The 2019 College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Excellence Reception at the Tech Club.
This Year's Distinguished Alumni
& Faculty Excellence Recipients
Learn more about the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Excellence program, and our 2019 recipients, through the videos, bios and images that follow.
2019 Distinguished Alumni
Owner, Silver Creek Consulting, LLC
BS, '69, Political Science
Jack Helton earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Texas Tech in 1969. Following graduation, the Briscoe, Texas, native spent the first 14 years of his professional career in the trucking industry where he held executive positions in Lubbock, St. Louis, Anchorage and Seattle. While in Seattle, he migrated into the shipping and port industry for Alaska and the Pacific Northwest with Sea-Land Service. From 1997 until 2007, he held executive positions in Seattle; New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; Moscow; Muscat, Oman; and West Central Asia. During this time, he served as director on a number of corporate boards, including the role of chairman. In 2007, he retired from the shipping and port industry and returned to his ranch in Wheeler, Texas, where he created his own consulting firm, Silver Creek Consulting, LLC. With the creation of Silver Creek, his work primarily focuses on logistics, maritime and port development in Africa, the Middle East and West Central Asia as a consultant, advisor, and project director for multinational and joint venture companies. Since 2007, he has led the development of nine major port projects in the United States, Jordan, Bahrain, India, Nigeria, Oman, the former Soviet Union and Angola. The majority of these projects included the creation of social programs aimed at improving education and developing a strong middle class to help improve local communities.
Attorney, Jordon Woy and Associates, LP
BA, '84, Political Science
Jordan Woy earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Texas Tech in 1984 and went on to receive a J.D. from the St. Mary's School of Law. His firm, Jordon Woy and Associates, LP, represents players in the National Football League and has become one of the top representation agencies in the nation. He and his team have represented approximately 500 professional athletes and negotiated over $3 billion dollars in contracts. Sports Illustrated and USA Today have both ranked him as one of the Top 10 football agents in the business. His clients include Donald Driver, Flozell Adams, Terrell Owens, Yancey Thigpen, Dan Bailey and Brock Marion, just to name a few. He has represented three players who were the highest paid players at their position in the NFL and has also had business or charitable relationships with Muhammad Ali, Michael Johnson and Eric Dickerson. Along with player representation, he and his team have an event planning arm that has produced events such as celebrity poker and golf tournaments as well as events at the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby with stars such as Jim Carrey, Kevin Costner, John Travolta, Pamela Anderson and Kim Kardashian as hosts. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a Certified Contract Advisor with the National Football Player's Association.
2019 Faculty Excellence Awardees
Jacob Baum, PhD
Department of History
Excellence in Research Award for the Humanities
Jacob Baum is an assistant professor in the Department of History and teaches a variety of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels on medieval and early modern European history. His research examines the intersections of ideas, culture and daily life in these time periods. He is currently co-editing a collection of interdisciplinary essays on the five senses in early modern Europe and is beginning new research into the history of disability. Specifically, he has begun work on two article-length projects on sensory impairment in the early modern period and has embarked on a translation of the diary of a deaf man who lived during the 16th century.
Jason Van Allen, PhD
Department of Psychological Sciences
Excellence in Research Award for the Social Sciences
Jason Van Allen is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences and has published more then 30 journal articles, multiple book chapters and has more than 50 academic presentations. He is an associate editor for the publication Behavioral Medicine and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology and the Journal of Child and Family Studies. His research focuses on pediatric obesity and child health behavior and outcomes more generally. He has collaborated with faculty in Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech, where he has begun to examine the role of pet dogs in child physical activity.
Gerardo Gamez, PhD
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Excellence in Research Award for the Natural and Physical Sciences
Gerardo Gamez is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and has co-authored 60 publications and presented more than 30 invited lectures. His research focuses on instrumentation and method development of high-throughput and imaging chemical analysis techniques. He received the inaugural Richard Payling Award for outstanding research in glow discharge spectroscopy and the inaugural Royal Society of Chemistry Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry Emerging Investigator Lectureship Award.
Catherine Epkins, PhD
Department of Psychological Sciences
Excellence in Teaching Award
Catherine Epkins is an associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences and was a recipient of the President's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016. Her research focuses on children's depression, anxiety, and social anxiety, with an emphasis on family, peer/social, and cognitive/thinking aspects. She has served as chair for 19 doctoral dissertations and has been a dissertation committee member for 47 dissertations. During her tenure she has taught regular, honors, and writing intensive sections of Abnormal Child Psychology at the undergraduate level; and several graduate courses, including Developmental Psychopathology, Child and Adolescent Assessment, and Introduction to Child and Adolescent Treatment.
Brock Williams, PhD
Department of Mathematics & Statistics
Teaching Innovation Award
Brock Williams is a professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics and joined the faculty at Texas Tech in 1999. His primary research interests are discrete conformal geometry and geometric function theory. In particular, he is interested in the application of circle packing techniques to Riemann surfaces and quasiconformal maps. He is also involved in several funded projects involving STEM outreach and teacher preparation. His classes included both undergraduate and graduate, online and face-to-face and even a dual credit course at Estacado High School.
- Review the 2018 Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Excellence Award recipients at this link.
- Review the 2017 Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Excellence Award recipients at this link.
- Review the 2016 Distinguished Alumni & Faculty Excellence Award recipients at this link.