Class Notes

All the latest professional updates from our talented alumni all over the world.



Gary Key
(BA, Math) is president and an active firefighter of the Morgan Mill, Texas, Volunteer Fire Department. He serves as secretary and treasurer of the Morgan Mill Community Center and as a trustee of Morgan Mill Methodist Church and the Morgan Mill Cemetery Association.



Bettye Showers Key
(MA, ’66 BA, History) is auxiliary membership coordinator for Texas Health Hospital Stephenville. She is a former Morgan Mill School Board trustee, taught secondary history for 25 years, and served as an assistant principal in the Arlington Independent School District for 12 years.



Elizabeth Bowles
(BS, Architecture) recently retired after spending 20 years in the architecture and design field and 22 years at Dell Technologies.



Raj Malik
(BS, Computer Science and Engineering) was appointed to the board of directors for Licensing International. Malik is founder and chief executive officer of Bioworld Merchandising Inc., the leading global manufacturer of licensed apparel, accessories, and home goods.


Shnease Webb
Shnease Webb (’89 BBA, Marketing) celebrated her 50th year of service at the Lena Pope Home, a nonprofit organization in Fort Worth that focuses on child well-being in Tarrant County. Webb began her career with Lena Pope as a receptionist and worked her way up over the years to her current position of chief operating officer. “I’ve always been led to serve throughout my life, and what better joy than to be able to serve children and families,” Webb said in a Fort Worth Magazine article.


Santosh Nanda
(MS, Computer Science) was named CEO of PakEnergy, a leading provider of SaaS business automation technology for the energy sector.



Jennifer Wichmann
(MPA; MSSW), deputy city manager for the city of Arlington, was recognized with the Linda Keithley Award for Women in Public Management.



Lupe Valdez
(MA, Criminal Justice) announced that she’s running for a fifth term as Dallas County sheriff. Valdez previously held the office from 2005-17, when she resigned to run for governor. She won the Democratic nomination, making her the first Hispanic female and the first openly gay person to win a major party’s gubernatorial nomination in the state.



Natasha Granado
(BSN) was a featured nurse at OR Today. Granado, whose career spans two decades in nursing, is a registered nurse at SCA Health Texas Health Surgery Center in Arlington. “As a little kid, I always loved playing with my dolls and making them better, making them healthy,” said Granado in the feature.

Justin D. Hilliard
(BFA, Film/Media) was named workforce development liaison for the Economic Development Department of the city of Albuquerque.

Sabrina Kloehn
(MBA) was recognized as one of Wisconsin’s 40 most influential Asian American leaders. Kloehn is chief financial officer at Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin.

Somer Webb
(MBA) was appointed to the board of directors for Carriage Services Inc., a provider of funeral and cemetery services and merchandise.



Aaron Miri
(BS, Management Information Systems), senior vice president and chief digital and information officer for Baptist Health, was appointed to Florida’s Cybersecurity Advisory Council by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Miri was also appointed to the board of trustees for Florida State College at Jacksonville.



Ryan Martin
(MA, ’02 BS, Architecture) was appointed chief executive officer for CSHQA, making him the first CEO in the company’s 134-year history. Martin has over 20 years of experience leading architectural practices and operational leadership for some of the United States’ most prominent architecture and design firms.


“Maverick pride! It’s always wonderful to see UTA get the recognition it deserves. Go Mavs!”

—Sharita Blacknall (’98 Ba, English)
Founder and Chief Legal Strategist, The Blacknall Firm


Adam Hillman
(MS, ’05 BS, Architecture) joined Parkhill, an architecture and engineering firm, as senior practice leader for health care. In his role, Hillman will focus on development and market growth in the North Texas region.

Kim Holcomb
(MEd, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; ’95 BA, Broadcast Communication) was appointed assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.



Tim Harkrider
(MEd, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) was named superintendent for College Station Independent School District in Texas.

Venton Jones
(MS, Health Care Administration), received the Kirk Myers-Hill Pioneer in PRIDE Award from the city of Dallas. Texas State Representative Jones is a native of House District 100, representing parts of Dallas County.



Ian Hamilton
(MS, Geology) joined PPM Consultants, an environmental and engineering consulting firm headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana, as a geologist.

Ashton House
(BS, University Studies) was named regional business development manager/region2 for Western Specialty Contractors. In her role, House supports sales staff in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.



Whitney Dove
(MEd, Curriculum and Instruction) was named chief executive officer of Ellipsis Education, a leader in computer science curriculum for K-12 education. Dr. Dove, who previously was vice president of product for Ellipsis, is a former teacher, instructional coach, and curriculum developer.

Rajini Kanth Reddy Karduri
(MS, Civil Engineering) published “Supercharging Energy Transitions Through People, Pockets, and the Planet” for The Academic, a research publication. Karduri is a Texas licensed professional engineer and a certified project management professional with expertise in engineering, project management, and business.

Cassandra Mitchell
(BSN) was recognized by Continental Who’s Who as a Pinnacle Lifetime Member for her contributions to the health care field. Mitchell, a clinical implementation manager, specializes in oncology, women’s health, and infection control. She is also the author of the children’s book Nurses Are Superheroes, Too: Heroes Wear Scrubs and Stethoscopes.



Mike Young
(MA, Criminology and Criminal Justice) was named chief of the North Richland Hills Police Department (NRHPD). Young, who joined NRHPD in 1985, has managed every division of the department. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1989.



Chris Lovell
(BA, Interdisciplinary Studies) was named chief operating officer of CL Tel, a telecommunications service provider in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Sarah Matteson
(MSW) and her bride, Kelly Winget, were featured in The New York Times’ “Mini-Vows” column.

Roger Solis
(MEd, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) was named superintendent of Charlotte Independent School District in Texas.


“I’m glad to be part of a university that cares so much for those who have served.”

—Stephen Rodriguez (’23 BS, Management and Information Systems)
Analyst, Omni Logistics


Kristian Abarca
(BSN) launched Lazul Aesthetics and Wellness, a medical spa based in Willcox, Arizona. Abarca, owner and director of the spa, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner with 12 years of experience in nursing.

Julian Castillo
(BBA, International Business) joined NBT Financial Bank as first vice president/loan officer.

Amber Moore
(MEd, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) was named director of bands for Abilene High School. She is the first woman to lead Abilene High bands.

Wendy A. Okolo
(PhD, ’10 BS, Aerospace Engineering), an aerospace engineering researcher and associate project manager in the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center, was featured in Business Day, a Nigerian publication.



Matthew Fields
(MEd, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) was named superintendent of Rochelle Independent School District in Texas.



Candace Thompson
(MSW; ’14 MPA) was awarded the Outstanding Leadership in Civil Engagement Award from the city of Dallas. Thompson is a community and philanthropy officer for Communities Foundation of Texas.



Lexie Adams
(BSN) published her article, “Use Your Power to Uplift,” in Dallas Voice. Adams launched a business as a nurse writer so she could use her voice and expertise for the betterment of community health and wellness.



DeShawn Deane
(BBA) is the new general manager of Branch & Bird, a top-rated restaurant and bar located in downtown Fort Worth.

Erin McCourt
(BFA, Design and Visual Communications) is a graphic designer for Meow Wolf Grapevine.

Susan Schrock
(BA, Communication) has joined the board of directors for the nonprofit Sixty & Better. She currently serves as communicator coordinator for the city of Arlington.



Marshall Strawn
(MS, Architecture; ’18 BBA, Operations Management), an architectural designer who has worked on institutional, multifamily, mixed-use, and master-planning projects, joined Bennett Partners, a leading North Texas architecture and design firm.



Ryan Walsh
(MEd, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) was appointed principal of Beaufort High School for Beaufort County Independent School District.




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