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SEC Academic Leadership Development Fellows


Name:  Ginger E. Carney

Discipline:  Biology

Preferred Title:  Associate Dean of Undergraduate Research and College Climate

Department / College:  Department of Biology / College of Science

Dr. Carney joined the Texas A&M University faculty in 2004 and is an Associate Professor of Biology and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and College Climate in the College of Science. Dr. Carney earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Genetics from the University of Georgia. She was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellowship to study at Oregon State University. Her current research focus is genetic and neural control of motivated behaviors, including reproductive and eating behaviors, and her research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). She has co-authored numerous research articles and has received College and University-level teaching awards. Dr. Carney is a member of the interdisciplinary Faculty of Neuroscience and Faculty of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She served as President of Texas A&M Women’s Faculty Network (WFN) from 2009-2010. In 2013, Dr. Carney was named an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in the College of Science where she began her position as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research. In this role, Dr. Carney creates and implements strategies for increasing the numbers of undergraduates involved in research, a high-impact learning practice, while also enhancing the experience for these students. In 2014, Dr. Carney was named Associate Dean for College Climate where she spearheads efforts to improve climate, diversity, and inclusion for students, staff, and faculty in the college. Nationally, Dr. Carney serves on numerous proposal review panels for the NSF and NIH. She is a member of the Genetics Society of America and the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Name:  John E Hurtado

Discipline:  Aerospace Engineering

Preferred Title:  Senior Director of Interdisciplinary Engineering Programs

Department / College:  Department of Engineering, Academic and Student Affairs / College of Engineering

John Hurtado currently holds the positions of Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Senior Director for Interdisciplinary Engineering Programs in the College of Engineering.  In his role as Senior Director, Dr. Hurtado is responsible for developing new programs and opportunities for students that reach beyond and enhance traditional engineering.  Dr.  Hurtado is also the Associate Director of the Land Air and Space Robotics (LASR) Laboratory at Texas A&M University. The LASR Lab is a robotics facility operated by the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M that conducts research in robotic sensing and control with an aim to enhance the fields of proximity operations, human-robot interaction, stereo vision, swarm robotics, and autonomous aerial vehicles.  Dr. Hurtado’s areas of expertise are theoretical dynamics with extensions to higher-dimensional settings, game theory for finite-dimensional systems, and cooperative robotics.  His research in these areas has led to a better and clearer understanding of fundamental and guiding principles, and his work is being used within solutions to practical aerospace engineering challenges at NASA and Sandia National Laboratories.  His patented algorithms for swarm robotics were developed for unique miniature robots that the Smithsonian Institution recently obtained from Sandia National Laboratories for its permanent collection at the National Museum of American History.  Dr. Hurtado has served as a professor Texas A&M since 2001.  Prior to his service at Texas A&M, he held engineering positions at Sandia National Laboratories.  Dr. Hurtado received a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering and from Texas A&M University.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from San Diego State University.

Name:  Violet Showers Johnson

Discipline:  History

Administrative Title:  Director of Africana Studies Program

Program / College:  Department of Africana Studies / College of Liberal Arts

Violet Showers Johnson was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, West Africa. She received her BA (Honors in History) from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone; MA from the University of New Brunswick, Canada; and  Ph.D. from Boston College. She taught at Fourah Bay College before coming to the United States in 1985 on a Fulbright scholarship. After twenty years at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, she came to Texas A&M University in July 2012. She is Professor of History and Director of Africana Studies.  A naturalized American, Johnson’s international personal and academic background has shaped much of her work as a teacher and scholar. She focuses on race, ethnicity and immigration, African American history, African history, and the history of the African Diaspora. She has written extensively on the Black immigrant experience in America.  Her publications include The Other Black Bostonians: West Indians in Boston (Indiana University Press); “What, then, is the African American? African and Afro-Caribbean Identities in Black America,” and “Recreating Sustainable Communities in Exile: Leadership Roles of Sierra Leonean Internally Displaced and Refugee Women in Freetown, Atlanta and London.” Her most recent publication is a monograph co-authored with Marilyn Halter entitled African & American: West Africans in Post-Civil Rights America (NYU Press, 2014). She is currently working on a single authored monograph tentatively titled “When Blackness Stings: African, Afro-Caribbean Immigrants and Race and Racism in Late Twentieth-Century America.”

Name:  Dr. Kathleen L. Kavanagh

Discipline:  Ecosystem Science and Management

Title:  Professor and Department Head

Department / College:  Department of Ecosystem Science and Management / College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dr. Kathleen Kavanagh began her role as Department Head of the Ecosystem Science and Management Department in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University in 2014.  Prior to that, Dr. Kavanagh was on the faculty at the University of Idaho for 14 years, where she obtained and administered over $7 million dollars of research grants related to forest ecosystems and global change and served as interim Department Head of the Forest Resources Department. Dr. Kavanagh attended Oregon State University where she obtained a Ph.D. in Forest Science after earning B.S. and M.S. degrees from S.U.N.Y. College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She is a forest ecologist whose research contributes to our fundamental understanding of how forest ecosystems function and the assimilation of this knowledge into natural resource management.  She has published 50 refereed and peer-reviewed research articles and presented more than 70 national and international presentations. She has served on multidisciplinary science teams to advise state management and policy and continues to be an advocate for science and policy communications.



Name:  Richard B. Kreider

Discipline:  Health, Kinesiology, Nutrition

Title:  Professor and Department Head

Department / College: Department of Health & Kinesiology / College of Education and Human Development

Dr. Kreider serves as Professor and Head of the Department of Health & Kinesiology at Texas A&M University.  He holds the Thomas A. and Joan Read Endowed Chair for Disadvantaged Youth, directs the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Laboratory, and is a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Health & Kinesiology and Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Texas A&M University.   Dr. Kreider has over 20 years administrative experience serving as Assistant Department Chair at the University of Memphis (1994 – 2002), Chair of the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation at Baylor University (2002 – 2008), and Head of the Department of Health & Kinesiology at Texas A&M University (2008 to present).  Dr. Kreider has conducted numerous studies on nutrition and exercise and has published three books, over 140 articles and book chapters, and over 400 research abstracts.  Dr. Kreider is a Fellow of the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM); an active member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a co-founder, board member and Fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; founding Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; and, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition.  Dr. Kreider has received over 12 million dollars in external funding to support research related to the role of exercise and nutrition on health, disease, rehabilitation, and performance.

Name:  Kirsten Pullen

Discipline:  Performance Studies

Title:  Director of Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts, and Director of Graduate Studies

Department / College: Department of Performance Studies / College of Liberal Arts

Kirsten Pullen, Ray A. Rothrock ’77 Research Fellow, is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University. She earned her PhD in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin in 2001. Her first book, Actresses and Whores: On Stage and in Society (Cambridge University Press, 2005) demonstrates how some women willingly occupy the whore position to offer alternative narratives of female sexual expression. Her most recent book, Like a Natural Woman: Spectacular Female Performance in Classical Hollywood (Rutgers University Press, 2014), determines how the embodied nature of performance undermines the assumed conservativism of Naturalism, and the narratives within which it’s mobilized. A faculty affiliate in both the Film and the Women’s and Gender Studies Programs, Dr. Pullen primarily teaches courses in theatre history, performance theory, and intercultural performance and directs mainstage productions. She is also the director for the TAMU Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts, which supports practice and/as research projects through a competitive grants program for faculty, brings artists in residence into graduate and undergraduate classrooms, and produces a diverse series of performances and installations on the TAMU campus.

Name:  David Threadgill

Discipline:  Genetics

Title:  Director of Whole Systems Genomics Initiative, Tom and Jean McMullin Chair of Genetics

Department / College: Department of Molecular & Cellular Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology / College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Dr. David Threadgill earned a B.S. in Zoology and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Texas A&M University before moving to Case Western Reserve University as an NIH-supported Post-doctoral Research Fellow. He initiated his independent research career as an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University in 1996, and in 2000 moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he progressed to Professor. From 2008 to 2013, he held the position of Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics at North Carolina State University. In 2013, Dr. Threadgill was recruited back to Texas A&M University as a Professor and Director of the Whole Systems Genomics Initiative in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and a Professor and holder of the Tom and Jean McMullin Chair in Genetics in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine in the College of Medicine. Dr. Threadgill’s research, which has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, has resulted in over 140 peer-reviewed publications and three awarded patents. His research focuses on understanding the role of genetic variation in contributing to human health and disease using mouse models of human disease. He has mentored over 50 undergraduate students and 16 PhD students to completion of their degree. He has also served on numerous national and international advisory committees, is currently on several journal editorial boards, and was former elected President of the International Mammalian Genome Society.

Name:  Douglas W. Woods

Discipline:  Psychology

Title:  Department Head

Department / College: Department of Psychology / College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Douglas Woods received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University in 1999. In 2013, he joined the faculty at Texas A&M University, where is currently a Professor and Head of the Psychology Department.  Prior to that, Dr. Woods was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for 14 years, where he served in various administrative roles, including Director of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D., program, Chair of Psychology, and Associate Dean of the Graduate School.  From 2009-2011 Dr. Woods served on the Board of Directors for the Council for University Directors of Clinical Psychology.  In addition to his administrative work, Dr. Woods is an active researcher, who has authored or co-authored over 200 papers or chapters, and authored or co-authored 9 books.  His work focuses primarily on understanding and developing nonpharmacological treatments for Tourette’s Syndrome and other obsessive-compulsive spectrum conditions.  In order to facilitate this work, Dr. Woods maintains an in-house research clinic that offers treatment to those individuals affected with these conditions.  Dr. Woods has received nearly $3 million dollars in extramural funding from the NIH and various foundation grants programs.




Name:  George Cunningham

Discipline:  Sport Management

Title:  Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Department / College:  Department of Health and Kinesiology / College of Education and Human Development

George B. Cunningham (PhD, The Ohio State University) is a Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. He holds the Marilyn Kent Byrne Chair for Student Success and is also the Director of the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport. Prior to his arrival at Texas A&M, he held an academic appointment at Indiana University. In his administrative role, Cunningham oversees all aspects of academic affairs in the 5,600 student College, with a particular focus on graduate education, international activities, and assessment. His research focuses on issues related to diversity and inclusion, group processes, and employee attitudes. He has published over 150 articles and book chapters, has secured extramural funding from a variety of sources, and is author of an award-winning book, Diversity in Sport Organizations.  Cunningham is the former President of the North American Society for Sport Management and is the recipient of the Dr. Earle F. Zeigler Lecture Award.

Name:  John N. Stallone

Discipline:  Cardiovascular Physiology and Endocrinology

Title:  Professor and Acting Department Head

Department / College:  Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology / College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Dr. John N. Stallone is Professor and Acting Head, Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology (VTPP) in the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). Stallone, who earned his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Arizona, has been a faculty member at the CVM since 1998. During that time, he has served multiple terms on the Faculty Senate, the Senate Executive Committee, and most recently as Speaker of the Faculty Senate.  He has been a member of the Texas A&M Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee since 1999—during most of which time he was vice-chair—and has served as its chair for the past two years. He has also been the vice-chair of the Graduate Instruction Committee at the CVM.  Dr. Stallone has also chaired the Animal Care and Experimentation Committee for the American Physiological Society. Dr. Stallone’s research focuses on the differences in cardiovascular function between men and women—both in health and in the development of various diseases, including hypertension and coronary artery disease—and how sex hormones play a role in these differences.  Specifically, he has looked at the so-called “estrogen paradox”:  why there is a protective effect of this female sex hormone in younger women (and female animals) but deleterious effects in older females. In more recent studies, Dr. Stallone has focused on the interactions between aging and estrogen in the cerebral circulation, specifically the development of and recovery from stroke. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, and his expertise is recognized nationally and internationally, having served as a reviewer for more than 25 national and international scientific journals.

Name:  Rosana G. Moreira

Discipline:  Food Engineering

Title:  Professor and Assistant Department Head

Department / College:  Department of Biological and Agriculural Engineering / College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dr. Rosana Moreira is a Professor and Assistant Department Head in the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering (BAEN) at Texas A&M University. She joined Department faculty in September 1990 and for 10 years she served as the graduate coordinator. Moreira has been working (30% time) as an ADVANCE administrative fellow at the Provost Office since 2012.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Campinas State University in Brazil, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Michigan State University — all in agricultural engineering. Her expertise is in food engineering, specifically in fundamental modeling and automatic control of food-processing systems and in food safety engineering.

Moreira has advised 25 master and 10 Ph.D. students and supervised 3 postdoctoral fellows. She has more than 100 peer-review publications, 14 book-chapters, and is the author of two books. In 2006, Moreira was honored with the two distinguished Faculty Fellows – of the Texas Agricultural Experimental Station and the Dwight Look College of Engineering. In 2011, she received the Charles Crawford Distinguished Service Award and in 2013 the William-Keeler Faculty Fellow, both from the College of Engineering. Internationally, she has been recognized as the Hans Merensky Fellow (South Africa) for her work in food irradiation. Moreira is an active member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), which recently earned her the Outstanding FE Division Volunteer for 2010.  Moreira has been the Co-editor of the Journal of Food Process Engineering since 2005.  In 2006, Governor Rick Perry appointed Dr. Moreira to the Texas Radiation Advisory Board.

Name:  Sumana Datta

Discipline:  Biochemistry, Genetics

Title:  Executive Director for Honors and Undergraduate Research

Department / College:  Department of Biology and Biochemistry and Biophysics  / College of Science

Dr. Datta received her PhD in Biology at the University of California-San Diego in the area of eukaryotic gene regulation.  She did postdoctoral research at Yale University in neurogenetics and brain development before accepting a joint faculty position in the Department of Biology and the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Texas A&M University.  While rising to her current rank as Associate Professor, her research interests spanned the areas of behavioral genetics, cell cycle regulation, stem cell biology, prostate cancer progression, growth factor signaling and extracellular matrix function.  She accepted a half-time administrative position in 2008 as the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Research and became a full-time administrator in 2010 when she took her current position as Executive Director of Honors and Undergraduate Research.  In the past three years she and her staff have developed a new distinction and associated programming for the University Honors Program which admits incoming freshmen to a newly-designed Living Learning Community, requires increased participation in Honors programming and earning of Honors credit and completion of a Capstone experience, usually a research project and associated thesis.  Under her oversight, the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program has more than doubled in size as it has become a Capstone graduation distinction.  Her office has pioneered two new Capstone experiences, focused on teaching scholarship and service scholarship, and is planning two additional options based on leadership and National Fellowship preparation.  Explorations: The Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal, which was started with a board of faculty and students during her first year in Undergraduate Research, is about to publish its fifth issue and has become a showcase for outstanding student research, scholarly and creative work from all across campus. She is currently concentrating on developing a Common Honors information and application portal for all Honors Programs at Texas A&M.



Name:  Michael Benedik

Discipline:  Microbial Biotechnology

Title:  Professor of Biology and Genetics, and Faculty Ombuds Officer

Department / College:  Department of Biology / College of Science


Michael Benedik earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. in biology from Stanford University. He has served on the Texas A&M faculty on two occasions, first as an assistant professor of biology from 1985 to 1989 and then later as a professor in the Department of Biology since 2004. In the interim, he was on the faculty of the University of Houston and a visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health. He has also worked as a staff scientist for DNAX Research Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Palo Alto, Calif. He was named the International Professor for Africa by the American Society for Microbiology in 2010, has been awarded more than $6 million in funded research, has more than 80 publications and served on five journal editorial boards. He is currently a Professor of Biology and Genetics with a research focus on microbial biotechnology, was the Graduate Advisor for the Biology Department (2006-2010), was the Speaker of the Faculty Senate (2011-2012), and serves as the Faculty Ombuds Officer for the university.

Name:  Blanca Lupiani

Discipline:  Veterinary Pathobiology

Title:  Professor of Pathobiology, and Associate Dean of Faculties

Department / College:  Department of Veterinary Pathobiology / College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Blanca Lupiani joined Texas A&M University in 2002 in the Department of Pathobiology where she is currently a Professor (9/1/2012). Previously, she held research appointments at Michigan State University and the Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in Michigan and the Beltsville Area Research Center. She received her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. In her research, she surveys and characterizes viruses isolated from wild bird populations from the wintering grounds of the Central Flyway (Texas Coast), hoping to better understand how these viruses are maintained in nature and how they evolve to adapt to new hosts. Molecular characterization of the viruses, together with ecological data, are used for epidemiological and modeling studies. Another aspect of her research includes the study of molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of avian influenza viruses. She received a Fulbright Award, has numerous grants and contracts, has more than sixty publications, has two patents and one other pending. Dr. Lupiani is the current Associate Dean of Faculties for the University.

Name:  Cesar Malave

Discipline:  Industrial Engineering

Title:  Professor and Department Head

Department / College:  Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering / College of Engineering


César Malavé joined the Industrial and Systems Engineering faculty at Texas A&M in 1987, and has occupied several administrative positions in The Texas A&M University System, including associate dean of engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering, where he led all engineering efforts in study abroad programs and international agreements for research and educational collaborations. He also served as the coordinator of academic support activities for the engineering program at the branch campus in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Malavé’s research and educational interests are in the areas of cost modeling for manufacturing and production systems, development of models for student success and for improving undergraduate engineering education. His academic and research projects have received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the state of Texas, CONACyT, Westinghouse and the GE Foundation. He is the author of numerous publications and the co-author of the recently published book Global Engineering — Design, Decision Making and Communication. Malave is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Applications and Practices in Engineering Education. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and M.S. in Operations Research from Georgia Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. for the University of South Florida in Industrial Engineering. Dr. Malavé is a Professor and the Head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Name:  Cynthia Werner

Discipline:  Economic Anthropology

Title:  Associate Professor and Department Head

Department / College:  Department of Anthropology / College of Liberal Arts

Cynthia Ann Werner joined Texas A&M University in the Anthropology Department in 2000 after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor for two years at Pitzer College and one year at the University of Iowa. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Texas Christian University, and her M.A. and Ph.D., both in Anthropology, from Indiana University. Dr. Werner is a socio-cultural anthropologist who specializes in economic anthropology. Her research is focused on the economic and political transition in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. In particular, she has examined the relationship between gift exchange, feasting, and social networking; women traders and the rise of small-scale trade; the privatization of agriculture; the practice of bride kidnapping in southern Kazakhstan; and, the development of international tourism in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. She has been the editor of four books and has 29 book chapters and journal articles in print. She has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation as well as other private foundations and professional organizations to support her work. She is a Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, and has received teaching awards at Texas A&M University. She was recently named President of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. Dr. Werner is currently the Head of the Anthropology Department and an Associate Professor.