October 10, 2014
College of Education associate professor Victor Saenz, who is founder and executive director of Project MALES and the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color, recently was in Washington, D.C. to discuss education issues and represent UT Austin at a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.
Saenz was among a group of prominent national, state, and local Hispanic educators and community leaders invited to the event at the Naval Observatory. Guests included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, and voter advocate Henry Munoz, and the evening culminated with a surprise visit from President Obama.
At the event, Vice President Joe Biden lauded Hispanic education administrators and counselors, calling them “heroes in the classroom” and commending the “brilliance and potential of the Hispanic community.”
While in Washington, Saenz and Luis Ponjuan, a Texas A&M University faculty member and partner in the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color, had an opportunity to meet with colleagues at The Education Trust, Excelencia in Education, and the American Council on Education, as well as with Sen. John Cornyn, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, and others on Capitol Hill, to discuss Project MALES and the Consortium’s work in Texas.
In addition to being a faculty member in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Administration, Saenz is affiliated with UT Austin’s Division for Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE), which supports his work to improve academic outcomes for young men of color.
Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success) is based in the DDCE and is a multi-faceted research and mentoring initiative whose goal is to raise awareness about the rapid rate at which Hispanic males are disappearing from the U.S. education system. The Education Consortium is also headquartered in the DDCE, and is a statewide collaboration that focuses on improving young Hispanic and African American males’ education and career success. The Consortium, which includes members from Texas universities and representatives from two Texas school districts, is coordinating the efforts of existing programs that target under-represented male students across the education continuum.
October 15, 2014
Natalie Poulos, a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education’s Health Behavior and Health Education program, was among 15 graduate students awarded a Harrington Fellowship earlier this month. The most prestigious fellowship program at UT Austin, the Donald D. Harrington Fellows Program supports young faculty members and graduate students who have stellar academic records and a broad range of distinctive achievements.
Poulos, whose research focuses on dietary patterns and outcomes in youth, will receive a one-year stipend, tuition, an allowance for student medical insurance, and a fund for miscellaneous expenses.
Poulos received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences and master’s degree in Health Education from UT Austin, where she also completed the Coordinated Program in Dietetics to become a registered dietitian. While working in the Prevention Research Lab, Natalie has served as project director on the Outdoor MEDIA project, a study that measured and evaluated the influence of outdoor food and beverage advertising. In the future, she hopes to work with a food-based non-profit that brings local food to underserved communities, as well as teach university-level behavioral nutrition courses.