United Future Leaders
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. and 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 Sherman became a staff member with the Center for Adolescent Resiliency in February 2012 and has served as the Assistant Director of the United Future Leaders program since 2013. 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 graduated from Texas Tech University in 2011 with a dual degree Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies and Public Relations. She is also a certified educator for secondary speech education. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Family and Consumer Sciences Education at Texas Tech, which greatly contributes to her roles within the UFL program, including curriculum development and implementation, staff training, research and program evaluation. Kayla enjoys helping students discover and develop leadership skills, while encouraging them to make healthy choices to achieve their goals.