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Honors Alumni Profiles

Through the following profiles we would like to introduce you to some of the many outstanding alumnae and alumni of the Honors College at Texas State.

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Christian Wallace

Christian Wallace, English and History, 2010

Current Field: English (Creative Writing) and History

Since Graduation: In the whole month following my graduation, I have completed graduate applications while working full-time at the University. I am currently an Administrative Assistant in the University Seminar office, but spend most of my time waiting for the mail and hanging out with my dog, Loretta.

Additional Information: I think creating is the most important thing a person can do. Relationships, buildings, logarithms, peace, symphonies, what we bring into the world changes it forever. My passion is creating through the written word. I hope that by continuing to listen, learn, and explore, my life will be a legacy of worthwhile creation.

Favorite Professors: It doesn't seem fair to only mention a few names, so here is a quick run down of all of them:

Dr. Galloway was the gateway drug to my Honors addiction.

Dr. McKinney changed the way I watch movies.

Dr. Duganne changed the way I see skin color.

Dr. Ward made studying poli-sci as entertaining as Seinfeld.

Dr. Makowski shed light on the Dark Age myth.

Prof. Peirce made poetry sexy.

Prof. Hood enriched lives through Story.

Dr. Beebe guided me through the wardrobe to Narnia.

Prof. McCabe revealed that meaning exists in everything.

Angel Durr, Political Science, 2009

Current Field: Library and Information Science

Since Graduation: I am finishing up my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science at the University of North Texas. I will be graduating in the Fall of 2011. Upon graduating, I plan on furthering my education and receiving a Ph.D. in Library Science. I currently work as a graduate library assistant for the University of North Texas at Willis Library. An essay I wrote independently entitled “Going the Distance: Supporting African-American Library and Information Science Students” was selected to be included in the 4th edition of the book series The Black Librarian in America: Challenges of the 21st Century, to be released this fall. In addition, the results of my independent Master’s research project entitled “Is the MLS Really Worth It? Understanding today’s Minority Library Paraprofessional” will also be published this fall.

As a result of my work within the library field I was recently selected as an American Research Libraries IRDW scholar. This scholarship will cover the cost of my Master’s education through graduation as well as provide additional professional development activities, such as visiting the Purdue University Library system and attending a leadership symposium.

Additional Information: Joining the Texas State Honors College is a great way to make the most of your time at Texas State University. The classes really helped me become a more well-rounded student and drove me to go beyond ordinary to become an extraordinary student. I owe everything I learned about writing and research to the department. No matter where I choose to further my education I will always be a proud Bobcat at heart!

Favorite Professors: Dr. Robert Gorman is probably the smartest man I have and will ever meet. He knows his politics and his philosophy (which can both be boring!) but he always knew just how to make lectures engaging no matter what the topic.

Dr. Ferrero's "Is This Really Math? Graph Theory and its Applications" was also a really memorable course because of how different it was from anything I had ever experienced in previous math courses. I really never liked math or thought of it as fun until I took that class.

"Philosophy of History" with Dr. Cagniart was also a really engaging and thought provoking course. Not just because of the topic, but because of the wisdom Dr. Cagniart shared with us.


Meagan Henry, Economics, 2009

Current Field: Humanitarian Aid
Since Graduation: After working in India, I have been working with the Burma connection on humanitarian aid projects, orphanages, micro-credit, and community self-sufficiency projects in Myanmar since 2011.
Additional Information: One of my favorite things about the Honors College is that it is an interdisciplinary College. The added insight a student can get from working with students, professors, and staff from different areas of study is really an education of its own. The small teacher to student ratio is also very nice. 
Favorite Professors: Dr. Bell's "Entrepreneurship" class was definitely one of my all time favorite college classes. I learned a lot about changing the world from Dr. Bell. 
Dr. Hustvedt's "Fibers to Fabrics," class taught me to think about sustainability as an educated person, and not as a romantic or activist.
Diann McCabe's "Senior Seminar" class taught me so much more than how to write a thesis. I learned to think critically about the value of things in light of the human experience and what that means to the individual as well as to society. 
While writing my thesis, I learned one of the most important lessons in college "Not everything that can be known is known, so I might as well be the one to go out and discover it!"

Susan Rauch, English Professional Writing, 2009

Current Field: English Technical Communication and Rhetoric

Since Graduation: I started the doctorate program in Egnlish Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University in Lubbock where I will be concentrating on research in medical rhetoric and documentation. At Tech I am a GPTI (instructor) of first year composition, and will teach introduction to technical writing. 

Additional Information: I completed my MA thesis in 2009 in technical communication where I analyzed a 16th century medical treatise to be presented at the 2013 ICMS conference in Kalamazoo, MI. I recently published an article in the 2012 Journal of Technical Writing and Communication which was nominated for a NCTE/CCCC award for scientific and technical communication. I conducted research at the British Library on a medieval collection of letters. While studying at Texas State as an undergraduate and graduate student, I also participated in two study abroad programs: in Ireland and Australia--something I encourage every college student to experience at least once! 

Favorite Professors: Dr. Susan Morrison encouraged me to not only pursue Medieval-Renaissance studies, but to find a way to bridge tech comm with Medieval-Renaissance studies. Dr. Nancy Wilson and Dr. Libby Allison are two of the most engaging professors I have worked with as an undergrad and graduate student in the English Department. 


Rachel Brody, Communication Studies, Psychology, 2007

Current Field: Teach For America - Special Education

Since Graduation: After graduating I moved to the nation's capitol to become part of the 2007 Teach For America corps. I am currently in my second year teaching English/Reading at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School for students with exceptionalities and serve as a co-department chair for the Special Education department for the 2008-2009 school year. I have been attending graduate school at George Mason University with a Teach For America cohort and will complete my Masters of Special Education in May, 2009.

Additional Information: Talk to me if you are interested in urban education, special education, Teach For America, closing the achievement gap or all of the above!

Favorite Professors: All of my honors professors! I especially enjoyed classes with Dr. McWilliams - (The Evolution of American Culture, Prof. Hanson (Nature and the Quest for Meaning) and all classes with Dr. Frost.

Nicolas Elliott, Anthropology, 2007

Current Field: Middle Eastern studies

Since Graduation: Moved to Chicagoland with my wife and two sons in order to prepare for fall matriculation to the graduate program in Middle Eastern studies at the University of Chicago

Additional Information: I love my kids!

Favorite Professors: Dr. McGee, Dr. Galloway, Dr. Bargeron, Diann McCabe, Dr. Gordon.

Louie Dean Valencia Garcia

Louie Deán Valencia García, International studies-European studies/Spanish, 2007

Current Field: Youth Cultures and Digital Media

Since Graduation: After graduation, I studied in Spain and worked with Save the Children International in Madrid for a year. I then moved to New York, where I taught Bilingual Global History for a summer. At that time I also worked in Digital Media in Website Strategy & Planning, and edited an online newsletter, GOOP. Currently, I am studying towards a Ph.D. in Modern European History at Fordham University in New York, focusing on youth cultures and social movements and everyday dissent—continuing research that I started in my Honors Thesis.

Additional Information: In my free time I draw, write comic books, and am an activist for children's rights—continuing my work with Save the Children International and the Special Olympics. I have an absurdly large comic book collection.

Favorite Professors: Nieves Pujalte, Diann McCabe, Heather Galloway, Dan Lochman, Donald Olson, Daniela Ferrero, Elizabeth Makowski, Margaret Menninger, Patricia Evans, Susan Morrison, Frank Josserland, and Nancy Wilson.

Julianne (Doyen) Jett, Psychology, 2007

Current Field: Neuroscience research

Since Graduation: Since graduation I have been working as a research assistant at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) in Dr. David Morilak's lab. In a nutshell, my research has focused on understanding how acute and chronic stress influences the onset/severity of depression and anxiety disorders.

Additional Information: I started my undergraduate degree seeking a profession in art therapy and ended up falling in love with neuroscience. Due to my deep interest in this field, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience starting this fall! Just goes to show that anything is possible as long as you follow your passions in life and don't sell yourself short!

Favorite Professors: Gus Lumia, David Carpenter, John Davis, Chis Frost and Diann McCabe.

Heather K. Robinson, English/Poetry, 2007

Current Field: Poetry/medieval Studies

Since Graduation: I began my graduate studies in Hanover, Germany. I traveled extensively in the lower Saxony region of Germany while abroad.

Additional Information: I entered the Texas State University MFA poetry program, receiving a teaching graduate assistantship. I currently hold officer positions for Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and the Medieval Renaissance Society.

Favorite Professors: Professor S. Morrison, Professor E. Makowski, Professor K. Pierce.

Michelle Sotolongo

Michelle Sotolongo, Studio Art-Metals/Jewelry, Fashion Merchandising Minor, 2007

Current Field: Artist/Metalsmith and Administrative Assistant for Texas State Art Department

Since Graduation: I have worked on my own art as well as done subcontact work for a production artist. My 'other day job' is working in the art office, and the evenings are sometimes spent doing catering jobs with the Tea Room at the Price Senior Center. Why 3 jobs, you ask? I am moving to New York City in August to attend a makeup design school located in soho. I also had my first major group show at the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) in Savannah, GA this past November.

Additional Information: I'm going to have a place on the vast internet where I'll sell some of my artings at some point, if anyone is interested.

Favorite Professors: Dr. Shiela Fling's class culturally changed my life forever.

Kaci Deauquier, Psychology/Anthropology, 2006

Current Field: Education

Since Graduation: Since graduation I have attained my certification for teaching in special education EC-12. This year I will be working at Aldine Academy in Houston teaching second and third grade inclusion. In the spring I plan to attend Sam Houston State University to pursue my master's in psychology.

Favorite Professors: Dr. Warms: He challenged my way of thinking about things. Dr. Stimmel: His brutal honesty with my thesis led me to be more honest with myself about my writing. Dr. Graham: She helped me discover the brain and how amazing it is.

Kara Holsinger

Kara Holsinger, Political Science and Communication Studies, 2005

Current Field: Law

Since Graduation: After graduating I moved to the Washington DC area for law school. I am now in my third (and final!) year of school at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. I also work at Martin & Arif, a small law firm in northern Virginia.

Additional Information: The friendships and relationships I developed through the Honors College remain some of the most memorable and important in my life. The Honors College opened doors for me to knowledge and experiences I never could have imagined.

Favorite Professors: Don Olson, Roseanne Mandziuk, and Diann McCabe, though she was never technically my professor.

Evan Huston

Evan Huston, Computer Science, 2005

Current Field: High Tech

Since Graduation: After graduation I took a job with Blue Fish Development Group as an IT consultant where I specialized in enterprise content management and search applications for Fortune 500 clients. In 2006, I returned to school and am currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in computer science at Rice University where I work as both a teaching and research assistant.

Additional Information: My research is in the field of bioinformatics and computational biology. Currently, I am involved with the study and analysis of protein interaction and signaling networks implicated in cancer. I work closely with researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which is widely regarded as one of the top centers for cancer research in the world.

Sarah Kennedy, English and French, 2005

Current Field: Linguistics/Foreign Language Education/ESL

Since Graduation: Immediately after graduation, I spent five months learning Spanish in Queretaro, Mexico. Since then, I've been hooked on Mexican culture and Latin American studies, and my husband Brian and I returned to central Mexico for our honeymoon. Currently, I teach and tutor ESL to international students for the Texas Intensive English Program (TIEP) in Austin. In July I start teaching my first full-blown ESL class. Also, I will start UT's linguistics graduate program in August - very exciting.

Additional Information: Honors is addicting! Be careful... you'll never want to go back to regular courses! I'm very excited that there is an honors minor now.

Favorite Professors: Leticia Flores -- class called "Your Brain on God." Out of the 10 honors courses I took, that course was by far the most life changing.

Claudia Scott

Claudia Scott, Economics, 2004

Current Field: Internal marketing / Strategic activities

Since Graduation: I started working at SACHEM, a global specialty chemicals manufacturing company in 2005. After initially working with B2B Key Accounts in Customer Service, I have now moved to the corporate site in the business working in Internal Marketing.

Additional Information: My daughter Zaidie Elizabeth was born in July 2005. She will be 2 this year (2007). I often think back to the Honors College, Diann McCabe, Dr. Frost, and everyone else. I am happy to see the Honors College progressing so nicely! Wow!

Favorite Professors: Every one of my Honors Professors was great! Dr. Bell impressed me most!

Renee Yancey, Theatre Arts, 2003

Current Field: Theatre Arts

Since Graduation: Immediately after graduating from Texas State in the fall of 2003, I moved to Olney, Maryland, for a stage management internship with Olney Theatre Center for the Arts, an award-winning regional theatre located just outside of Washington, DC. After completion of the internship, I became the company manager for Olney Theatre. I served as company manager for one year before returning to stage management. I have now been a freelance stage manager in the DC metro area for two years, still working primarily with Olney Theatre Center for the Arts. I am a proud member of Actors' Equity Association, the union for professional actors and stage managers.

Favorite Professors: John Hood, Diann McCabe, Christopher Frost

Rebecca S. Beard, Physical Geography, 2001

Current Field: Environmental / Conservation

Since Graduation:

2001-2003: obtained MA degree in environmental geography at Arizona State University; worked with the National Forest Service in Tonto National Forest

2003: Ecuador - studied Spanish in Quito; volunteered in land use study of indigenous communities in Amazonian region; volunteered at biological conservation research station in Carchi Province 2004-2005: Environmental Permits Specialist with Municipal Solid Waste Section at Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in Austin.

2005-2006: Field and technical research assistant in land use cover change study of indigenous communities in Pastaza and Morona Santiago Provinces, Ecuador

2006-2007: Wildlife permits specialist with Wildlife Division at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in Austin.

Favorite Professors: Dr. Richard Earl, Diann McCabe, Dr. James Kimmel, Dr. Robert Larsen, Dr. James Petersen, Dr. Byron Augustin, Dr. Vincent Luizzi

Melissa McFadden, Physics, 2000

Current Field: Medical School

Since Graduation: I spent two years in Suriname serving in the Peace Corps. I will graduate from medical school in the spring of 2008.
Furthermore: I plan to go into family practice.

Favorite Professors: The whole physics department was full of wonderful faculty!

Christy Tinsley Ilfrey

Christy Tinsley Ilfrey, English, 1998

Current Field: eco-writing

Since Graduation: Upon graduating, I returned to Plano and worked for a few years as recruitment coordinator/associate faculty of developmental writing at Collin County Community College. I married my longtime boyfriend, David, in 2001 and we started a landscape business together. I left my position in recruitment but continued teaching while we developed our business. By summer 2002 we had considered expanding our business to include a growing operation (specializing in native plants) and perhaps a retail nursery. We took an opportunity to manage a native plant nursery in fall 2002 on the beach in Florida. After one year we returned to Plano to resume our business, sans growing and retail operations. Since 2003, David and I have followed our mission to make positive changes in our community by way of nature-focused and sustainable landscape designs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. My focus is writing (and speaking) about ecological issues, especially those unique to Texas.

Additional Information: Just this year several of our designs have won awards for their conservation measures and intent to restore Texas' rapidly disappearing natural beauty. We've had a lot of publicity, as well. On the personal side, David and I are expecting our first child, temporarily named 'NativeBabe.' While we were in Florida we lived in a pop-up camper for three months, then a dilapidated Craftsmen motorhome for another nine. That wasn't the first time we have lived an alternative lifestyle.

Favorite Professors: All of them! Perhaps the most influential on me personally and as a writer was/is Diann McCabe

Reymundo Chapa, Anthropology, 1997

Current Field: Archaeology

Since Graduation: After graduating with a BA in anthropology (1997) I worked in the home building, computer and oil industries. I returned SWT to pursue an MA in political science (2005). After completing coursework at SWT for my M.A. I was accepted into UT Austin, where I am finishing a thesis for an M.A. in Latin American studies. Throughout the entire time I remained active in the field of archaeology, and in 2005 I started a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I've recently earned an M.S. in anthropology through the same program and will begin research in 2008 for my dissertation. For the past six years my focus has shifted to South American archaeology. I traveled and worked extensively in Peru (Chankillo, Chavin de Huantar) and Bolivia (Tiwanaku). I have instructed for both the Harvard and Stanford University field schools. In 2004 I managed the Proyecto Arqueologico Pumapunku Akapana at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tiwanaku!. In 2007-2008 I will be TAing at the University of Wisconsin.

Additional Information: I'm still alive and I love beer.

Favorite Professors: Dr. Reilly, Dr. Yick, Dr. Bourgeois, Dr. Hart, Dr. Grasso

Pamela (Williford) Lemoine, Applied Sociology, 1993

Current Field:  Alumni Outreach, Fund Development, Nonprofit Consulting

Since Graduation:

I obtained a Master's in Leadership Studies, University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1996. I returned to Houston, first working as an Academic Advisor at the University of Houston, then moving into nonprofit field. I was the President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless and Director of Development for ProjectGRAD. In 2000, I started my own consulting company offering Executive Director and Board of Director trainings, grant writing services, program development, and program evaluation. Clients include Christ Church Cathedral, Greenspoint District, Harris County and the City of Houston. I currently consult with LigaMAC, a nonprofit in San Jose Los Cabos serving at risk families in Mexico. My "real" job is at Texas State as the Outreach and Development Coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts.

Additional Information: As a nontraditional student at Texas State, I would not have graduated without the Honors Program. The small class size, intellectual stimulation, and attention from the professors was key.

Favorite Professors: Dr. Vikki Bynum and Dr. Gregg Andrews in History and Dr. Susan Day in Sociology.

Manuel San Luis

Manuel San Luis, Music Education, 1983

Current Field: Band Director

Since Graduation: Since graduating, I've taken post-graduate courses at the Vandercook College of Music in Chicago. I've taught at Mercedes ISD, Schleicher County ISD-Eldorado, Texas, Copperas Cove, and currently at Cedar Park Middle School in Cedar Park, Texas just north of Austin.

Additional Information: The Cedar Park Middle School Band was selected as one of two middle school bands in the world to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic - An International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago, Illinois. They performed on December 20, 2007.

Favorite Professors: Dr. David Pino, James Sudduth, John Stansberry, Tom Waggoner, Dr. Whalen, Dr. Reipe, Dr. Schmidt and all the honors program professors.

Margaret Vaverek

Margaret Vaverek, History, 1982

Current Field: Reference Librarian

Since Graduation: I earned a master's in history from SWT in 1984 and a master's in library science from North Texas in 1985. I was fortunate to return to campus in 1986 as a reference librarian. I continue to enjoy my work at Texas State. I especially enjoy working with the students and faculty of the University Honors College.

Favorite Professors: Ron Brown - America in the 1960s

Terence W. McCabe

Terence W. McCabe, Mathematics, 1970

Current Field: Mathematics

Since Graduation: I have a PhD in mathematics and am now teaching in the math department at Texas State University.

Additional Information: My wife is the associate director of the Honors College at Texas State University. We spent four years working in Mississippi with rural communities in the 1970's and two years in Indonesia working with a village development program. We have two sons, Joseph and Samuel. I have been teaching math at Texas State since 1988, and have worked with Mathworks and taught in the Honors Summer Math Camp since 1991. Alumni from this program have earned PhDs in mathematics from institutions such as University of Texas, UC Berkeley and Harvard. I have received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Everette Swinney Faculty Senate Award for Teaching, both in 2004.

Favorite Professors: Dr. John Chatfield, mathematics, and Dr. John Fitch, chemistry.