Professional Staff

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Ashley Gonzales, Ph.D.

Senior Director

Dr. Gonzales currently serves as the Senior Director of the Office of First Generation Transition & Mentoring Programs and the Office of Academic Enrichment, which are under the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement at Texas Tech University. In overseeing both offices, Dr. Gonzales is responsible for the oversight of academic and social program implementation, the recruitment and retention of First Generation College students, and continued community partnerships for the advancement of AVID in Higher Education through the Office of Academic Enrichment.

Dr. Gonzales has worked in higher education since 2010 and has served in various roles, which include institutional diversity, undergraduate education, student affairs, as well as recruitment and retention efforts for First Generation College students. Dr. Gonzales earned a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Communication Studies from Texas Tech University, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Wayland Baptist University and obtained her Ph.D. in Higher Education Research at Texas Tech University. In addition to her current role in overseeing the office of First Generation Transition and Mentoring Programs, as well as the Office of Academic Enrichment, Dr. Gonzales also serves as the Foster Care Liaison for the University. Her research interest focuses on the parental influence and relationship among First Generation College students attending community colleges and universities.

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Patrick Byrne 

Section Coordinator

Patrick Byrne serves as the Section Coordinator for the Office of First Generation Transition & Mentoring Programs at Texas Tech University. Patrick hails from the small border town of Eagle Pass, TX. While in school at Texas Tech, Patrick was the student assistant to the Senior Vice President of the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement for over three years. Alongside working for the university, Patrick was also employed as a Leadership & Professional Development Facilitator for the National FFA Organization before joining First Generation Programs full-time in June 2016. In his role as Section Coordinator, Patrick is charged with overseeing all components of the program, including, the social and academic integration of program support to assist First Generation College students in their acclimation to the university environment, as well as the peer mentor component of the program. Patrick is extremely passionate about student development and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in a related field.

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Brianna Anderson 

Program Coordinator

Brianna Anderson currently serves as the Program Coordinator of the Office of First Generation Transition & Mentoring Programs at Texas Tech University. Brianna oversees the Second Year Success Program and 'Conversations with the Next Generation', a speaker series designed to provide realistic portrayals of former First Generation College Students and their success.
Brianna is a certified educator, has been a member of several non-profit organizations including Hope Chest, the Pegasus Program, The Lubbock Transition Center, and is a motivational speaker for The BCFS Youth Transition Center. Brianna is a First Generation College student that grew up in the foster care system in various cities across Texas. She is impetus about impacting lives, disrupting norms, and breaking cycles. Brianna is also an alumna of Texas Tech University and looks forward to pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Psychology.

 

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Michelle Tijerina  

Business Coordinator

Michelle Tijerina serves as the Business Coordinator for the Office of First Generation Transition & Mentoring Programs at Texas Tech University. Michelle's duties include all fiscal matters of the program, in addition to overseeing 24 mentors and program assistants. Before joining First Generation Programs, Michelle had put in over 17 years of service to Texas Tech University at various departments across campus.

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Brooke Willis 

Graduate Assistant

Brooke Willis serves as a Graduate Assistant for First Generation Transition & Mentoring Programs at Texas Tech University. She joined the First Generation Programs team in the spring of 2018 after receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in fall 2017. Brooke creates and develops all marketing and public relations materials for the department, as well as maintains oversight of all First Gen. Programs social media platforms.