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Faculty & Staff


Liana Andreasen

Adjuct Assistant Professor, Health Behavior, School of Public Health
Phone: (956) 271-1347
Office: 218.17D

Dr. Ugochukwu Anieto

Instructional Assistant Professor, Biology, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1332
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 Arts & Sciences 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. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie

Assistant Professor, Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1311
Office: 316.9

Dr. Saikat Biswas

Instructional Assistant Professor, Mathematics, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1328
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, Biology, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1352
Office: 316.19F
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, 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 Arts & Sciences, teaching genetics courses to a new generation of Aggie students.

Charity Cavazos, PhD., CSCS

Instructional Assistant Professor, Biology, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1318
Office: 316.14
Dr. Charity Cavazos was born and raised in Brownsville, Tx. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, M.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Texas at Brownsville, and PhD. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley teaching Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics, and Anatomy and Physiology for Texas Southmost College. She joined Texas A&M College of Arts & Sciences in the Fall of 2020.

Dr. Andrew Conkey

Instructional Associate Professor, Multidisciplinary Engineering, College of Engineering
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. Lee Cremar

Lecturer, Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1367
Office: 218.19A
Dr. Lee Cremar was born in Laredo and raised in Mission, TX. He earned his B.S in Chemistry from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2006. Following his internships at NASA Ames and Northwestern University in nanomaterials, he pursued his doctoral studies in mechanochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). In 2009, Dr. Cremar continued his graduate studies in theoretical and computational mechanochemistry as a visiting scholar at Stanford University. At Stanford, he received the Bing mentorship award for supporting undergraduate research.

After receiving his Ph.D. from UIUC in 2012, he pursued his postdoctoral studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) at the Nanotechnology Center for Excellence. His postdoctoral work focused on producing antibacterial fibers and low-cost non-woven carbon fiber mats using Forcespinning technology; his contributions resulted in two U.S. patents and several publications. At UTRGV, Dr. Cremar was a Chemistry Lecturer and participated in the NSF's Innovation Corps, an entrepreneurial program that brings inventions to market. In addition, he received a mentorship award for UTRGV's Research Scholar Program. In 2017, Dr. Cremar was a visiting professor at Valencia College in Orlando, FL, and received his Associate Faculty Certification in Chemistry. He later joined IDEA Public Schools as the ACT/TSI Science Interventionist and taught the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Biomedical Science programs. 

Dr. Cremar joined the Department of Chemistry at the HECM in the Fall of 2022. His current research interests are computational materials science and chemistry education, which involves writing chemistry test prep books and lab manuals. In his spare time, Dr. Cremar enjoys mountain biking with his wife Nikki and spending time with his family. He also enjoys working on classic muscle cars, roasting coffee, playing classical guitar, and watching sci-fi shows.

Dr. Ivan Diaz-Rodriguez

Instructional Assistant Professor, Multidisciplinary Engineering, College of Engineering
Phone: (956) 271-1324
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.

Dr. Eldemiro Escamilla

Instructional Associate Professor, Construction Science, School of Architecture
Phone: (956) 271-1343
Office: 218.13

Dr. Mohammed Farooqi

Instructional Assistant Professor, Physics & Astronomy, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1321
Office: 218.15
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. Krystal Flores-Chavez, DrPH, MPH

Instructional Assistant Professor, School of Public Health
Phone: (956) 271-1354
Office: 316.11
Krystal Flores-Chavez, DrPH, MPH is an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior at Texas A&M University School of Public Health. Driven by the desire to serve her community in South Texas, she obtained a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences from Texas A&M University concentrating her efforts on addressing health disparities experienced along the Texas-Mexico Border. During her doctoral studies, she earned a Certificate in Maternal and Child Health and Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Bush School of Government and Public Service. She is a former Gates Millennium Scholar and current member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. Additionally, she holds a Certificate in Effective College Instruction from the Association of College and University Educators and is a Johns Hopkins University SOURCE Service-Learning Academy Faculty Fellow.

With over 10 years experience in the field of public health, she has worked with several organizations including the U.S. Mexico Border Health Commission, the National Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and many local nonprofits in the Rio Grande Valley. Her experience has allowed her to cultivate a culture in which students feel inspired to serve communities outside of the classroom. She currently teaches and mentors students in the undergraduate public health program focusing her efforts on delivering high impact teaching practices. She serves as an advocate and mentor for first-generation, low-income college students in the Rio Grande Valley. In her spare time, she enjoys watching crime documentaries with her husband, gardening, and spending time with her dogs.


Rafael Fox

Associate Professor of Practice, Multidisciplinary Engineering, College of Engineering
Phone: (956) 271-1361
Office: 316.12
Rafael Fox obtained his Bachelor and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degrees from Texas A&M – Kingsville. After college he worked for TT Electronics in Corpus Christi as a Senior Applications Engineer for twelve years, designing test equipment, electronic devices, and developing electronic products for manufacturing.

In 2001, after three years of required industry experience, he began teaching an evening class as an Adjunct at Texas A&M Corpus Christi on recently developed engineering technology programs. This position gave him experience for his next academic position as a full time Engineering Instructor in 2010.

Now, with 19 years of teaching experience and 12 years industry experience, he joined Texas A&M Engineering in McAllen in Spring of 2020. He enjoys teaching engineering courses for the Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary degree programs where he teaches microprocessor architectures and digital electronics.  

He enjoys staying fit by practicing sports when possible. His favorite sports are soccer and tennis, but likes to play basketball, rachet ball, volleyball.

Dr. Lucas Garcia

Instructional Assistant Professor, Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1329
Office: 218.15

Dr. Jose Gutierrez

Lecturer, Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1368
Office: 218.19E

Carl D. Gutke

Lecturer, Global Languages and Cultures, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1351
Office: 316.15
Professor Gutke’s interests are in second language acquisition, linguistics and developing curriculum for language learners. He is currently completing his PhD dissertation in the Global Languages and Cultures Department at Texas A&M on the effect that interactive videos with native Spanish speakers have on beginner Spanish students' proficiency. He has his MA and BA in Spanish Pedagogy from Brigham Young University and is currently completing a grant project to publish a comic book for Spanish learners. 
Professor Gutke's  love for cultures first came from having grown up in Southeastern Utah close to the Navajo (Diné) and Ute Indian reservations where he spent time hiking the canyons and mountains, playing sports and riding horses. He has always been fascinated with languages and wishes he could speak them all. His native language is English, but he has studied Spanish for 25+ years and enjoys learning something new every day in both English and Spanish and is also currently working on Portuguese and German. In addition to that, he has enjoyed spending many hours volunteering in his communities teaching ESL classes to those in need and has worked as a director of an at-risk youth program for various years. 
One of Professor Gutke's favorite sayings is a quote from Oscar Wilde -- “Just be yourself, everyone else is already taken”.  Regardless of what your cultural background is or the language you speak, he believes we are all equal and have something to offer the world and that we should seek to respect and watch out for one another in our respective communities. 
Professor Gutke loves his wife and six children, all of whom have taught him how to be a better person and he enjoys spending his free time with them.

Dr. Guodong Guo

Instructional Assistant Professor, Multidisciplinary Engineering, College of Engineering
Phone: (956) 271-1323
Office: 218.19E
Dr. Guodong Guo is an Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University Higher Education Center McAllen. Dr. Guo’s research interests lie in the broad field of solid mechanics, composite structures, sensors, and actuators. His research findings have been published in prestigious journals including Composite Structures and Technology, International Journal of Impact Engineering, Composite Structures, Smart Materials and Structures, etc. At undergraduate level, Dr. Guo teaches various courses in structural mechanics, system dynamics, and mechanical design.

Dr. Guo received his education across the Pacific Ocean, with a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from China and a PhD degree from North Carolina State University in the US. Dr. Guo has also accumulated several years of industry experience in automotive industry as a professional mechanical engineer. In his spare time, Dr. Guo loves playing with his two kids, Xiaoguo and Xiaoyu.

Dr. Andrew Kipp

Clinical Assistant Professor, TLAC, School of Education and Human Development
Phone: (956) 271-1348
Office: 316.5
Dr. Andrew Kipp earned his B.S. in Secondary Education: Chemistry at Kansas State University and started working as a high school chemistry teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School in the Kansas City metropolitan area. During his eight years teaching there, he earned his M.S. in Secondary Teaching at Pittsburg State University and Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Kansas State University. He also remotely co-instructed a variety of undergraduate and graduate elementary-track and secondary-track education courses at Kansas State University. His research interests include student absenteeism, teacher and student agency, school improvement, and STEM instructional strategies. His hobbies include biking, traveling, board games, video games, spending time with his wife, Andrea, and petting his corgi, Luna!

Dr. Samee Lashari

Lecturer, Political Science, The Bush School of Government & Public Service
Phone: (956) 271-1372
Office: 316.19E

Oscar Lopez

Professor of the Practice, Multidisciplinary Engineering, College of Engineering
Phone: (956) 271-1325
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. Nelda Mier

Associate Professor, Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1353
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. Negin Mirhosseini

Instructional Assistant Professor, Biology, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1357
Office: 316.8
Dr. Negin Mirhosseini was born and brought up in Kerman, Iran. She attended the College of Veterinary Medicine in Kerman for four years. She then left Iran to continue her graduate education in the veterinary field at Texas A&M University in College Station. For her Masters’ Thesis, Dr. Mirhosseini researched on Equine infectious anemia virus (EIA). In fulfillment of her Doctor of Philosophy, Dr. Mirhosseini completed a dissertation on Avian bornavirus (ABV).

Upon completion of her Doctorate, Dr. Mirhosseini took up a postdoctoral research position at the University of Oklahoma. During her year and a half tenure there she studied microRNA. To have a flexible schedule to allow her to attend to her newborn son, she took up a job as an adjunct professor at the Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC). She later moved to Rio Grande Valley where she taught at the South Texas College (STC) and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). In the Fall of 2019, she got the opportunity to be back at home in the College of Arts & Sciences to teach the new generation of Aggie BIMS students.

Dr. Aldo J. Munoz-Vazquez

Instructional Assistant Professor, Multidisciplinary Engineering, College of Engineering
Phone: (956) 271-1359
Office: 316.4
Dr. Aldo received a Doctorate in Robotics from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV) in 2016, in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. He taught engineering and mathematics at different universities in Mexico, and he was a Researcher of the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). He has been with the Texas A&M University since the fall of 2019.

Dr. Aldo has published more than seventy scientific manuscripts, and more than sixty of them in international peer-reviewed journals indexed in the Journal Citation Reports. Dr. Aldo has been Associate and Guest Editor for international journals and has reviewed more than three hundred documents for different journals and conferences, receiving the Publons’ award for being at the top 1% Reviewers in Engineering in 2018 and 2019. Dr. Aldo is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and holds the distinction of being a Member of the Mexican National Systems of Researchers (SNI). His research and teaching interests include, but are not limited to, robotics, modeling and control of linear and nonlinear systems, fuzzy logics and neural networks, fractional calculus, and integral equations.

Some of the Dr. Aldo's hobbies are reading classic novels, cooking, and practicing martial arts.

Dr. Ly Nguyen

Instructional Assistant Professor, Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1376
Office: 316.2

Hugo E. Olvera

Lecturer, Mathematics, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1333
Office: 218.2
M.D. in Mathematics pure concentration.
Research interest: Fractal Geometry.

Gustavo Perez

Instructional Assistant Professor, TLAC, School of Education and Human Development
Phone: (956) 271-1362
Office: 316.3

Research Interests

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
  • STEM education policy and practice
  • Latinx STEM access and attainment
  • Motivation and cultural assets
  • STEM teacher development

Gustavo serves as an Instructional Assistant Professor with the Texas A&M University School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) and the department of Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC). He teaches junior and senior methods courses related to STEM education. His service activities include STEM teacher program development, student recruitment and mentoring, teacher professional development, and a range of outreach services to the university and surrounding communities.


Gustavo Perez is a former engineer, secondary teacher, and educational consultant. He is in the final stages of earning a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with Texas Tech University. His research interests include STEM education access, the attainment factors of historically underrepresented groups, STEM education policy and practice, and the educational experiences of Latinx professionals in the STEM fields.


Gustavo is personally connected to his research. A portion of his research features a qualitative reflective autoethnography that honors his father, Apá, a Texas Tasinque (a sheep and goat shearer). His dissertation, titled “What does it mean to be an Engineer? Stories and counterstories of Mexican American engineering educators,” features the lives, attainment factors, and cultural capital of first generation Mexican American engineers. Gustavo earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&I University, a M.S. in Secondary Education from the University of Texas Pan American, and is the recipient of several individual and program awards for STEM equity, advocacy, and research. 


Originally from Rocksprings-TX and the rural hills of Southwest Texas, Gustavo enjoys solving crossword puzzles, the daily Wordle, playing his collection of acoustic guitars, and family time with his wife, Grace and their 4 children - Lily, Travis, Taylor and Kaylee.

Dr. Khalid Salmani

Lecturer, Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1368
Office: 218.19C

Dr. Surupa Shaw

Instructional Assistant Professor, Multidisciplinary Engineering,College of Engineering
Phone: (956) 271-1327
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].

Dr. Xuan Wang

Instructional Assistant Professor, Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1326
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, College of Arts & Sciences

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. Paula Yoder

Clinical Assistant Professor, EHRD, School of Education & Human Development
Phone: (956) 271-1331
Office: 218.14
Dr. Yoder brings 20 years of progressive academic experience in student instruction and advisement, oversight of academic programs (design and development), policy development, and best practices integration, while collaborating with colleagues to provide clear solutions to complex issues. Proficient in strategic course development designed to promote student growth and target differentiated learning. Experienced in organizing faculty and teams, analyzing data, e-learning distance education course management, and coordinating project-based learning. Dr. Yoder was awarded her Doctorate in Educational Administration with a second major in Education Media and Technology Management from the Texas A&M System through a cohort program with Tarleton State University and A&M Fort Worth. She received her Master's of Science in Human Resource Development from Texas A&M College Station and Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences from Tarleton State University. Dr. Yoder bleeds Maroon. Dr. Yoder's expertise in private, public and nonprofit administration includes:
  • Secondary and Higher Education Administration 
  • Business and Education Policy Design & Implementation 
  • Curricula & Organizational Development 
  • Interpersonal Skills / Relationship Building 
  • Texas Teacher/UIL/Certified 
  • Regulatory & Standards Compliance 
  • Project & Performance Management 
  • E-Learning Distance Education 
  • Futuristic and Experiential Teaching 
  • Hyperflex/Hybrid/Virtual/Remote/F2F 

Dr. Yoder's research focuses on exploring learning cultures; specifically critical multicultural experiences of individuals paradigm shift of change supporting problem based and experiential learning in adult education and business.

Dr. Samuel Zapata

Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Phone: (956) 271-1311
Office: 316.9


Sheherzad Aamir

Administrative Coordinator I
Phone: (956) 271-1355
Office: 316.19D

Marie Amutan

Lab Technician II
Phone: (956) 271-1370
Office: 316.17

Cyndi Beltran

Executive Assistant I
Phone: (956) 271-1349
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.


Clarissa Garza

Program Coordinator II
Phone: (956) 271-1307
Office: 125.2

Clarissa Garza is a Program Coordinator for the Higher Education Center at McAllen focusing on recruitment, family engagement, and working closely in the development of the Honors Program. Her undergraduate degrees include Associate of Science in Biology from South Texas College, Bachelor of Science in Public Health-Epidemiology and Bachelor of Art in Sociology from University of Texas-San Antonio. She received her Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.


She began working with University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in 2017 as a graduate assistant for the Graduate College. Her internships include Counseling intern with UTRGV Student Accessibility Services and Intern for Texas Workforce Solutions Rehabilitation Services where she oversaw summer programs. She joined UTRGV as a full time Graduate Student Recruiter in 2019, before joining Texas A&M in 2022.


Clarissa is an RGV native. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to audio books, rewatching Grey’s Anatomy, and spending time with her three cats Charcoal, Oreo Denise, and Snickers.

Jose (JJ) Garza

Senior IT Professional
Phone: (956) 271-1345
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 holds a Master’s of Science degree in Information Technology Management.

BB Gaytan

Senior Academic Advisor III
Phone: (956) 271-1314
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
Phone: (956) 271-1313
Office: 318.1
Josette Gonzalez is the Academic Advisor for the Biomedical Sciences 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
Office: 123.3
Lucía López is the Program Coordinator for First Year Experience & the Tutoring Program at the Higher Education Center at McAllen. Lucia’s responsibilities also include helping students through academic coaching.

Lucia attended college at Texas A&M University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. In 2017, Lucia moved to McAllen, TX where she transitioned into Higher Education. In her spare time, Lucia enjoys photography and spending time with her family & friends.

Taylor Louder

Career Services Coordinator, Career Center
Phone: (956) 271-1356
Office: 123.5
Taylor Louder is a Career Services Coordinator for Texas A&M University, serving the diverse student population of the Higher Education Center at McAllen. Over the last 10 years of her career, Taylor has served in leadership and talent development roles in both industry and higher education. Taylor’s experience in higher education began at South Texas College, where she was able to establish a strong Career Services presence by collaborating with faculty, creatively engaging students, and customizing programming to fit her student demographics.
As a Career Coordinator for Texas A&M’s Higher Education Center at McAllen, Taylor has been able to broaden her reach and further demonstrate her passion for working with students local to the Rio Grande Valley region. She dedicates herself to creating and facilitating inclusive student programming with a focus on career learning and development.
In her spare time, Taylor enjoys reading, listening to music, and playing Animal Crossing.


Rick Margo '89

Director, HECM
Phone: (956) 271-1341
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.

Marimar Miguel '13

Assistant Director
Phone: (956) 271-1305
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 play Pokemon Go.

Ricardo Ruiz

Graduate Assistant
Phone: (956) 271-1306
Office: 218.17A

Dr. Adolfo Santos

Assistant Provost at HECM
Phone: (956) 271-1342
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.

J. Wesley Swanson

Academic Advisor II
Phone: (956) 271-1316
Office:  220.2
Wesley Swanson is the Academic Advisor for the Agricultural Economics, Construction Science and University Studies – Arts & Sciences undergraduate programs at the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen. Wesley graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Texas A&M University in 2013 and with a Master in Public Affairs from University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley in 2020.  
As an Academic Advisor, Wesley works with students to align their interests to meet their personal and professional goals. This includes helping students create educational plans, providing information about academic requirements and serving as an advocate for the students. 
Wesley is a RGV native. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree he returned to the valley and began working in higher education in 2014. In his spare time he likes to read, play games, and go biking.