The Conference on Justice and Social Concerns provides our campus community with the opportunity to engage with issues of social justice, faith, and personal and communal responsibility to the common good. In this conference, experts in both academic and practical realms will come together to lead our campus in dialogue around issues challenging our community locally and globally.

In 2021, the Center for Catholic Studies will host the week-long conference Feb. 22-26. The 2021 Conference on Justice and Social Concerns is inspired by Fratelli Tutti: Encyclical Letter on Fraternity and Social Friendship by Pope Francis. .  

Each day of the Conference will feature a pre-recorded or live panel centering on the themes presented in Fratelli Tutti and linking them to the Marianist mission and charism. 


Speakers and Facilitators

  • James Greenaway, Ph.D.

    Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Charles H. Miller Sr., M.D., Chair in Human Dignity, St. Mary’s University

    FACILITATOR
    Day 1: Human Dignity

  • Karla Scott Solomon

    Survivor Advocate and Outreach Specialist and victim and survivor of sex trafficking

    PANELIST
    Day 1: Human Dignity, Human Trafficking

    Karla Scott Solomon was trafficked over a period of twenty-five years. Since 2017, she has spoken to audiences throughout the State of Texas through multiple outreach and awareness opportunities. As a Survivor Advocate and Outreach Specialist, she shares her testimony of personal lived experience of sex trafficking and seeks to equip individuals with tools to recognize exploitation.

    She and some friends have established Mercy Gate Ministries, a 501c3 nonprofit that focuses on the restoration and healing of trafficking survivors. She has taken board positions as a Survivor Leader for other ministries and organizations such as A21 Freedom Chasers. Among other achievements, Scott Solomon has trained staff in San Antonio airport how to spot human trafficking and what to do. She has also become a member of the HTSLC Human Trafficking Survivor Leader Council for the Governor’s Office for the State of Texas and TAASA and has been involved in reviewing the implementation of the State of Texas’s 5 Year Strategic Plan to fight against trafficking. 

    Scott Solomon Bio
  • Brenya Twumasi, J.D.

    Professor, University of Texas – San Antonio and Alamo Colleges

    PANELIST
    Day 1: Human Dignity, Human Trafficking

    Brenya Twumasi, J.D., is a professor at both University of Texas – San Antonio and Alamo Colleges.

    She is also the founder of C4C. She began her university studies at the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree (Political Science program). She earned her Master’s with Honors, Chi Sigma Iota, at St. Mary’s University, and her Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Twumasi’s focus was always interdisciplinary, with a career that spans many professions. At present, her professional expertise lies in the fields of Community Mental Health, Law, Education, Advocacy and Lobbying and Criminal Justice.

    Twumasi has written policies and procedures to establish citizen review panels for child abuse and neglect throughout all 24 jurisdictions of the State of Maryland. She has advised, trained and guided Maryland State representatives, staff and volunteers in regard to the duties, responsibilities and laws pertaining to these panels. She has served as a mediator and arbitrator, and served as a manager on the staff of a school for troubled youth.  She has also worked with inmates within the correctional system, and has received an award for her work. Later in her professional journey, Twumasi was appointed by the Maryland governor to review the progress and disposition of minors in the Maryland foster care system and to make recommendations to courts and agencies. A native of Ghana, Twumasi also served at the World Bank in Washington D.C. as a consultant. She assisted in three mayoral political campaigns, that of mayor of Baltimore and mayor of San Antonio. She currently is on the Bexar County Re-Entry Council. 

    Twumasi Bio
  • Deacon Robert “Bob” Leibrecht

    Director of Criminal Justice, Archdiocese of San Antonio

    PANELIST
    Day 1: Human Dignity, A Conversation on Prison Outreach

    Deacon Robert “Bob” Leibrecht is director of Criminal Justice Ministry for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. He oversees Catholic ministry at 34 facilities of incarceration and two immigrant centers.  Besides ministry inside the walls, he leads New Life Ministry, a parish support group for families of the incarcerated, has served Board of Chrysalis Ministries and co-chairs a faith-based group at the Bexar County Re-Entry Center. 

    Prior to coming to Archdiocese in 2010, Deacon Bob served five years in a similar position in the Diocese of San Angelo, where he was ordained in 2004.  He is a deacon at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Canyon Lake. In his previous career, he was a petroleum engineer for 28 years with Conoco.

    Leibrecht Bio
  • Cody Brown

    Participant of Criminal Justice Ministry

    PANELIST
    Day 1: Human Dignity, A Conversation on Prison Outreach

  • Justin Miller

    Participant of Criminal Justice Ministry

    PANELIST
    Day 1: Human Dignity, A Conversation on Prison Outreach

  • Gerald Poyo

    Gerald Poyo, Ph.D.

    O’Connor Chair in the History of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest and Professor of History, St. Mary’s University

    FACILITATOR AND PANELIST
    Day 2: Economic Justice

  • Noel Andrés Poyo

    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Community Development, U.S. Department of the Treasury

    PANELIST
    Day 2: Economic Justice, Perspectives on Latino Economic Justice

    Noel Andrés Poyo is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Community Development at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Poyo previously served as Executive Director of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), the hub of national network of more than 120 nonprofit organizations that serve ethnically diverse Latino communities across the U.S. He also serves as the CEO of Escalera Community Investments, NALCAB’s subsidiary asset management company. 

    A graduate of Yale University, Poyo has more than 20 years of experience in neighborhood development, real estate finance, small business investment and municipal agency efficiency.  A national leader in the community and economic development arenas, he is a regular speaker at national conferences and his advice is sought by policy makers and financial industry leaders.

    Poyo advises the executive leadership of JP Morgan Chase Bank, BBVA Compass Bank and Capital One Bank as a member of their respective Advisory Councils. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Responsible Lending, the nation’s leading research and advocacy organization focused on combating predatory lending. 

    Poyo Bio
  • Lindsey Passenger Wieck, Ph.D.

    Director of the Public History Graduate Program and Assistant Professor of History, St. Mary’s University

    PANELIST
    Day 2: Economic Justice, Perspectives on Latino Economic Justice and Documenting Latino Economic Development as a Social Justice Practice

  • Monica Limón

    Special Assistant to the Executive Director, National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders

    PANELIST
    Day 2: Economic Justice, Documenting Latino Economic Development as a Social Justice Practice

    Monica Limón serves as Special Assistant to the Executive Director at the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders. She is a recent transplant to San Antonio and has previously worked in the fields of commercial development, agriculture and information technology. Most recently, Limón co-lead a non-profit coalition based in California advocating for clean air policies in the San Joaquin Valley on the local, statewide and federal level. Additionally, Limón worked with San Joaquin Valley community residents to create a Community Emissions Reduction Programs (CERP) as mandated by AB 617 legislation.

    Originally from Fresno, California, Monica holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from Fresno State University.

    Limón Bio
  • Victoria Villaseñor

    Graduate Fellow, National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, and Public History graduate student at St. Mary’s University

    PANELIST
    Day 2: Economic Justice, Documenting Latino Economic Development as a Social Justice Practice

    Victoria Villaseñor was born and raised in San Antonio and is a second-year Public History graduate student at St. Mary’s University. Villaseñor earned her Bachelor of Arts in history with a minor in Spanish from Tarleton State University in Stephenville in 2019. She started her graduate career at St. Mary’s the following semester and began working as a Law Fellow. Villaseñor transitioned into working as a research assistant for St. Mary’s University and the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders in the summer of 2020, simultaneously accepting a Living Heritage Fellowship with the Office of Historic Preservation. Throughout her time at St. Mary’s, Villaseñor has dedicated her work to understanding and preserving the intangible heritage of San Antonio and Latinx culture. She is expected to graduate from St. Mary’s in Fall 2021.

    Villaseñor Bio
  • StMU Faculty Janet Armitage

    Janet Armitage, Ph.D.

    Chair of the Department of Sociology and Associate Professor of Sociology, St. Mary’s University

    FACILITATOR
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness

  • Rev. Anthony “Tony” Pogorelc, M.Div., Ph.D.

    Sociology Scholar in Residence, St. Mary’s University

    SPEAKER
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness, Introduction

    Rev. Anthony “Tony” Pogorelc, M.Div., Ph.D., is a Sulpician priest and Sociology Scholar in Residence of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at St. Mary’s University. He serves as Coordinator of Pastoral Formation, advisor and spiritual director at Assumption Seminary. He holds a M.Div. from St. Michaels College of the University of Toronto, an S.T.L. from St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. Specializing in the sociology of religion, his research has focused on social movements and organizations, young adults and professional ministers.

    Pogorelc Bio
  • Brother Edward Brink, S.M.

    Vice President for Mission and Rector, Chaminade University

    PANELIST
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness

    Brother Edward Brink, S.M. is the Vice President for Mission and Rector at Chaminade University. Brink entered the Society of Mary in 1985. The University of Dayton graduate served as a teacher, minister and administrator at Chaminade-Julienne High School. In 1998, he became director of a teacher service program at Dayton, then led the Center for Catholic Education from 2005 to 2007. From 2007 to 2015, he served as Assistant for Education for the Province and as a Regent for Chaminade University. His hometown is Endwell, New York.

    Brink Bio
  • Diana Cuy Castellanos, Ph.D., RD, LD

    Assistant Professor and Research Coordinator in Dietetics and Nutrition, University of Dayton

    PANELIST
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness

    Diana Cuy Castellanos, Ph.D., RD, LD, is an Assistant Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Dayton. She is a registered dietitian and teaches within the program of nutrition and dietetics. Courses she teaches include nutritional biochemistry, research methods, sports nutrition and community nutrition. Her research interests lie in examining dietary acculturation in immigrant populations, food insecurity, food access, nutrition transition and community-based participatory research. Cuy Castellanos is a board member of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, as well as a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Public Health Association.

    Cuy Castellanos Bio
  • Jeanne Holcomb, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of Sociology and Interim Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at the University of Dayton

    PANELIST
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness

    Jeanne Holcomb, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at the University of Dayton. Her research interests lie at the intersections of family life experiences, cultural presentations of family, and public health recommendations, especially those relating to parenting and child well-being.

    Holcomb Bio
  • Allison Jerome

    Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Chaminade University

    PANELIST
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness

    Allison Jerome is the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Jerome has been in her current position since 2016 and began her tenure at Chaminade University as staff in the Federal TRiO Student Support Services Program in 2004. At Chaminade, Jerome’s work has focused on support for first-generation, low-income and Pacific Islander students. Prior to her work at Chaminade, Jerome served in various roles in student life at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), Long Island University, Semester at Sea (University of Virginia), and Tulane University in New Orleans.

    Jerome earned a Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration from New York University. She is currently a Doctoral student at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa pursuing an Ed.D. in Professional Educational Practice, where her research interests include students’ sense of belonging and wellness.

    Jerome Bio
  • Sue Nash stands on the tree-lined St. Mary's campus.

    Sue Nash, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of Sociology, St. Mary’s University

    PANELIST
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness

  • Lorin Ramocki, DNP, RN

    Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator and Academic Partnership Coordinator, the School of Nursing and Health Professions, Chaminade University

    PANELIST
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness

    Lorin Ramocki, DNP, RN, joined Chaminade University in Fall 2017. Throughout her career, she has worked as a psychiatric-mental health nurse in various inpatient and outpatient settings including dual diagnosis, general behavioral health, child-adolescent behavioral health, geriatric behavioral health, emergency behavioral health and military combat/sexual trauma recovery. She has also previously worked as a nurse educator and as the Assistant Coordinator of Quality, Practice and Education at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. She completed her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Public Health Nurse Leadership through the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has served the Public Health community through volunteer nursing positions in a variety of settings — providing healthcare on mobile health vans, serving as a health educator at a homeless shelter, and serving in a medical reserve corps that prepares communities for public health issues/disasters.

    Ramocki Bio
  • Brother Thomas “Tom” Giardino, S.M.

    Executive Director, Association of Marianist Universities, and Member, St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees

    SPEAKER
    Day 3: Hunger Awareness, Closing Marianist Prayer and Final Thoughts

    Brother Tom Giardino, S.M. is a native of Cleveland. He professed vows in the Society of Mary in 1962 and graduated from the University of Dayton in 1965. He is presently the Assistant for Special Projects in the Office for Mission and Rector.

    For the last few years he served on the Provincial Administration for the Marianist Province of the USA and the former Cincinnati Province. From 2012-2015, he was the Executive Director of the Association of Marianist Universities and before that, from 2002-2011, the Executive Director of the International Center for Marianist Formation. From 1991-2001, Giardino worked in Rome as International Director of Education (or General Assistant for Education) on the S.M. General Administration. In this capacity, he led the development and implementation of the Characteristics of Marianist Education for Marianist educational institutions at various levels.

    He is a member of the University of Dayton Board of Trustees and the Board of Trustees for St. Mary’s University and previously served on the Board of Regents for Chaminade University. 

    Giardino Bio
  • Eric Chelstrom, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of Philosophy, St. Mary’s University

    FACILITATOR
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices

  • Josh Doty headshot

    Benjamin “Josh” Doty, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of English, Literature and Language, St. Mary’s University

    FACILITATOR
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices

  • Margaret Cantú-Sanchez, Ph.D.

    Instructor of English, St. Mary’s University

    SPEAKER
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices, Issues of Race and Racism in San Antonio and the Surrounding Region

  • Deborah Omowale Jarmon

    Executive Director, the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum

    SPEAKER
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices, Issues of Race and Racism in San Antonio and the Surrounding Region

    A retired civil servant with a 27-year career in the world of air traffic control, Deborah Omowale Jarmon relocated to San Antonio to be a “close-by” grandmother, teaching her grandchildren the importance of their legacy. Opening a bed and breakfast in the King William area of San Antonio, Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn, named for the family matriarch, immersed her family in her personal mission of love and service for family and community. When her family relocated to Atlanta, Omowale Jarmon realized the commitment of the bed and breakfast would prevent her from spending that quality time with her grandchildren. She sold the property and turned to community advocacy with a mission to connect the San Antonio African American community to each other, opportunities and its history. Her new position as the CEO/Director of the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum provides an opportunity to carry out her mission.

    Omowale Jarmon Bio
  • Sarah Zenaida Gould, Ph.D.

    Interim Executive Director, Mexican American Civil Rights Institute

    SPEAKER
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices, Issues of Race and Racism in San Antonio and the Surrounding Region

    Sarah Zenaida Gould is Interim Executive Director of the Mexican American Civil Rights Institute, a national project to collect and disseminate Mexican American civil rights history. A longtime public historian, she has curated over a dozen exhibits on history, art and culture, and was formerly founding director of the Museo del Westside and lead curatorial researcher at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

    Gould is co-founder and co-chair of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, a national organization that promotes historic preservation within American Latino communities and advocates for the protection of Latino tangible and intangible heritage. Additionally, she serves on the board of the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, on the council of the American Association of State and Local History, and is an active member of the Westside Preservation Alliance, a coalition dedicated to promoting and preserving the working-class architecture of San Antonio’s Westside.

    She received a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Smith College and an Master of Arts and Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan. She is a former fellow at the National Museum of American History, the Winterthur Museum, and the American Antiquarian Society, and is an alumna of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Leadership Institute.

    Gould Bio
  • Rick Sperling, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of Latin American/U.S. Latino Studies Program, St. Mary’s University

    SPEAKER
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices, Issues of Race and Racism in San Antonio and the Surrounding Region

  • José Medina, Ph.D.

    Walter Dill Scott Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University

    SPEAKER
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices, General Natures of Race and Racism

    José Medina, Ph.D., works primarily in critical race theory, feminist and queer theory, political philosophy, communication theory and social epistemology. His books include The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations (Oxford University Press; recipient of the 2013 North-American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award), and Speaking from Elsewhere (SUNY Press, 2006). His most recent co-edited volumes are The Handbook of Epistemic Injustice (Routledge, 2017) and Cosmopolitanism and Place (Indiana University Press, 2017).

    His current projects focus on how social perception and the social imagination contribute to the formation of vulnerabilities to different kinds of violence and oppression. These projects also explore the social movements and kinds of activism (including what he terms “epistemic activism”) that can be mobilized to resist racial and sexual violence and oppression in local and global contexts. Current book projects include Racial Violence and Epistemic Activism and Theories of the Flesh: Latin-American and US Latina Feminist Theories (with Andrea Pitts and Mariana Ortega).

    Medina Bio
  • Charles Mills, Ph.D.

    Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center, CUNY

    SPEAKER
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices, General Natures of Race and Racism

    Charles W. Mills, Ph.D., works in the general area of social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as centered on class, gender and race. In recent years, he has focused on race. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as five books. His first book, The Racial Contract (1997), won a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for the study of bigotry and human rights in America. It has been adopted widely in hundreds of courses across the United States, not just in philosophy, but also in political science, sociology, anthropology, literature, African American studies, American studies and other subjects. His second book, Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (1998), was a finalist for the award for the most important North American work in social philosophy of that year. He is also the author of From Class to Race: Essays in White Marxism and Black Radicalism (2003); Contract and Domination (co-authored with Carole Pateman, 2007), and Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality: Race, Class and Social Domination (2010). His sixth book, Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

    Mills is also the co-editor of Philosophy: The Big Questions (2003) with Ruth Sample and James Sterba, a special issue of the Du Bois Review on “Race in a ‘Postracial’ Epoch” (Spring 2014) with Robert Gooding-Williams, and Simianization: Apes, Gender, Class and Race (2015) with Wulf D. Hund and Silvia Sebastiani.  

    Mills received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. Before joining the Graduate Center at CUNY, he taught at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University.

    Mills Bio
  • Gisela Reyes (B.A. ’19)

    St. Mary’s University alumna and Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University

    SPEAKER
    Day 4: Diversity of Voices, General Natures of Race and Racism

    Gisela Reyes is a St. Mary’s University 2019 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. She is currently a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

    Reyes Bio
  • Larry Hufford, Ph.D.

    Larry Hufford, Ph.D.

    Professor of Political Science and International Relations, St. Mary’s University

    FACILITATOR
    Day 5: Social Action

  • Kiran Bains (B.A. ’06)

    Director of Community Impact at SA2020

    PANELIST
    Day 5: Social Action

    Kiran Bains (B.A. ’06) is the Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the City of San Antonio. Bains brings six years of experience in community development and peace-building work, primarily in South Asia and East Africa. She has taught the detrimental effects of institutionalized discrimination to high school students in New York and most recently spearheaded a yearlong diversity and inclusion initiative for AmeriCorps Members in Austin. A native of San Antonio and first-generation college graduate, Bains holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from St. Mary’s University and a Master’s in peace studies from the University of Notre Dame.

    Bains Bio
  • Jenee Margo Gonzales (B.A. ’97, J.D. ’93)

    Philanthropy Coordinator, Marianist Province of the United States

    PANELIST
    Day 5: Social Action

    Gonzales earned her Bachelor of Arts in Public Justice with a concentration in legal studies at St. Mary’s University in 1997. After graduating, Gonzales worked for UTSA and USAA. She returned to St. Mary’s to pursue her law degree. She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2003. After graduation, she served on Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte’s legislative staff for six years, including serving as Committee Director for the Texas Senate on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations. One of Gonzales’ proudest accomplishments was shepherding Senate Bill 93 through the 81st legislative session. This legislation is known as the Hazlewood Legacy Act which removes certain residency requirements, extends eligibility to spouses, and permits eligible veterans to assign their unused higher education hours to their child. After leaving the Texas Senate, Gonzales worked for Organizing for America-New Mexico as the field coordinator for San Miguel County for the 2010 mid-term elections. She returned to St. Mary’s in 2011 to work in the development office, first as an associate development director, then as the director of government relations and community collaborations and last as the director of annual giving. Gonzales has worked in major gift fundraising for the Marianist Province of the United States for the past six years. As philanthropy coordinator, Gonzales serves as the sole major gift officer for the Province and reports directly to the Provincial in St. Louis. Gonzales is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, and the Nonprofit Alliance formerly the National Catholic Development Conference. 

    Gonzales is a former president of the Hispanic Law Alumni Association of St. Mary’s University and a former board member for SAY Sí. Recently, Gonzales was selected to serve as a founding board member of Con Corazón San Antonio, a new non-profit focused on promoting and providing lasting solutions to address the health inequity and emergency preparedness through resources for underprivileged communities. She currently serves as a chair advisor to the Board Chair of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SAHCC). Gonzales was elected as the SAHCC 2019 and 2020 Leadership Development Committee Chair. In this role, she served as a member of the SAHCC Executive Committee. She also served on the 2019 Nominations Committee. Additionally, Gonzales lends her expertise to the Membership and Governance Committees. She served on the steering committee of the Alexander Briseño Leadership Development Program (ABLDP) of the SAHCC for six years, the last three as one of the tri-chairs. Additionally, she served on the steering committee for Leadership San Antonio Class 43 (LSA300). Gonzales is a Lay Marianist, having completed the Marianist Lay Formation Initiative in 2016. She is one of the founders of San Antonio Marianist Manna. She serves on the St. Mary’s University School of Law Red Mass Planning Committee and has done so since 2002. Gonzales volunteers as a fundraising advisor for the Marianist Sisters Vocation Fund Committee. She is a team member of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative’s (MSJC) national LGBT Initiative and MSJC’s Fundraising Committee. She is an inaugural member of the SA2020 Ambassadors Program, a Leadership San Antonio alumna from Class 40 (2015), and an alumna and class valedictorian of the SAHCC ABLDP (2011). From 2011-2018, she served at as a key volunteer for Fiesta Oyster Bake. She served as a Volunteer Compass Coach during nXu’s inaugural year. In 2013, Gonzales was presented the St. Mary’s University Alice Wright Franzke Feminist Award. In 2018, she was recognized at the SAHCC’s 9th Annual Women Making a Mark Luncheon with the Inspiration Award. In 2019, Gonzales was awarded the SAHCC ABLDP’s 3rd Annual Gerencia Con Corazón Alumnus Award. Recently, Gonzales was accepted to Leadership SAISD Education Leadership Development Program’s Class of 2021. 

    Gonzalez Bio
  • Headshot of Brian Halderman

    Brian Halderman, LMSW

    Director of Community Engagement and Success, GivePulse

    PANELIST
    Day 5: Social Action

    Brian Halderman, LMSW, serves as the Director of Community Engagement and Success with GivePulse, a civic tech firm that supports volunteer and event management software for nonprofits, higher education, municipalities and corporate partners. Previously he served as Director of the Center for Civic Engagement at The University of Texas at San Antonio and as the University Minister for Social Justice at St. Mary’s University.

    Halderman is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Sociology at St. Mary’s, where he teaches social work and civic engagement courses. He is active in the San Antonio community having served as secretary of the board for Pride Center San Antonio (2015-2019), a member with the San Antonio Volunteer Administrators, Compassionate San Antonio, the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and the City’s Faith-Based Initiative. Halderman is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and holds a Master’s in Social Work from Washington University in Saint Louis. Brian is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the State of Texas and an active member of the National Association of Social Workers, Texas Chapter, where he currently serves the association as a board member.

    Halderman Bio
  • Kevin Matula (B.A. ’14)

    Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Zachry Group

    PANELIST
    Day 5: Social Action

    Kevin L. Matula (B.A. ’14) is a South Texas native originally from Karnes City. A 2014 graduate of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, he also completed coursework focused on politics, public policy and media relations at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

    Matula has served in governmental offices at the local, state and federal levels, having worked for three state representatives, one congressman, a district attorney and multiple political candidates. Previously he served on the Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy team for CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally-owned utility. Currently, he serves as Zachry Group’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy where he supports the organization’s interface with external partners, which includes elected officials, community leaders and the news media.

    In the community, he serves on the board and executive committee of the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County as the current Chair of the Emerging Leaders Council. He has also served on boards and committees associated with the Texas Association of Business, the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), Catholic Charities, Eva’s Heroes and the Karnes City ISD Education Foundation.

    Matula Bio
  • Carla Ortiz

    Relationship Manager, Catholic Relief Services

    PANELIST
    Day 5: Social Action

    Carla Ortiz was born in San Antonio, but is proud of her Salvadoran roots. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English/Communication Arts and a Master’s degree in International Relations with a concentration in international conflict resolution from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

    She currently works for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in the Southwest Regional Office. As a Relationship Manager for CRS, she is responsible for outreach to dioceses, religious and civic organizations, and institutions in the region to educate and inform Catholics on global issues and provide opportunities for engagement. Prior to joining CRS Southwest she served as the Director of Communications and Development for Merced Housing Texas, a faith-based affordable housing agency and has worked as a reporter for several Spanish media publications.

    In the Process of the V Encuentro, Carla serves as the New Media Encuentro Representative for Region 10 (Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas).

    Ortiz Bio
  • Daniel Vasquez

    Youth and Young Adult Minister, Holy Rosary Catholic Church, and Theology Student, St. Mary’s University

    PANELIST
    Day 5: Social Action

    Daniel Vasquez is a native San Antonian with a servant’s heart. He is an alumnus of and current graduate student in the theology program at St. Mary’s University. Vasquez is currently the youth and young adult minister at the neighboring Holy Rosary Catholic Church where he loves to interact with the youth. Vasquez is excited to continue living out his passion for ministry and loves bringing youth and young adults closer to Christ.

    Vasquez Bio
  • Jim Vogt

    Director, Marianist Social Justice Collaborative

    PANELIST
    Day 5: Social Action

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