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Women in Science & Engineering

Women in STEM at UTSA

Dr. Fatma Arslan

Senior Lecturer, Electrical and Computer Engineering

"I was amazed by Math in my early ages probably because both my parents were math teachers and loved math. And my amazement by math reached maximum when I see it is applied thru my pre engineering courses in high school."

Research Interests:

  • Signal and Image Processing
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Applied Mathematics


Dr. JoAnn Browning

Dean, College of Engineering

"I became a civil engineer because I wanted to create great works that solved problems important to our society."

Research Interests 

  • Structural Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Engineering Materials
  • Reinforced Concrete Design and Analysis


Dr. Valerie Sponsel

Professor, Department of Biology

"What's not to love about plants? They feed, clothe and heal us. I like to watch my students grow as scientists as they discover the complexity and intricacies of plant development."

Research Interests:

  • Medicinal plants
  • Plant growth and development
  • Plant hormones


Dr. Gwen Young

Lecturer II, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology

"I was born and raised in Utah surrounded by public land and natural beauty which in and of itself is inspirational."

"I was inspired by my grandmother – a naturalist if there ever was one – who instilled in me an outdoor spirit and an awe for the cottonwoods that surrounded her house, the spiders that wove webs in her windowsills, the birds we fed when the ground was covered in snow, and the night crawlers we caught and used to catch rainbow trout. "

Research Interests:

  • Conservation Biology
  • Environmental Systems
  • Survey Topics
  • Technical Writing

Dr. Susan Dalterio

Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology

Research Interests:

  • Drugs and Society
  • Introductory Biology
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology

Dr. Terri Matiella

Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology

Research Interests:

  • Environmental Systems
  • Survey Topics

Cindy Roberts

Lecturer I, Department of Mathematics

"Once I found out 2 + 2 wasn't 5, I was hooked!"

Research Interests:

  • Online Instruction
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Programming


Carolyn Luna

Lecturer, Department of Mathematics

"Be Power-ful not Power-less."
"Remember that 90% of success in life is attitude - this means viewing difficulties as challenges to be overcome and not obstacles to your achievement."
"Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right."

Research Interests:

  • Geometric Transformations 
  • Instruction


Dr. Kelly Nash

Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Research Interests:

  • Nanoparticles as Remote Optical Transducers for Biomedical Applications
  • Elucidating Combinatorial Effects of Nanoparticles and Electromagnetic Stimulation
  • Light (Laser) Assisted Synthesis of Nanoparticles & Applications in Medicine and Energy
  • Photoacoustic (Optoacoustic) Characterization and Signatures of Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications
  • All Optical Photoacoustic Spectroscopy and Imaging
  • Polymeric Nanoparticles for Immunological Drug Delivery Applications


Dr. Lindsey Macpherson

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Research Interests:

  • Investigating the sense of taste and the molecules, cells, and circuits involved in chemosensation from the tongue and gut to the brain.


Kirsten Hanson

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Research Interests:

  • Identification of desirable compounds for liver stage-directed chemoprotection (malaria control) novel assay development
  • Chemical biology approaches to interrogating the unique cell biology that supports syncytial growth during the Plasmodium liver stage


Dr. Heather Shipley

Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Dean of University College, College of Engineering

"I love the field of environmental engineering and the impact it makes in people’s daily lives. My advice for others would be follow and purse your passion whatever STEM field that may be.  You should do something that excites you and you want to get up each day and do again."

Research Interests:

  • Water quality monitoring 
  • Fate and Transport of pollutants 
  • Water Conservation, recycling and Sustainability 
  • Nanomaterials and composites for water treatment 


Dr. Krystel K. Castillo

GreenStar Endowed Associate Professor in Energy, Department of Mechanical Engineering

"When I was in high-school I learned that the word “engineer” has its roots in the Latin words ingeniare ("to devise") and ingenium ("cleverness").  I was immediately attracted to this field because I wanted to contribute to the invention of technological solutions."

Research Interests:

  • Mathematical modeling of supply chains
  • Logistics
  • Optimization of large-scale scenarios (meta-heuristics)
  • Statistical quality control and reliability.



Dr. Laura Gaviria

Senior Lecturer, Department of Biomedical Engineering

"I’m passionate about Biomedical Engineering because it is the perfect combination between biology and engineering with the purpose of improving quality of life for healthcare professionals and patients."

Research Interests:

  • Spatio-temporal delivery of growth factors for vascularized bone tissue regeneration
  • Drug delivery and microencapsulation
  • Synthetic biomaterials for bone regeneration
  • Vascular regeneration in bone healing


Dr. Gabriela Romero

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

Research Interests:

  • Macromolecular Bio-Interfaces for cell manipulation
  • Biologically inspired drug delivery systems
  • Soft biomedical materials
  • Stimuli-responsive macromolecules


Astrid Cardona

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Research Interests:

  • Immune-modulation during neurocysticercosis
  • Immunopathogenesis of neuronal damage in multiple sclerosis
  • Neuroinflammation, chemokines and microglial function


Dr. Chiung-Yu Hung

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

"The defining characteristics of feminine traits vary among societies and cultures. Among some of the stereotypical feminine traits, sensitivity, kindness, helpfulness, devotedness, understanding, cooperativeness, and expressiveness are also important scientist characteristics.  We are sensitive so we have strong observation skills and curiosity.  We devote to create new knowledge. We also can logically and objectively evaluate data. Women are naturally made to become great scientists."

Research Interests:

  • Flow cytometry
  • Host-pathogen interaction
  • Medical mycology
  • Vaccine development against microbial infections


Melissa Markgraf

Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology

"I was an English major enrolled in an Astronomy class, which piqued my interest much more than Beowulf ever could. I switched my degree plan the next semester."

Dr. Kathryn Mayer

Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy

"The thing I love most about my field is that there is physics in everything. From galaxies to biological systems to atoms, you can study them all using the principles and tools of physics."

Research Interests:

  • Biophysics
  • Optical techniques
  • Plasmonics
  • Single molecule studies


Tina Vega

Lecturer II, Department of Mathematics

“I want to empower others to deeply understand and use mathematics, carrying on the legacy of other women mathematician educators that have influenced my life.”

Research Interests:

  • Pedagogy 
  •  Mathematics


Dr. Jennifer Smith

Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology

Research Interests:

  • Conservation Biology
  • Field Ecology
  • Ornithology
  • Wildlife Biology


Dr. Dina Drozdov

Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics and Astronomy

"At the age of 4, I asked a family friend, deeply concerned, "but what happens when a star dies?"  And now, that is exactly what I study in my research."

Research Interests:

  • Interstellar medium
  • Supernovae

Sue Ann Pemberton-Haugh

Assistant Professor in Practice, College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning

Research Interests:

  • Historic Preservation
  • Design
  • Materials research and technology


Dr. Sedef Doganer

Associate Professor, Department Chair, College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning

Research Interests:

  • Innovative, multi-disciplinary research on development in heritage zones that respects the continuity of existing heritage.


Dr. Angela Lombardi

Associate Professor, Historic Preservation Program Coordinator, College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning

Research Interests:

  • Management of historic built heritage and archeology within contemporary urban landscapes in an international context. 


Dr. Neda Norouzi

Assistant Professor, College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning

“I love the challenge of solving a math problem, the anticipation of waiting for a science project result, and the equanimity of imagination through art. Architecture combines all three and that’s why I chose it” 


  • Intergenerational architecture
  • Healthcare architecture
  • Urban Planning
  • Regional planning


Juana Salazar

Senior Lecturer, College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning

Research Interests:

  • Envisioning catalyst urban planning and architectural design of environments in support of cognitive orientation and place
  • Design responses to human comfort
  • Design of appropriate sustainable green architecture and infrastructure strategies
  • Development of individual students’ formal and spatial vocabularies so that they may become enthusiastic advocates of architecture. 


Dr. Elizabeth Sooby-Wood

Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy

“People often say that babies don’t come with manuals. The same can be said for women navigating a career in STEM. A select few have the opportunity to watch their parents or close family succeed in their field, others find great mentors and some of us wander around for a bit until we figure out which road we are supposed to be on—then we find great mentors. Independent of the path, a common theme is support.
I wandered onto my career path. A NASA engineer took the time to mentor me. I played soccer with his niece in college, and he heard that I was majoring in physics. He encouraged me to apply for an internship opportunity that set me on a path I never anticipated, and it led me to the career I have now. Several mentors along the way have impacted my life and career in immeasurable ways, and that is a vital part of the effort to increase female representation in STEM.”


Research Interests:

  • Corrosion
  • High-temperature materials synthesis
  • Materials physics
  • Nuclear materials
  • Reaction kinetics
  • Thermal analysis


Dr. Judy Haschenburger

Professor, Department of Geological Sciences

"My fascination with natural landscapes inspired me to pursue geoscience."

Research Interests:

  • Sediment transfers in gravel-bed rivers
  • Modeling sediment transport processes
  • Channel-floodplain sediment exchanges
  • Geomorphology
  • Freshwater Ecology
  • River Science