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Texas Woman's Magazine - Fall 2022

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A PUBLICATION FOR<br />

ALUMNI, FRIENDS<br />

AND SUPPORTERS<br />

FALL <strong>2022</strong><br />

TWU<br />

steps up<br />

to fill the<br />

teacher<br />

shortage


A Higher<br />

Calling<br />

With teachers<br />

in short supply<br />

from coast to<br />

coast — and<br />

deep in the<br />

heart of <strong>Texas</strong> —<br />

TWU steps up<br />

to increase<br />

the pipeline


INSIDE<br />

6<br />

THE WOMAN<br />

BEHIND ROE V. WADE<br />

Legal trailblazer’s collection<br />

at TWU.<br />

8<br />

THE GIFT OF HEALTH<br />

Dawn Chaney, Ph.D., ’63,<br />

’66, ’70 promotes her<br />

wellness philosophy by<br />

funding scholarships.<br />

24<br />

TRUE GRIT<br />

Gladys Acosta ’18, ’23<br />

empowers multilingual children.<br />

<strong>Texas</strong><br />

Woman’s<br />

FALL <strong>2022</strong><br />

PUBLISHER: Kimberly A. Russell, Ed.D.,<br />

Vice President, University Advancement<br />

Executive Director, TWU Foundation<br />

MANAGING EDITOR: Brittany A. Connolly<br />

Director, Executive Communications<br />

CONTRIBUTORS: Jasmine Carter,<br />

Eveline Chao, Michelle Cummings,<br />

Matthew Flores, Patrice Frisby, Shelby<br />

Gould, Launey Patton Griffith, Christopher<br />

Johnson, Kristina Kaskel-Ruiz, Carolee<br />

Klimchock, Nelda Martinez, Chelsea Mullin,<br />

Lisa Rampy, Renee Thompson<br />

ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN: Zehno<br />

ILLUSTRATORS: Davide Bonazzi, Gracia Lam,<br />

Delphine Lee, Margie and the Moon,<br />

Kayli Mato, Jeannie Phan, Lauren Sanders<br />

PHOTOGRAPHERS: Jill Broussard, Heather Key<br />

CHANCELLOR AND PRESIDENT:<br />

Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.<br />

PRINT PRESS: Slate Group<br />

©November <strong>2022</strong>, <strong>Texas</strong> Woman’s University<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 1


What’s the<br />

latest victim of<br />

supply-chain<br />

scarcity?<br />

American<br />

schools.<br />

NOWADAYS, THE national teacher<br />

shortage is hitting close to home.<br />

Currently, <strong>Texas</strong> has 40,000 fewer<br />

teachers than needed in public K-12<br />

schools. Some rural school districts<br />

have even moved to a four-day school<br />

week as a stop-gap measure until they<br />

can hire more teachers.<br />

Having gained a reputation for<br />

training many of <strong>Texas</strong>’ best<br />

educators for over a century, TWU’s<br />

College of Professional Education<br />

(COPE) has devised innovative<br />

strategies to help curb the teacher<br />

shortage — and address the larger<br />

social implications underlying it.<br />

“It’s an ethical and a moral<br />

obligation to support public educators,”<br />

COPE Associate Dean Gina Anderson<br />

noted. “But it’s also absolutely critical<br />

for the economic health of our state<br />

and our nation.”<br />

Public-school leaders applaud<br />

COPE’s commitment. “TWU has a<br />

long history of preparing outstanding<br />

educators for the teaching profession,”<br />

said Jamie Wilson, superintendent<br />

of the Denton Independent School<br />

District. “From its commitment to early<br />

literacy to preparation for master’sdegree<br />

special educators, TWU’s<br />

COPE prepares life-changing teachers<br />

for our classrooms.”<br />

THE SOCIAL COST<br />

Studies show that quality child care<br />

and early-childhood education —<br />

crucial to social and intellectual<br />

development — have a lifelong impact.<br />

In fact, youngsters receiving quality<br />

early-childhood education and care<br />

have better outcomes in adulthood,<br />

including career and earning potential.<br />

Yet many children are missing out.<br />

In addition to the K-12 teacher<br />

shortage, preschool and infant care<br />

remain understaffed and prohibitively<br />

costly. Nearly half of U.S. families<br />

live in “child-care deserts,” in which<br />

one licensed child-care spot exists<br />

for every three children needing<br />

one, according to the Center for<br />

American Progress.<br />

And the numbers can be shocking:<br />

The cost of infant child care in <strong>Texas</strong><br />

exceeds in-state college tuition, as it<br />

does in 32 other states, according to<br />

the Economic Policy Institute.<br />

2 TEXAS WOMAN’S


These expenses, coupled with<br />

the overall lack of regular childcare<br />

access, don’t just hold children<br />

back but can also disrupt the<br />

career trajectory of many parents,<br />

particularly women.<br />

INVESTING IN HUMAN CAPITAL<br />

COPE’s reputation for graduating<br />

impactful future teachers is<br />

acknowledged by many education<br />

leaders, including Amarillo College<br />

President Russell Lowery-Hart. “TWU<br />

is a long-standing leader in preparing<br />

some of <strong>Texas</strong>’ most inspiring<br />

educators,” he said. “Amarillo College<br />

and TWU share a strong history<br />

of innovation, and I’m honored to<br />

continue our partnership in changing<br />

student lives.”<br />

Even the tenure of TWU’s teachers<br />

is noteworthy. Eighty percent of its<br />

graduates remain in the teaching<br />

profession after 10 years, exceeding<br />

the national average of 55% and state<br />

average of 50%.<br />

“When you look at the data, our<br />

candidates are hired, they’re retained,<br />

and they’re more successful than other<br />

candidates entering the profession,”<br />

Anderson explained.<br />

COPE also extends its reach<br />

by training teachers across the<br />

state through community college<br />

collaborations, resulting in classroom<br />

leaders with local ties that benefit<br />

students and communities.<br />

COPE’s Educator Preparation<br />

program attracts a diverse student<br />

body of working professionals and<br />

parents who return to gain degrees and<br />

credentials. Professional development<br />

workshops, hybrid advising and testpreparation<br />

tools position these<br />

students for success.<br />

But other needs exist.<br />

THE COSTLY ROAD AHEAD<br />

Several significant costs of teacher<br />

education arise when graduation is on<br />

the horizon.<br />

Unpaid student teaching assignments<br />

required for state certification include<br />

significant in-class time, resulting in<br />

thousands of dollars in lost wages.<br />

After student teaching comes the state<br />

certification exam, costing another<br />

$1,000 or more in fees.<br />

Since many future teachers support<br />

their own families, these financial<br />

burdens may derail their progress.<br />

What’s a better alternative? Provide<br />

a living wage for student teachers.<br />

If nascent teachers were paid, more<br />

could afford to complete their degrees<br />

and become certified <strong>Texas</strong> educators.<br />

It could be game changing, a remedy<br />

for the dire teacher shortage in <strong>Texas</strong>.<br />

Tackling the issue head on, COPE<br />

Dean Lisa Huffman vows to reduce<br />

the financial obstacles many student<br />

teachers at TWU face.<br />

Chancellor Carine Feyten and<br />

Associate Dean Anderson applaud<br />

Dean Huffman’s — and COPE’s —<br />

commitment to public education as a<br />

democratic ideal.<br />

“<strong>Texas</strong> will benefit economically<br />

from the investment in teachers,”<br />

Anderson said. “There has never been<br />

a more important time as a collective<br />

community for us to uplift, recognize,<br />

celebrate and invest in quality<br />

educator preparation.”<br />

50 Years of Bilingual Education<br />

TWU has boosted Spanish-language competencies for 50 years and counting<br />

The brainchild of<br />

leading educators,<br />

TWU’s bilingual<br />

education programs<br />

date back to 1969.<br />

Then, as now, the<br />

college’s education<br />

experts focused on<br />

field experience and<br />

small class sizes to<br />

pioneer the best<br />

teaching practices.<br />

The former Bilingual<br />

Education Centro<br />

de Acción (BECA)<br />

prepared students<br />

for more than half a<br />

century with native<br />

Spanish-speaking<br />

instructors and<br />

experiential learning<br />

opportunities.<br />

The legacy<br />

continues today.<br />

TWU has forged<br />

ahead for decades<br />

to train teachers to<br />

better reflect the<br />

state as a whole.<br />

Here’s how:<br />

The Reading Recovery<br />

program, a part of<br />

COPE’s department of<br />

Literacy and Learning,<br />

began in 1989 to<br />

promote early literacy<br />

and prevent literacy<br />

gaps among first<br />

graders. This TWU<br />

program is one of<br />

two in the nation<br />

for educators.<br />

Descubriendo la<br />

Lectura is the only<br />

Reading Recovery<br />

program in the world<br />

that offers training<br />

in Spanish. Since<br />

1997, participating<br />

students have<br />

received intensive,<br />

individualized<br />

instruction in Spanish<br />

from certified<br />

bilingual teachers.<br />

Project PIONERAS<br />

is a $2.2 million<br />

scholarship and<br />

research project<br />

that began in<br />

2016. It enhances<br />

Spanish-language<br />

competencies, content<br />

and pedagogical<br />

knowledge, and familyengagement<br />

skills for<br />

undergraduates<br />

and teachers in<br />

bilingual classrooms.<br />

Project HELP<br />

(Hispanic Educators<br />

Leading the<br />

Profession), which<br />

began in 2019,<br />

provides scholarships<br />

to help cover tuition<br />

and fees for the<br />

final four semesters<br />

at TWU. Federal<br />

funding enables<br />

TWU to partner<br />

with community<br />

colleges statewide<br />

so that Hispanic<br />

future teachers<br />

can transfer and<br />

complete their<br />

education degrees<br />

at TWU.<br />

Project LEAMOS,<br />

which began in<br />

<strong>2022</strong>, is a one-year<br />

grant that enables<br />

40 educators to<br />

earn an M.A. in<br />

multilingual and<br />

multicultural studies.<br />

Learn more<br />

Contact Dean Lisa Huffman at<br />

LHuffman1@twu.edu<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 3


Voices from TWU grads<br />

“The forward-thinking education<br />

and cutting-edge curriculum at<br />

TWU prepared me to become a<br />

leader in the classroom. TWU was<br />

affordable, the community was<br />

welcoming, and I could not find<br />

that combination elsewhere.”<br />

> DANIELLE “DANI” SANCHEZ ’20<br />

“Going to TWU<br />

definitely opened<br />

the door for my<br />

career in special<br />

education. I went<br />

into teaching to<br />

help kids, and<br />

that’s what I did.”<br />

> MIRIAM HONIG ’89<br />

“I’m a mom of five kids and<br />

finished my TWU degree<br />

while balancing my family<br />

responsibilities and achieving my<br />

goal to become a music teacher.<br />

The faculty took the time to get<br />

to know me. They understood<br />

my situation and made my<br />

educational experience realistic.”<br />

> NATALIE JOYNER ’19<br />

“Despite being a working mother and driving more than<br />

50 miles each way [to class] after work, I did very well in my<br />

courses. The master’s degree was the final piece needed.”<br />

> YVONNE HANNON THOMPSON ’96 How you can<br />

get on board<br />

Contact advancement@twu.edu<br />

4 TEXAS WOMAN’S


QWorking for the<br />

Super Win-win<br />

What role does COPE play in the<br />

broader community?<br />

College of Professional Education<br />

students are learning how to become<br />

excellent educators and pillars of<br />

their communities. We’re working<br />

to graduate more <strong>Texas</strong> teachers for<br />

> LISA HUFFMAN, PH.D.,<br />

College of Professional<br />

Education Dean<br />

COPE Dean Lisa Huffman aims to erase<br />

<strong>Texas</strong> teacher shortages and child-care deserts<br />

students ages 3-18. We’re focused on<br />

supporting our local families through<br />

education, providing access to mental<br />

health services, offering family<br />

counseling services and developing<br />

community leaders.<br />

First, we lead an early STEAMthinking<br />

camp (Science, Technology,<br />

Engineering, Art, Mathematics) for<br />

young children that reaches across<br />

the state. We call it Digital Days<br />

Summer Camp, and it’s led by faculty<br />

from the department of Literacy and<br />

Learning and master’s students in<br />

early childhood education. They’re<br />

integrating learning, retention and<br />

focused-based coursework with<br />

STEAM applications for young children,<br />

their parents and teachers.<br />

We offer a mental-health clinic<br />

that provides our communities with<br />

affordable resources. Our Counseling<br />

and Family Therapy Clinic, a part of<br />

COPE’s Human Development, Family<br />

Studies, and Counseling department,<br />

also provides our graduate students<br />

with clinical opportunities.<br />

And we work with rural libraries<br />

across <strong>Texas</strong> to ensure equal access to<br />

print and digital information. In many<br />

rural communities, the library is the<br />

only source of reliable internet.<br />

What early-childhood education<br />

challenges are we facing as a state?<br />

As a state, we must invest in earlychildhood<br />

education, which focuses on<br />

preparing teachers for pre-kindergarten<br />

through third-grade classrooms.<br />

We have child-care deserts. We have<br />

families and parents who can’t find care.<br />

At TWU we offer a number of programs<br />

preparing the early-childhood-educator<br />

workforce for every corner of society.<br />

We offer a variety of flexible and fullyonline<br />

undergraduate and graduate<br />

degree programs.<br />

We’ve all seen the dire headlines about<br />

the K-12 teacher shortage. But what<br />

can be done?<br />

It costs a lot of money to become a<br />

teacher. There are a number of broad<br />

factors contributing to the teacher<br />

shortage, and that’s why we’re working<br />

to remove every obstacle to becoming<br />

a teacher that we can.<br />

Our students are often nontraditional,<br />

and they’re entering TWU<br />

— or maybe returning to college — to<br />

receive an education at an average age<br />

of 28. They’re typically parents; they<br />

care for their children; and they may<br />

be caring for other family members.<br />

We find that a lot of students have<br />

to step out of the program and save<br />

money for their in-classroom student<br />

teaching experience and certification<br />

exams. Student teaching is required<br />

by the state, along with mandatory<br />

certification exams, which may total<br />

thousands of dollars.<br />

My goal is to find a way to cover<br />

the costs associated with becoming a<br />

certified teacher from coursework<br />

to graduation.<br />

What is your biggest “reach” goal<br />

as dean of COPE?<br />

Going back to early-childhood<br />

education and child-care deserts, I’d<br />

like to have early learning centers on<br />

each of our campuses.<br />

We’re a woman-focused, Hispanic-<br />

Serving Institution with the most<br />

diverse student body in <strong>Texas</strong> and<br />

the fourth-most diverse student<br />

body in the nation, according to U.S.<br />

News & World Report.<br />

Early learning centers would provide<br />

our students access to high-quality<br />

teaching experience in the classroom.<br />

So the children benefit, TWU<br />

students benefit and the state benefits.<br />

I call it a super win-win.<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 5


DONOR IMPACT<br />

The Woman Behind<br />

Roe V. Wade<br />

Legal trailblazer’s<br />

collection at TWU<br />

will enhance research<br />

and teaching<br />

I<br />

n 1973, Sarah Weddington,<br />

a 26-year-old lawyer<br />

from West <strong>Texas</strong>,<br />

made history when she<br />

successfully argued the<br />

landmark Roe v. Wade<br />

case before the U.S. Supreme Court.<br />

When that case was overturned<br />

earlier this year, it — and one of the<br />

women behind it — once again became<br />

relevant to another generation of<br />

educators, students, journalists and<br />

researchers.<br />

Now TWU’s Jane Nelson Institute<br />

for Women’s Leadership and the Mary<br />

Evelyn Blagg-Huey Library will play a<br />

central role in future research about<br />

the historic case.<br />

Before her passing in December 2021,<br />

Weddington — a former TWU professor<br />

— donated her papers, photographs,<br />

books and other archival materials to<br />

the university. For much of the year,<br />

library staff have been busy organizing,<br />

inventorying and digitizing the millionplus<br />

documents that make up the Sarah<br />

Weddington Collection. They aim to<br />

Boldly go<br />

Learn how you can<br />

support TWU libraries at<br />

advancement@twu.edu<br />

make it navigable to students and<br />

researchers for generations to come.<br />

“Archivists have the gift of learning<br />

people’s stories and preserving them,”<br />

says Director of Special Collections<br />

Kimberly Johnson ’93, ’07. “That’s what<br />

we do every day and are working hard<br />

to do with this collection.”<br />

A TRAILBLAZING FIRST<br />

The collection paints a portrait<br />

of a trailblazer who made history:<br />

as the first woman from Travis<br />

County to be elected to the <strong>Texas</strong><br />

House of Representatives, the first<br />

woman general counsel for the U.S.<br />

Department of Agriculture and as an<br />

adviser on women’s issues to President<br />

Jimmy Carter.<br />

“Women have an enormous power<br />

to effect change, and Weddington’s<br />

collection is the preservation of her<br />

activism,” says Johnson. “Through the<br />

collection, you get to know her as a<br />

young girl growing up in West <strong>Texas</strong>, as<br />

a student in law school at UT … you see<br />

her at each stage in her life and career.”<br />

Weddington’s commitment to<br />

education and her belief that all people<br />

should have equal access to education<br />

are evident in the collection.<br />

“She also mentored TWU<br />

students, inspiring some to pursue<br />

law careers,” said the late Phyllis<br />

Bridges, a TWU Cornaro Professor<br />

of English, administrator and friend<br />

of Weddington who helped bring the<br />

collection to the university system.<br />

“When it came time to decide where she<br />

wanted to place her papers, Weddington<br />

had many offers. She chose to donate<br />

them to TWU.”<br />

A digital archive featuring selections<br />

from the collection will be available<br />

online next year. Special Collections<br />

staff have given talks to TWU students<br />

about the significance of the collection,<br />

and they’ve received inquiries from<br />

other universities about using the<br />

materials in history, women’s studies,<br />

political science and health classes.<br />

6 TEXAS WOMAN’S


“TWU will always have a special<br />

place in my heart because of our<br />

shared interest in promoting<br />

leadership in women.”<br />

Sarah Weddington<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 7


DONOR IMPACT<br />

The Gift of Health:<br />

Nurturing the Body<br />

and Mind<br />

Alumna promotes<br />

wellness philosophy<br />

by funding scholarships<br />

for health and<br />

kinesiology students<br />

> DAWN CHANEY, Ph.D.,<br />

’63, ’66, ’70<br />

Stewarding one’s health is the key<br />

to helping others. That belief led<br />

Dawn Chaney to create opportunities<br />

for TWU students in fields ranging<br />

from exercise science and physical<br />

education to occupational therapy<br />

and sport management.<br />

The two Dawn S. Chaney<br />

Undergraduate and Graduate<br />

Scholarship Endowments totaling<br />

$100,000 support students in the<br />

School of Health Promotion and<br />

Kinesiology. In recent years, students<br />

in the school have conducted<br />

research exploring equity issues in<br />

COVID-19 health responses, circadian<br />

desynchronization and much more.<br />

“Whether it is developing NASA<br />

award-winning devices that<br />

improve space travel or analyzing<br />

the biomechanics of elite PGA<br />

golfers, our students are inspired<br />

by unique learning opportunities<br />

to make a difference in the world,”<br />

said Christopher Ray, dean of the<br />

College of Health Sciences. “With<br />

philanthropic investments like the<br />

Chaney endowments, we will continue<br />

to forge bold new discoveries that not<br />

only elevate our legacy of educating<br />

outstanding health and wellness<br />

professionals but also enhance the<br />

human condition.”<br />

LEADING THE NATION<br />

The School of Health Promotion<br />

and Kinesiology is a national leader<br />

ranking among the top 10 online<br />

programs for bachelor's degrees in<br />

the health sciences.<br />

TWU kinesiology students also have<br />

bested the competition two years in a<br />

row at a NASA-sponsored design event.<br />

The team’s <strong>2022</strong> project was enhanced<br />

by adding a red therapeutic light to<br />

the device to further improve<br />

astronauts’ sleep quality.<br />

Graduates of the school go on to<br />

impressive careers. Bolstered by her<br />

Ph.D. in kinesiology with a sport<br />

management concentration, Lisa<br />

Langston ’10 said she is “a better<br />

manager, a better leader and a better<br />

critical thinker” thanks to her<br />

TWU education.<br />

“Every project I completed,<br />

every research paper I submitted<br />

was related to my role as an<br />

interscholastic athletic administrator,”<br />

said Langston, director of athletics<br />

for the Fort Worth Independent<br />

School District.<br />

A VISION FOR BOLD WOMEN<br />

At the heart of Chaney’s decision<br />

to endow the TWU scholarships is<br />

her desire to expand educational<br />

opportunities at the woman-focused<br />

8 TEXAS WOMAN’S


institution. Women, she said, “have to<br />

be able to hear and see the vision of<br />

what they can become.”<br />

Although Chaney now focuses on<br />

managing a portfolio of investment<br />

properties — in addition to serving on<br />

a variety of community organizations<br />

in Greensboro, N.C., where she resides<br />

— she spent most of her career in<br />

higher education.<br />

Chaney’s gift to her alma mater is an<br />

extension of her lifelong advocacy for<br />

women’s education and health science.<br />

She earned her undergraduate and<br />

graduate degrees in physical education<br />

from TWU.<br />

Her continuing affinity for TWU is<br />

another impetus for the gift. When she<br />

first visited the Denton campus more<br />

than 60 years ago, she immediately fell<br />

in love with the atmosphere. What<br />

stands out to this three-time alumna<br />

all these years later is the vibrant<br />

intellectual exchanges “and the amount<br />

of interaction with faculty and students<br />

that was available for all of us.”<br />

Due to her generosity, a new<br />

generation of TWU students will be<br />

enriched by that same spirit of<br />

collaboration and personal growth.<br />

Boldly go<br />

Learn how you can support<br />

TWU colleges and programs<br />

at advancement@twu.edu<br />

1,500+<br />

current TWU Health Sciences majors<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 9


WHAT IF?<br />

What if TWU launched<br />

an aviation program?<br />

Frequent flyers need some relief<br />

IF YOU have flown on an airplane<br />

recently, you probably realized that<br />

the travel industry is changing. Flight<br />

delays, cancellations and similar<br />

frustrations have put a damper on<br />

passengers’ enthusiasm for air travel.<br />

And recent studies corroborate<br />

what many frequent fliers have<br />

noticed: We need more pilots.<br />

What if TWU was a part of<br />

the solution in addressing aviation<br />

industry challenges?<br />

Because TWU is a woman-focused<br />

university system, increasing female<br />

representation in the workforce is<br />

especially important. Is aviation the<br />

next industry where we could make<br />

an impact?<br />

While women constitute 47% of the<br />

total U.S. workforce, they represent<br />

only 20% of the aviation industry,<br />

according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor<br />

Statistics. This gender gap is especially<br />

visible among pilots, where women<br />

comprise about 5% of the profession<br />

and less than 2% of senior management,<br />

as noted by the Pilot Institute.<br />

Why so few? For many women, as<br />

well as underrepresented populations,<br />

flight school can be daunting.<br />

Commercial pilots need at least<br />

1,500 flight hours, in addition to other<br />

requirements. Many pilots take classes in<br />

mathematics, physics and meteorology as<br />

well as aviation history, law and business.<br />

Pilot preparation is expensive, and few<br />

universities combine flight school with<br />

four-year degrees.<br />

But TWU could change that.<br />

“I believe we have the unique<br />

capacity to move into areas where we<br />

see large gender gaps,” said Chancellor<br />

Carine Feyten.<br />

FLYING HIGHER<br />

Some students are already addressing<br />

the challenges that plague the industry.<br />

In <strong>2022</strong>, TWU’s Team Oneiroi —<br />

comprised of five senior kinesiology<br />

majors — was named Best Overall Team<br />

at the NASA-sponsored <strong>Texas</strong> Space<br />

Grant Consortium Design Challenge.<br />

Their winning entry? They created and<br />

submitted a wearable light-therapy<br />

device that helps astronauts regulate<br />

their sleep cycles.<br />

History is filled with prominent women<br />

figures in aviation. At TWU, the Woman’s<br />

Collection houses the Women Airforce<br />

Service Pilots (WASP) archive. The<br />

WASP archive includes over 1 million<br />

wartime and postwar items and personal<br />

collections of hundreds of the WASP.<br />

That leads to a new question: As a<br />

community, what better way to honor the<br />

past, than to help lead the future?<br />

Tell us what<br />

you think<br />

Send us a note at<br />

advancement@twu.edu<br />

10 TEXAS WOMAN’S


RESEARCH<br />

THAT<br />

MATTERS<br />

Learn how you<br />

can support<br />

research at TWU<br />

Send us a note at advancement@twu.edu<br />

> GIOVANNI VALDERAS, MFA<br />

Assistant Professor, Painting and<br />

Drawing in the Division of Visual Arts<br />

Taking it to<br />

the streets<br />

Community impact drives<br />

assistant professor’s art practice<br />

GIOVANNI VALDERAS used<br />

to think of art as something<br />

created just for galleries.<br />

But while teaching in Dallas<br />

community colleges, he<br />

realized his students often<br />

found art inaccessible<br />

and intimidating.<br />

“I thought, ‘I’ve been<br />

doing this all wrong — my<br />

work needs to be out in the<br />

community,’ ” he explained.<br />

So he began making<br />

piñata-inspired houses and<br />

installing them “guerillastyle”<br />

around Dallas’ Oak<br />

Cliff neighborhood, drawing<br />

attention to the affordable<br />

housing crisis and its<br />

impact on Black and<br />

Latinx communities.<br />

Teaching, too, is part<br />

of his practice. Now an<br />

assistant professor in<br />

TWU’s division of Visual<br />

Arts, Valderas is thrilled<br />

when students approach<br />

him after his presentations<br />

to share comments like,<br />

“I feel like you’re talking<br />

directly to me.”<br />

He clearly is. That’s why<br />

he makes art that draws<br />

from, and speaks to, his<br />

culture and community.<br />

“Artists,” he emphasized,<br />

“can be catalysts for<br />

change.”<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 11


Healing through Music<br />

Program’s graduates speak the languages<br />

of music and health care<br />

RESEARCH<br />

THAT<br />

MATTERS<br />

AS ANY seasoned musician<br />

will tell you, music is both<br />

an art and a science. It’s<br />

about the physics of sound<br />

and the magic of rhythm.<br />

TWU faculty are<br />

uncovering music’s<br />

power to heal by training<br />

accomplished musicians<br />

to become compassionate<br />

music therapists. As health<br />

care practitioners, their<br />

task is to help alleviate<br />

pain, enhance memory<br />

and improve cognitive<br />

functions in stroke patients,<br />

children and neurologically<br />

diverse individuals.<br />

TWU’s undergraduate<br />

music therapy program<br />

is one of only five — and<br />

the only master’s program<br />

— in <strong>Texas</strong>. Training in<br />

piano, voice, guitar and<br />

percussion, as well as<br />

courses in the psychology<br />

of music and anatomy and<br />

physiology, prepares grads<br />

for a national exam that<br />

leads to board certification.<br />

Preparation pays off, as<br />

TWU’s graduates have a<br />

pass rate of 67% compared<br />

to 51% nationally, according<br />

to the Certification Board<br />

for Music Therapists.<br />

#<br />

1<br />

The only music therapy<br />

master’s program in <strong>Texas</strong><br />

> Music therapy<br />

students BRANDON<br />

CARRASCO ’25 and<br />

XITLALY LULE ’26<br />

12 TEXAS WOMAN’S


PLANNING TO MAKE<br />

A DIFFERENCE<br />

PAYING IT<br />

FORWARD<br />

EDUCATION IS empowering.<br />

It can be a catalyst that lifts<br />

people from all walks of life<br />

to new levels of economic,<br />

social and professional<br />

opportunity. And it can echo<br />

through future generations,<br />

changing the trajectory of<br />

a family for all time.<br />

Planned giving is one way<br />

to extend intergenerational<br />

benefits. Such gifts to<br />

TWU have the power to<br />

sustain and shape the<br />

institution. Planned gifts<br />

create a flexible and<br />

charitable legacy, enabling<br />

donors to “pay it forward”<br />

by acknowledging the role<br />

TWU played in their lives.<br />

MEETING CRITICAL NEEDS<br />

Special education is a<br />

critical area of need that<br />

Alicia B. Quinn ’94, a<br />

librarian, plans to support<br />

by dedicating a portion of<br />

her estate to TWU. Her<br />

planned gift will help prepare<br />

teachers and researchers<br />

to work with students with<br />

exceptional needs.<br />

Another alumna’s passion<br />

for literacy will live on<br />

through her planned gift.<br />

The late Distinguished<br />

Alumna and Cornaro<br />

Professor of Reading<br />

Emerita Billie J. Askew ’82<br />

was an influential leader<br />

and contributor to national<br />

and international Reading<br />

Recovery efforts, including<br />

TWU’s programs, which she<br />

founded in 1989.<br />

Student-athletes and<br />

Pioneer Athletics have<br />

inspired generous support<br />

from Bettejoe “Smokey”<br />

Rogers Pendleton ’58<br />

for nearly a decade. Not<br />

only did she establish a<br />

scholarship endowment,<br />

she also gifted a portion<br />

of her estate, leaving a<br />

lasting legacy for TWU’s<br />

athletics program.<br />

“It is an awesome and<br />

rewarding responsibility<br />

for us to know that<br />

Bettejoe Rogers Pendleton<br />

believes in our ability to<br />

magnify the mission of<br />

the university through<br />

academics, athletics and<br />

leadership development,”<br />

said Sandee Mott, director<br />

of athletics.<br />

Quinn, Askew and<br />

Pendleton are among the<br />

many donors who’ve chosen<br />

to be catalysts for change<br />

— opening doors to a better<br />

life and a better world for<br />

future generations.<br />

Learn more<br />

about planned<br />

gifts<br />

Visit plannedgiving.twu.edu<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 13


1979<br />

TWU Softball won the<br />

1979 AIAW Women’s<br />

College World Series<br />

that was held in<br />

Omaha, Neb., to<br />

become National<br />

Softball Champions.<br />

Photo: TWU Special Collections<br />

> 2017<br />

Nicole Nordie ’17 was<br />

named to the 2017<br />

D2CCA Softball All-<br />

South Central Region<br />

First Team. She was also<br />

recognized as a NFCA<br />

All-Region First Teamer<br />

and was chosen as the<br />

Lone Star Conference<br />

Player of the Year and to<br />

the All-LSC First Team.<br />

THEN AND NOW<br />

Seriously<br />

Sporty Women<br />

TWU reflects on<br />

50 years of Title IX<br />

NOT MANY universities<br />

can claim two Olympic<br />

medalists as coaches.<br />

But at TWU, Sara Lilly, a<br />

2004 bronze medalist in<br />

synchronized swimming,<br />

and Randi Miller, a 2008<br />

bronze medalist in<br />

wrestling, are two of<br />

nine head coaches.<br />

Fifty years ago, Title IX of<br />

the Education Amendments<br />

Act passed, affording<br />

women equal opportunity<br />

in athletics. At TWU, this<br />

included the advent of<br />

athletics scholarships,<br />

championed by former<br />

Athletics Director Jo Kuhn.<br />

Since its inception in<br />

1906, TWU Athletics has<br />

prided itself on serving<br />

women student-athletes.<br />

In 1979, the university<br />

named its athletic teams<br />

the Pioneers, then adopted<br />

a Minerva owl as its<br />

mascot in 2017. In 1982,<br />

TWU joined the National<br />

Collegiate Athletic<br />

Association (NCAA).<br />

Today the university<br />

competes in five<br />

intercollegiate Division II<br />

NCAA sports — basketball,<br />

gymnastics, soccer, softball<br />

and volleyball — and also<br />

offers competition in artistic<br />

swimming, dance, STUNT<br />

and wrestling.<br />

Thanks to Kuhn and other<br />

visionaries, <strong>Texas</strong> Woman’s<br />

continues to empower<br />

women through education,<br />

competition and leadership<br />

development.<br />

14 TEXAS WOMAN’S


BOLDLY<br />

GO<br />

> A BRIGHT FUTURE<br />

A graduate from the<br />

class of 2020 savors<br />

the moment at Dallas’<br />

Reunion Tower<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 15


SUPPORTING WOMEN VETERANS<br />

The Jane Nelson Institute<br />

for Women’s Leadership<br />

awarded grants, ranging<br />

from $1,000 to $10,000,<br />

to 33 women-veteranowned<br />

businesses across<br />

<strong>Texas</strong> in 2021 and <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

THE JANE NELSON<br />

INSTITUTE FOR<br />

WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP<br />

(JNIWL) at TWU is<br />

dedicated to preparing<br />

more women to take<br />

on successful roles in<br />

business and public<br />

service. Our three<br />

specialized centers<br />

provide women with<br />

the education to<br />

establish executive-level<br />

careers, the skills for<br />

building entrepreneurial<br />

businesses and the<br />

framework needed to<br />

run for public office.<br />

JNIWL features<br />

three centers: Center<br />

for Student Leadership,<br />

Center for Women<br />

Entrepreneurs, Center<br />

for Women in Politics<br />

& Public Policy.<br />

Learn more<br />

at twu.edu/lead<br />

THE GOLD BEACON LLC<br />

Navy veteran and social worker<br />

Kimberly Henry’s full-service nonprofit<br />

agency provides sustainable tools<br />

and services to organizations seeking<br />

to address gaps and challenges. The<br />

grant allowed her to create free content<br />

including guides to help organizations<br />

increase their capacity and become<br />

champions for social change.<br />

GRANT WINNER LOCATIONS<br />

16 TEXAS WOMAN’S


THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF<br />

VETERAN'S AFFAIRS PROJECTS<br />

THAT WOMEN WILL ACCOUNT<br />

FOR 40% OF ALL VETERANS<br />

IN THE NATION.<br />

SAN ANGELO<br />

GARLAND<br />

HOUSTON ENGLISH<br />

LANGUAGE SPECIALISTS LLC<br />

Simone Brown was an English-language<br />

instructor for 20 years and realized<br />

there was a need for physician-specific<br />

communication programs. Her organization<br />

provides international physicians with the<br />

communication skills needed to clearly and<br />

effectively communicate across cultures<br />

to improve patient outcomes. The grant<br />

allowed Brown to add resources<br />

to scale the business.<br />

MILKSPACE LLC<br />

Kelli Mumphrey’s company specializes in<br />

safe, clean spaces for nursing parents. The<br />

Navy veteran’s business addresses the<br />

lack of outdoor breastfeeding spaces by<br />

providing <strong>Texas</strong> public-space operators<br />

and event organizers with on-demand<br />

lactation spaces for venues and events.<br />

The grant funded the purchase of<br />

a sanitation tower.<br />

HOUSTON<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 17


NEWS ROUNDUP<br />

Campus by Campus<br />

Learn what’s happening in Denton, Dallas and Houston<br />

> LITTLE CHAPEL<br />

VOTED THE BEST<br />

TWU’s Little Chapelin-the-Woods<br />

was<br />

recognized as the city’s<br />

top wedding venue by<br />

Best of Denton <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

World-renowned<br />

architect O’Neil Ford<br />

designed the chapel,<br />

which was built in 1939.<br />

DENTON<br />

TWU RANKS AT THE TOP<br />

TWU is among the top<br />

American universities for<br />

social mobility, according<br />

to U.S. News Best Colleges.<br />

TWU ranked ninth in <strong>Texas</strong><br />

and within the top 15% of<br />

universities nationally for<br />

social mobility.<br />

TWU HOSTS TWO-TIME<br />

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST<br />

The Jane Nelson Institute<br />

for Women’s Leadership<br />

(JNIWL) and the Nancy<br />

P. and Thaddeus E. Paup<br />

Lecture Series hosted<br />

Olympic gold medalist<br />

Brandi Chastain in October.<br />

The moderated discussion<br />

explored the connection<br />

between women’s<br />

leadership and sports.<br />

DALLAS<br />

ANNUAL OT EVENT<br />

CELEBRATES 30 YEARS<br />

The Vanderkooi Endowed<br />

Lectureship, established<br />

in 1993, honors Fanny<br />

B. Vanderkooi, TWU’s<br />

first program director of<br />

Occupational Therapy. The<br />

2023 Vanderkooi Endowed<br />

Lectureship will mark the<br />

30th anniversary of the<br />

School of Occupational<br />

Therapy’s annual event.<br />

DALLAS NURSING IN<br />

THE COMMUNITY<br />

The North <strong>Texas</strong> Food<br />

Bank awarded its highest<br />

honor, the Tom Black<br />

Volunteer Award, to<br />

Dallas nursing students<br />

for their dedication to<br />

community service.<br />

HOUSTON<br />

COB AND CWE PARTNERSHIPS<br />

The TWU College of<br />

Business and JNIWL<br />

Center for Women<br />

Entrepreneurs hosted the<br />

annual Women’s Business<br />

Enterprise Alliance<br />

conference, which awards<br />

certification support,<br />

educational programs and<br />

scholarships to businesses<br />

and employees.<br />

NEW HOUSING<br />

TWU has partnered with<br />

<strong>Texas</strong> A&M University to<br />

offer Houston campus<br />

students a housing<br />

opportunity at Life Tower.<br />

WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP PROGRAM<br />

The TWU Bold LeadHERship<br />

Roundtable — sponsored<br />

by the TWU College of<br />

Business, JNIWL and the<br />

Greater Houston Chamber<br />

of Commerce — is a sixmonth<br />

program for women<br />

of color in senior-level<br />

leadership positions.<br />

18 TEXAS WOMAN’S


ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT<br />

Alumni Global<br />

Network<br />

TAP INTO<br />

THE POWER<br />

TWU’s global<br />

network is more than<br />

100,000 strong! The<br />

Pioneer Network’s<br />

online community<br />

of TWU alumni,<br />

students, faculty,<br />

staff and supporters<br />

fosters connection<br />

with fellow Pioneers.<br />

For more information,<br />

visit twupioneernetwork.com<br />

10,000+<br />

ALUMNI SHARED<br />

STORIES<br />

The Pioneer<br />

Reflections oralhistory<br />

project got<br />

big-time buy-in from<br />

alumni this spring<br />

and summer. A digital<br />

archive and print<br />

book comprised of<br />

thousands of stories<br />

will be available.<br />

For more information,<br />

visit twu.edu/pioneerreflections<br />

99 %<br />

of storytellers recommended the<br />

opportunity to fellow alumni<br />

Submit news<br />

Tell us what’s happening<br />

in your life and career<br />

twu.edu/alumnews<br />

CONNECT<br />

WITH US<br />

alumniengagement@twu.edu<br />

940-898-2586<br />

FOLLOW @TXWOMANSALUMNI ON<br />

FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER<br />

facebook.com/txwomansalumni<br />

instagram.com/txwomansalumni<br />

twitter.com/txwomansalumni<br />

JOIN US AT AN<br />

UPCOMING EVENT<br />

twu.edu/alumevents<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 19


Pioneers<br />

> “MENTORING IQUAIL<br />

over the past six years,<br />

as he has grown into<br />

a dance scholar, has<br />

been one of the most<br />

rewarding aspects of<br />

my job,” said Rosemary<br />

Candelario, director of<br />

TWU’s dance program.<br />

“Iquail’s dissertation has<br />

the potential to shift how<br />

the field thinks about<br />

Black men in American<br />

concert dance.”<br />

> IQUAIL<br />

SHAHEED ’22<br />

Dancer,<br />

choreographer,<br />

instructor<br />

THE RIGHT MOVES<br />

New Stage<br />

Broadway dancer Iquail<br />

Shaheed ’22 adds Ph.D.<br />

to his artistic accolades<br />

BROADWAY DANCER,<br />

choreographer, entrepreneur<br />

and new TWU Ph.D. dance<br />

grad Iquail Shaheed ’22 has<br />

studied at some of the most<br />

illustrious dance programs<br />

in the country including the<br />

Alvin Ailey American Dance<br />

Center, Philadanco and the<br />

Juilliard School.<br />

Today he’s the founder and<br />

artistic director of DANCE<br />

IQUAIL!, which has earned<br />

prestigious grants from the<br />

National Endowment for<br />

the Arts and other funding<br />

agencies. He also starred in<br />

Broadway productions of<br />

The Lion King, Hot Feet and<br />

Super Fly.<br />

Shaheed’s path to a<br />

doctorate in dance was made<br />

possible by TWU’s lowresidency<br />

program, which<br />

enables mid-career students<br />

to pursue a Ph.D. without<br />

taking time off from work.<br />

Celebrating its 65th<br />

year in <strong>2022</strong>, the TWU<br />

Ph.D. dance program is<br />

the longest running of its<br />

kind and one of only five in<br />

the country. Its flexibility<br />

allowed Shaheed to maintain<br />

his active schedule as a<br />

professional performer and<br />

dance instructor in Maryland<br />

at Goucher College, a former<br />

women’s college.<br />

Shaheed’s Ph.D. is an<br />

asset in many ways. It<br />

denotes expertise in the<br />

scholarship of dance, and it<br />

sets the stage for becoming<br />

a sought-after author and<br />

thought leader.<br />

“A lot of the work we do<br />

is social-justice focused<br />

and brings attention to<br />

voices that often aren’t<br />

heard,” he said. “The Ph.D.<br />

gives me the tools to bring<br />

those voices to light in my<br />

instruction and practice.”<br />

20 TEXAS WOMAN’S


ASHLEY<br />

DAME ’12 AND<br />

NATHAN DAME ’11<br />

Award-winning<br />

choir directors<br />

> KELLI<br />

CONNELL ’03<br />

Photographer<br />

and Guggenheim<br />

honoree<br />

EYE ON THE PRIZE<br />

Guggenheim<br />

awarded to alumna<br />

WHEN ASHLEY DELANEY<br />

visited TWU to check out its<br />

music education programs,<br />

she fell in love with the<br />

graduate curriculum — and<br />

eventually a student pianist<br />

she met that day. There, in<br />

the office of Professor and<br />

Music Education Coordinator<br />

Vicki Baker, she first met<br />

Nathan Dame ’11.<br />

“He was sitting on<br />

her piano bench as they<br />

wrapped up his individual<br />

instrument training,”<br />

Ashley recalls.<br />

She decided to enroll,<br />

because the flexible course<br />

options allowed her to<br />

balance her day job with her<br />

graduate preparation. “It’s<br />

an attractive program for<br />

MUSIC EDUCATION<br />

A DUET THAT WORKS<br />

Ashley ’12 and Nathan Dame ’11 found<br />

love and award-winning careers at TWU<br />

practicing educators,” she<br />

says. But the best part was<br />

the hands-on training with<br />

real music teachers.<br />

After Ashley graduated<br />

in 2012, she and Nathan<br />

stayed in touch, even as he<br />

pursued a Ph.D. in Kansas.<br />

“We love music, so we<br />

mailed each other CD<br />

mixes,” Nathan said.<br />

Today the two are not<br />

only married, but also<br />

fellow choir directors at<br />

Wylie East High School in<br />

Wylie, <strong>Texas</strong>.<br />

Under the Dames’ watch,<br />

the school’s choir program<br />

has tripled in size to 320<br />

students, and both directors<br />

have won multiple awards.<br />

Ashley won the 2021 <strong>Texas</strong><br />

Choral Directors Association<br />

Innovative Programming<br />

Award, and Nathan was<br />

named one of Yamaha’s<br />

Top 40 Under 40 Music<br />

Educators in the United<br />

States in <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Both credit TWU with<br />

their success. “TWU’s<br />

program was so practical.<br />

You could easily take what<br />

you learned and apply it<br />

in the classroom the next<br />

day and witness a positive<br />

impact on the kids,”<br />

Nathan said.<br />

“TWU wasn’t just the<br />

place that we met,”<br />

says Ashley. “It was the<br />

place that trained us to<br />

be the music educators<br />

we are today.”<br />

FOR THE last eight years, artist<br />

Kelli Connell ’03 has retraced the<br />

life of Charis Wilson, best known<br />

as a model and the former wife of<br />

famed modernist photographer<br />

Edward Weston. Connell explores<br />

the artist-sitter relationship by<br />

photographing her own partner<br />

in the same locations where<br />

Weston depicted his then-wife.<br />

This year, Connell won<br />

a prestigious Guggenheim<br />

Fellowship for her project<br />

“Pictures for Charis.” She plans<br />

to produce a book and three<br />

museum exhibitions of her<br />

work in 2024.<br />

“Having work recognized by<br />

the Guggenheim Foundation is<br />

a tremendous honor,” Connell<br />

said. “I will use the <strong>2022</strong><br />

fellowship year to continue<br />

making work for the project<br />

‘Pictures for Charis.’ I feel a<br />

wealth of gratitude for this<br />

opportunity, and for everyone<br />

who has supported the project<br />

along the way.”<br />

Connell credits TWU,<br />

especially Susan kae Grant,<br />

Cornaro Professor of Visual<br />

Arts Emerita, with shaping<br />

her career.<br />

“Working with Susan was<br />

such a gift,” said Connell,<br />

now a professor and graduate<br />

program director of the<br />

Photography department at<br />

Columbia College Chicago.<br />

“Susan organized her classes by<br />

creating a sense of community<br />

where everyone had an equal<br />

voice, and she really influenced<br />

how I teach my courses today.”<br />

“TWU is a place that<br />

encourages students to work<br />

diligently on their fine art<br />

practices and to become<br />

confident in who they are as<br />

artists,” Connell said.<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 21


ALEXANDRA<br />

WELKER ’22,<br />

NAIKE KASONGO<br />

’22, SHAUNTA<br />

ROCKMORE ’22<br />

Empowering<br />

Women as Leaders<br />

scholarship recipients<br />

AS SHAUNTA ROCKMORE<br />

’22 can attest, the value of<br />

the Empowering Women as<br />

Leaders (EWL) scholarship<br />

goes far beyond the funding<br />

it provides. A cum laude<br />

graduate in criminal justice<br />

and business and an EWL<br />

scholarship recipient,<br />

Rockmore said the EWL<br />

experience “gave me hope<br />

and opportunities.”<br />

EWL is a nonprofit<br />

organization that supports<br />

MY SCHOLARSHIP MATTERS<br />

Empowering<br />

Mentorship<br />

Empowering Women as Leaders scholarship<br />

contributes much more than dollars and cents<br />

non-traditional women<br />

students beginning or<br />

returning to college. They<br />

provide support through<br />

scholarships, mentoring<br />

and networking. Recipients<br />

are awarded funds to offset<br />

educational costs and are<br />

paired with a mentor based<br />

on their educational and<br />

career goals. The mentoring<br />

relationship spans their entire<br />

college experience and two<br />

years into their careers.<br />

For Alexandra Welker ’22,<br />

the scholarship’s mentoring<br />

component provided muchneeded<br />

support during her<br />

undergraduate coursework.<br />

Welker found someone with<br />

whom she connected, and<br />

she describes her new friend<br />

as “a wonderful mentor in my<br />

life, a person who challenges<br />

me to meet my goals.”<br />

“This scholarship support<br />

really changed my life,” said<br />

Welker, who graduated from<br />

her Texarkana high school<br />

20 years ago. She will<br />

complete her TWU English<br />

degree in December.<br />

Inspiring students<br />

and helping them<br />

become leaders in their<br />

fields and communities<br />

has been EWL’s intent<br />

since 2005. When<br />

awarding scholarships,<br />

EWL prioritizes women<br />

seeking their first<br />

undergraduate degree.<br />

Another EWL awardee,<br />

Naike Kasongo ’22, will<br />

also finish her sociology<br />

degree in December. A<br />

non-traditional student<br />

and parent, Kasongo works<br />

full time while raising four<br />

children and managing<br />

her coursework. At times,<br />

she finds this juggling act<br />

“challenging physically<br />

and financially.”<br />

“The EWL scholarship<br />

definitely improved my<br />

educational experience at<br />

TWU,” Kasongo said of the<br />

combination of financial<br />

assistance and active<br />

mentoring. “It is refreshing<br />

to know that help is a phone<br />

call away,” she said.<br />

Rockmore describes<br />

her EWL mentors as both<br />

inspiring and encouraging.<br />

She said, “They are some of<br />

the greatest overcomers I’ve<br />

ever met.”<br />

22 TEXAS WOMAN’S


THE BLOOMBERG<br />

TRADING AND<br />

ANALYTIC S LAB<br />

was created with<br />

the generous<br />

support of Nancy P.<br />

and Thaddeus E.<br />

Paup and the Jane<br />

Nelson Institute<br />

for Women’s<br />

Leadership.<br />

DID YOU KNOW?<br />

A BOOST FROM<br />

BLOOMBERG<br />

New trading and analytics<br />

lab prepares business<br />

students for future careers<br />

WATCH OUT, Wall Street!<br />

TWU’s newest business<br />

grads will be ready to hit the<br />

ground running, thanks to<br />

their experience using the<br />

same Bloomberg terminals<br />

as the ones used by elite<br />

business schools and top<br />

financial firms.<br />

The launch of the<br />

Bloomberg Trading and<br />

Analytics Lab this academic<br />

year on the Denton<br />

campus will enhance the<br />

student experience and<br />

make TWU grads stand<br />

out from the crowd.<br />

“This lab will prepare<br />

our College of Business<br />

(COB) students in finance<br />

and business analytics<br />

for the workplace,” Dean<br />

Rama Yelkur explained.<br />

“Our finance students will<br />

be trained and Wall Street<br />

ready. They will hit the<br />

ground running as they<br />

begin their careers in the<br />

financial sector.”<br />

In addition to providing<br />

research and study space,<br />

the lab will offer direct access<br />

to a subscription-based<br />

financial software known<br />

as the Bloomberg Machine.<br />

This platform, widely used<br />

by global-finance firms,<br />

will afford TWU students<br />

experience in real-time<br />

market data analysis.<br />

The lab is just the latest<br />

reason the COB is poised<br />

to become one of the best<br />

business schools with a<br />

woman-focused mission.<br />

With multiple undergraduate<br />

and graduate degree<br />

programs, including two<br />

options for undergraduates<br />

to earn their BBA and MBA<br />

in five years, the COB is<br />

reaching new heights.<br />

Learn more<br />

Contact Dean Rama Yelkur at<br />

ryelkur@twu.edu to support the COB<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 23


True Grit<br />

Literacy<br />

across Cultures<br />

COPE alumna burnished her own bilingual<br />

skills to empower multilingual children<br />

What inspires you<br />

to support TWU?<br />

Send us a note at advancement@twu.edu<br />

W<br />

ith a political and<br />

economic crisis<br />

brewing in their home<br />

country, Venezuela,<br />

it was fortuitous<br />

that an appealing<br />

job brought Gladys Acosta ’18, ’23, her<br />

husband and two children to Irving,<br />

<strong>Texas</strong>, 14 years ago.<br />

As husband Juan Carlos settled into<br />

his new job in the technology sector,<br />

Acosta cared for their growing family.<br />

While volunteering at her eldest son’s<br />

school, she discovered the multilingual<br />

classroom. “Watching the teacher<br />

providing empowering instruction<br />

to students learning English as their<br />

second or third language was inspiring,”<br />

Acosta said. “At that moment, I knew I<br />

wanted to also inspire young students.”<br />

Acosta started from ground zero. She<br />

began developing her English-language<br />

skills at the local community college,<br />

before progressing to more advanced<br />

classes. “I was taking care of my [now]<br />

three children and working hard to do<br />

well in my courses. There were many<br />

late nights of studying,” she said.<br />

Three years later, in 2016, Acosta<br />

sought a program that would prepare<br />

her to become a bilingual teacher. TWU<br />

spoke to her because of its reputation<br />

for training some of the best educators<br />

in the state. She also experienced TWU’s<br />

strong sense of community when she<br />

toured the Denton campus. “There<br />

were so many women like me, around<br />

the same age, with unique stories and<br />

families. I felt at home,” she said.<br />

As a full-time student with three<br />

young children, Acosta completed<br />

her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary<br />

arts with a concentration in bilingual<br />

education and was honored with<br />

the 2017-2018 Outstanding Senior<br />

award. She attributes much of her<br />

success at TWU to Associate Professor<br />

Mandy Stewart from the College of<br />

Professional Education’s Literacy<br />

and Learning department. “Dr.<br />

Stewart led our bilingual education<br />

student organization. She was<br />

always encouraging and supportive,<br />

providing our cohort with community<br />

engagement and professional<br />

development opportunities,” she said.<br />

“She has been my mentor and someone<br />

I now call a friend.”<br />

To further develop her skills and hone<br />

her research interests, Acosta is now<br />

pursuing a master’s degree in TWU’s<br />

multilingual and multicultural studies<br />

program. She’s learning about new<br />

concepts like the threshold hypothesis<br />

and the common underlying proficiency<br />

approach to literacy. These theories<br />

hold that “bilingual students transfer<br />

cognitive and literary skills from their<br />

first language to the second language”<br />

and that “children need to have a<br />

strong foundation in their first language<br />

to successfully acquire a second<br />

language,” she said.<br />

Like so many TWU graduates, Acosta<br />

is proud to help immigrant children<br />

and first-generation Americans preserve<br />

their heritage as they build a new life<br />

in the United States. “Knowing more<br />

than one language is an asset, not a<br />

limitation,” she said.<br />

As she enters her fifth year of teaching<br />

at Whitley Row Elementary in the Keller<br />

Independent School District, Acosta<br />

looks forward to completing her master’s<br />

and graduating in December 2023. She<br />

plans to continue working with her<br />

first-grade students. “Witnessing my<br />

students grow into their language skills is<br />

amazing,” she said, “especially when they<br />

move from struggling to succeeding.”<br />

24 TEXAS WOMAN’S


GLADYS<br />

ACOSTA ’18, ’23<br />

Bilingual teacher<br />

TEXAS WOMAN’S 25


<strong>Texas</strong> Woman’s University<br />

Division of University Advancement<br />

P.O. Box 425618<br />

Denton, TX 76204<br />

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