Assistant to the Dean of the Honors College
Phone: (210) 458-5149
I serve as the Assistant to the Dean of the Honors College. My role is to ensure that priorities of the dean are advanced within the Honors College and within UTSA. As such, I worked collaboratively with all departments of the Honors College and various UTSA departments.
Although I was born in Istanbul, I was raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Missouri and a masters in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. In college and, particularly graduate school, I began to see the world in a different way, soaking up all the new perspectives that research, lectures and late night talks with other students brought. I was especially keen to understand ways to support policy changes, particularly at the intersection of social policy and education. While in St. Louis, the bulk of my career focused on directing philanthropic dollars to community change initiatives and working to educate and mentor leaders in the nonprofit community. I led a community wide initiative to increase gifts to charity, directed a private foundation and worked to bring together nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. During this time, I was also an adjunct professor at Washington University in St. Louis teaching courses in leadership, volunteer management and resource development and then later served as a special assistant and assistant dean for planning at the school of social work at Washington University. After over 20 years in St. Louis, my husband and our two sons moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where we lived for eight years. During that time, I worked with a foundation that provided grants to educators and worked to incubate and grow a college access program for low income New Mexico students. We moved to San Antonio in 2018 for my husband’s work – he is an educator - and I started work at the Honors College in 2019.
Our family, which includes my husband and two college aged sons, are all vegan. This has been a lifestyle that has developed off and on over many years, starting when our oldest son was in elementary school and did a food project. We had many conversations as a family on the ethical, economical and ecological aspects of the way we eat and our impact on the world around us. We made a conscious lifestyle decision to change how what we ate impacted ourselves and the environment.
I haven’t always enjoyed cooking; for me it felt utilitarian, just something you did to abate being hungry. However, over the years I have experienced the joy of bringing people together over a shared meal. I wanted to do better and started collecting cookbooks, experimenting with new recipes, taking classes and creating dishes to convince non-vegans that vegan recipes were delicious. I even worked at a bed and breakfast started by a friend to see if I could cook for strangers and enjoy it. I’ve spent many hours watching YouTube videos to hone my knife work; chopping vegetables is zen for me. I feel like I have figured out how to develop a skill that is at the same time relaxing, creative, and fulfilling [pun intended].
Knowing that what I do every day has a direct impact on how we can best serve students – and bring out the best in them – is what I love the most. The entire College is focused on providing experiences, courses and mentoring that helps students become their best selves. For me, it is an opportunity to create the space for exploration of ideas and one’s self as an individual that was so vital to my own education as an undergraduate.