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.
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.
Cassey Hillock has been a student assistant for United Future Leaders since Fall 2011. She is a graduate of Breckenridge High School and is currently studying Human Development and Family studies at Tech, with a minor is Studio Art. Cassey enjoys being a part of the program and participating in the fun and energetic atmosphere at UFL. She hopes to continue working with children after she graduates.
John Kearney Jr.
John Kearney Jr. is from Birmingham, Alabama and has attended Texas Tech for 3 semesters now. He has loved every minute of his experience here. John is an advocate of UFL, and UFL has had made an impact on his life. He thoroughly enjoys working one-on-one with the kids.