I am originally from Chicago, IL, but moved to Austin, TX to attend the University of Texas at Austin for undergrad, and have since made ATX my home. I am currently an Academic Coordinator in Athletics Student Services, mainly working with our Baseball, Rowing & Softball teams. About 5 years ago, I started searching for an organization to join on campus and found HFSA. After attending my first general meeting, I felt right at home. I love my Latin@ culture and being able to connect with so many Latin@s on campus. Something hard to find sometimes in the workplace. After my first year as a member, I wanted to be more involved in supporting this organization and community. There was a vacancy on the Executive Board for the Treasurer-Elect position, and I knew this was my chance. This will now be my 4th straight year serving on the Executive Board. I am looking forward to serving as the Staff Co-Chair to build on what previous Boards have done, and assist in empowering and advocating for our Latin@ community.
Dr. Juan Gonzales
Dr. Juan C. Gonzalez is Clincal Professor in the College of Education within the Program in Higher Education Leadership (PHEL). His expertise in student affairs leadership and administration, improving the college student experience, and expanding access to higher education for first-generation college students. Dr. Gonzalez served as the Vice Chancellor-Student Affairs at UC San Diego from 2014 till the end of 2017. González has served as vice president for Student Affairs at a number of prestigious universities spanning a 25-year period. Prior to his tenure at UC San Diego, he held the vice president position at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to that, he served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Arizona State University; Georgetown University; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; and California State University, San Bernardino.
Staff Co-Chair Elect
Reyna Flores grew up in San Perlita, TX, a small town in the Rio Grande Valley! She is a Program Coordinator in the Student Success Initiatives office working with the University Leadership Network, a scholarship program that provides leadership development and experiential learning opportunities to high financial need students. Reyna is the daughter of migrant farmworkers and earned a scholarship through the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at St. Edward’s University. It was through her involvement in CAMP that she learned about student affairs and pursued a master’s degree in student affairs and higher education at Texas State University. She is a first-year doctoral student in the Program in Higher Educational Leadership at UT. Reyna has worked with college access programs assisting first-generation and low-income students and diversity recruitment. Her interests include diversity and inclusion efforts, college access and retention, and running after her two fur babies.
After attending and working at two HSI universities, coming to UT Austin was a major culture shock for Reyna. HFSA helped her build a community and made her feel welcomed. Reyna often leans on HFSA members to reenergize when she faces challenges at work. Seeing a group of people who look like her at the HFSA monthly meetings and events is a kind reminder that she belongs here.
Faculty Co-Chair Elect
Dr. Debra Cantu
My name is Debra Cantú and I was born and raised in Austin, Texas. I proudly serve as an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Texas in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy and as the Co-Director of the Texas Principal Leadership Academy at UT. I am grateful to my mentor and colleague, Dr. Martha Ovando, for inviting me to join her at two HFSA meetings. I was immediately drawn into the organization and very proud it led me to the opportunity to serve the Executive Board in order to support the faculty and staff. I find HFSA inspiring to work with colleagues and friends who share similarities in culture and also motivating to learn of different experiences to expand my knowledge. I am proud to serve on the Executive Board to support the implementation of our mission to advocate, educate and serve our community through collaboration.
Where you’re from – Originally from California, I grew up in a small migrant town named Livingston
Where you work – Assistant Director for Finance & Administration for the Department of Physics
What/who connected you to HFSA – a friend invited me to a general meeting and I decided to join but it was participating in the Conexiones lunches where I had the opportunity to meet other members that solidified my commitment to HFSA.
Why do you continue being a part of HFSA – I love being part of an organization that celebrates our Latinx heritage. I found a community where I saw myself reflected and individuals that inspired me with their experiences and stories. My only regret was not joining earlier in my career at UT.
My name is Leann Lopez and I was born and raised in San Antonio, Tx. I have been in Austin and at UT for a little over three years now. My current role at UT is a Financial Analyst for the Federal Costing Team within the Office of Accounting & Financial Management. Although I was recruited into HFSA prior to knowing much about it, I knew it was a great opportunity to just get out of my comfort zone and to meet new people. After learning more about HFSA, I’m truly grateful to be a part of something that is meaningful to me and I look forward to what’s to come!
My name is Rafael Salazar & I was born & raised in Pasadena, TX. I am currently the Academic-HR Coordinator for the Department at Physics at UT. I moved to Austin to attend UT for undergrad and never left. I graduated in Spring 2018 with a Bachelors in Chemistry & returned to UT Austin as a full time staff member in May 2019. As a first generation Latinx, my commitment to helping students is driven by my understanding of feeling lost in such a large & bustling community that is nothing like the one you grew up in.
Amy Beebe is the student program coordinator for the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) in the Cockrell School of Engineering . As a program coordinator, Amy assists in coordinating programming for current students which includes the WEP Leadership Collaborative student organizations, WEP’s Peer Assistance Leaders and WEP Kinsolving Living Learning Community. In addition to current student programming, she coordinates recruitment initiatives for WEP with collaboration from their sibling program, Equal Opportunity in Engineering, and other departments within Cockrell School of Engineering. Amy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Texas at Tyler and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Texas Tech University. Amy is also an active member in several campus wide committees: Cultural Awareness Committee, Academic Counselors Association, Bias Busting Team and Association of Professionals in Student Affairs. She has been on campus since 2014.
I became involved with HFSA within the first year I started working at UT. Being a part of a community of others who come from similar backgrounds and cultures as my own has really helped me reconnect with a part of me that hasn’t always been shared nor seen easily on campus (especially within the STEM space I work in). HFSA gives me a space to truly embrace that part of my identity and celebrate it in ways that I’m not able to do in other spaces or even at home since I am far from my own family. I am very much looking forward to my time on the Executive Committee and contributing the accepting familia that is HFSA!
Vanessa was born and raised in Laredo, TX. She currently serves as the academic advising coordinator at the Vick Center for Strategic Advising within the School of Undergraduate Studies. Vanessa believes that empathy plays a major part in academic advising. She enjoys building rapport with her students to better understand their specific challenges and struggles while being as resourceful as possible. Vanessa is mindful of the holistic growth of her students and wants them to feel fully supported throughout their college endeavors. She strives to develop an environment that is open and inclusive to all students on campus.
Vanessa joined HFSA almost three years ago and enjoys the sense of community it brings.
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Hometown: Laredo, TX
Major: Communication Disorders, Student Affairs in Higher Education
Quote: “They tried to bury us, they did not know we were seeds”
- Leadership & Professional Development Committee
- Jess Villalobos
- John Trevino Jr. Holiday Assistance Committee
- Leticia Acosta
- Elections Committee
- Justin Rosales
- Welcome Committee
- Shirley Sanchez
- Book & Culture Committee
- Caroline Enriquez & Yvonne Loya
- Fiesta Committee
- Caroline Enriquez & Ricardo Vela
- Scholarship Committee
- Lilliana Alba
- Staff Equity & Inclusion Task Force
- Yvonne Loya & Aurora Munoz