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Faculty & Staff


Faculty

Dr. Ugochukwu Anieto

Instructional Assistant Professor, College of Science
Phone: (956) 271-1332
Email: uanieto@tamu.edu
Office: 218.9
Dr. Ugochukwu Obiakornobi Anieto was born and raised in Onitsha Nigeria. He graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Applied Microbiology and Food Microbiology respectively from the renowned Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Nigeria. He proceeded to the United Kingdom where he was a Visiting Research Associate at the School of Medicine, Newcastle University. Thereafter he moved to the United States where he obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of North Texas, Denton. He has many years of research and teaching experience having taught in higher institutions across Nigeria and the United States. His research background is focused on bioenergy, antimicrobial resistance, food microbiology, bioinformatics etc. He joined the College of Science of Texas A&M University McAllen Higher Education Center in August of 2018. He enjoys reading crime novels, watching documentaries and taking long walks.
 

Dr. Saikat Biswas

Instructional Assistant Professor, College of Science
Phone: (956) 271-1328
Email: biswas@tamu.edu
Office: 218.10
Dr. Saikat Biswas is an Instructional Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen. He obtained his Masters in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and his PhD in Pure Mathematics at the Florida State University. Dr. Biswas has held postdoctoral positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology and at the Arizona State University, as well as a faculty position at the University of Minnesota Morris.

A number theorist by training, Dr. Biswas has published his research results in some of the leading journals of the discipline, and has also given invited talks at seminars and conferences around the country. He also has over twelve years of extensive teaching experience, and has taught a wide variety of undergraduate mathematics courses at all levels including calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, discrete mathematics, and abstract algebra. 
 

Dr. Catherine Busch-Silkwood

Instructional Assistant Professor, Vet Med Pathobiology
Phone: (956) 271-1352
Email: c.silkwood@tamu.edu
Office: 316.9
Dr. Catherine Busch-Silkwood earned her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University. She then went on to earn her Ph.D. in Genetics from Texas A&M as well, under the advisement of Dr. James Womack in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, with funding and support from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She began teaching at Texas A&M as a first-year graduate student and decided never to stop. After a few years of teaching elsewhere, she is excited to be back at home in the College of Veterinary Medicine, teaching genetics courses to a new generation of Aggie BIMS students.
 

Dr. Andrew Conkey

Instructional Associate Professor, Education Program/EASA
Phone: (956) 271-1322
Office: 218.3
Dr. Andrew Conkey earned his PhD from Texas A&M College Station in Interdisciplinary Engineering in 2007.  He earned his Bachelors and Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University – Kingsville.  Over 19 years he has taught mechanical engineering related courses at Texas A&M University–Kingsville, Texas A&M, Texas A&M at Qatar, and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.  He has also co-authored three books (Dynamics in Engineering Practice,  Is My Machine Ok?, Trouble Shooting Rotating Machinery) involving dynamics and vibrations and machinery diagnostics.  His dissertation focused on the application of a fiber optic based sensor for machinery diagnostics such as shaft motion and vibration measurements.  His hobbies include wildlife photography, wood working, and general tinkering.
 

Dr. Max Katz Crook

Lecturer, Department of Political Science
Phone: (956) 271-1348
Email: max.crook@tamu.edu
Office: 316.5
Dr. Max Katz Crook is a Lecturer in the Political Science Department at Texas A&M University. He previously held the position of Visiting Lecturer at Georgia State University. His research focuses on British politics, social democratic parties, and international political economy. Teaching interests include federal and state government, comparative politics, and international relations. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Angélica Delgado Rendón

Instructional Assistant Professor
Phone: (956) 271-1356
Email: delgadorendon@tamu.edu
Office: 316.14
Dr. Delgado Rendón currently serves as an Instructional Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences at the Texas A&M Higher Education Center at McAllen. Dr. Delgado Rendón has 16 years of combined experience in clinical diagnostics, community research, teaching, and program evaluation. She has worked on community-based participatory research projects with Spanish speaking populations in Wisconsin. During her time working at the Centro de la Comunidad Unida, she worked on several health areas of priority for Hispanics in the United States: nutrition and physical activity programs for children and families, depression treatment program for seniors, Alzheimer’s disease programs for caregivers, and chronic disease management for adults. Dr. Delgado Rendón’s research has focused on entertainment education projects such as telenovelas and fotonovelas to educate communities about various health topics. Dr. Delgado Rendón is particularly passionate about serving the Hispanic community and teaching diverse populations.

Dr. Ivan Diaz-Rodriguez

Instructional Assistant Professor, Education Program/Easa
Phone: (956) 271-1324
Email: ijdiaz@tamu.edu
Office: 218.5
Dr. Iván D. Díaz-Rodríguez earned his Bachelor's and Master’s Degrees in Electronics Engineering from Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Reynosa, Tamaulipas, México, in 2005 and 2009 respectively, and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas in 2017. Dr. Díaz-Rodríguez joined the Engineering Department at Texas A&M in 2018 as an Instructional Assistant Professor at the McAllen Higher Education Center, McAllen, Texas. His research interests include linear systems, PI and PID controller design based on desired performance, multivariable controller design, robust control, controller design based on frequency response data, and controller design with applications to the renewable energy field. Dr. Díaz-Rodríguez has participated as a speaker at international control conferences in the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, France, India, and Japan. In his spare times, he enjoys traveling, watching movies and tv series, and spending time with family.

Rachelle Downey

Adjunct Lecturer, School of Public Health
Phone: (956) 271-1347
Email: rdowney@tamu.edu
Office: 316.4
Language Arts Education from the University of Kansas and her Masters of Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in literacy, from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has been an educator for twenty-four years, and she is currently an adjunct lecturer for Texas A&M’s School of Public Health at the McAllen Higher Education Center while also teaching English Literature at McAllen ISD’s International Baccalaureate program. Mrs. Downey began working with Texas A&M in 2016 when she designed and provided a writing workshop series for graduate students at the A&M McAllen Health Science Center.

Mrs. Downey’s work in the field of education has included her presenting on writing improvement topics at the local and state levels while also leading a round-table discussion at the National Council of Teachers of English annual conference in 2012. She has received awards for teaching and leadership at the state level and has served as a teacher mentor for new educators in her district and nationally for the National Math and Science Initiative.
 
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching college basketball, relaxing with her two dogs, and traveling with her husband--especially if the trip includes a concert or visiting family and friends.
 

Dr. Mohammed Farooqi

Instructional Assistant Professor, College of Science
Phone: (956) 271-1321
Email: mjfarooqi@tamu.edu
Office: 218.2
Dr. Mohammed J. Farooqi is the Instructional Assistant Professor of Physics at the Higher Education Center. He has previously worked as a full time lecturer of Physics at UTSA, Gonzaga, UTRGV and STC. He earned his undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Texas Pan American and his PhD in Physics from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His research interests are in the areas of Biophysics, specifically in photo-physics of protein folding and more recently in the area of Physics Education. He has over ten years of experience in teaching Physics as a high school teacher, graduate teaching assistant and a lecturer. Dr. Farooqi joined the Texas A&M Higher Education Center at McAllen in the Fall of 2018.

Dr. Mahmoud Fath El-Den

Adjunct Lecturer, College of Science

Dr. Mahmoud Fath El-Den has been an adjunct math faculty at TAMU Higher Education Center in McAllen since 2018, and also a full-time math faculty at South Texas College since 1996. His degrees include a Bachelors in Mathematics from Cairo University, a Masters in Mathematics, and a Doctorate in Applied Mathematics, both from Arizona State University. In the past 40 years, Dr. Fath El-Den was fortunate to have the opportunity to teach online and traditional math courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in three countries; Egypt, Canada, and the United States of America. Dr. Fath El-Den’s research includes Numerical Analysis, Perturbation Methods, and Number Theory. In his spare time, he enjoys playing chess, walking, and reading."
 

Krystal Flores

Lecturer, School of Public Health
Phone: (956) 271-1356
Email: kflores@sph.tamhsc.edu
Office: 316.14
Ms. Krystal Flores completed her Bachelors of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences and received a minor in Chemistry from Texas A&M University Kingsville. Feeling compelled to serve her community in South Texas, Krystal pursued a degree in public health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health. In 2014, she graduated with a Master in Public Health degree in Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences with a Border Health Concentration. She was inducted into the Delta Omega Honors Society for Public Health and gained acceptance into Texas A&M University’s Doctorate in Public Health program in College Station, Texas that same year.

Ms. Flores is currently a DrPH candidate in Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences at Texas A&M University's School of Public Health.  In addition to pursuing her degree, she completed a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.  She is a Maternal and Child Health trainee in the school's Maternal and Child Health Program and current Gates Millennium Scholar. Her research interests include adolescent pregnancy prevention along the U.S Mexico Border and health disparities related to reproductive health services for women and adolescent girls living in the Rio Grande Valley.

She is currently an instructor for two undergraduate level courses and one graduate level course at the School of Public Health. In addition, she is a current mentor and advocate for first generation college students in the Rio Grande Valley. She enjoys reading novels, spending time her chihuahua Charlie, and running. 
 

Mayra Huerta

Adjunct Lecturer, College of Science
Phone: (956) 271-1357
Email: mherta@tamu.edu
Office: 316.15
Mayra Huerta is a Part-Time Lecture at The Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen. She obtained a Bachelors of Science in Applied Mathematics and a Master of Science on Mathematics. 

Mayra has been teaching for more than 2 years. Teaching has given her the opportunity to help a variety of students with different mathematics backgrounds and also to learn from them. In her spare time she likes to spend time with the family watching movies or playing video games.
 

Oscar Lopez

Professor of the Practice, Education Program/EASA
Phone: (956) 271-1325
Email: olopez@tamu.edu
Office: 218.7
Oscar Lopez M.S.C.E., P.E., Professor of Practice - comes to Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen by way of the west, having earned degrees from the University of California at Berkeley (Golden Bears!) and the University of Texas at El Paso (Mighty Miners!).  Oscar serves as a Professor in the College of Engineering and brings over 30 of engineering experience and education as a Professional Engineer and is licensed to practice Civil Engineering (structural emphasis) in California and Texas.  Professor Lopez’s interest of study includes Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures and Hurricane resistant design of structures.  Oscar has received numerous university and professional awards and has served in various leadership positions in the American Society of Civil Engineers, Texas Section.  When not working, Oscar enjoys spending time with his wife Grace and 3 children (Ashley, Adrian, and Amber) grandchildren (Soleil Olivia), and also loves doing “weekend warrior” DIY projects, loves the outdoors, listening to all types of music, dancing, playing racquetball, and serving in church (Our Lady of Sorrows, Catholic Church, McAllen, TX) and his community.
 

Dr. Larry May '06

Instructional Assistant Professor, College of Science
Phone: (956) 271-1329
Email: larry.may@tamu.edu
Office: 218.11
Dr. Larry May earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pure Mathematics and Chemistry as well as his Ph. D. in Nuclear Chemistry from Texas A&M University. He completed his Ph. D. in 2015 at the Cyclotron Institute at TAMU using the NIMROD-ISiS array under the mentorship of Dr. Sherry Yennello. He is dual-accredited by SACS to teach Chemistry and Physics at the University level. He spent two years teaching Chemistry and Physics lecture and lab courses at San Jacinto Community College in Pasadena, Texas before “returning home” to serve as an Instructional Assistant Professor at the new Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen. Dr. May comes from a long lineage of Fightin’ Texas Aggies and is the Proudest Member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2006 (A-WHOOP!).

Dr. May’s current research interest center around Fermi energy nuclear reaction dynamics, specifically nucleon transport and symmetry energy constraints. He is also committed to providing the best education possible in Chemistry and Physics and so maintains a research interest in Physics Education Research and Chemical Education. Dr. May has been a member in good standing of the American Chemical Society and the American Physical Society since 2007.
 

Dr. Nelda Mier

Associate Professor, Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1353
Email: mier@sph.tamhsc.edu
Office: 316.10
Dr. Nelda Mier currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences at the Texas A&M School of Public Health.  For more than 20 years, Dr. Mier has been imparting high-impact, quality education to undergraduate and graduate students in public health and communication at prestigious universities in the United States and Mexico. She earned her doctorate in Health Education from the University of New Mexico, and in 2002 she joined the School of Public Health in McAllen, TX, where she currently teaches and mentors BSPH and MPH students. Dr. Mier has conducted research in chronic disease prevention using a participatory approach among populations living in the border and Mexico, and she has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles in international and national journals. Dr. Mier is also a Certified Mindfulness Teacher and Certified Virtual Instructor. 
 

Dr. Ryan Neighbors

Lecturer, English
Phone: (956) 271-1331
Email: rneighb@tamu.edu
Office: 218.12
Ryan Neighbors grew up in Salina—a tiny, lakeside town in northeastern Oklahoma. When people ask, he usually just tells them he’s from Tulsa. He has taught college courses for about twelve years and worked at Texas A&M since 2010. Before that, he worked as a lawn mower, electronics expert, youth minister, musician, pizza chef, furniture salesman, and therapist. He has degrees in English, screenwriting, college teaching, and psychology, and he did his Ph.D. coursework at TAMU with emphases in creative writing, indigenous literature, and film studies. His poetry and prose have been published in approximately twenty journals and anthologies.
Due to his four children, Ryan doesn’t have free time. If he did, he’d likely spend it playing video games, crafting with wood or leather, and napping.
 

Natasha Quailes

Lecturer, Nutrition & Food Science
Phone: (956) 271-1351
Email: nquailes@tamu.edu
Office: 316.8
Natasha N Quailes is a lecturer under the department of Nutrition and Food Science for the Food Systems Industry Management (FSIM) degree program. She teaches Horizons in Nutrition and Food Science and Food Processing. Both classes create networking opportunities with industry professionals and give students hands on learning experiences in the food processing field. She was born and raised in south Texas, a proud graduate of PSJA High School. Her undergraduate degree is a bachelor’s of science in Food Science and Technology earned from Texas A&M University in 2009. She went on to attain her masters of science in Food Science from Chapman University located in southern California.

She worked in the food industry for 5-6 years starting off in the quality assurance and control field and eventually finding her way in to research and development. Her proudest accomplishments while working in the food industry were creating several food products that were sold and consumed nationwide for various companies. She transitioned to teaching after her son was born in 2015. She taught AP Physics for 2 years at Thomas Jefferson High School in the PSJA school district. Her greatest accomplishment was equipping her students for the rigor of upper level courses as many of her students went on to attend prestigious universities like Baylor and MIT. While teaching at Thomas Jefferson she participated in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) in which she facilitated over 60 student experimental designs meant to fly into outer space on the International Space Station. She had students receive top finalists awards in the competition.

She has been involved in a research partnership with UTRGV School of Medicine research lab under Dr. Andrew Tsin, where she contributed her knowledge of food science to projects related to diabetic retinopathy and eye health. Her poster won Best Poster Award – People’s Choice at URTGV’s School of Medicine Research Symposium “Closing the Gaps” in August of 2018. She is the founding advisor for the Baptist Student Ministry chapter at Texas A&M Higher Education Center at McAllen, where she finds joy speaking the gospel with fellow staff and students.

She is a strong advocate for community health, nutrition and education. She volunteers in the nursery of her church every other Sunday, The Family Church – McAllen, where she enjoys chasing around little ones. Her passions include: reading and learning, traveling, food and drawing. Her most important role, however, is that of mom. She enjoys spending the rest of her free time with her son, Emeka Jr., and extended family.
 

Dr. Joseph R. Sharkey

Professor, Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1354
Email: jrsharkey@sph.tamhsc.edu
Office: 316.11
Joseph R. Sharkey, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences at Texas A&M University School of Public Health in College Station, Texas; Affiliate Professor, Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington School of Public Health; and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Washington State University. He received his Master of Public Health  (M.P.H.) and Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees from the Department of Nutrition at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health. Dr. Sharkey continues to lead research and outreach-funded efforts to develop innovative solutions to improve access and utilization of healthy foods by low-income and vulnerable children, adults, and seniors in rural and underserved areas. His current work focuses in two geographic areas: 1) developing and implementing a father-focused, family-centered program to improve nutrition and increase physical activity among the growing Mexican American and Mexican immigrant population along the United States border with Mexico; and 2) developing and implementing a parent-child program in rural Washington State that integrates experiential nutrition education and skill building with access to fresh produce from local, small scale farmers. Dr. Sharkey has been actively engaged in community-based research and outreach-engagement in Hidalgo County since 2007. Dr. Sharkey actively works with promotoras de salud (community health workers) and three community coalitions in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and two coalitions (Peninsula Food Coalition and Olympic Peninsula Healthy Community Coalition) and the Sequim (WA) Food Bank in rural Washington. In addition to this work, Dr. Sharkey is involved in community collaborations to improve population health. Dr. Sharkey serves on the Advisory Council for Olympic Area Agency on Aging, the Washington State Council on Aging, and Leadership Team of the Olympic Peninsula Healthy Community Coalition. His work has been supported by the USDA, AARP Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and National Institutes of Health. Among his honors and awards are the 2011 Hispanic Heritage Amigo Award from the Hispanic Presidents’ Council at Texas A&M University, for significant contributions to the Latino community; 2016 Excellence in Faculty Leadership Award from the Hispanic/Latino Graduate Student Association, for his work and support of the Hispanic/Latino Community; and designated as Research Fellow with the Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor University. He has published more than 125 peer-reviewed articles.

Dr. Surupa Shaw

Instructional Assistant Professor, College of Engineering
Phone: (956) 271-1327
Email: surupashaw@tamu.edu
Office: 218.14
Dr. Surupa Shaw has been associated with Texas A&M University since 2015, most recently as the Instructional Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M University, Higher Education Center. Prior to this, she was a faculty member at Ocean Engineering Department, TAMU. She also worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, with a joint appointment at Mechanical Engineering Department and Petroleum Engineering Department, TAMU. Dr. Shaw received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of New Hampshire, USA and B.Tech [Hons.] in Ocean Engineering & Naval Architecture from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. Her research interests include Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics, Heat Transfer Applications, Mechanical Design, Nanotechnology, HP/HT Rheology. She also has strong industrial experience as a Senior Technical Professional at Halliburton [Oil-well Cementing Research & Development].

Naveen Thomas

Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering
Phone: (956) 271-1323
Email: naveenthomas@tamu.edu
Office: 218.4
Naveen is a Graduate Assistant Teacher at the Engineering Department. He completed his undergraduate and graduate Education at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai. He is a currently completing his PhD Thesis in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Texas A&M University.

Dr. Xuan Wang

Instructional Assistant Professor, College of Science
Phone: (956) 271-1326
Email: bear_xuan@tamu.edu
Office: 218.8
Dr. Wang earned her B.S. in Chemistry with Honors from Oklahoma Christian University, and she obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University in 2016. After graduation, she joined the Department Chemistry at Colorado State University-Pueblo as a visiting assistant professor. Now, she is happy to move back to Texas and teach lower-level chemistry courses in Texas A&M Higher Education at McAllen as an instructional assistant professor.

Dr. Nathaniel Weber

Lecturer, History
Phone: (956) 271-1332
Email: webernr1@tamu.edu
Office: 218.14
Nathaniel Weber did his graduate work at Texas A&M University and graduated with his PhD in 2016. His general field is United States history, with specialization in American military history.

Dr. Samuel Zapata

Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist, Agricultural Economics
Phone: (956) 271-1348
Email: samuel.zapata@ag.tamu.edu
Office: 316.5
Dr. Samuel Zapata is an Assistant Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He develops and coordinates Extension educational programs related to Farm Management and Marketing by providing technical expertise and educational materials for producers, Extension agents, specialists, clientele, and organizations. Dr. Zapata conducts applied research focused on farm management, economic feasibility analysis, economic impact of new invasive pests and diseases, and economics of biofuel production. Dr. Zapata research agenda also includes theoretical and empirical efforts to better understand the technology adoption processes of farmers and agribusiness, production inputs optimization, non-parametric analysis of interval-censored data, and meta-analysis. Zapata received his Ph.D. in Applied Economics and M.S. in Applied Economics and Statistics from Clemson University, and B.S. in Agricultural Sciences and Production from Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural University.

Staff

Cyndi Beltran

Executive Assistant I
Phone: (956) 271-1349
Email: cyndibeltran@tamu.edu
Office: 316.7
Cyndi Beltran is the Executive Assistant to Dr. Adolfo Santos, Assistant Provost of the Higher Education Center at McAllen, where she assists with various administrative level duties. She also serves as a mentor to first year Public Health undergraduate students.  Previously, Cyndi worked ten years for the Texas A&M Health Science Center-School of Public Health (SPH), most recently as Program Manager for the Master & Bachelor of Public Health degree programs. She served as Student Advisor for the on-campus graduate organization, served as an Executive Board member for the South Texas Area Recruitment Network (STARN), maintained memberships with the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and the Texas Academic Advising Network (TEXAAN) and remains a member of the Texas A&M Women Administrators Network.  She also served as a member to the SPH Health and Wellness committee.  Her undergraduate degree is in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Texas-Pan American. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband Bryan, baking, running and spending time with her three crazy dogs Rango, Reba and Coco.

 

Yolanda Cardona

Enrollment Specialist, Scholarships and Financial Aide
Phone: (956) 271-1315
Email: ycardona91@tamu.edu
Office: 123.5
Raised in San Juan, TX, graduated from the University of Texas Pan American in 2015 with a bachelors in Criminal Justice and minors in Sociology and English. Started working in 2015 at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi in Admissions, and transferred in 2017 to Texas A&M University- San Antonio as a Financial Aid Advisor and then moved up to Program Coordinator for Scholarships and Financial Aid, member of TASFAA (Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) member of NASFAA (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. 

Spare time I like to read, watch reality t.v. and travel with friends.
 

Jose (J.J.) Garza

Senior IT Professional
Phone: (956) 271-1345
Email: jj.garza@tamu.edu
Office: 316.2
JJ Garza is currently employed as a Senior IT Professional for the Provost IT Office in the Academic Services Division. He is stationed at the Texas A&M Higher Education Center at McAllen, where he oversees the day to day operations regarding all technical aspects of the center and provides technical support for faculty, staff and students. Additionally, JJ serves as the technical liaison for reporting and providing support for the Open Access Labs and Instructional Media Services department, as well as the Division of Information Technology. He holds several industry certifications and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Information Technology Management.

BB Gaytan

Senior Academic Advisor III, Engineering Academic & Student Affairs
Phone: (956) 271-1314
Email: bbgaytan@tamu.edu
Office: 220.1
BB Gaytan is the Senior Academic Advisor for The College of Engineering where she has over sixteen years of experience working in Higher Education as a guidance counselor and faculty member. BB earned her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and Master of Education in Counseling and Guidance. She is a native of the Rio Grande Valley and active in the community. 

BB’s key goal is to help students choose the right career path and ensure that they meet the college academic requirements and expectations. BB’s role is to help students in collaborating and coordinating with the College of Engineering advising programs, recruitment programs, college success and entry to a major application workshops and advisement for general engineering students in the Rio Grande Valley.

In addition, BB also works with students in identifying academic strengths and weaknesses by helping them make connections between career goals and educational requirements.
 

Josette Gonzalez '11

Academic Advisor II, Public Health, BIMS & FSIM
Phone: (956) 271-1313
Email: josettegonzalez@tamu.edu
Office: 318.1
Josette Gonzalez is the Academic Advisor for the Biomedical Sciences, Food Systems Industry Management, and Public Health undergraduate programs at The Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen. Her undergraduate degree is in Communications with a minor in Italian and Women and Gender Studies from Texas A&M University.

Josette is going on 10 years of working within various departments at Texas A&M University. Academic Advising has given her the opportunity to connect with students and guide them throughout their undergraduate academic journey. In her spare time she enjoys working out, volunteering with The Junior League of McAllen and spending time with her husband, Juan Humberto and Golden Retriever, Delta Maria.
 

Lucia Lopez '12

Program Coordinator II
Phone: (956) 271-1312
Email: lucialopez@tamu.edu
Office: 123.3
Lucía López is the Program Coordinator for the Learning Communities & the Tutoring Program at the Higher Education Center at McAllen. Lucia’s responsibilities also include academic coaching and working closely in the development of the Honors Program.

Lucia attended college at Texas A&M University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. After graduation, she worked on a variety of projects for one of the top sealing industries in the world. In 2017, Lucia moved to McAllen, TX where she transitioned into Higher Education. In her spare time, Lucia enjoys crafting and spending time with her family & friends.
 

Rick Margo '89

Director, HECM
Phone: (956) 271-1341
Email: rrmargo@tamu.edu
Office: 316.13
Mr. Rick Margo has been employed at Texas A&M University since October 2002, most recently as the interim director of the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center. He assumed the duties of Director of Operations on March 1.  Previously, he was the Director of Texas A&M’s Rio Grande Valley and Laredo Regional Prospective Student Centers for the past 16 years.
After earning a bachelor of science degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University, Mr. Margo worked for the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Small Business Administration, before joining Texas A&M.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this historic partnership to bring Texas A&M University degree programs to the Valley,” said Mr. Margo.  “As an Aggie myself, this is what I believe makes Texas A&M unique in higher education, serving the state and ensuring educational choice for the next generations.”
As director of operations, Mr. Margo will oversee facilities, coordinate with municipal and contracted services, and facilitate appropriate coordination with central university services for prospective student recruitment and community partnership and outreach.

Rick and his family are lifelong Rio Grande Valley residents.  His wife Yvonne M. Margo is an accomplished business owner and together they have 3 daughters who are all currently attending Texas A&M University, Erika Michelle, Class of '15, Victoria Nicole, Class of '18 and Sarah Cecilia, Class of '21.

He's currently a member of the Knights of Columbus, Knights on Bikes-Brownsville Diocese, a counselor/mentor at the Evins Juvenile Detention Center, Co-founder and member of Alpha Toastmasters Club, McAllen, TX, City of McAllen Advisory Board and is part owner/director of Margo Ranch and RY Margo Properties.
 

Daniel Martinez

Technical Laboratory Coordinator
Phone: (956) 271-1346
Email: dmartin09@tamu.edu
Office: 316.3
Daniel Martinez is the Technical Laboratory Coordinator for the undergraduate programs at The Texas A&M Higher Education Center at McAllen, TX. Earned his degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. Daniel started working for The United States Department of Agriculture-Honey Bee Division in 2006. He then joined South Texas College over 11 years ago and worked as the Laboratory Coordinator for the Physics, Chemistry and Engineering Department. He is a native of South Texas, born and raised in McAllen, TX. Since 2008, Daniel has been an active member of the American Chemical Society, Division of Chemical Health and Safety and has led many outreach and academic STEM events at South Texas College.  In 2011, Daniel received the Jaguar Academic Excellence award for contributions to community outreach events focusing on the sciences. Daniel’s professional background is diverse, including; the petroleum safety industry, research, teaching, and over ten years’ experience managing science labs in higher education.

Marimar Miguel '13

Program Coordinator II
Phone: (956) 271-1305
Email: mmiguel@tamu.edu
Office: 125.1

Marimar Miguel ‘13 is a Program Coordinator for the Higher Education Center at McAllen, where she handles all student affairs duties. Her undergraduate degree is in Women’s & Gender Studies and Psychology from Texas A&M University. She received her Master's degree in Public Affairs, from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017.

Marimar was raised in Pharr, TX, a small town in the Rio Grande Valley. She has worked at Texas A&M in various capacities helping Aggies make the most out of their experiences. While employed at Texas A&M University, she has received the National Excellence and Commitment in Service Award from the College Advising Corps in 2014, where she proudly represented the Texas A&M University - Advise TX Corps. She has previously served on the Sexual Assault Survivor Services Committee, is a mentor in the GLBT Mentorship Program, and has been member of Aggie Allies since 2009. Marimar is excited to be a part of the Higher Education Center at McAllen, where she has the opportunity to help Texas A&M University expand opportunities in her home community.

In Marimar’s spare time she likes to work on arts and crafts, listen to podcasts, and go to Zumba classes.


Dr. Adolfo Santos

Assistant Provost at HECM
Phone: (956) 271-1342
Email: adolfo.santos45@tamu.edu
Office: 316.6

Dr. Adolfo Santos is the first Assistant Provost of the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen. He began in this new leadership position in July of 2018. Prior to arriving in McAllen, Dr. Santos was the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC), a position he held for five years. He led over 200 faculty in over thirteen different disciplines. He is an American Council on Education Fellow from the class of 2011-2012. He was also a 2012 American Association of State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Initiative Protégé. Prior to 2013, Dr. Santos was at the University of Houston -Downtown (UHD) where he served as Special Assistant to the President and Chief Liaison Officer. He also served as Chair of the Department of Social Sciences at UHD from 2006 to 2011.

Dr. Santos is the co-author of Texas Politics Today, and American Government and Politics Today: Texas Edition. In 2006, he authored Do Members of Congress Reward Their Future Employers? Evaluating the Revolving Door Syndrome. Dr. Santos has also written on minority representation in corporate and political institutions, education policy, and local and state elections. Dr. Santos received his Ph.D. from the University of Houston, and baccalaureate degree from the University of Houston – Downtown. Dr. Santos has served on the boards of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Children at Risk, the Education Foundation of Harris County, and the Houston Hispanic Forum. Dr. Santos has also been appointed to several committees by City of Houston Mayor Anise Parker.


Brianna Villarreal

Administrative Coordinator I
Phone: (956) 271-1355
Email: brivillarreal@tamu.edu
Office: 316.12
Brianna Villarreal is the Administrative Coordinator for the Academic Affairs Office at the Higher Education Center at McAllen. She primarily assists in the facilitation of administrative projects and works closely with the team to ensure daily business operations run efficiently. Prior to joining the team at the Higher Education Center, Brianna served as the Accounting & Billing Manager for a litigation defense firm in McAllen for three and a half years.
 
Brianna graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management in May 2016. During her time at Texas A&M, she served in organizations within the Student Government Association and Mays Business School. Brianna is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Accountancy with a concentration in Audit at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
 
Brianna was born & raised in McAllen, Texas and holds the Rio Grande Valley close to her heart. She is committed to giving back to her community in any way that she can. Brianna volunteers for VITA, an organization that provides income tax filing assistance at no cost to those in need. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and going to concerts.