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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

Director, CAR

Dr. Sara Dodd

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.

Director, UFL

Gloria Gonzales

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.


Kayla Sherman

Assistant Director, UFL

Kayla Thomas

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.


Kortney Homer

Research Assistant

Kortney Homer

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

Graduate Assistant

Jenny Adams began working with the United Future Leaders program in 2011 as a volunteer and later, a Student Assistant. She currently serves as a Graduate Assistant where she works closely with the UFL curriculum as she facilitates staff and volunteer trainings, preparing for and implementing campus program delivery, along with assisting in further development of current curriculum. Serving in these various positions of the UFL program has greatly contributed to the awakening of Jenny's passion and life-calling of leadership and adolescent development. Jenny graduated with honors from Texas Tech University in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies. She is presently pursuing a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Youth Development, Educational Leadership, and Communication Studies. Jenny deeply treasures building relationships with students as they flourish in areas of leadership and wellbeing, including physical, emotional, and spiritual health. She finds joy in loving and leading students well.


Natasha Hemeng

Graduate Assistant


Jonathon Montanez

Student Assistant

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.


Alberto Garcia III

Student Assistant

Alberto Garcia III is a senior at Texas Tech University studying Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics with a minor in Spanish. He began working with UFL as a volunteer in January 2014 and now serves as a student assistant. Alberto really enjoys the energy and enthusiasm that the young leaders bring each day. It inspires and motivates his passion of promoting health and wellness among adolescents by teaching these concepts in a fun and active setting.


Beth Castelli


Beth Castelli is currently a senior majoring in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics at Texas Tech. Beth is originally from Wichita Falls, TX and loves how Lubbock reminds her of back home. She is very passionate about running and has ran in a couple half marathons. She also enjoys cooking and baking for her friends and family. Beth believes it is very important for kids of all ages to realize the importance of leadership, which allows her to really appreciate and be involved in the hard work that goes into making UFL what it is today.


Hannah Chacon


Hannah Chacon is currently a senior at Texas Tech University, studying Nutrition and Dietetics. She is originally from Garland, Texas and plans to move back upon graduation in May 2015. Hannah loves all kinds of sports, cooking, and corny jokes that can make her belly laugh, which makes her a favorite among students at the UFL campuses in which she volunteers.


Dwayne Extol


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.


Elisa Infante


Elisa Infante is a senior Agricultural Education major from Austin, Texas. This is her first year with UFL but has been active in other organizations at Texas Tech such as the Miller Girls Service Organization, Collegiate FFA and Collegiate 4-H. She plans to continue her education at Texas Tech with a Master's in Agricultural Education upon completion of her undergraduate studies.


Lexie Schaefer


Lexie Schaefer has been volunteering with UFL since August 2014. She is a freshman Marketing and Business Management major from Garden City, Texas. After graduation she plans to attend graduate school. She enjoys working with the students and hopes that she will continue to grow as a leader while making a positive impact on the lives of youth and facilitators alike.