Created to meet the growing needs of higher education administration students, HEASPA was founded as a means to:
- Increase the communication among students, faculty, and staff of the Higher Education Administration department
- Strengthen the personal and professional relationships among students, faculty, and staff of the Higher Education Administration department
- Provide professional and academic development opportunities for students of the Higher Education Administration department
- Establish a network of academic and professional resources upon which students of the department may draw
The Chairs and Co-Chairs of HEASPA are:
HEASPA Co-Chair: Veronica Pecero (email@example.com)
Veronica Pecero is currently a second year masters student in the College & University Student Personnel Administration program. She is orginally from Houston and holds a bachelor’s degree in Government and Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves as graduate assistant to the TRIO programs on campus, Longhorn Link and McNair Scholars and serves as a graduate volunteer for Project MALES.
HEASPA Co-Chair: Charles Lu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Charles Lu is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Higher Education Administration program at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to his arrival at UT, Charles created a standardized curriculum for English as a Foreign Language, taught over 500 third through sixth grade students, and conducted cross-cultural research in Kaohsiung, Taiwan as part of the U.S. State Department’s Fulbright Fellowship. Over the years, Charles has served as a school director, academic coach, and 7th grade science teacher with Teach for America, and was also a recipient of the 2009 Toyota International Teacher of the Year. Charles’s dissertation will focus on the first-semester experience of Latino men in the STEM disciplines using a science identity framework.
HEASPA Committee Chairs:
Jennifer Wang, HEASPA Mentor Program Chair (email@example.com)
Jennifer is a first year doctoral student in Higher Education Administration. Originally from Houston, Texas, Jennifer received her B.S. in Elementary Education and M.Ed. in College and University Student Personnel Administration from The University of Texas at Austin. She developed the CUSPA Mentorship Program and is piloting it this academic year. Her research interests include student leadership development, assessment and philanthropy in higher education. Jennifer is currently Marketing Manager for Special Events in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. In her spare time, she enjoys flag football, (paleo) cooking and traveling.
Vanessa Leyva, Orientation Co-Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vanessa is a second year masters student in the Higher Education Administration program. She is originally from Dallas, TX and received her Bachelor’s from the University of Texas at Austin in Mexican American Studies in May 2011. As a graduate student, she currently serves as a graduate assistant for New Student Services which plans and implements the orientation program for incoming freshman and transfer students. In addition to being an officer for HEASPA, she also serves as a graduate student representative for the President’s Student Advisory Council. Her professional interests include ethical leadership development, campus activities, and diversity education.
Jon Hager, Orientation Co-Chair (email@example.com)
Jon Hager is a second year masters student in the Higher Education Administration Program. He is in his second year as a Graduate Assistant in the Intramural Sports program. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Florida in Anthropology, but discovered a passion for working with students while employed part-time in the Department of Recreational Sports. In his free time he likes to check out the music scene, explore all the hot spots in Austin, and, of course, pull for the Longhorns on the football field! HOOK’EM!
Katie Pritchett, Orientation and Alumni Relations Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Katie is a third year doctoral student in the Ph.D. program. She is originally from Lafayette, Louisiana. She received her B.A. from the University of Louisiana and her Master’s of Public Administration from Louisiana State University. Prior to moving to Austin to pursue her doctorate, she worked in Washington DC for four years– two years for the U.S. Department of Education, and two years for a private company doing educational market research. Her research interests include student persistence and retention (especially of women students in STEM disciplines), P-16 initiatives, access and equity, collegiate entrepreneurship, and managerial and leadership studies of female university administrators. She is the Graduate Research Assistant for the University’s office of Academic Service Learning. Katie also enjoys serving as a teaching assistant for two higher ed specialization courses—“Higher Education Law” and “Access and Equity in Higher Education.”
Bianca Cusimano, Social Co-Chair (email@example.com)
Bianca is a second year masters student in the Higher Education Administration program. Bianca is originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago and attended Saint Louis University for her bachelors in Business Administration. She currently works as a Graduate Assistant for Special Projects in the Office of the Dean of Students, where she researches and forwards student and department initiatives. She interned with the Hindi-Urdu Flagship program this past spring and is looking forward to a fall internship with the First-Year Experience office. Her professional and research interests include study abroad programming, academic advising, first-year programs, retention/persistence, and admissions. When she’s not studying or working, Bianca enjoys rooting for Longhorn football and her Chicago sports teams, especially Da Bears.
Keara DeKay, Social Co-Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keara is a second year masters student in the Higher Education Administration program. She has lived and traveled all over the world, and graduated with a BA in European Cultural Studies & German from Brandeis University. She currently works as a Graduate Assistant for Special Projects in the Office of the Dean of Students, where she researches and implements student and department initiatives. She has also interned at McCombs School of Business with both the Undergraduate International Exchange Programs and the Center for International Business and Education Research. Her professional interests include study abroad advising and international student services. When she’s not studying or working, Keara enjoys cheering for the Longhorn football team, is a huge Boston sports fan, and has been known to belt out a tune or two at karaoke.
Jessica Khalaf, Professional Development Co-Chair (email@example.com)
Jessica is a second year Master’s student in the Higher Education Administration Program. She attended Rice University in Houston, Texas where she received her B.A.. She is currently a Graduate Assistant at the McCombs School of Business in the Office of Student Life.
Melissa Goessling, Professional Development Co-Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Melissa is a first year doctoral student in Higher Education Administration program. Melissa developed a strong love for the city of New Orleans during her undergraduate years at Tulane where she earned a B.A. in Latin American Studies. She spent the following two and a half years in Panama as a Peace Corps Volunteer before beginning her career in higher education at the University of Texas at Austin. Melissa has worked with admissions, recruitment, experiential learning opportunities, alumni relations, and honors programs for the past four years and completed her M.Ed. in College and University Student Personnel Administration from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2012. In her spare time Melissa enjoys triathlons and international travel.
Milly Lopez, Budget & Fundraising Chair (email@example.com)
Milagros Lopez is a master’s student in the College & University Student Personnel Administration program at The University of Texas at Austin. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas State University-San Marcos. Her research interests include equity/access to higher education, and parental involvement in underrepresented populations. Milagros currently serves as Community Engagement Coordinator for Project M.A.L.E.S.
For questions or updates to the HEASPA website, please contact Keara DeKay at firstname.lastname@example.org.