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Gabriel Diamante, recent history graduate and student in the MA program in history, received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study Russian in Nizhny- Novgorod, Russia, for two months during summer 2015.

Antonio Garcia

First-year student in the psychology doctoral program Antonio “Tony” Garcia has been selected to receive a multi-year RISE Ph.D. Fellowship. The RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) program is funded and administered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Tony’s primary research interest is the role of moral perception and affect in the etiology of psychosocial dysfunction in military veterans with a history of deployment to active conflict zones.

Lydia Light, a doctoral student in anthropology, has been awarded an American Dissertation Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for the 2015-2016 academic year. AAUW is a leading source of funding for graduate women. Lydia’s research interest is the behavioral ecology of white-handed gibbons, focusing specifically on how these small apes alter behavior to cope with harsh ecological conditions in a mosaic forest environment.

The following students were awarded spring 2015 Archer Fellowships. The Archer Fellowship Program was established by The University of Texas System with former U.S. Representative Bill Archer to bring ambitious and gifted students to Washington, D.C. to participate in internships and attend classes focusing on policy, history, and advocacy.

  • Christine DeMyers, anthropology
  • Sarah Gibbens, English (correction from the 2014 Ovations)
  • Evelyn Head, communication
  • Alfredo Hickman, political science (correction from the 2014 Ovations)


Congratulations to M. Kathryn Brown, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Kirsten Gardner, Associate Professor, Department of History, and Deborah Moon Wagner, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology. These exceptional faculty members were recognized by the UT Regents with Outstanding Teaching Awards from the University of Texas System for 2015. They are among 79 faculty from the 15 academic and health institutions that comprise the UT System to receive Regents’ Awards for 2015, which come with a monetary award of $25,000.

Additionally, Brown, Gardner, and Wagner have been inducted into the UTSA Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Wendy Barker was honored by UTSA’s Creative Writing Program in the Department of English in the University’s first Festschrift. Festschrift, a German term, refers to a volume of writings by different authors presented as a tribute to a scholar. “The Quiet Born from Talk” is a book featuring essays and poems written by Barker’s friends, colleagues and former students in celebration of her life-long career as a poet.

Mary McNaughton-Cassill, professor of psychology, was chosen for induction into the University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers. McNaughton-Cassill is one of four UT System faculty selected for membership.

Christopher Ellison, Dean’s Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology, and Jeanne Reesman, professor and Jack & Laura Richmond Endowed Faculty Fellow in the Department of English, were inducted into UTSA’s Academy of Distinguished Researchers.

Steven Levitt, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, was selected as the winner of the International Award for Excellence for Volume 13 of The International Journal COLFAbulous of Knowledge, Culture, and Change in Organizations: Annual Review for his article, “Cultural Factors Affecting International Teamwork Dynamics and Effectiveness.” His article was selected from among the 10 highest-ranked papers from the peer review process.

Joycelyn Moody, Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature in the Department of English, has received a contract from Cambridge University Press to edit and contribute to a volume of essays for A History of African American Autobiography. Moody has also been assigned as general editor of Cambridge University Press’s African American Literature in Transition series, which is part of their In Transition series.

Ben Olguin, Associate Professor in the Department of English, won the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco Award for Poetry, and was nominated for both the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award and the Texas Institute of Letters Bob Bush Memorial Award for Poetry.

Arturo C. Sotomayor, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Geography, was awarded with the 2015 Luciano Tomassini Latin American International Relations Book Award for his book, The Myth of the Democratic Peacekeeper. This is the highest recognition given to a book in the field of international relations by the Latin American Studies Association.

Walter Wilson, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Geography, was a recipient of the Margaret T. Lane / Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award from the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association for his co-authored article, “Surrogates Beyond Borders: Black Members of the United States Congress and the Representation of African Interests on the Congressional Foreign-Policy Agenda.” This award recognizes an outstanding research article in which government documents form a substantial part of the documented research.

COLFA Recipients of UTSA University Excellence Awards 2015

President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence
Jill Fleuriet, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Andria Crosson, Lecturer II, History

President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Core Curriculum Teaching
Sue Hum, Associate Professor of English
Jodi Peterson, Lecturer II, History

President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Community Service
William McCrary, Associate Professor of music

President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Performance, Creative Production, or Other Scholarly Achievement
Kasandra Keeling, Associate Professor of Music

President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Advancing Globalization
Sonia Alconini, Associate Professor of Anthropology


Melissa Vela-Williamson, MA Communication 2009, was named the Public Relations Professional of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America.