Wednesday, July 29, 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.

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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.

 

 

Did You Know?

Sometimes you have to see the little picture

UTSA researchers are exploring matter at the atomic level with Helenita. It's one of the most powerful microscopes in the world, with the ability to operate near the theoretical limit of resolution. At 9 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing more than two tons, Helenita can dissect almost anything. With Helenita's resolution, researchers can study particles atom by atom to see how they behave.

That's critical in developing nanotechnology that will help diagnosis early-stage breast cancer or make helmets that are uber strong. Moreover, the detail that Helenita provides will allow nanotechnology researchers to create new therapies and treatments to fight a wide range of human diseases.

Did you know? Helenita can magnify a sample 20 million times its size, which would make a strand of human hair the size of San Antonio.

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July 30, 5 - 7 p.m.

Networking and happy hour with AIA San Antonio's Women in Architecture

Join AIA San Antonio’s Women in Architecture group for their networking and happy hour event, where all design professionals are welcome.
Liberty Bar, 1111 S. Alamo St.

Aug. 1, 9 p.m.

"Inside Peace" documentary screening

This documentary, presented by the San Antonio Film Festival, documents the experience of re-entry after incarceration. The film features Michael Gilbert, associate professor in the department of criminal justice and director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice program at UTSA.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle

Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd.

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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