Tuesday, December 01, 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 social@utsa.edu and we will consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown 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

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

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