Meet the Team
We commit ourselves to be there with passion, positivity and patience; developing relationships that inspire, empower and challenge youth by promoting a sense of direction and purpose.
Sara Dodd, Ph.D. & Assistant Professor
Dr. Sara Dodd became the Director of the Center for Adolescent Resiliency effective July 1, 2012. She is an assistant professor in the College of Human Sciences and is jointly appointed to Texas AgriLife Extension of the Texas A&M University as a state specialist in 4-H and Youth Development. Prior to her faculty appointment, she worked at Texas Tech as a research associate and project director for an NIH grant studying the effects of frequent work travel upon families (Dr. Anisa Zvonkovic, principal investigator). Prior to graduate studies, Dr. Dodd worked as an analyst in the IT industry and as a legislative staff member for a Texas state senator. She earned her bachelor's degree (government) from Abilene Christian University and her MBA (management) and PhD (family/consumer Sciences) from Texas Tech. Dr. Dodd's primary research interests lie in the area of leadership theory and development, organization processes, and consumer/behavioral economics.
Gloria Gonzales, M.Ed.
Gloria Gonzales is the Director of the United Future Leaders (UFL) program at the Center for Adolescent Resiliency. Since 1990, she has worked with children and adolescents as a teacher, counselor and administrator. While serving as a school counselor in Lubbock ISD, she developed an elementary to middle school transition program which was adopted district-wide. In addition to overseeing the continued growth and development of UFL, Gloria serves as a presenter and speaker for staff development, conferences and professional organizations and writes curriculum in the areas of leadership and wellness. In 2006, Gloria received the Texas Tech University's Excellence in the Field of Education Tribute to Teachers Award; in 2010 and 2012 the UFL program was recognized by the National Middle School Association as a Team That Makes a Difference and in 2011, the program was honored as the recipient of the Lubbock Volunteer Center's Get Involved Award. Gloria earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Lubbock Christian University, her Master of Education in Counseling from Sul Ross State University and Mid-Management Certification in Administration from Lubbock Christian University.
Assistant Director, UFL
Kayla Thomas became a staff member with the Center for Adolescent Resiliency in February 2012 and currently serves as the Assistant Director of the United Future Leaders program. Her fascination with the multiple facets of media and communication studies, as well as a passion for working with youth greatly influenced her education and career goals. Kayla is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a dual degree Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies and Public Relations. She is also a certified educator for secondary speech education. Kayla enjoys helping students discover and develop leadership skills, while encouraging them to make healthy choices to achieve their goals.
Macy Waltz, from Ruston, Louisiana, has been working with the United Future Leaders program since 2008. She started as a volunteer and gradually moved into the role of student assistant, graduate assistant, and research associate. As an undergraduate at Texas Tech, Macy received her degree in Human Development and Family Studies and minored in Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies. She also obtained a Masters of Education with an emphasis in Community Counseling. Currently, she is working on her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision.
Lauren Hughs has been with United Future Leaders since August 2012. She serves as a graduate assistant for UFL. Lauren has helped coordinate program delivery, implementation and the development of new curriculum for UFL . Lauren received her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Political Science from Texas Tech University in 2011. She is presently pursuing a Master's in Public Administration with an emphasis in non-profit management.
Brittany Klein received a Bachelor's of arts degree in Psychology in May of 2012. She has been working for UFL since August of 2012. Brittany helps facilitate program delivery and develop new curriculum. She is currently obtaining her masters in Community Counseling. Brittany has a passion for leadership and ethics, and by working with UFL she hopes that the children she comes in contact with will be positively impacted.
Kortney came to TTU in November 2012 after receiving her undergraduate degree in public health/health promotion and gerontology from Brigham Young University. Kortney pursued a career in public health because of her passion for healthy aging and preventing chronic disease through research, social marketing, and program implementation. She believes the Center for Adolescent Resiliency will allow her to accomplish these goals. Kortney is currently pursuing her MPA in healthcare administration.
Jenny Adams, from Houston, Texas, has been working with United Future Leaders since 2011. Jenny serves as a Student Assistant implementing program delivery and teaching others the UFL curriculum. Jenny is currently working on her undergraduate degree in Psychology, minoring in Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies here at Texas Tech. After Jenny graduates, she hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in Psychology. Jenny enjoys helping students to become the best they can be in areas of leadership and well being, including physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Jonathon is a Pre-Med major at Texas Tech University and has been working with United Future Leaders since September 2013. Jonathon was featured on The Ellen Show, ESPN and CBS due to the pass he gave Mitchell Marcus, a player from the opposite team. Jonathon is the youngest of 3 children and to only one to go away to college.
AJ is from Lubbock, TX and is working towards a double major in Community, Family and Addiction Services and Personal Financial Planning with a minor in Business at Texas Tech. His goal is to work with the community, whether through non-profit organizations or a corporate job in the community. AJ has been working with UFL for 2 years.
Chelseyah is a Biology major with a minor in chemistry, psychology and education. She is currently a junior at Texas Tech University and loving every minute of it. Chelseyah hopes to become an academic counselor to high school or college students in the near future. She is a city girl from Houston, Texas.
Carter Burns is from West Point, Mississippi. He is a junior at Texas Tech majoring in Biology and Psychology with minors in Chemistry and Addiction and Recovery studies. His goal is to be some type of pediatric surgeon. He loves working with the kids and seeing them grow. Carter has been volunteering with UFL since September 2012
Kardel Lethermon is from Houston and in his second year of working with UFL. His peaceful demeanor and love for basketball makes him a favorite among UFLers.
Emory is from Amarillo, Texas. He has worked with UFL since August 2013. Emory is a Psychology major at Texas Tech University and is striving to get his Ph.D. He hopes to eventually attend dental school.
Preethi Thomas is a student in the undergraduate program for social work at Texas Tech. She is planning to earn a Master’s in Social Work upon completing her undergraduate studies. Preethi has been a volunteer with UFL for three weeks and truly loves working with the Shallowater students.
Dwayne is a senior Electronic Media and Communication major from Kingston, Jamaica. He is aspiring to be a documentary film producer. He is also a member of the Texas Tech Track & Field team, and one day hopes to run track professionally. He has been working with UFL since August 2013.
Brianna has been volunteering with UFL since September 2012 and is a junior Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics major at Texas Tech University. After she graduates next December, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree while completing a dietetic internship. She ultimately wants to be a clinical dietitian in a hospital setting, specializing in nutrition support.
Justina is a senior at Texas Tech University. She is planning on graduating in May of 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and will start her internship in the fall of 2014. She is the Vice-President for the Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Secretary and Publics Relations Chair of the honor society of Phi Upsilon Omicron.
Jordan George is a sophomore at Texas Tech University. She is a Nutrition/Dietetics major, and hopes to eventually work alongside other health professionals in improving people’s quality of life. She has been a UFL leader for one semester, and look forward to getting more involved with the organization.
Julie Jun is currently an undergraduate student at Texas Tech University studying Nutrition and Dietetics and minoring in Human Development and Family Studies. Julie has been able to bring her knowledge in Nutrition to the students in the UFL program. This is her first semester being a part of the UFL program and she plans to stay involved.
Kassandra has been volunteering with UFL since September 2013. She is a Nutrition and Dietetics major at Texas Tech University and is expecting to graduate in December of 2014. Kassandra hopes to eventually have a job as a dietitian working with children.
Cynthia is a nutrition and dietetics major from Artesia, New Mexico. She is a senior at Texas Tech and will apply to the Baylor US army internship and master’s program once she graduates. She is also an officer in the Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cynthia has been volunteering with UFL since September 2013 and loves attending the Ervin campus.
Olay is a Nutrition and Dietetics student at Texas Tech University. She started working with UFL in the fall 2013. Olay migrated to join her family 3 years ago from Nigeria in West Africa. Despite the cultural and weather change, her passion for child and community nutrition is still there. She currently helps with UFL program delivery and teaching the nutrition curriculum. Olay will graduate in December 2014.
Fitia has been volunteering with UFL since September 2013. She is currently a junior at Texas Tech University. She is pursuing her degree in the nutrition pre-professional health field. Once she receives her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue her study in dentistry.
Erika is currently a student at Texas Tech working towards a Bachelors of Sciences in Nutritional Sciences. After graduating she plans to go to medical school and specialize in pediatrics. She has been working with UFL since August 2013 and really enjoys getting to see how the kids work together to become better leaders.
Bianca has been working with UFL since August 2013. She is a senior at Texas Tech University and majoring in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics. She hopes to one day become a dietitian for a school system or grocery store. Her favorite part of UFL is teaching the children and watching them grow each week.