Featured Faculty

Dr. Javier Arjona-Baez Headshot

Dr. Javier Arjona-Baez

Dr. Javier Arjona was born in Monterrey, Mexico, less than 150 miles from the Texas border. As a young boy, family vacations to the Texas coast were very common. That in part sparked his interest in learning English and the U.S. culture. Later In his life while studying mechanical and industrial engineering at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) he participated as a Spanish conversation tutor during summer school helping the American students at </span >the </span >ITESM Spanish program. This was his first one-to-one teaching experience with people from another culture and who spoke a different language, and it was very important for his future career as an educator. After earning his Master's in Mechanical Engineering degree he became an instructor of mechanical engineering at the ITESM and later at the Universidad de Monterrey. After 10 years as an educator and becoming the father of 2 children he moved to Houston to pursue his doctoral degree. His third child was born in Texas. Dr. Arjona joined the Department of Engineering of the University of the Incarnate Word in 2009.

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Armando Barrera Headshot

Armando Barrera

Armando Barrera is an author, professor and researcher at The Incarnate Word University, Mexico City Campus. He has collaborated with the institution since 2014. He holds degrees from Tecnológico de Monterrey, Universidad del Valle de México and Universidad de las Américas; having additional studies from Harvard University (Kennedy School of Government), CIDE and Colmex. He was a researcher at The Belisario Dominguez Institute (within the Mexican Senate). He has collaborated in the design and implementation of public policy at the Mexican Senate, the Federal Public Security Bureau of Mexico, Mexico’s Federal Attorney’s Office and Segalmex (a Mexican government initiative aimed at offering low priced food products at marginalized communities within Mexico). He has published several books regarding business and international trade such as La Integración Norteamericana: Un Nuevo Orden Mundial (The North American Integration: A new world order), Mercadotecnia 101 (Marketing 101) and Mexican Way of Life.

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Dr. Russell Coates  Headshot

Dr. Russell Coates

In my role as faculty and the Director of Outreach programs at the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry I have organized, planned, and recruited students and faculty for over 30 international optometric mission/service learning (I have personally participated in approximately 10 trips) over the last 10 years. Our students and faculty have provided optometric eye care services, glasses, and medications for thousands of patients in Mexico (Yucatan & Oaxaca), Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, and Peru. I have learned that one of keys to providing quality experiences for all participants is establishing good partnerships with the local communities. As an educator it is incredibly rewarding to see the transformational impact these experiences have on all participants. It is a tremendous blessing to witness various areas of participants’ growth (optometric skills, critical thinking, language skills, leadership, confidence, hearts, & faith) while serving our neighbors in the Americas.

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Dr. Laura Cortes-Franco Headshot

Dr. Laura Cortes-Franco

I am a Mexican citizen and immigrant with a work permit that has previously worked for the Mexican government in the United States. I have also worked with the migrant children crossing into the United States to help reunify them with family members. I’m an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist with a Master’s in Counseling that happens to have first-hand experiences as an immigrant (student and employee), as well as experience working with the immigrant community at different levels and from different governments. I also have a “Diplomado en Primeros Auxilios Psicológicos para Personas Migrantes, Refugiadas y Desplazadas” issued by the Secretaría de Educación Pública of México. As an educator, I use my experience as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient to encourage my students to invest in themselves. After receiving my Ph.D. at 27 debt-free, I started my own consulting company. During my time working at the General Mexican Consulate in San Antonio, Texas, I managed many Mexican government-funded assistance programs and repatriated many Mexican Unaccompanied Alien Children (UCs). In this regard, I have also managed the reunification of UCs while working as a bilingual case manager under the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

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Dr. Lucero Martinez Delgado Headshot

Dr. Lucero Martinez Delgado

With my background in Medicine from Mexico, I was able to enter academia and focus on students pursuing health professions. I discovered a lack of minority representation of faculty in the health sciences, and that has to change. But if our students are underrepresented during their initial college degrees, how can they make it all the way to a faculty position, where they need advanced degrees? We must change things to increase their curiosity and interest in Academia, we must change at the roots.  

To be in a classroom with diversity, including the instructor, is to have rich conversations that will result in the development of empathy skills and sensitivity to the different groups we all identify with, not just ethnic/racial groups. This will later translate into better patient-provider relationships in healthcare, and just like we make connections with students, patients make connections with their healthcare providers.

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Dr. Roberto Fajardo Headshot

Dr. Roberto Fajardo

Roberto Fajardo, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical and Applied Science Education at the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine. In addition to his teaching and research in diabetic skeletal fragility and health disparities in total joint replacement, Dr. Fajardo leads a pediatric medical mission, supported by Healing the Children-Florida, to Neiva, Colombia. This comprehensive medical mission, now in its 27th year, was first established by Dr. Fajardo’s father, Carlos. The mission has provided surgical services in the areas of oralmaxillofacial, plastics, and orthopedic for over 4,000 children during its long history. In the last fifteen years, the mission has expanded into nutritional, speech therapy, dental, mental health services, and research. Every year, medical students travel with Dr. Fajardo, gaining invaluable cross-cultural and clinical experiences in global medicine. The experiences also expose these students to the hard work and rewards of service, hopefully planting seeds that will bear fruit during their careers. 

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Dr. Maria Felix-Ortiz Headshot

Dr. Maria Felix-Ortiz

My research focuses on drug use epidemiology, treatment, and cultural identity.  With the assistance of a Fogarty grant, I spent a summer in Mexico collaborating with colleagues at Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria Ramon de la Fuentes Muniz in Mexico City, Mexico's national institute of mental health.  Our research team worked with Dr. Jorge Villatoro and Dr. Maria Elena Medina Mora, Mexico's lead epidemiologists, to conduct a cross-cultural study of drug use among high school students in Los Angeles and Baja California.  We were among the first to pioneer new ways of conceptualizing drug use as a complex, multidetermined behavior that included a consideration of culture and resiliency.  As part of the project, we included and mentored several undergraduate and graduate students, and we connected Mexican researchers with researchers in the US.  The work resulted in a publication and ongoing collaborations.  This summer, Dr. Jorge Villatoro and I co-hosted a virtual summer research internship program including nine UIW students: Three from main campus, three from Bajio, and three from CIW.  We enjoyed the participation of two other faculty members, Dr. Cepeda of University of Southern California, and Dr. Ellen Lee Vaughn of Indiana University. Two students will stay on to continue working with our research team on conference presentations.  I am also a charter/founding member of the National Hispanic Science Network which is an international network of scientists involved in drug abuse research. 

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Dr. María Lourdes Alarcón Fortepiani  Headshot

Dr. María Lourdes Alarcón Fortepiani

Dr. María Lourdes Alarcón Fortepiani is a Professor at the University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry (UIWRSO) who uses her Spanish fluency as the patient educator and translator during UIWRSO outreach activities for Hispanic communities locally, in San Antonio, as well as in Yucatan, Mexico. The encounter with underserved populations with different dietary habits, economical resources and access to Health Care in Mexico widened her perspective of patient education and inspired her to adapt the content of patient education resources that would align with the geographical and socioeconomic status of the patient. The Mission trip experiences in Mexico together with the interaction with other optometrists in Colombia via a webinar also changed her perspective of instruction in the classroom. Now, she envisions a more practical individualized approach to patient care incorporating sociodemographic factors and aims for the students to apply these components when evaluating their own patients.

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Dr. Zazil Reyes Garcia Headshot

Dr. Zazil Reyes Garcia

Dr. Reyes García had her first cross-border experience as a teenager when her family moved from southern Mexico to North Carolina. Her world opened as she learned to navigate a new culture and to speak a new language. Her second experience crossing borders in the Americas came with a study abroad program in Chile. Living and traveling in South America provided a strong sense of belonging to a larger Latin American community and culture. These experiences were fundamental to her teaching career, which began in 2002 in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she taught in both English and Spanish for an intercultural program at Tec de Monterrey. She has been back in the U.S. since 2009, where her work as a Spanish instructor at UT Austin and later as a bilingual educator and scholar at the University of the Incarnate Word has expanded her interests in cross-border experiences of the Americas to include U.S. Latinas/os/x communities.

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Dr. Teresa Harrison Headshot

Dr. Teresa Harrison

Dr. Teresa Harrison, Associate Professor of Management in the H-E-B School of Business, studies diversity and has published scholarly research on topics including immigrant experiences in the workplace as well as national and international cultural value differences and job choice preferences. Because of her research background, she has been able to conduct workshops for practitioners to discuss difficult conversations in the workplace leading to an appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Her ‘Leading a Diverse Workforce’ MBA special topics course has been well received and helps create leaders in organizations who champion those who may be different from themselves, especially in terms of nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and ability. Additionally, she teaches courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of Organizational Behavior, Business Communication, Human Resources Management, Strategic Management (Capstone), and other special topics. Within each course, special care is taken to purposefully examine individual differences and global perspectives to transform our students to future leaders in the workplace.

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Dr. John Hooker Headshot

Dr. John Hooker

Dr. John Hooker is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science. A geologist by background, John has extensive field experience in Mexico, Argentina, and Bolivia. Rock layers that have immense importance for drinking water in San Antonio and hydrocarbon exploration throughout the Gulf Coast region are beautifully exposed in the Sierra Madre Oriental near Monterrey, Mexico. Studying these rocks has provided John with invaluable perspective on how fluids flow in the subsurface, while studying throughout Latin America has given John a first-hand look at the rich tapestry of cultures that comprises the Americas. Despite this diversity, we all depend on natural resources provided by the Earth for our survival. Stewardship of our environment is a global imperative, and is best advanced when we reach across borders, share our knowledge, and work together.

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Sister Martha Ann Kirk Headshot

Sister Martha Ann Kirk

Sister Martha Ann Kirk, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, with a Th.D. in Theology and the Arts, has been a Professor of Religious Studies and of the Arts who promotes Global Citizenship Education. She is grateful for opportunities she has had in 32 countries, starting in the 1970’s with art research and leadership of study and service trips to Mexico. She assisted in the development of Women’s Global Connection and seeks to carry forward that vision in the Institute, especially in connecting with ministries of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Chile, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and the US. She is interested in furthering San Antonio’s flourishing as a “ City of Compassion” within the global Charter for Compassion movement and is an International Compassionate Integrity Training Facilitator. She has been the San Antonio Peace Laureate, the Texas Pax Christi Peacemaker of the Year, and recognized in various ways for building interfaith and intercultural bridges including being in the PBS Women, War, and Peace series as a “ Teacher of Peace”. She has written six books, including Dancing with Creation: Mexican and Native American Dance and Iraqi Women of Three Generations.

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Dr. Javier Lozano Headshot

Dr. Javier Lozano

Dr. Javier E. Lozano is a native Texan, born in Houston, raised in El Paso, and has been living in San Antonio for the past 24 years. Traveling to Juarez, Mexico, each weekend to visit his grandparents was the beginning of his unofficial training in cross-cultural competence.

Due to his early experience, Dr. Lozano earned a bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing from St. Mary’s University, followed by a master’s in business administration and a doctorate in international education and entrepreneurship from the University of the Incarnate Word. 

For the past 16 years, Dr. Lozano has served the University of the Incarnate Word in two main capacities. Currently, he is the Director of International Affairs as well as a business instructor in the School of Professional Studies. Since 2009, Dr. Lozano has taught over 70 undergraduate and graduate business courses. For the past six years, he has taught graduate level business courses that focus on effective team and change management theories and practices. Dr. Lozano’s teaching philosophy is based on collaborative learning, which has promoted understanding through respectful dialogue and healthy debate among his students and colleagues.

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Dr. Yutaka Maki Headshot

Dr. Yutaka Maki

Being raised and moving from Japan at a formative age, I have a unique perspective regarding cross-border experience. In addition, I have helped organize and/or lead twelve optometry mission trips to Mexico, Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. Whether playing with resident children, collaborating with local leaders to setup clinics, or sharing meals with the community, I have learned the value of building relationships. In these experiences, I found that people are moved first by intentions and attitude. Though I brought skills, technique, and credentials to the table, at the end of the day, people wanted to see that I was invested in them and their growth. These principles carry into my current work as a professor at Rosenberg School of Optometry. Students across every culture I’ve encountered share these commonalities; what really matters to them is that they matter to me.

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Dr. Monica Mendez Headshot

Dr. Monica Mendez

My experience as a physical therapy student, clinician, and educator in Mexico and the United States has defined how I impact our future clinicians. The commonalities in critical healthcare issues are evident not only in our home country but globally. The lack of access to healthcare is a worldwide issue and awareness becomes the first step in bridging the gaps to access. Allowing opportunities for students to experience the limitations of healthcare access firsthand will mold service-centered global citizens. As an educator, I strive to facilitate student practices across borders and with those who are first-generation immigrants. It is my duty to emphasize the barriers such as language, economic status, and lack of knowledge that we can improve. With lived experiences, students learn there are more cross-cultural similarities than differences and it is our duty as global citizens to ease access to healthcare.

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Dr. Jose Moreno Headshot

Dr. Jose Moreno

My career as educator wouldn’t happened without cross-border experiences. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. My first cross-border experience was at the age of 11. My family and I made an unforgettable road trip from the heart of Mexico to Vancouver, Canada. Since then, I treasure every international journey as the most precious learning events I have ever had. And this passion for international experiences is what I try to transfer to my students in the classroom.

Cross-border experiences help us to open mind and heart. They move us to appreciate and enjoy the cultural differences around the world, as well as integrate us as one community in the global reality. On my first visit to UIW, I was touched by its mission and its commitment to “the development of the whole person and values of life-long learning”, which I cannot conceive as possible without cross-border experiences for our students and faculty.

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Dr. Scott Roberts Headshot

Dr. Scott Roberts

Dr. Scott Roberts is Professor of Marketing in the H-E-B School of Business & Administration, and was a Fulbright Border Scholar in 1997-1998 while working at UT-Brownsville (now a part of UT-Pan Am). He has lived along the U.S.-Mexico border on both sides many times over the years along Texas/Tamaulipas, California/Baja California Norte, and Arizona/Sonora. He is fluent in English and Spanish and well versed in U.S. and Mexican cultures. He has published and presented extensively on cross-cultural consumer and business issues related to Mexico and the U.S. Dr. Roberts looks for every opportunity to visit anywhere in the Americas, always knowing in advance that he will find fascinating things to ponder and will love the peoples, foods, and cultures of those places.

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Dr. Alicia Rubio Headshot

Dr. Alicia Rubio

Dr. Alicia Rubio’s cross-border experience has taught her that, as an educator, knowing a subject matter is not enough to reach students in the classroom; one must be aware of how their culture has shaped their beliefs, values, and perceptions about education.

In the classroom she likes to discuss how textbook material many times applies only to the United Sates. Her experience allows students to learn the intricacies of financial systems in different countries while maintaining an open an inquisitive mind.

Due to her interest in cultural perspectives, Dr. Rubio’s research has focused on the influence of culture and values in the financial behavior of people around the globe with a special interest in Latin America. She has also studied culture’s effects on savings behavior and financial planning among several cultural groups in the United States.

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Dr. Alberto Rubio Headshot

Dr. Alberto Rubio

Dr. Alberto Rubio has ample cross-cultural experience in education, marketing, selling, and general business consulting. This has led him to believe that, to a certain extent, all humans are ethnocentric. Cross-cultural experiences have, however, allowed Dr. Rubio to understand that value systems are not better or worse, just different, an imperative in today’s classroom.

A course rooted in cross-cultural information leads to discussions in which students can appreciate the intricacies of cultural values and their influence in business practices around the world. 

As an educator, enticing students to look at the world from different perspectives will enhance their performance since it would be easier to foresee potential opportunities or pitfalls in future endeavors. Especially in a relatively homogeneous region as Latin-America where the differences between our cultures can be significant.

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Dr. Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz Headshot

Dr. Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz

Gabriel T. Saxton-Ruiz is Professor of Latin American Literature & Culture at the University of the Incarnate Word. His extensive experience traveling and working abroad has led him to place a strong emphasis on intercultural dialogue in his teaching, research, and service. Saxton-Ruiz believes this focus on cross-border dynamics raises awareness, encourages reflection and points to potential courses of action on the countless issues facing the world today. His classes are designed to provide many opportunities for international conversation ranging from Q&A events with Nicaragua’s former Vice President, Sergio Ramírez, to workshops with Argentine cartonero publishers who use recycled materials to create books. His research interests include contemporary Latin American literature, cultural gastronomy, ecocriticism and representations of violence in various types of cultural productions. In terms of service, Saxton-Ruiz recently served as a volunteer with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at one of their emergency influx sites for unaccompanied minors.

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Dr. Marco Antonio Pulido Rull Headshot

Dr. Marco Antonio Pulido Rull

Like most of Mexico’s scientists, I was an undergraduate and graduate student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. During my graduate studies, I specialized in experimental design, statistics, and the experimental analysis of behavior. With the help of the University (and my own means), I managed to commute on a yearly basis to the US and Canada, to share my research with my peers. Almost simultaneously, I started teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. I found out quickly that Mexican psychology students were uninterested in developing their own theories. They took for granted anything that was published the US. Immediately my teaching path was set before my feet. As a teacher, I had to give my students the scientific and statistical tools that would help them critically assess imported theories and techniques.

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Dr. Roberto Saldivar Headshot

Dr. Roberto Saldivar

Dr. Roberto Saldivar is a native of the Rio Grande Valley and received his Ph.D. at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). His cross-border experience started young as he traveled to Mexico to visit family and continued during his time in university, where he immersed himself in cross-border experiences related to Latin America. At the master level, Dr. Saldivar participating in a cross-border study program held by the Universidad de Monterrey, UTSA, and UTRGV. In this program, he was able to engage with businesses across Mexico and Texas. During his Ph.D., his research agenda migrated toward examining immigrant consumer consumption practices. All these experiences have enhanced his knowledge of business and consumers in the Americas. You can hear more as he shares his experiences in his international marketing class in the HEBSBA.

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Gabriella Scott  Headshot

Gabriella Scott

Born and raised in Italy, after high school I moved with my family to Mexico, where I went to college; I later moved to San Antonio, Texas where, during 15 years, I worked in international marketing, traveling to establish retail operations throughout Mexico, Central and South America. The experience expanded my understanding of the ethnic and socioeconomic factors and uniqueness of each national culture that participates in the great Latin American mosaic. This experience informed my graduate art history studies at UTSA with a concentration in Latin American Modern and Contemporary Art, which included doing research in Mexico for my Master's thesis and working on curatorial projects about Mexican artists such as José Guadalupe Posada and NeoMexican artists. In 2011 I participated in "Tiempos Oscuros" in Bellas Artes (CENIDIAP) Mexico City, a series of lectures addressing Mexican artists' response to violence and historical trauma. In 2016 I curated an exhibition at UTSA of the work of Mexican sculptor Jorge Yázpik. At UIW, I teach, among other art history courses, Modern to Contemporary Mexican Art, a course designed to highlight how, since Mexican independence from the Spanish crown, art has been produced in Mexico as a response to the changing political and social demands of the evolving state as aesthetic and cultural arbiter.

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Dr. Kathleen Tilton Headshot

Dr. Kathleen Tilton

A person can leave Latin America after visiting or living there; however, Latin America never leaves the person. There is an indelible impression that remains in one’s heart that forever changes the perspective of the meaning of life, relationships, and events. For a registered nurse and nursing professor, it is therefore impossible to deny the impact on my professional practice and teaching of others to enter that profession.

It was in Latin America that my view of health, illness, and healthcare changed from being focused on the treatment of illness to emphasizing health promotion and the prevention of illness. My perspective on the value of patience, courtesy, and kindness that are infused into daily life in Latin America impacts the way I teach students to interact with patients, of all cultures and backgrounds, and with one another. The expectation that one’s plans for a day can be regularly interrupted, increased my tolerance for ambiguity which is an essential competency for registered nurses.   

Weaving cultural competency in the classroom is essential for preparing graduates to understand that culture impacts one's decisions and that solutions vary based on each patient’s cultural perspective. Once learned in a textbook, but lived in Latin America, impacts how I teach cultural competence.

Más que todo .... I encourage students to take opportunity to engage Latin America - to go, learn, share, invest one’s life in the beauty that is Latin America to be forever changed. 

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Teresa Trevino Headshot

Teresa Trevino

Teresa Trevino is a graphic designer and educator with a special interest on information design and the impact icons and maps have on people. Her teachings and research focus on how humans understand messages without words and how maps and navigation systems make us feel safer in a foreign country or unknown spaces. 

Since she started her academic career in Monterrey, Mexico at UDEM, she has been constantly exposed to multiple cross-border experiences. She has been an international student in California and Texas. She has been a visiting professor in different countries in Central and South America as Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru and Argentina. Currently she is a Graphic Design professor and program coordinator at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.  

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Dr. David George Vequist IV  Headshot

Dr. David George Vequist IV

Dr. David George Vequist IV is a Professor of Management in the H-E-B School of Business & Administration and the founder/Director of the Center for Medical Tourism Research, part of the Liza and Jack Lewis Center of the Americas. Before joining UIW, Dr. Vequist was an executive for Methodist Healthcare and previously and a consultant for Ernst & Young. Dr. Vequist is an accomplished speaker, author, and researcher and has been interviewed & featured in numerous media on five continents. His focus on cross-border healthcare has greatly shaped his classroom experiences and exposed him to diverse perspectives on health & wellness. In Latin America, Dr. Vequist has presented at Medical Tourism conferences in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala and Panama. His cross-border experiences have translated into a broader worldview and a richer appreciation of how globalization has greatly impacted health systems over the last few decades.)
Dr. Matt Walk Headshot

Dr. Matt Walk

I have the honor and privilege of leading an international group of physical therapy students from both UIW and Instituto Profesional en Terapias y Humanidades during an annual week-long mission in Oaxaca. Global citizenship is the idea that all persons have rights and civic responsibilities that come with being a member of the World, with whole-world philosophy and sensibilities. The idea is that one’s identity transcends geography or political borders and that responsibilities or rights are derived from membership in a broader class: “humanity”. My experience in Oaxaca and practice of global citizenship directly informs my classroom facilitation as well as my clinical practice and service to the local community here in San Antonio and across the border.

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Dr. Tim Wingert Headshot

Dr. Tim Wingert

Working with the optometry school in Periera, Colombia to discuss ways our programs could cooperate in order to enhance the education of the students in each country provided me with an insight into the process in other countries. There is an appreciation by both parties that we are working together to benefit our students. With that approach, we have found ways to partner that allow students and faculty to have a wider range of experiences and a broader perspective as to how health care is provided in different countries. This broader perspective also involves exposing them to health conditions that have a difference in prevalence between countries and may not be seen without this type of partnership.

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Dr. Jeannette Wong-Powell Headshot

Dr. Jeannette Wong-Powell

Dr. Jeannette Wong-Powell is a daughter of two nations whose education started in Mexico among the people now targeted by her international work. As a youth, she developed a passion for full-scope optometry. Against the odds, Dr. Wong-Powell earned a Doctorate of Optometry (OD) degree from the University of Houston. In 2012, she was recruited to join the efforts of a US-based ophthalmologist who offered sight-saving diagnoses and procedures in the Yucatan peninsula through short-term medical outreach. At first, her role consisted of providing free consultations and peri-operative care, but the project now gives transformational experience to future doctors and builds partnerships with volunteer/government organizations and a federal hospital. Dr. Wong-Powell’s goals are to model a system in which interprofessional and international cooperation addresses the challenges of visual impairment among the poor, to form exceptional doctors through service, and to disseminate this model via collaboration with researchers and health advocates. Her work was presented at the American Optometric Association meeting, Fulbright Regional Symposium, UIW Research Week, and she has spoken at an international optometry webinar of Latin American countries about the role of optometry in preventing glaucoma-derived blindness. 

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María Guadalupe Alba Aguilar Headshot

María Guadalupe Alba Aguilar

I am María Guadalupe Alba Aguilar, Faculty Member at UIW Campus Bajío. I hold a B.A. in Business Administration and a Masters in Administration from the Instituto Tecnológico Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM); a Master's in Education from the University of LaSalle - Bajío, and I am currently completing my doctoral thesis in Administration and Management at the Centro del Bajío University. My cross-border experience as an educator began by leading and teaching a course for the transformative UIW project StartUp Beyond Borders. The project brought together students from UIW in San Antonio and UIW Campus Bajío for a service-learning course that economically impacted and empowered over 60 residents from the village of Mineral de Pozo, Guanajuato. More specifically, the project helped local artisans to commercialize their production of traditional musical instruments made of clay. This experience reinforced my belief in the potential of learning by serving. Through this project, we designed and applied a cross-border business model that can be replicated in a multitude of contexts and locations in the state of Guanajuato and beyond. Our students not only learned entrepreneurship, logistical coordination, business administration, international marketing and import/export management, they also experienced true cross-culture collaboration and increased their intercultural competence.

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