Tuesday, August 04, 2015

UTSA biology professor Valerie Sponsel named Romo Endowed Professor

Valerie Sponsel

Valerie Sponsel

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(April 24, 2014) -- Valerie Sponsel, UTSA professor of biology in the College of Sciences, has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Ricardo Romo Ph.D. Endowed Professorship. Sponsel is the second professor to be selected for the professorship since it was created in 2009.

The endowment, named for the president of the university, is awarded to professors in the Honors College who exemplify attributes of leadership, service and research.

"Besides her teaching, Dr. Sponsel has worked side-by-side with students on their research," said Richard Diem, dean of the Honors College. "She's an excellent mentor and epitomizes what the Romo professorship is all about."

The three-year professorship will allow for new programs to be created within the Honors College, which was established in 2002. The Honors College gives students with high academic achievements rich educational experiences, which Sponsel plans to develop even further.

"I want to do things to enhance students' experiences in science and engineering," Sponsel said, adding that she would like to add more service-learning opportunities to show students how they can solve real-world problems with science.

"Honors students are always open to learning, but sometimes they need to be exposed to new opportunities for excellence," she said.

Sponsel has taught honors students since 1998 and has been involved in several collaborative research projects with faculty in the College of Engineering. She is an expert in plant growth and development.

Sponsel earned her Bachelor of Science in Botany degree and Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of Wales, and a Doctor of Science degree for her research on plant metabolism from Bristol University. She has been teaching at UTSA since 1995.

 

 

Did You Know?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

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Events
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. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p.m.; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

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. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

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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Meet a Roadrunner

UTSA student contemplates life, love in new book

Victor Cyrus, Jr will see his first book of poetry published this fall

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