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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Class Notes

Class Notes is a compilation of alumni submissions and reports from newspapers and other media outlets.


J. Gaston Kent, M.B.A. has been named president and CEO of the John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles. The clinic offers support for young children with hearing loss and their parents.


Marian Sokol, M.A. in education, was reappointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the executive committee of the Office for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities. Her term will expire Feb. 1, 2017. Marian is president of the First Candle/Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Alliance. She is the founding executive director and a current board member of Any Baby Can.


A. Carlos Barrera, M.B.A. has been appointed chairman of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy by Gov. Rick Perry. He has been a certified public accountant for 32 years and is a partner in the Brownsville, Texas, office of Long Chilton LLP.


Rose Gonzalez Perez, M.A. in education, has been named interim CEO of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, based in San Antonio. She is a 20-year Girl Scouts executive and most recently served as chief external affairs officer for the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas.

J. Gilberto Quezada, M.A. in education, has published his debut novel, "Terror on the Border," which tells the story of the Mexican Mafia and of the lives that are affected by it on both sides of the border. J. Gilberto is a retired public school administrator from the South San Antonio Independent School District.


Winston "Wink" Bennett Jr., B.A. in psychology, last year achieved Air Force Research Laboratory’s 2010 Fellow status for his work in training, education and measurement technologies. Wink is a senior research psychologist with the Training Research Laboratory in Mesa, Ariz. He received his Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology from Texas A&M University in 1995.


Peggy Dettwiler, M.M. in music, received the 2010 Elaine Brown Award for Choral Excellence at the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania annual summer conference in State College, Penn., in August. The award is presented “to an individual for outstanding lifelong work in the choral art.” Peggy is professor of music and director of choral activities at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Penn.

Bill Morrow, B.B.A. in marketing, delivered the keynote address during the UTSA College of Business Frost Distinguished Lecture in April. Bill is co-founder and chairman of CSIdentity Corp., an Austin-based business specializing in identity theft protection, voice biometrics, ID verification and data breach management.

John Valenzuela, B.S. in physical education, is the boys’ basketball coach at San Antonio Christian High School. He is also a pastor at Community Bible Church in San Antonio.


Robin Allen, B.A. in English, is the author of the Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop mystery series. The first book, If You Can’t Stand the Heat, is available from Midnight Ink in paperback, eBook, Nook and Kindle formats.


Darlene Kersey, B.B.A. in accounting, was first runner-up in the 2011 Mrs. Nebraska Pageant. She also received the Patty Steele Community Award, presented to the contestant who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to a charity. Darlene has worked extensively with Komen for the Cure.

MaryBeth Smith, M.M. in music, is the director of the Feldenkrais Center of Houston. She has been a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner since 2004 and is a member of the faculty at Houston’s Jung Center.

Barbara M. Stuckey, B.A. in sociology, has been elected to serve as vice president and CFO of Abraxas Petroleum Corporation, based in San Antonio. She most recently served as vice president for corporate finance. She has been with the company since 1997.

Monica Valadez, B.B.A. in management, is an account manager in the San Antonio offices of Consuro, a managed service provider offering Windows-based IT services.


Leigh Anne Lester, B.F.A. in art, is a San Antonio artist whose work, Mutant Spectre, recently won the $50,000 Hunting Art Prize for 2011. The graphite drawing was selected from 110 finalist pieces in the 31st annual award program, which is sponsored by Hunting, a global oil services company. Leigh Anne is the co-founder, co-owner and co-curator of the Cactus Bra gallery and manager of San Angel Folk Art Gallery, both in San Antonio.

Shawn Strash, M.B.A., is the CEO at Paradise Valley Community Hospital in Phoenix. Before that, he served as CEO of the Oro Valley Hospital in Tucson, Ariz.


Sharon Keen, M.S. in biology, lives in Ramer, Tenn. In 2009, she was named Tennessee Tree Farmer of the year and has served in leadership positions with her local forestry association. She enjoys competing in agility events with her Australian Shepherd dog.


Brian Troesch, B.A. in political science, is senior vice president of sales and marketing and business development at Arbinet Corp. He also serves as the senior vice president of global sales, marketing and product development.


Jess DeCuir, M.F.A. in art, and her husband, Jeff DeCuir, ’94 B.F.A. in art, released their most recent electro-pop album, Drastic Cinematic, in 2011. Their band, Hyperbubble, was created in 2003.

Janie M. Gonzalez, B.A. in sociology, is CEO and president of Webhead, a San Antonio-based company focused on enterprise solutions for the Department of Defense.

Homer Jasso Jr., B.A. in criminal justice, is the owner of Superior Oil Express stores located in Edinburg and Sharyland, Texas.

Robert “Alex” Lopez, B.F.A. in art, teaches sculpture courses at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He also has a master of fine arts degree in studio arts from Alfred University in New York.

Chris Sauter, M.F.A. in art, created the public art project at the Mission Branch Library in San Antonio. The project celebrates the area’s rich history.


Martin Gardia, M.F.A. in art, is an artist in his hometown of Kerrville, Texas. He recently accepted a job offer to teach art in Taiwan for two years.


Victor Rodriguez Sr., M.P.A., is chief of police in McAllen, Texas.


Allen Dunn, M.S. in civil engineering and M.B.A. ’05, is an engineer at M&S Engineering LLC in Spring Branch, Texas. He has worked in the field for more than 13 years, focusing on geotechnical engineering, civil engineering, structural design and forensic engineering, and has experience in electrical transmission and construction materials engineering and testing.

Danny de Gracia II, B.A. in political science, was elected to Honolulu’s Neighborhood Board and will serve from 2011 to 2013. Danny is an economic policy adviser to the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii think tank and is a columnist with the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle.


Marilyn Hope Davo, B.B.A. in management, is director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Harlingen, Texas. Marilyn previously was a senior marketing specialist for FedEx from 2007 to 2011.

Shane Foley, B.A. in political science and criminal justice, was recognized as the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s East District Officer of the Year for 2010. He has been on the Indiana force since October 2007.


Julia Barbosa Landois, B.F.A. in art, is a San Antonio artist who recently exhibited her work, The Golden Ass, at the Blue Star Project Space. The show explored the sex trade, masculinity and the tourist mentality along the Texas–Mexico border.


Glynn Cyprien, B.S. in physical education, was named assistant head coach of the Texas A&M basketball team. Glynn has been an assistant at 10 universities, including Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Nevada–Las Vegas, since his first job at UTSA, which he held from 1987 to 1990.

Joshua Jennings, M.F.A. in art, is an artist whose work was recently exhibited at R Gallery in San Antonio. The exhibit was inspired by medical engravings and Japanese comics called manga, and it includes diptychs in which landscapes are juxtaposed with portraits of sick people.

Jason Stout, M.F.A. in art, recently displayed drawings and paintings in the exhibit “Sovereignty, Viscosity and Reprise” at REM Gallery in San Antonio.


Ron Campos, M.P.A., is director of Human Resources for the City of San Marcos, Texas. Ron was formerly the Human Resources Executive Program administrator for the San Antonio Water System.


Richie Budd, M.F.A. in art, is a Fort Worth artist known for “performative sculptures.” Earlier this year, his collaboration with another artist, called Come On Guy, was displayed at the SCOPE New York Art Fair in New York City. The installation consisted of four New Jersey fraternity members hooting, hollering and drinking a lot of “Natty Light”—Natural Light was a corporate sponsor—inside a glass case, according to media reports.

Emily Shertzer, M.S. in environmental science, is an environmental planner for the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at Fort Indianatown Gap. Emily joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 2009 and is an airman first class in the 553rd Band of the Mid-Atlantic. She also performs with the Lebanon Community Concert Band and has played with the Central Penn Symphony Orchestra. She is a member of the All Guard marathon team and also volunteers at the Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association near Grantville, Penn.


Russell Thomas Carr, B.B.A. in general business, is a property manager and real estate agent with Scott Allison Real Estate of San Angelo.

Joseph Cohen, M.F.A. in art, and Cornelia White Swann, M.F.A. in art ’09, were featured artists in “Margins,” an exhibit in the UTSA Arts Building on Main Campus during the summer.

Matthew Ramirez, B.A. in communication, has published his second book in The Adventures of Paleta Man series. The Adventures of Paleta Man: Secret of the Gold Medallion, which he co-authored with his father, Paul Ramirez, follows Paleta Man as he continues to secretly fight crime throughout the city.

Charlin Yu, B.B.A. in marketing, works in marketing for her family’s San Antonio restaurant, Hsiu Yu.


Sarah Ramos, B.A. in psychology, M.A. in bicultural bilingual studies ’11, is the assistant director of student services at ¡Adelante! U.S. Education Leadership Fund. She oversees the coordination of Adelante’s student programs and student workshops. The 13-year-old national nonprofit organization provides scholarships, internships and leadership development for Hispanic students.


Freeman Field, M.A. in economics, works for the Metro New York Baptist Association in New York City, hosting teams that do ministry work in the city.

JoAnn Jin Mena, M.A. in teaching English as a second language, works with UTSA’s Intensive English Program and is a sponsor for Making Efforts to Reach out to the Community (MERC), a youth service group that serves the refugee community.


Cathy Bodenstedt, B.A. in art history, is the owner of CapRock Winery in Lubbock, Texas. Cathy and her husband, Jim Bodenstedt, B.B.A. in accounting ’96, founded MUY Brands fast food franchises in 2003.

Stephanie Ferguson, M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy studies, was appointed director of communications and career and technology education at New Braunfels ISD in New Braunfels, Texas. She joined the district in 1993, serving as a journalism and English teacher at New Braunfels High School. She was named the district’s public information officer in 1999.

Emmanuel Grotheer, M.S. in physics, and his wife, Diane Grotheer, M.P.A. in public administration ’09, are the parents of Pilar Salome Grotheer, born March 31, 2011.

Alums—Keep in Touch

We want to know what you’ve been up to lately. New jobs, relocations, accomplishments, marriages—whatever your news, share it with friends and classmates. Email: or write to Office of Alumni Programs, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249.


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Current Issue: Fall 2011 | Table of Contents

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