Dr. Melinda VillagranVillagranShe/Her/Hers/HerselfExecutive DirectorEmail: email@example.com
Dr. Melinda Villagran leads health and resilience research and grants as the Executive Director of Texas State’s Translational Health Research Center.
She is also a professor of Communication Studies, and Principal Investigator on a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for research that will increase data-driven tools to assist mental health professionals.
At Texas State since 2012, Dr. Villagran has served in various administrative roles, including chair of the Department of Communication Studies, chair of the university’s Council on Funded Research, chair of the university strategic planning committee for innovation, and co-chair of the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series. She is the author of over 65 peer-reviewed publications and two scholarly books, and her research program has earned over 13-million dollars in external grants from state and federal funding agencies. Dr. Villagran was previously a faculty member and graduate program director at George Mason University, UT-Health San Antonio, and UTSA, and was a scientific grant reviewer for the Veteran’s Administration.
B.A in Political Science from UT Dallas
Ph.D. in Health Communication from the University of Oklahoma
Valerie Ann Medina BasseBasseValerie Ann MedinaShe/Her/Hers/HerselfOnline & Digital Media CoordinatorEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Basse oversees all online and digital media efforts for the Translational Health Research Center.
With over 7 years of experience working in the fast-paced realm that is the public relations world, Valerie has a diverse professional background that includes positions at: Texas State’s The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Basse Studio’s high-end video production company, Mark Rockeymoore’s San Marcos City Counsel campaign, and various contract projects for local businesses.
Valerie completed her undergrad with honors at Texas State University, earning a B.S. in Mass Communications and Public Relations and a Minor in Japanese.
Marsha BurneyBurneyShe/Her/Hers/HerselfDirector, Community RelationsEmail: email@example.com
Marsha Burney is the Director of Community Engagement for the Translational Health Research Center. Her primary expertise is in the areas of communication (interpersonal, health, diversity, and rhetorical studies), workforce management, communication health campaigns, programming, and community outreach. Marsha also has extensive experience with federal grants, state grants, IT industry, human resources, project management, and training.
Marsha is currently returning to Texas State from the DC Metro area where she worked as a Senior Consultant/Workforce Manager supporting the federal government at a global IT and consulting company. She previously served in the roles of faculty member in the Department of Communication, Co-PI and Program Manager for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants, Senior Grant Coordinator, Grant Project Coordinator, Assessment, Outreach and Retention Coordinator with Office of Disability Services, Residence Hall Director at SUNY-Oswego and Texas State University. THRC partnered with both the Department of Residence Life and Office of Disabilities Services on several grants. She has also served as a Faculty Adjunct for Alamo Community Colleges in San Antonio, TX.
Marsha received her undergraduate degrees in Communication Studies and Psychology and has a Masters Degree in Communication Studies from Texas State University. She has served as a mentor, advisor, mistress of ceremonies, guest lecturer, and Co-Curator of TEDxTexasStateUniversity.
Dr. Elizabeth EkrenEkrenElizabethShe/Her/Hers/HerselfPostdoctoral ScholarEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Elizabeth Ekren is a postdoctoral researcher at the Translational Health Research Center. Her primary expertise is in the areas of international development studies, policy and legal analysis, and multidimensional empowerment and resiliency frameworks. Dr. Ekren will support the continued expansion and design of THRC’s resiliency research program.
Dr. Ekren has conducted a wide range of applied policy and program evaluation research in diverse private-sector, governmental, and academic contexts. Her ongoing research builds on her most recent position with the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University, examining how policy and legal mandates influence the implementation efficacy of various school safety programs and emergency management planning efforts in Texas schools.
Dr. Ekren received her Ph.D. in Development Studies from the University of Bonn, Germany. She received her Master’s of Science degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. She received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Russian Language from Yale University.
Andrea Estrada-BorenEstrada-BorenAndreaShe/Her/Hers/HerselfAdministrative Assistant IIIEmail: email@example.com
Andrea Estrada-Boren comes to THRC with more than 25 years of experience as an Administrative Assistant in both the non-profit sector and in higher education. Andrea has an extensive background in a variety of administrative duties, program planning, budget management and University processes.
Prior to coming to Texas State, she worked with several organizations serving vulnerable and underrepresented communities including the San Marcos Youth Services Bureau and the National Center for Farmworker Health. A Texas State staff member since 2001, Andrea has worked with several grant programs at Texas State University in the College of Education and within the Division of Inclusive Excellence/TRIO Programs.
She attended Texas State University where she studied Mass Communication.
Ridge FinnFinnRidgeHe/Him/His/HimselfSystem Support Specialist IIEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ridge Finn has a background in various technical fields, including automotive, facilities, and technology. Prior to THRC, he provided technical expertise for a local company, supporting all physical and virtual systems. Skilled in technical support, he oversees the inventory, deployment, and support of technology for THRC programming.
Ridge attended Southern Illinois University where he received his B.S. in Engineering Technology, with electrical focus.
Cody GouldGouldCodyHe/Him/His/HimselfProgram FacultyEmail: email@example.com
Cody Gould is a Program Faculty member for the Translational Health Research Center. His primary expertise is in the areas of communication (interpersonal, leadership, and training and development studies), sales, coaching, change management, people and culture, higher education and health and wellness. Cody also has extensive experience with the corporate world after spending 7 years in marketing, recruiting, commercial real estate sales, change management, training and development as well as founding his own coaching and consulting business while teaching at Texas State University in the Communication Studies Department.
Cody is joining the Translational Health Research Center at Texas State from the Communication Studies Department where he was a Full Time Lecturer. He has a passion for coaching, teaching, and mentoring young adults and helping those who need assistance enhancing their mental and physical health.
Cody received his undergraduate degrees in Communication Studies and Psychology from Canisius University in Buffalo, NY and has a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies from Texas State University. He has served as a mentor and lecturer at the University, as well as a Coordinator for TEDxTexasStateUniversity.
Katy HenrickHenrickKatyShe/Her/Hers/HerselfGrant Senior CoordinatorEmail: Kmh222@txstate.edu
Katy Henrick currently serves as the Grant Senior Coordinator by working to develop and deliver trainings to health-related community groups.
Katy is an instructional communication specialist who received both her bachelor's and master's degree in Communication Studies from Texas State University. After graduation, she continued her time at Texas State by serving as a lecturer and the Associate Basic Course Director within the Department of Communication Studies. She has also received recognition from the National Communication Association's Training & Development division, appearing on the Top Panel in 2019, titled, Surviving Scrutiny: Incorporating Research and Practice into T&D Programs. Her experiences outside of the university include serving as a Recruiting Coordinator and Communication Manager.
Rex LongLongRexHe/Him/His/HimselfDoctoral Research AssistantEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rex Long is a doctoral research assistant for the Center and serves as a liaison to the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. He uses his expertise in rapid ethnography to design qualitative research with a focus on disaster preparedness and recovery and currently leads the Texas arm of two projects for the center: implementation of the COPEWELL model to improve community functioning, and Pan-REMEDY, a project designed to assess pandemic recovery efforts.
Rex received his master’s in Anthropology from Texas State University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Anthropology. He spent four years working in education research for an Austin-based education research and consulting group, and currently works in the intersection of disaster/hazard events and health outcomes.
Dr. Shadi MalekiMalekiShadiShe/Her/Hers/HerselfGIS SpecialistEmail: email@example.com
Dr. Shadi Maleki is a UCGIS TRELIS fellow recipient of the NSF-funded Carolyn Mary Mini Grant to study gender disparity, work-life integration, and mentorship opportunities for people working in the geospatial field.
She is passionate about using GIS to study community health, resilience, and sustainability and has years of teaching and research experience in this field.
Dr. Maleki has a Ph.D. in Geographic Information Science from Texas State University and worked as a visiting faculty at Clark University prior to joining THRC.
Maleki, S., Hagelman III, R. R., & Lavy, B. L. (2022). Neighborhood Child Friendliness: A Comparative Analysis of Parental Landscape Perceptions and Geographic Information Systems-Based Urban Planning Indexes. The Professional Geographer, 1-14.
Maleki, S., Julian, J. P., Weaver, R. C., Lopez, C., & Kraft, M. (2022). Social Demand for Urban Wilderness in Purgatory. Ieva Misiune Daniel Depellegrin, 247.
Maleki, S., & Mohammadalizadehkorde, M. (2021). A Visual Insight Into Tweeting Activity Before and During Natural Disasters: Case Study of Hurricane Harvey. International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research (IJAGR), 12(3), 1-15.
Ashford-Hanserd, S., Sarmiento, E., Myles, C. C., Rayburn, S. W., Roundtree, A. K., Hayton, M. P., ... & Maleki, S. (2020). African American Experiences in the Historic Dunbar Neighborhood in San Marcos, Texas: A Case Study of Counter-Life Stories. Social Sciences, 9(10), 177.
Maleki, S., Warren, E., Hagelman III, R. R., Navarro, A., & Wait, M. Investigating Children’s Field Trip Experiences Through Sketch Maps.
Abbi MottMottAbbiShe/Her/Hers/HerselfAssistant DirectorEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abbi Mott is Assistant Director of Translational Health Research Center. Her expertise is all things operations and events for the center. Abbi directs Health Scholar Showcase, THRC’s annual faculty research showcase, which has grown to be the largest university-wide faculty research event at TXST. She also manages THRC’s internal operations and the administrative side of THRC’s diverse portfolio of externally funded programs. Abbi has been here since Translational Health Research was an initiative and has been integral in helping build and manage what is now a university-level research center.
Abbi has extensive experience in administration, program development, and execution of externally funded programs, having worked on programs totaling over $20 million in federal and state funding. Prior to working at THRC, Abbi worked as the grant senior coordinator on federally funded grant programs, a private foundation grant, and at two university level research centers at Texas State.
Abbi holds two degrees from TXST; a B.S. in Family & Child Development and a M.S in Family & Child Studies with an emphasis in administration of human service organizations.
Dr. Rodney RohdeRohdeRodneyHe/Him/His/HimselfAssociate Director, EngagementEmail: email@example.com
Dr. Rodney Rohde is a Professor and Chair for the Clinical Laboratory Science Program in the College of Health Professions at Texas State University. He serves as Associate Dean of Research for his college and is a clinical assistant professor (joint appointment, non-paid) at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Laboratory Sciences & Primary Care, Clinical Laboratory Science Program.
He has been the recipient of numerous teaching, research, and service awards, including the 2017 Global Citizenship Alliance Global Fellow, 2017 Everette Swinney Faculty Senate Teaching Award, 2016 Texas State Alumni Association Teaching Award of Honor and the 2015 Mariel M. Muir Mentoring Award.
Dr. Rohde received his Bachelor of Science (microbiology) and Masters (Biology, emphasis in virology) degrees from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). He received his Ph.D. in Education in 2010 (Adult Professional Community Education) from TXST.
Jessica SchneiderSchneiderJessicaShe/Her/Hers/HerselfDirector, Resilience Research ProgramsEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Schneider directs THRC’s resilience research programs and helps develop dissemination and implementation strategies to increase the broader impacts of THRC-funded research.
Jessica is a Certified Research Administrator® through the nationally recognized Research Administrators Certification Council and has over 15 years of experience in research and grants administration. Her extensive experience ranges from proposal development to post-award administration, which gives her a comprehensive and unique perspective to research development. Her efforts have helped faculty win grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among other major sponsors. She has a vast knowledge of TXST research as well as the sponsors that support health, resilience, and translational research.
Jessica holds an M.A. in Technical Communication from Texas State University and uses her skills in technical writing, editing, research communication, and rhetorical analysis to help faculty respond to sponsor missions, communicate the significance of their work, and craft proposals for audiences outside their disciplines. She is passionate about research communication and the importance of translating science to improve health outcomes and community resilience.
Shelby SneadSneadShelbyShe/Her/Hers/HerselfProgram SpecialistEmail: email@example.com
Shelby Snead provides professional assistance with program activities and development for THRC and externally funded programs. She is the Project ECHO Manager and serves as the facilitator and producer for all ECHO sessions.
Shelby has a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in biochemistry from TXST. She joined THRC after serving as Grant Coordinator for Student Support Services - STEM at TXST where she organized program activities and budgets while coaching students from underserved backgrounds. She has been learning and working at TXST since 2018.
Maria TomassoTomassoMariaShe/Her/Hers/HerselfDoctoral Research AssistantEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily ValentineValentineEmilyShe/Her/Hers/HerselfAdministrative Assistant IIIEmail: email@example.com
Emily Valentine has a background in healthcare, working in various administrative and management roles over the past 8 years. Before joining THRC, she was the manager of a pediatric rheumatology clinic at Ascension Medical Group. Skilled in office management, she keeps operations and projects organized and running smoothly for THRC.
Emily attended Southern Illinois University where she received her B.S. in Journalism – Advertising, & Languages, Cultures & International Studies – Spanish.
Dusty VaughtVaughtDustyShe/Her/Hers/HerselfDirector, Marketing & CommunicationsEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dusty Vaught leads Marketing and Communications for the Translational Health Research Center.
Dusty holds an M.A. in Mass Communication from Texas State University and has 20+ years of experience in Higher Education Marketing. Her areas of expertise include brand/identity, communications planning and implementation, design, digital media, marketing campaigns, and outreach.
Dr. Christopher WerneckeWerneckeChristopherHe/Him/His/HimselfPostdoctoral ScholarEmail: email@example.com
Dr. Christopher J. Wernecke is a postdoctoral researcher at the Translational Health Research Center. Inspired by his own experience as a young cancer patient, Dr. Wernecke’s research primarily resides at intersections of health and medicine rhetoric, political rhetoric, and media. His dissertation, “Rhetorics of Cancer in America,” considers the multimodal nature of cancer communication in the United States and reveals its underlying collective identity building capabilities.
Dr. Wernecke’s peer-reviewed research is featured in the Howard Journal of Communications, the Western Journal of Communication, and the Southern Communication Journal, with forthcoming research set to appear in Communication and Democracy and the Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric.
Dr. Wernecke received his Ph.D. in Public Communication from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. He additionally holds a M.A. in Communication Studies from Texas State University and a B.A. in Political Science from DePaul University.