackenridge Endowment. Post-graduation, she spent two months in Hermance, Switzerland, after receiving a competitive visiting fellowship.

Pezzia's work and research started in 2006, based on her commitment to equity in health care and education and social justice for disenfranchised groups. Currently, she works at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio as a postdoctoral fellow researching mental health care for hospital patients and social support networks for Latinos in substance abuse recovery programs. She also teaches UTSA courses in public health and hopes to become a tenure-track faculty member.

Even though her dissertation is complete, she continues to return to Guatemala -- the mark of a scholar truly committed to her research and its subjects.


Do you know someone at UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at and we will consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.



Oct. 2, 7:15 p.m.

First Friday Stargazing

Visit the Curtis Vaughan Observatory and see the wonders of the sky over San Antonio with experienced astronomers.
4th floor, Flawn Science Building, Main Campus

Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m.

Where Ink Does Not Show: A Celebration of the New State Poet Laureate

A fun and festive evening featuring Corridos from Texas and Northern Mexico sung by AZUL and a reading of new and classic works by Carmen Tafolla, the new State Poet Laureate.
Buena Vista Theater (1.326), Downtown Campus

Oct. 5, 1:30 p.m.

Campus Carry Listening Session

Listening session will seek input on the places, events and special circumstances that should be considered in determining whether concealed handguns may be prohibited.
John Peace Library, Faculty Center Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus

Oct. 5, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Civic Engagement Summit

This summit is an opportunity to showcase and share the variety of community engagement activities of UTSA students, faculty, and staff. The summit is currently accepting proposals for poster presentations. The Call for Posters deadline is Friday, Sept. 11.
University Center Denman Room (2.01.28), Main Campus

Oct. 5, 6 p.m.

Film Screening: The Head of Joaquin Murrieta by John Valadez

The Mexican American Studies Program will host a screening of this irreverent, entertaining and often disturbing tale that uses both fiction and documentary story telling devices to tear open a painful and long ignored history: the lynching of Mexican Americans in the southwest.
Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus

Oct. 6, 3 p.m.

State of the University

Join President Ricardo Romo as he gives his address to the UTSA community.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (UC 1.104), Main Campus

Oct. 8, 10 a.m.

Graduate Fair

Graduate School representatives from across the country will provide information on options after earning a bachelor's degree. Students, alumni and community members are welcome.
University Center Retama Galleria, Main Campus

Oct. 9, 8 a.m.

College of Sciences Research Conference

The day-long research conference will include a keynote address, faculty and student oral presentations, poster sessions, and an awards ceremony. Lunch will be provided for those who register. Abstract submission deadline is September 20, 2015. Event registration deadline is October 4, 2015.
H-E-B University Center, Main Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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UTSA's Vision

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