Pivoting with Excellence
In this issue, you’ll hear from an alumna doing epic things with sign language translation, our new esports coach, counseling students dedicated to improving mental health and a host of faculty, staff, students and alumni who helped St. Mary’s University pivot with excellence during the COVID-19 pandemic.Read More
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with alumnus George Hernandez Jr., President and CEO of University Health System.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with alumna Alejandra "Alex" Lopez, Economic Development Director for the City of San Antonio.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with alumnus and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.
June 23, 2020. Riverside, California – an hour’s drive from Los Angeles. A makeshift emergency room without air-conditioning inside Parkview Community Hospital – a small-volume hospital that served mostly nursing home patients before the coronavirus pandemic.
Recent St. Mary’s University alumna Maria Guadalupe “Lupita” Partida had a rare opportunity to step into the mind of an Aztec messenger through her remote internship this summer with the Library of Congress.
Michael “Mickey” Schott (B.B.A. ’68) peers over first base toward the green outfield. The bat makes a loud crack! Schott fields the ball and tags the runner out. The memories flood his mind like it happened yesterday, but it has been more than 50 years.
Like most people in the city — and around the world — Jose Placencia’s (B.B.A. ’10) life has changed drastically from one day to the next during the coronavirus pandemic.
With more than 4.3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., advocating for them is a big job. It’s one that launched Ramiro Cavazos (M.P.A. ’03) out of the Lone Star State and into the nation’s capital.
Terrill Kucera is not your ordinary educator. Terrill Kucera works for Catholic Relief Services as an education program manager in Bamyan, Afghanistan. The well-traveled alumnus has worked abroad with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for most of the last decade.
Selling chocolates, baked goods and lemonade at age 8. Buying gumball machines to expand profits at 12. Then, purchasing vending machines at age 16. Perhaps her entrepreneurial spirit comes from her grocery store-owning parents, but Alejandra Zertuche (B.S. ’08, M.B.A. ’11) has always been all about business.
As director of community impact for SA2020, Kiran Bains is at the heart of San Antonio’s commitment to propelling businesses and nonprofits to fulfill the city’s vision: deliver quality services to the public and achieve prosperity.
Since graduating from St. Mary’s University, Cristie Esparza (B.B.A. ’07) has dedicated her life to acts of service — a practice she began during her time as an undergraduate.
Arts and Humanities
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with theology professor Allison Gray.
Taking advantage of the flexibilities of online learning, Communications Assistant Professor Amanda Hill, Ph.D., has made virtual learning more beneficial for all her students.
At no time in modern history has the need for public health expertise been more striking, nor has the call to rectify inequities in the nation’s public health system been louder.
The summer entering her sophomore year of college, Midori Flores, an Environmental Science junior at St. Mary’s University, began work on her first children’s book.
One in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness. But help is on the way. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors will grow 25% this decade.
Karina Nanez, senior Communication Studies major, has collected rocks — almost daily — since age 5. The El Paso native picked up the hobby from her aunt Josefina, who inspired in her an early sense of wonderment at the natural world.
In Greece in the eighth century B.C., Homer began composing an epic poem, The Odyssey, which would become one of history’s most influential pieces of literature.
Of 2.3 million people living in San Antonio, more than 295,000 are immigrants, and about 175,000 are potentially at risk of deportation, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.
This year, a former student, now a middle school teacher, approached me about a pupil who had confided in him about having thoughts of self-harm. This was not the first time I heard the issue of mental stress in teenagers.
Tired of being cooped up indoors this summer? Here’s a list of Rattler reads to keep you company — books recently written by our very own St. Mary’s University alumni, professors and staff.
Every semester, Margaret Cantú-Sanchez, Ph.D. (B.A. ’06, M.A. ’07), hears students say, “I’ve never read anything by a Mexican American author.” While this shocks her, it is an all too common experience among educators, even in a city as diverse as San Antonio, which is 64% Latino.
A study space called the Collaboratory, located on the fifth floor in Chaminade Tower at St. Mary’s University, is bringing together budding minds in the Department of History.
Athletics and Recreation
Deni Cresto, a junior from Curitiba, Brazil, studying Exercise and Sport Science, often refers to a message from St. Mary’s University Men’s Soccer Head Coach Johnny Clifford: “Control what you can control.”
Like young baseball fans around the world, Jeff Wigdahl dreamed of making the big league — Major League Baseball.
Breaking into the world of esports has been a challenge for women. At St. Mary’s University, Kaitlin Teniente found her chance to become the first head coach — leading the new varsity Esports Program.
The loss of the opening game of the Fall 2019 Men’s Soccer season felt like a make-or-break moment. But it wasn’t just the loss that stung — it was the way we lost.
In his senior season on the St. Mary’s University Men’s Soccer team, Pato Botello Faz took the Heartland Conference by storm and signed to play with a United Soccer League club in Michigan, the Lansing Ignite.
“Just put a Band-Aid on it.” This was Melanie Call’s nonchalant response after receiving a busted lip playing for the Alamo City Roller Girls (ACRG), San Antonio’s women’s roller derby team.
Hannah Petersen heard stories of how difficult it would be to say goodbye to her new friends in Vietnam after a three-week stay of service in Summer 2017.
Erica Baum (B.S. ’96) always dreamed of doing something bigger than herself — she just didn’t realize how literal that might be.
Jessica Brower has, perhaps, the best icebreaker in the history of conversation. The diminutive St. Mary’s University senior tells people, quite matter-of-factly, that she’s a sumo wrestler.
It might not seem like an obvious connection, but for Eric Weissling (B.B.A. ’10), his St. Mary’s University business education is a perfect match for his career as a professional basketball coach.
St. Mary’s Athletics has strung together many impressive seasons in many different sports during recent years, but 2014-2015 will go down as something special: three sports in tight national championship chases, buzzer-beating playoff wins, and a record number of academic award winners, just to name a few.
On Feb. 21, 2014, St. Mary’s baseball pitcher Matt McClain had a game for the ages, tossing a nine-inning no-hitter against Rogers State. He struck out 12 in Rattler baseball’s first no hitter since the 2007 season and just the second in at least 12 years.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with business professor Sung-Tae (Daniel) Kim.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with business professor Robbie Bishop-Monroe.
Economic divide — it’s the common threat to a global society. For example, mango farmers in Haiti earn 2% of revenues for their labor. That’s only two cents for every dollar of mangoes sold.
Flourishing through innovation underpins not only Rene Dominguez’s life, but also his career in economic development in the Alamo City.
Studies consistently show the most promising careers now require “softer” relationship-oriented abilities paired with strong analytical skills. For instance, the role of human resources manager landed in the 35th slot among 800 fastest growing occupational fields in the United States.
Predictions show the world will generate 163 zettabytes of data annually by 2025, according to the research group IDC. Businesses are forecast to create and manage 60% of that data.
Nadia Carrasco-Vasquez hadn’t been at St. Mary’s University a full semester before thinking, “I’m tired of being broke. I need to do something with my education.”
What struck Professor of International Business Jeffrey Johnson, Ph.D., most was the orphans’ joy. “They were amazing, happy, always smiling, always wanting to play volleyball or soccer,” Johnson said of the 160 African children in kindergarten through fourth grade.
The Mexico native co-taught the Student Managed Portfolio class with now-retired Professor Richard Bauer, Ph.D., who launched the course in 2007 to give St. Mary’s business students an opportunity to invest real money in companies — starting with a $1 million fund.
In March, 11 St. Mary’s University students in a Core Curriculum capstone class — SMC 4301: Prospects for Community and Civilization — traveled to Australia for a week. It was the first time a Core capstone class was held abroad.
By age 22, Sarah Place (M.B.A. ’98) had lived in 13 states — but had yet to truly find her place. One of those stops was Texas, where her father was stationed at Fort Sam Houston.
You can hear the joy in John Sieffert’s voice when he talks about his collection of ’50s and ’60s factory muscle cars, most of which are restored to concours quality — a standard far exceeding mint condition.
At St. Mary’s University, at no time in our history has our ability to succeed as a team been tested as it has amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At no time has our ability to come together ensured the future of the University and our region as we have this year.
During a pandemic, proper cleaning is crucial. Fortunately for the St. Mary’s community, the Housekeeping Department went above and beyond even before COVID-19.
At the University made the transition to online, the Rattler Success Center (RSC) was one step ahead, having already begun online tutoring earlier in the 2019-2020 academic year.
Most students who go to college leave behind proud parents at home. For Abdulrahman Almaghlooth (B.A. ’20), he not only went to college with his mother, Reema Alhowaish (Ph.D. ’20), but also graduated with her in the spring as part of St. Mary’s University’s first virtual Commencement ceremony.
Christmas Day, 2018. A couple of bags in hand, Shaima Khalaf flew into San Antonio to start a new life as a student in the Master of Arts in English Literature and Language program at St. Mary’s University.
At St. Mary’s University, our campus community talks a lot about educating leaders for the common good — a noble yet, on first glance, abstract notion. What does it look like when our faculty and staff apply their expertise to solving some of humanity’s biggest problems?
Universities across the country, including St. Mary’s University, have been grappling with increasing mental health concerns among their student bodies. Compounding those existing challenges are the spread of the coronavirus across the United States and the significant shifts in the way we work, learn, teach and live.
The gifts of The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign have already made a huge impact on student success. Students and faculty share their paths to success through the short story and quotes.
One gift alone can contribute to transformative educational opportunities — the defining moments that change a student’s trajectory from unsure to successful, elevate a professor’s research into the national limelight and support the University community in its faith journey with Catholic and Marianist traditions.
Gerald E. Poyo, Ph.D., resolved to tell the story of St. Mary’s University’s history with the intention of uncovering its Hispanic historical narrative. What he found was the University’s foundation, from the very start, was rooted in a call to serve Mexican children.
Shirish Amatya, a senior Computer Science major in the Marianist Leadership Program, is a long way from home. That’s because Amatya grew up in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, nearly 8,500 miles away from St. Mary’s University.
When the Dean of Students asked me to be the editor-in-chief of St. Mary’s University’s student-run newspaper as a freshman in Fall 2002, I scoffed. I didn’t feel ready or capable. I barely knew my way around campus.
Faith and Service
Pivoting with excellence: The Rattler Impact Scholarship awards over $1.2 million to nearly 1,000 students
In July, through the generosity of the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association, President Mengler and his wife, Mona, combined with University funds, St. Mary’s offered the Rattler Impact Scholarship to further support nearly 1,000 students in Fall 2020.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear masks. The Mask Squad — a group of about 80 St. Mary’s University students who were trained and are committed to the health and safety of every member of our community — have worked to stem the spread of COVID-19 on campus this fall.
Since 2007, more than 100 students at St. Mary’s University have sung their hearts out for the masses as proud participants of Chapel Choir.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit San Antonio during spring break – temporarily paralyzing St. Mary’s University’s prayer community – it didn’t take long for Jessica Uhlig, Ed.D., Executive Director of Marianist Educational Associates, to place her faith in technology.
While there’s no perfect way to “Vote Catholic,” theologian Julie Hanlon Rubio, Ph.D., proposes a framework for helping the faithful make tough decisions during election season. Rubio is a Professor of Social Ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California.
Find out how our students and faculty are better able to strengthen their beliefs through the gifts of The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign through Q&A and quotes.
From following the steps of Jesus’ crucifixion at Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa to visiting the Western Wall and the Dead Sea, 14 students in a Theology course this spring visited important Israeli sites of pilgrimage in the Christian, Catholic, Jewish and Islamic faith traditions.
For 71 years, Holy Rosary Catholic Church and St. Mary’s University have been neighbors on San Antonio’s West Side. Literally steps apart, these two Marianist institutions have largely existed in parallel. Now, there are significant efforts to converge their futures — and strengthen the neighborhoods around them in the process.
Growing up on the West Side of San Antonio, Amelia “Amy” Nieto (B.B.A. ’89, M.P.A. ’97) remembers summer evenings riding her bike from her childhood home on Marquette Street to the St. Mary’s University campus, waving to Brother William J. Hamm, S.M., on his nightly runs.
As members of the legal community prepare to reflect on the intersection of faith and law during Red Mass in October, it may be equally important to remember how faith has played a part in 300 years of San Antonio history.
For six decades, the now 86-year-old Kunihiro has served as a life mentor to the men, women and children of Japanese ancestry in Brazil, many of whom face drug addiction, mental disorders and familial problems.
While attending our annual banquet for student-athletes recently, I experienced first-hand why maintaining St. Mary’s University’s Catholic identity and Marianist charism is so important. Soccer player Kiernan Akers, one of two recent graduates invited to address their fellow athletes, spoke about how St. Mary’s had changed his life.
The mark of a great law school to Patricia Roberts, J.D., is weaving values of service into the educational mission, while training skilled, competent lawyers — both ethical and formed in faith.
This year, the St. Mary’s University School of Law community joined together as never before to meet the needs of its student body and the San Antonio region.
Pivoting with excellence: Law students and alumni unite to provide remote services to health care workers
Several St. Mary's Law students and alumni joined an effort by the San Antonio Legal Services Association (SALSA) to draft wills for health care workers battling COVID-19 on the frontlines in San Antonio this summer.
This fall, Ramona L. Lampley, J.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, kept students engaged through a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous components, coupled with multiple assessments and a flipped classroom model.
In some ways, going virtual has made it easier for the Office for Law Student Affairs to meet with students, said Alan K. Haynes, J.D., Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs. Setting up meetings with students before could be difficult, especially if they lived outside San Antonio. Even if it’s just a conversation, Haynes will use Zoom instead of the phone to talk to the student.
Hustling to move the law school’s Externship Program online by summer, Amanda Rivas (J.D. ’09), Director of Externships, said her main focus was on supporting externship supervisors and externs as they switched to remote working environments, ensuring that students would continue to receive challenging work and feedback.
Pivoting with excellence: Law associate dean brings legal topics into focus through online instruction
Even before COVID-19 hit, Colin P. Marks, J.D., Associate Dean for Graduate and Summer Programs and Ernest W. Clemens Professor of Law, was certified to teach classes online. So, when he pivoted his approach mid-semester last spring, his students continued to learn through short video lectures with quizzes and a once-a-week Zoom session to discuss learning objectives and questions.
Pivoting with excellence: All-star professor leads the way for national virtual advocacy competitions
The day that A.J. Bellido de Luna, J.D., Hardy Director of Advocacy and Service Professor, was supposed to cancel the St. Mary’s University School of Law’s Lone Star Classic for the fall, three other advocacy competitions had been canceled.
Law alumna creates paths for the overlooked and underserved. After a 20-year law career, Raquel Tamez (J.D. ’98) set on a new course as CEO of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, on any given day in the Bexar County court system, you could find a long line of unrepresented tenants and homeowners about to lose their homes. The outcome was almost certain. Tenants would be evicted. Homeowners would be foreclosed.
It took 15 years in prison to understand who she was, but Gricelda Moreno knows — she is strong, she has found her faith and she understands what domestic abuse is.
In some parts of rural Colorado, access to high-speed internet could look like a trip to the local Walmart parking lot or the public library, a barrier which can affect access to justice.
Science and Tech
Juan Ocampo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is leading two projects focused on the structural integrity of aircraft and nuclear facilities, drawing students into the research process.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with University physician Dr. Hugo Salazar.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with engineering professor Juan Ocampo.
Pivoting with excellence: Academic Technology Services staff step up to ensure seamless online instruction
Prior to Spring 2020, Academic Technology Services provided Online Teaching Certification to about 12 faculty members each semester. Between April and the start of Fall 2020 classes, a staggering 170 faculty members completed the training.
True to St. Mary’s University’s commitment to delivering excellent education in the health fields, more than 460 graduates — since 1979 — have gone to study at medical school.
Professor of Electrical Engineering Vahid Emamian, Ph.D., has long had his heart set on mentoring future engineers at St. Mary’s University — but also on applying cutting-edge machine learning methods to help doctors monitor heart health.
Last spring, I toured the Southwest Research Institute with a group of students to learn about summer internships. In a whirlwind overview, our host told us about some of their current projects and the cutting-edge mathematics being used.
Sixty years after discovery by St. Mary’s University students, Natural Bridge Caverns still unfurling mysteries
In the land before time — well, 140 million years ago — Southwest Texas lay under a warm ocean. During the Cretaceous period — about 60 million years ago — tectonic movements cracked spaces in subterranean rock.
In nearly three decades teaching at St. Mary’s University, Gary Ogden, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences, remembered a touching moment that happened early in his professorship at St. Mary’s that brought him to tears.
During high school in India and with her family, Sunitha Jenarius (B.S. ’06) remembers teaching math, science and English to young girls in slums. “The high school I went to was run by nuns,” Jenarius said. “Every Friday, we brought onions and potatoes to the people living in the slums.”
Find out how our students and faculty have followed their passions to find academic and research distinction with help from the gifts of The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign through the short story and quotes.