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Our Team

Director
Martinez Ortiz, Araceli 
Executive Director
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Araceli Martinez Ortiz, Ph.D., is executive director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research and assistant professor of engineering education in the College of Education at Texas State University. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering and a master’s and Ph.D. in education. She teaches and conducts research with teachers and students in engineering education as a learning context and instructional strategy. She works with traditionally underserved populations to understand challenges and solutions for improving motivation and academic readiness for students’ college and career success.


Senior Advisor
Huling, Leslie
Senior Advisor
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Leslie Huling, Ph.D. is senior advisor of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research and serves as Project Director in the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project. Dr. Huling has directed a number of STEM-related educator professional development grants including the Mathematics for English Language Learners (MELL) project, the College and Career Readiness Initiative Mathematics Faculty Collaborative, and the Success Initiatives in Developmental Education – Mathematics (SIDE-M) grant. Her research interests include teacher induction and mentoring, teacher development, and school improvement.


Senior Advisor
Beck, John
Senior Advisor
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Dr. John Beck is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, and serves as Finance & Operations Manager with the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project. His research and writing interests include teacher education, instructional technology, and educational leadership.


Faculty

Michelle Berry
Berry, Michelle
NASA MUREP Educator
Institute Coordinator
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Michelle Berry is the NASA MUREP Educator Institute Coordinator at Texas State University.  She holds a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University and a Master of Education from Texas State University. Her experience includes organizing and supporting simlar grant funded STEM initiatives at Texas State University, the most recent of which was the state-wide Mathematics Faculty Collaborative for the Texas College and Career Readiness Initiative (CCRI).  In the CCRI grant facilitator role, she coordinated STEM faculty teams from universities across the state that engaged in an ongoing, multi-event effort to revise their STEM teacher preparation programs and to integrate CCRI resources into their instructional programs.  In this role she also coordinated numerous STEM-related professional development events, both in designing the curriculum for the event and in planning meeting and facility arrangements.  Prior to these positions she was a Mentor Teacher in both the Teacher Recruitment Induction Program and Novice Teacher Induction Program at Texas State University.  She also has 11 years of teaching experience in kindergarten,  3rdand 4th grades from San Marcos Consolidated ISD and Round Rock ISD.


MSI Network Director
Loredo, Judith
MSI Network Director
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Judith A. Loredo, Ph.D. is the Director of the MSI Network with the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative Grant (NASA STEM EPDC). Her research interest include teacher education, educational leadership, and college and career readiness.


Dr. Resta
Resta, Virginia
NASA MUREP
Evaluation Specialist
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Virginia Resta, Ph.D., serves as an Evaluation Specialist for the MUREP Educator Institute (MEI) initiative at Texas State University. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Northeastern Oklahoma State University, a MA in Elementary Education and PhD in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of New Mexico. Prior to her retirement, she served as Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education and the Assistant Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University. Her research interest has focused on induction, mentoring, and retention of beginning teachers.


Laura Rodriguez Cano Amaya
Rodriguez Amaya, Laura
Research Faculty
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Dr. Laura Rodriguez Amaya serves as research faculty and grant coordinator of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research supporting NASA and NSF grant funded programs.  She works with faculty in other Minority Serving Institutions to develop STEM education curriculum review tools and she is involved in various outreach efforts to support community STEM education. Her research interests include Central America, food security, and women in science with a focus on access and equity.


Dr. Talley
Talley, Kimberly
Maker Space Co-Director
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Dr. Kimberly G. Talley is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, Senior Research Fellow and Maker Space Co-Director for the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research at Texas State University, and a licensed Professional Engineer. She received her Ph.D. and M.S.E. from the University of Texas at Austin in Structural Engineering. Her undergraduate degrees in History and Construction Engineering and Management are from North Carolina State University. Dr. Talley teaches courses in the Construction Science and Management Program, and her research focus is in student engagement and retention in engineering and engineering technology education.


Sara Torres
Torres, Sara
EPDC
Education Specialist
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Sara Garcia-Torres currently serves as an Educational Researcher for the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research supporting NASA grant funded programs. She worked for public schools for the past 16 years as a bilingual and inclusion teacher, Gifted & Talented Facilitator, and as a STEM teacher.  She works with educators, families, and community members to support STEM efforts in public schools, homes, and communities.  Her research interests include STEM education, both the delivery to the underrepresented students and the preparation of the teachers. 

Holds degrees from Texas State University (MEd), and University of Texas at San Antonio (BA).  Sara is also pursuing PhD studies at Texas State University.


Dr. Samuel Garcia
Garcia, Dr. Samuel
EPDC
Education Specialist
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Dr. Samuel García Jr. serves as a NASA Educator Professional Development Specialist, Assistant Professor of Practice for the LBJ Institute for Education and Research. Dr. García helps facilitate professional development to both formal and informal STEM educators utilizing NASA resources with a specific focus on Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. He also works with faculty serving in Minority Serving Institutions in developing STEM educational tools and resources for teachers to implement in their classrooms. Dr. García’s research agenda is geared towards community and educational change by creating healthy, equitable, and culturally responsive learning environments for traditionally underserved populations. Dr. García. earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas Río Grande Valley, formerly University of Texas Pan American and holds a doctorate degree in School Improvement from Texas State University. 


Staff

Stacey Bennett
Bennett, Stacey
Research Coordinator
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Stacey Bennett is the Research Coordinator for the LBJ Institute for STEM Education & Research. She manages post-award administration, and provides project management support to grant funded programs. Her research and professional interests include higher education administration, inclusion in business practice, and organizational development.


Janice Ellis
Ellis, Janice
Administrative Asst II /
Travel Coordinator
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Janice spent several years as a bookkeeper and accounting clerk. Later receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art at the University of Texas and a Master of Science in Visualization Science (computer animation) at Texas A&M.

Janice taught animation in Houston and Phoenix then returned to Texas to help her son in his newly inherited business. She serves as the travel coordinator for the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research.


Grant Specialist
Fabac, Karen
Grant Specialist
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Ms. Fabac serves as a grant specialist of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research, providing specialized, technical assistance work, as well as, professional supervision and support to NASA and NSF grant funded programs.  She holds professional memberships with the American Academy of Certified Public Managers (AACPM), Texas Society of Certified Public Managers, and the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA).


System Support Analyst
Gomez, Edgar
System Support
Analyst
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Mr. Gomez is responsible for supporting all IT system’s needs for LBJ the Institute for STEM Education and Research including its major grant-funded initiative known as the Texas State NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative (NASA STEM EPDC) grant. Serves as technology liaison between vendors and the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research. Performs a variety of specialized tasks associated with training local and remote users.


Monica Uribe
Uribe, Monica
Data
Analyst
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Ms. Uribe is responsible for analyzing data for research grants at the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research. She has 10+ years experience as a mathematics educator. She holds a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Universidad Autonoma de Nueva Leon and holds a Texas teaching certification.


Doctoral Student

Orlando Hinojosa
Hinojosa, Orlando
Doctoral Research
Assistant
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Supports data management and faculty research efforts under the NSF Grant. Currently co-leading a STEM mentoring pilot program and a STEM-Student Advisory Council in order to help increase STEM participation among 1st-generation minority students at Texas State University.


Undergraduate Research Students

Natalie Cazares
Cazares, Natalie
Undergraduate Student 
Research Assistant
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Natalie supports the NASA FAMA grant with Family Nights and Family Learning Seminar's and teacher professional developments. 


Eusebio Mata
Mata, Eusebio
Undergraduate Student 
Research Assistant
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Eusebio supports the NASA FAMA grant and our Maker Space.


Lucia Ondarza-Wier
Ondarza-Wier, Lucia
Undergraduate Student 
Research Assistant
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Tutoring, FAMA AEL coordinator and student research assistant at the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research.