BLOG POST ARTICLE
CTN TO HOST ASCENDER FOUNDATIONAL PD SEMINAR
CTN will host its Ascender Foundational Professional Development Seminar in Dallas from May 23rd to 27th. It is the first in a series of professional development trainings for new Ascender instructors. The proposed conference agenda begins with a gallery walk where participants will have an opportunity to learn about their shared experiences, followed by a parking lot to set the norms and expectations for the seminar. Next CTN CEO Dr. Chavez and Anna B. Alaniz, CTN Director of Professional Development, will talk about CTN’s mission and any current news or updates.
Dr. Alaniz will lead the session titled “Getting Acquainted: The Building Block to Strong Relationships” in which participants will see writing as a process and not a product, and also get to know each other. The last session of the day will be presented by Erin Doran, CTN Director of Research and Evaluation, and is titled “Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.”
The first half of day two will focus on “Building Students’ Academic and Cultural Capital.” Proposed session topics include “Intentional Recruitment: Building a Strong Cohort presented by Vidal Almanza, ACC Master Advisor; “Fostering Student Success: Working with Validation, Student Assets and Sentipensante Pedagogy” presented by Dr. Laura Rendon, Professor Emeritus, University of Texas San Antonio; “Cariño: Behaviors with Quantifiable Outcomes," presented by Jon Herrin, English instructor for South Texas College; and a writing presentation led by Norma Cantu, professor emerita of English and U.S. Latina/o Literatures at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The second half of the day includes sessions titled “Making Math Relevant” presented by Mario Morin, CTN’s Professional Development Math Coordinator; a presentation by Tina Jackson, Assistant Commissioner of the Division for Workforce Education for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and “Engagement by Design: Making Every Lesson Count led by Dr. Alaniz. The day ends with campus team time.
Day three will focus on “Creating an Active and Engaged Cohort” and begins with participants learning to use a jigsaw for culturally relevant readings. Next attendees will listen to Ascender alumni speak about their experiences in the Ascender program. After lunch, there will be breakout sessions for the various disciplines, advisors and administrators. Following these, Rogelio Saenz, CTN Board Chair, will present a session titled “2020 Census: The Impact on Education.” The day will end with presentations and discussion on team building and organizing a campus family night, led by Dr. Alaniz, followed by a team building activity.
Day four’s focus is on “Widening the Community.” Participants will listen to presentations about mentorship in the Ascender program and mentee training led by Megan Diaz, ACC Outreach Specialist. Next Emmet Campos, Director for Project MALES and the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color, will discuss mentorship in the Project Males program. Participants will also learn about approaches to student engagement and CTN resources. Dr. Richard Armenta, CTN Campus Liaison Consultant will end the day with his presentation titled “"Essential Ingredients for Building 'Familia.' "
The final day’s focus will be on “Envisioning the Year Ahead.” Attendees will learn about building program advocacy as well as CTN’s research and evaluation. The final session is titled “Putting It All Together” where participants will return to the parking lot. The day will end with a narrative share before adjourning.
Bios for Foundational Seminar Presenters
Dr. Laura I. Rendón earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She holds a M.A. in counseling and guidance and psychology from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She earned a B.A. in English and journalism from the University of Houston and holds an associate of arts degree from San Antonio College. Rendón also attended Laredo Community College.
Rendón is Professor of Higher Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas San Antonio. She is also Co-Director of the Center for Research and Policy in Education. From 2005-2009, Rendón served as Professor and Chair in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University, College of Human Sciences.
As a research specialist on college preparation, persistence, and graduation of low-income, first-generation students, Rendón is also recognized as a thought leader in the field of contemplative education. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences such as GEAR UP, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, National Association of College Admissions Counselors, International Conference on the First-Year College Experience, and International Conference on Research on Service Learning, among others. A native of Laredo, Texas, Rendón’s passion is assisting students who, like her, grew up in poverty with hopes and dreams but not knowing how to realize them. Rendón is credited with developing the theory of validation, which colleges and researchers have employed as a framework for working with and affirming low-income students. Rendón is an active scholar whose research has been published in key education research journals. She is also the author of Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation.
In 2013, the Texas Diversity Council recognized her Among the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas. Rendón has been the recipient of grants focused on student access and success from organizations such as TG, The Lumina Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. She is one of the founders and former Board Chair of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (Washington, DC), focused on providing access to college for low- income students. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Further, Rendón has designed and coordinated the yearly Latino/a Student Success Institute for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education.
Dr. Norma Elia Cantú earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M International), a master’s degrees in English and political science from Texas A&I, Kingsville (now Texas A&M, Kingsville), and her doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Trinity University has appointed Cantú, a prominent Chicana/o and Latina/o cultural studies expert and author, as the Norene R. and T. Frank Murchison Endowed Professor in Humanities. She is professor emerita of English and U.S. Latina/o Literatures at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her teaching career also includes a 20-year tenure on the faculty at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas.
Cantú’s research and creative writings focus on the cultural and literary production along the U.S./Mexico borderlands. She has published scholarly articles on a number of academic subjects as well as creative poetry and fiction. Her publications on border literature, the teaching of English to nonnative speakers, quinceañera celebrations and the matachines, a religious dance tradition, have earned her an international reputation as a scholar and folklorist. She has co-edited four books and a collection of testimonios by Chicana scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Her award-winning Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera chronicles her childhood experiences on the border.
Cantú is active in a number of Latina/o organizations, including the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS), the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS), the Chicana/o and the Latina/o Sections of the American Folklore Society (AFS), and the Chicana/o and the Latino Literature and Cultural Studies Forums at the Modern Languages Association (MLA). In addition, she served as a senior arts specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Program, and is the founder of the Society for the Study of writer Gloria Anzaldúa and conference coordinator for the Society’s El Mundo Zurdo gatherings. She is also co-founder of CantoMundo, a Latina/o poetry workshop.
Tina Marie Jackson, Ph.D. currently serves as Assistant Commissioner of the Division for Workforce Education for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. In this role she works with all aspects of career and technical workforce initiatives and programs. She is the former District Director of Developmental Education at Collin College she worked across all campuses on issues related to developmental education, completion, and pathways to careers. Jackson served as Associate Dean of Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) at Dallas County Community College District from 2016-2017. Tina worked as the statewide coordinator of Community College Programs at the University of Texas at Austin from 2012-2016. Helping to redesign developmental math throughout all fifty community colleges in the state of Texas. In 2013, Tina was named a Jackson Scholar by the University Council for Educational Administration. In 2012, Jackson was awarded a Community College Leadership Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2012, she also received an award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education to continue her research on STEM Workforce Development in Community Colleges focusing on students of color. Jackson also serves as Vice President of Programs on the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education State Board. Dr. Jackson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Tina Jackson, Ph.D. ‘fourteen, is the first African American woman to serve as the assistant commissioner of workforce education at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Emmet E. Campos Ph.D. directs Project MALES and the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color. Dr. Campos serves as the chief operations officer for all Project MALES and Consortium activities and is responsible for communications and engagement with key partners. He oversees three interrelated initiatives that make up Project MALES: a Research Institute focused on understanding the experiences of Latinx males across the education pipeline; a statewide Consortium of diverse K-12 and higher education institutions committed to dramatically increasing student success for male students of color in the state of Texas; and the Project MALES Mentoring Program, a school-based, peer and near-peer mentoring program that engages and empowers over middle and high school BMOC’s across Central Texas, and serves as a model for other mentoring programs across Texas.
He earned his Ph.D. in Cultural Studies in Education/Curriculum and Instruction from UT Austin and has published articles in the Harvard Educational Review and Voices in Urban Education. Previously, he directed grant-funded initiatives focused on men of color in higher education and Latinx students college transfer and completion at the Center for Community College Student Engagement (UT Austin) where he directed all qualitative research initiatives, served as Project Director for the Institute for Community, University, and School Partnerships (UT Austin) building partnerships between the university, Austin ISD and the greater Austin community to empower young men of color to be academic and community leaders, and has also taught at UT Austin, St. Edward’s University and Austin Community College in the College of Education and English Departments.
Dr. Rogelio Saenz is a sociologist and demographer at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he is professor in the Department of Demography. Prior to arriving at UTSA, he was a professor for 25 years at Texas A&M University. He has written extensively in the areas of demography, Latina/os, race and ethnicity, inequality, immigration, aging, public policy, and social justice. Sáenz is co-author of Latinos in the United States: Diversity and Change. He has written widely on the impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community. Sáenz regularly writes op-ed essays and research briefs for a variety of media outlets throughout the country.
Over the last couple of years, he has received the Cesar Estrada Chavez Award from the American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity (2018), was named as one of the Top Latino Leaders in 2018 by the National Diversity Council for Latino Workplace Equity, and received the prestigious 2020 Saber es Poder Academic Excellence Award from the University of Arizona’s Department of Mexican American Studies.
In addition, Saenz serves as Chair for the CTN Board of Directors.
CTN Leadership Fellows
Dr. Jon A. Herrin has been involved in higher education for almost 30 years, having taught writing, literature, education, humanities and religion in colleges and universities in Georgia, Michigan, Texas, Venezuela, and Mexico. In addition to teaching, Jon has worked in institutional assessment and academic administration.
In institutional assessment analyst (South Texas College, 2012 - 2014), Jon worked directly with Catch the Next, Inc. (CTN) to develop student survey instruments, and to collect and interpret data from the CTN interventions on three campuses. Part of his work also included cooperative projects and data sharing with participating institutions. Areas of research have included developmental student success (persistence, graduation rates among Latino students in the Rio Grande Valley), institutional comparison studies (academic and demographic data sets re. Texas community colleges), and general forms of academic/educational research as a part of multiple graduate programs. Jon when on to become co-director of research and then director of organizational development for Catch the Next.
After growing up in Guyana, South America, and Grenada, West Indies, and then living parts of his adult life in Venezuela and Mexico, Jon’s heart is divided in equal parts for all the places he has called home. As an ‘adult third-culture-kid’ (aTCK), he understands first-hand the challenges of crossing cultural divides and language barriers.
Presently, Jon divides his time between writing, teaching English (adjunct) for South Texas College and two other institutions, and holding a leadership position in the Rio Texas Conference of the UMC. He remains a champion of the power of education, especially for the amazing work of Catch the Next, Inc. (…and jumps in to help whenever he can.)
Jon has a BA in English, Master’s degrees in English Education and Religious Studies, and an earned doctorate in Theology (Th.D.).
Vidal Almanza migrated to the United States from Mexico when he was 8 years old. He was the first in his family to graduate college. He attended Southwest State University (Texas State). Vidal is a Master Advisor with Austin Community College. His experience with ACC spans 26 years in various positions. His main goals is to provide excellent academic advising and to help students have a successful transition to college life after high school. Vidal likes to spend time with his wife and two young children and watch cartoons on Saturday morning the old fashion way on TV and not on YouTube and when he is not doing that, you can find him watching America’s team the Dallas Cowboys or grilling.
Samantha Ackers, J.D. is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. For over 25 years, recently in 2013, Professor Ackers began working at Austin Community College and Huston-Tillotson University - Austin, as an Adjunct Professor and Legal Coach/Consultant. Professor Ackers has shown a commitment to working with issues involving access to justice to the indigent and enjoys offering Pro Se’ Coaching Services to persons who cannot afford to hire an attorney for full representation. For the last 5 years, Samantha has been teaching college and career readiness /success courses at ACC which includes college students and dual-credit high school students. As an Adjunct Professor, she serves the community through outreach and education training sessions with Author/Professor Raymond Gerson geared toward preparing educators to teach the Student Success Courses. Also, working as an ACC Ascender Mentor and ACC Digital Faculty Scholar keep Samantha engaged in researching innovative methods to help students enjoy life while working towards reaching their goals. Attorney Ackers is a Family Law Lawyer specializing in children in the States care, child custody disputes, divorces involving spousal support, child support, business division, retirement division, and real property rights. Samantha has over 10+ years of experience in family law issues involving: - Child Custody - Child’s safety (immediate danger orders and status quo orders,) - Advocating for either side of family abuse restraining orders, elder abuse restraining orders and sexual abuse restraining orders.
Megan Diaz is an Outreach Specialist for the Ascender program at Austin Community College, which is an academic transfer-mentor program for first-year students at ACC. As an Outreach Specialist, Megan oversees campaigns to promote the Ascender program, including web content, social media, and events and multimedia presentations. She also handles communications with individual students enrolled or interested in the program, and advocates for the core Ascender mission of cultivating student confidence and supporting underprivileged students across racial, gender, and cultural lines. Megan earned both her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Arts in Communication Arts from the University of the Incarnate Word.
Diane Lerma was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Diane Lerma graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She had previously earned an Associate of Arts degree from San Antonio College. After OLLU, Diane enrolled in graduate studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio and graduated with a Master of Arts in Education degree. She is the first in her family to graduate from college.
Currently, Diane Lerma is an Assistant Professor in the department of Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto College, a community institution serving a large Mexican American constituency. She has served as a Faculty Advisor for the Ascender Club student organization and CTN Mentor Coordinator. Currently, she is an EDUC 1300/Learning Framework instructor for the Ascender program where she instills positive learning experiences for her first-generation students. For all her efforts, Diane has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching. She is the author of Catching Dreams: A Collection of Inspiring Mentor Stories. Additionally, she has published several book reviews and research articles. Diane Lerma earned her Master Teacher certification in May 2018 and has taught at Palo Alto College for twenty -three years.
Jonathan Bell was born and raised in Seminole, TX. He received a B.S. in math from UTPA (now UTRGV) where as a student in the Honors Study program, I wrote my honors thesis on applications of group theory. I received a M.S. in math from UTPA (now UTRGV). I’m ABD in commutative algebra from UT-Arlington. Jonathan taught high school math for three years and have been a math instructor at South Texas College for twelve years. Jonathan is a big sports fan (He was all-state in basketball in high school) and enjoys playing guitar.
CTN Staff and Consultants
Dr. Maria Martha Chavez-Brummel, CTN CEO, is a sociologist with a history of researching, implementing, and evaluating social policy. Dr. Chavez has a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in Journalism, Psychology, and Spanish Literature and a master’s degree in Education – Curriculum and Instruction. She also has a Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from Yale University. At Kansas State, Dr. Chavez created The Minority Admissions Program. At Yale, she has served as Assistant Dean at Yale College, and as a member of the faculty. At Yale, Dr. Chavez established the Asian/Chicano- Native American Cultural Center, The Chicano Boricua Studies program (that has evolved into the American Studies, Race, Ethnicity and Migration major), the LULAC Head Start Program (a preschool initiative for children up to 5 years old), and the building of The Latino Youth Center in the city of New Haven, Connecticut. Maria also worked at Save the Children Federation as Associate Vice President of U.S. Programs and Global Marketing Team and was the principal investigator for the state of the union report on America’s Forgotten Children, looking at America’s 101 poorest rural places. She established six community learning centers in the Central Valley of California for the America’s Forgotten Children Campaign. Dr. Chavez also worked with Public Agenda, 4 a research and engagement organization, and was a national partner in the Achieving the Dream Initiative, where she served as Research and Engagement coach and member of the Knowledge Development Working Group.
Dr. Anna B. Alaniz earned a doctorate from Texas A&M University Kingsville, a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis is Reading from University of Texas Pan-American (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), and her bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Bilingual/Bicultural Education from the University of Texas Pan American (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). Dr. Alaniz currently serves as the ASCENDER Coordinator at South Texas College and Catch the Next Director of Professional Development. She also teaches all components of the ASCENDER program. She is currently a full-time Developmental Reading Instructor, and adjuncts for the Education department and the English department. She adjuncts in the Teacher Bilingual Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville where she teaches Foundation of Literacy and Assessment and Remediation in Reading. Dr. Alaniz taught in public education at Roma ISD. She has 21 years of teaching experience, and her classroom practices have earned her the NISOD Excellence Award. Alaniz has taught adult literacy courses with Roma ISD. Dr. Alaniz’s passion is helping underserved students persist and graduate from college. Her dissertation is titled, Beating the Odds- Perceptions of Successful Former Developmental College Students.”
Erin Doran Ed. D was born and raised in El Paso to a family of educators, including her parents who are both K-12 principals. She attended UTSA as an undergraduate, where she earned a B.A. in 2006 and M.A. in 2008, both in History. She is a graduate of the Educational Leadership program (Higher Education Administration emphasis) at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Doran is currently a Professor of Higher Education at Iowa State University and serves as the Director of Research and Evaluation for Catch the Next. Previously, she worked for the College of Education and Human Development at UTSA since 2008 as a Student Development Specialist and taught as an adjunct in history at Northeast Lakeview College.
Her dissertation, which focused on one college’s implementation of integrated reading and writing (INRW), won the Dissertation of the Year Award from the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC). Doran continues her research on reading and writing in community colleges and how to best serve Latina/o students in particular. She examines issues of student success, access, and equity in higher education, particularly for Latinas/os and students who place into developmental education.
Erin has presented her work at various local, regional, and national conference including the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). In 2014, she was chosen to participate in the AERA Division J (Postsecondary Education) Emerging Scholars workshop, and in 2015, she was named Graduate Student Fellow by both the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) and AAHHE.
Dr. Richard Armenta received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 1970 from the University of Arizona; Master’s degree in Student Services, 1972, University of Connecticut; and Ph. D. in Higher Education, Policy and Governance, 1984, Arizona State University.
His community college work experience began while serving as Assistant Dean and Dean of a Skill Center on the Pima Indian Reservation and as Dean of Community Services for Central Arizona College. In 1985, Dr. Armenta assumed the position of Campus Dean for Austin Community College’s Ridgeview Campus, while working on development of the Northridge Campus where he served as its founding Campus Dean in 1989, and in 1991 established the college’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness.
From 1997 to 2002 Dr. Armenta served as Vice Present of Instruction and Student Development, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi; and served as its Interim President during a formal Presidential Search.
The University of Texas and Texas A&M University Systems offered him the opportunity to return to Austin as their special liaison to enhance Closing the Gaps efforts to help attract community college students to attend 4-year institutions, and was appointed to the State’s P-16 Council representing the University of Texas System.
He returned to Austin Community College to serve as the first Articulation Officer for the College, then as Dean of Students for the Rio Grande Campus, and later served as Associate Vice President for Student Success where he was responsible for assisting the college by officially achieving its Hispanic Serving Institution Status from the US Department of Education; developing the first LGBTQ district wide committee; representing ACC on the Board of the Greater Austin Area My Brothers’ Keeper initiative, and on the Board of the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color; bringing the Puente, and CTN Ascender Program to ACC.
In 2011 he was honored as ACC’s Administrator of the Year, and from 2017 until his retirement in 2020 while as Associate VP, Dr Armenta served as Dean of Student Affairs for the Hays Campus assisting staff with advising, student retention efforts, and overall student conduct matters. At present, Dr. Armenta assists CTN as Consultant in a liaison capacity to CTN member colleges in their efforts to implement the Ascender program.
Mario J. Morin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas – Pan American (UTPA) in 2000 and earned his Master of Science degree in Mathematical Science from UTPA in 2003. He joined the South Texas College Mathematics Department in 2003 as a fulltime faculty member and has since served in various roles at the college including: full-time Mathematics faculty, managing Director of a U.S. Department of Education College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) grant (2008-2011), Academic Grants and Projects Officer (2011-2013), Coordinator of the University Relations, Transfer and Articulation Center (2013-2015) and currently as Program Chair of the Department of Mathematics. Mr. Morin currently serves on the Executive Board of the Rio Grande Valley Council of Teachers of Mathematics (RGVCTM) as well as on the Executive Board as the Immediate Past President of the Texas Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (TexMATYC). He also serves as CTN’s Professional Development Math Coordinator.
Juan Jose Higa is a Catch the Next, Ascender Program Alumnus from Alamo Colleges-Palo Alto College (PAC). While a student at PAC, he was actively involved on campus as Vice-President of the Student Government Association and as Vice-President of the Ascender Student Club. In his leadership roles, he was continuously involved in many college committees and spoke to large audiences. He started the program in 2012 and later graduated with his Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration in December 2015. In January 2016, he transferred to The University of Texas at San Antonio - UTSA where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies and graduated in December 2018.
In August 2016, he published Student Engagement & Leadership Manual - Running a Successful Ascender Club. This Student Engagement Manual helps students in the Ascender Program to be Proactive, Engaged, and Become Leaders in the Institutions and in the Community. Juan was selected twice from a nationwide pool of applicants to represent PAC and UTSA at the Hispanic Association of College and Universities (HACU) Annual Conference. He has also been awarded twice the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges Award. An award that only a select group of students is called forward to accept one of the most prestigious awards the academic community can bestow - the outstanding campus leaders of the year. In June 2020 he was appointed one of the first Alumnus to serve on the Board of Directors for Catch the Next, Inc.
One of Juan’s fundamental goals is to continue working with First-Generation college students as he is first in his family to attend college. His prior work in higher education includes more than eight years of experience working with a diverse population of traditional and nontraditional students in the Higher Education Sector. Skilled in Student Counseling & Support, Interpersonal Communication, Educational Guidance, Case Loads, Nonprofit Organizations, Communication, & Event Management. Juan recently completed post-graduate workshops at the University of Texas at Austin, and Yale University through Catch the Next, Inc. He currently serves as a Senior Advisor for the Economic & Workforce Development (EWD) Office at The Alamo Colleges District.
Debra McBeath is CTN Director of Communications and Engagement and Managing Editor of the CTN newsletter. She is a former adjunct professor at Palo Alto College in San Antonio. She taught the Ascender Integrated Reading, Writing, and English Composition I sequence. Her classes were linked with SDEV classes in the fall, and Psychology and Mexican American Studies in the spring. She was part of the activity planning committee at Palo Alto College and received the Star of Appreciation from the Palo Alto Ascender Club. She was a member of the Committee that presented at the Alamo College District to the Deans and Vice Presidents of Academic Success when Palo Alto College brought the program to its campus. Debra was an adjunct professor at Southwest Texas Junior College (Eagle Pass Campus) where she taught various freshman and sophomore courses including freshman composition, remedial writing, world literature, and British literature. She is a retired high school English teacher of 35 years, teaching all levels of English, journalism (yearbook and newspaper), and photography. She received her master’s degree in English from Sul Ross State University and her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Angelo State University.