Tomás Rivera Center Staff
Executive Director, Tomás Rivera Center
Leticia has been with UTSA for twenty years and specializes in academic support and student retention programs. Prior to UTSA, Leticia spent four years working with the Department of Education Federal TRIO program, Project: Stay, Inc. as a College Placement Counselor and middle school Outreach Coordinator. She also worked as an Adjunct Counselor with San Antonio College's Women's Center for 5 years. Leticia received her B.A. from St. Mary's University, and an M.A. from UTSA in Counseling, currently she is a Doctoral candidate with Texas A&M, College Station, pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. Her areas of research interest are developmental education, the K-16 education pipeline, and minority/first generation student success. During her tenure with UTSA, she has received the Student Affairs Star Award, The Presidential Award for Support of Diversity, the AMBER Award for service to UTSA students, and the Richard S. Howe Team Award for Excellence in Service to undergraduate students. Leticia enjoys making a difference in the lives of students she works with! She also enjoys spending personal time with her family and traveling in the US and overseas.
Executive Director, Tomás Rivera Center
Pat Machts, born and raised in San Antonio, has worked at UTSA for eleven years, and a majority of that time has been spent assisting the Tomás Rivera Center team. Without Pat, many student workers would find themselves without their paychecks! Amazingly Pat, among many other duties, is responsible for completing payroll for over 170 student workers including tutors, SI leaders, and work-study students. Along with being a staff member at UTSA, Pat is also a student. She is a senior psychology major hoping to one day use her degree to work with young children. When not at work or at school, Pat spends much of her time with her wonderful grandchildren. She has four granddaughters, a grandson, and one great granddaughter! Along with keeping active with her grandchildren, Pat also enjoys reading and gardening.
Senior Administrative Associate
Access College and Excel (ACE) Scholar Program
ACE Program Coordinator and Advisor
Leticia Longoria was born and raised in Kingsville, Texas. She obtained her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies at Texas A&I University. She is currently working on her M. Ed. in Adult Education. Before joining The Tomás River Center, Leticia taught for 16 years from elementary, middle and high school. In 2009, Leticia joined UTSA as an Outreach Specialist. In 2012 she joined the TRC team as the Program Coordinator and Advisor for The Access College and Excel Scholars Program. She has always enjoyed helping students in their academic journey and will continue to do so in her new role at the Downtown Tomás Rivera Center. Leticia enjoys photography, dancing, hiking and spending time with family and friends.
Learning Assistance & Assessment
Director of Learning Assistance & Assessment
Lisa Johns, a native South Texan, earned her B.A. in Psychology from Southwest Texas State University and her M.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Prior to coming to the TRC, Lisa’s professional experience included working as a therapist at UTSA Counseling Services and conducting research for the Texas Medication Algorithm Project. Since joining the TRC in 2001, Lisa has enjoyed providing services to students and collaborating with staff in a variety of roles. Currently, Lisa works with TRC Learning Assistance & Assessment programs and oversees some of the TRC operations such as Reception. She is very excited to be a part of the TRC team recognized with the Richard S. Howe Team Award for Excellence in Service to undergraduate students. For fun, Lisa enjoys dancing with her husband, playing with her three children, and spending time with friends.
Administrative Associate I
Daisy is a native to the Rio Grande Valley. She attended UTSA as a first-generation student where she received her B.A. in Political Science. She is an Administrative Associate I for the Tomás Rivera Center. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, hiking, and is an avid reader.
Student Development Specialist I, Graduate Student Learning Assistance
Student Development Specialist I
Emma Hashman is an Academic Coach for the Graduate Student Learning Assistance Team at the Tomás Rivera Center. She works with students on topics such as APA citation style, literature reviews, and the writing process. Emma earned her B.A. in Political Communication and Journalism from the University of Northern Iowa in 2011 and then moved on to expand her academic endeavors to earn an M.A. in International Studies at the University of Iowa in 2013. Focusing on Latin America in her Master’s studies, Emma is enjoying the culture and food of San Antonio.
Student Development Specialist I
A native San Antonian, Heather returned to UTSA in 2011 as a non-traditional student to complete her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, graduating Magna cum Laude in 2013. During her undergraduate work she received the Martinello Award for Interdisciplinary Inquiry. Heather joined the TRC in 2011 as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for Texas Politics and Economics, and also enjoyed the roles of Senior Leader and Graduate Assistant with the SI Program before joining the Learning Assistance team. She is excited to work with a program that allows her to pursue her passion for Student Development. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and during her spare time enjoys outdoor activities with her three children.
Student Development Specialist II
Student Development Specialist II
Stefanie earned her doctorate in Political Science from Texas Tech University as well as her master’s degree in the same discipline. She is originally from Pharr, Texas and came to San Antonio where she earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Stefanie has experience working with students in a variety of positions that include being a visiting professor for the Political Science Department and Residence Life as a Graduate Hall Director. She has a genuine interest in student development and believes her new position as an Academic Coach is a great marriage between teaching and student development! She has completed seven half marathons, enjoys reading fiction novels, spending time with her husband, and volunteers monthly at the San Antonio Food Bank.
Rebecca is originally from Flushing, Michigan. She received her Bachelors Degree at Oakland University in Pontiac, Michigan, after having spent two years at the University of Michigan. Her early career was with Aetna Life and Casualty in Grand Rapids, in 1978-1981. In 1981, she accepted a promotion/transfer to San Antonio, as a customer service representative for the medical/dental claims department. In 1981, she decided to change careers, and became a private school elementary teacher until 1985. She began her career at UTSA in 1985 working for Dr. Patricia Graham in the Testing Center. About a year later, she was transferred to the Learning Assistance Center, which at that time, was just a small office area in the Science Building. 14 years later, she enjoys her responsibilities with the TRCSS, and is looking forward to contributing to the growth and success of the TRCSS.
Director of Tutoring
Cyndi McCowen moved from the New Jersey shore to San Antonio in 1978 and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School, here in San Antonio. After marrying her wonderful husband and having a daughter, Ms. McCowen started college here at UTSA in 1996. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology in 2001 and a Master of Arts in History in 2003. Cyndi plans on starting the master´s program in higher Education Administration this summer. Ms. McCowen joined TRC in 1997 as an undergraduate Supplemental Instruction Leader for History. Cyndi has enjoyed working different positions with the Supplemental Instruction Program over the years and is currently one of the Program Coordinators. Ms. McCowen enjoys working with students, faculty and staff connected with the program and beyond.
Javier was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas with roots in northern Coahuila, Mexico. Locally, he graduated from Sam Houston High School and San Antonio College. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Studies from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico and his Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Before joining the UTSA community in February 2009, he was an elementary school bilingual teacher and a campus minister at St. Mary’s University. He also worked with youth and young adults in San Antonio through different non-profit organizations, including JOVEN and the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions (AIT-SCM). “I enjoy meeting and working with students, tutors, staff and faculty at UTSA and being supportive of the educational needs and goals of our students.”
Tracy Lawson was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. After graduating from Huntington High School in 1987, he joined the United States Army where he served on various national and international assignments. He recently retired as a Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4) with over 24 years of active military service. While on active duty, he earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Colorado Technical University. In 2008, he completed his Master’s degree in Marketing and in 2009 he completed his second Master’s degree in Healthcare Management at Colorado Technical University. He received his Six Sigma Green Belt certification from George Mason University in 2012. Tracy joined the TRC family in the spring of 2012. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, hiking, fishing and traveling.
Carl recently joined the TRC team in 2013 after graduating from Texas State University with a Ph.D. in Education. He is the 2013 recipient of the College of Education Outstanding Graduate Student Award. While at Texas State University, Carl was a faculty member teaching Student Success and a Doctoral Instructional Assistant. Prior to starting doctoral studies, Carl completed more than twenty-five years of military service in the U.S. Army. His military service included three combat theater deployments. Within the military education system, Carl performed duty as a Drill Instructor, Ranger Instructor, and Survival Instructor. His current areas of research interest focuses on postsecondary student success, elements that influence learning, and the role of emotions in learning. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his spouse and two teenagers, traveling, camping, hiking, and fishing.
“Give me a fish and you have fed me for a day… teach me to fish and you have fed me for a lifetime.”
Linda Hernandez is the Admin Assistant for the Downtown TRC. A native of San Antonio, she graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. Linda worked for Kelly AFB for 15 years until it closed. She had to consider a new career. She attended Texas A & M Extension Service and received a certificate of completion as an Accounting Clerk. She came to UTSA to work for the Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse from May 1999 until May 2007. She came to work for the Downtown TRC since May 2007. Linda loves sports, dogs and keeps informed with current events.
Administrative Assistant, Downtown Campus TRC
Maggie enrolled at UTSA as a first-generation student in 1994 after working for six years in administrative support for the State of Tennessee and USAA. She graduated summa cum laude in 1998 earning a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Legal Studies. In May of 2004 she completed a master’s degree at UTSA in Public Administration. She joined the Tomás Rivera Center in January of 2000 as a Sl Leader for American Politics and developed an unwavering commitment to the power of peer collaboration as a catalyst for learning and personal growth.
“As a student at UTSA, I developed my most effective study strategies when I had opportunities to participate in study groups. I feel very fortunate now to be part of a team of exceptional people dedicated to providing quality study groups on campus.”
Administrative Associate II, Supplemental Instruction
Administrative Associate II
Marie graduated from The University of Texas At San Antonio in 2008 with a BBA in Marketing. She then worked in the Marketing field for two years. This included working events, volunteering for non-profit businesses, and is now pursuing a career in Academia. As an Undergraduate she was an SI Leader with the SI Program and is now the Administrative Associate II for the Program. She enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling with her husband.
Tiffany received her Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business Management from UTSA in 2003. While a student, Tiffany worked as a SI leader for History and Texas Politics beginning in 2001 and rejoined the TRC family as a Program Coordinator in 2006. She is currently working on her mastrer's degree in Adult Learning and Teaching. Tiffany enjoys spending her free time with her family and surf fishing on the beaches of Padre Island.
Bonita de Leon has been a part of the TRC community since Fall 2003, when she started working as a Supplemental Instruction Leader. After completing her undergraduate degree in biology, she joined the SI Program team as a Program Coordinator. Bonita completed her M.Ed in Education Leadership with a focus on Higher Education Administration. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.
Erik Berto Oviedo Castillo received his BA in Theology from St. Mary’s University in 2012. While a student at StMU, he was part of a variety of student organizations with the focus of academic and student success. After graduation, he began working with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at UTSA. In September of 2014, Erik made the transition of becoming a Program Coordinator with the TRC. He is also currently working towards his Masters in Public Administration at UTSA. In the midst of work and school, Erik does enjoys partaking in any athletic sport, volunteering, and trail running.