Meet Your Representatives 2023-2024

Gabriela Ponce

Gabriela Ponce

McCoy College of Business

Hi! My name is Gabriela, but I also go by Gaby. I am from Austin, TX, but I have spent the last couple of years living here in San Marcos. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from TXST University in 2020, and I began the MBA program in August 2022. I currently work in the McCoy College of Business as an undergraduate academic advisor. Go Bobcats!

Hobbies: I love spending time with my two cats, Spot and Black Bean. You will most likely find me at the campus recreation center on the weekends working out! Aside from that, I love cooking and trying out new recipes when I can. 

#1 Tip for Surviving Graduate School: Believe in yourself! Trying to balance all your obligations can be overwhelming. Take a step back and breathe. Remember, you are capable of so much!

Email Gabriela

Adrienne Taylor

Adrienne Taylor


College of Education, Adult, Professional, and Community Education, PhD

Hobbies: I love to travel and spend a lot of my spare time road-tripping around the country. Camping, hiking, and exploring scenic spaces are some of my favorite things to do. I’m originally from the forests of New England where the outdoor temperatures are never above 80 degrees, but have begrudgingly grown accustomed to the Texas heat after living in Austin for 6 years. 

Research Interests: I am studying workplace team learning within cross-functional groups of people who share one or more common identity markers such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic upbringings, and/or disability status. My goal is to be able to demonstrate that this type of learning can benefit the organization as well as the individuals who comprise it. 

#1 Tip for Surviving Grad School: Study your syllabus and add important dates and deadlines to whatever calendar you use most often. I create Google Calendar events for my assignments that are bright red so I can’t miss them. This will give you a better sense of when you’ll need to invest time in assignments over the course of the semester and help you balance school with your other responsibilities. 

Email Adrienne

Elizabeth Wrightsman

Elizabeth Wrightsman

College of Science and Engineering

Hi! My name is Elizabeth. I am originally from Austin, Texas. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends, lifting weights, doing yoga, and watching Netflix. My favorite movie of all time is Matrix and my favorite TV series is Friends. I have one adult daughter (who graduated from TX State) and two cats.

Research Interests: I am earning my Ph.D. in mathematics education. My broad research interest is equity and inclusivity within mathematics education. More specifically, I am interested in understanding how we might ensure that reform-based educational practices are enacted equitably within the complex classroom environment.

#1 Tip for Surviving Graduate School:  Go easy on yourself! We, as graduate students, tend to be overachievers and perfectionists. It is impossible to be anywhere near perfect and do everything for everyone, especially when you’re dealing with competing deadlines, pressures, and the responsibilities of graduate school. Do your best and learn from your mistakes without being too hard on yourself. Give yourself some grace!

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Lauren Green

Lauren Green


Master of Arts Communication Studies 

Lauren Green is a graduate student and teaching assistant in the department of Communication Studies. Her passions include researching and developing opportunities for connection and belonging in order to foster deepened relationships. 

Hobbies: I love watching movies, being by any body of water, and exploring different coffee and smoothie shops! I am obsessed with all things Disney and window shopping. My passions include researching and developing opportunities for connection and belonging in order to foster deepened relationships. 

#1 Tip for surviving grad school: Self-Care! You cannot pour out from an empty cup. It is incredibly important to make sure that you are pouring into yourself on top of all of the academic responsibilities that you have. Find what "fills your cup" and make time for yourself to reset and recharge. It really helps you during periods of burnout.  

Email Lauren

Susi Ledesma

Susi Ledesma

College of Liberal Arts, MA Spanish

I was born and raised in the Northeastern region of Argentina, near Paraguay and Brazil. I moved to the US after completing my first year of college and have lived here since. I have lived in the states of New York and New Jersey and moved to Texas over 15 years ago. I received my BA in Spanish from Texas State University and I am currently working on my Masters in Spanish. I work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Texas State University.  
Hobbies:  As a hobby I like to grow my own vegetables, I find gardening to be a very relaxing activity and almost therapeutic. I highly recommended for graduate students !  
Research interests : Although I am not on a thesis track, my research interest revolves around Hispanic Linguistics, including the history of the Spanish language, second language acquisition, and Spanish in contact with Amerindian languages in South America, more specifically, Spanish in contact with Guaraní.

#1 Tip for Surviving Graduate School: I suggest scheduling time for yourself. Make sure to participate in activities that are enjoyable to you. If you don't have a hobby, find one.  Do this consistently throughout the duration of your program.  

Email Susi

Allie Crawford

Allie Crawford

College of Education, Developmental Education, EDD (C & I)

Hi y’all! I’m Allie, a native resident of central Texas, and a Bobcat since 2016. I’m in the college of education and working on my Ed.D in developmental education with a concentration in literacy. My dissertation focus is on integrated reading and writing instructors’ self-reflective practices. In a nutshell, I build curriculum and work with students to help meet their academic goals through reading and writing. 


Developmental Education Doctoral Research Fellowship, Texas State University

Doctoral Merit Fellowship, Developmental Education, Texas State University

Other organizations 

  • Kappa Delta Pi (2023-present)
  • Association for the Study of Higher Education (2022-present)
  • Phi Kappa Phi (2021-present)
  • College Reading & Learning Association (2021-present)
  • National Organization for Student Success (2021-present)


I’m super into crafting and creating art while getting lost in my “current jam” playlist or an audiobook. I crochet, sew, hand-embroider, collage from old magazines, paint, and so on. Hobbies are a tricky habit to keep while in grad school but finding an activity to let my mind relax at the end of the day, like these here, has been a game changer. I’m also all about a good nap snuggled down with my dog and cats while a movie plays in the background…that counts as a hobby, right? 

Research interest 

My research interests are on creating equitable, culturally sustaining postsecondary environments curriculum through understanding educator self-reflection practices. I’m currently involved on research projects that focus on the experience of neurodivergent students with medication access, postsecondary education access for refugee women, and how students are being discussed in developmental education classes. If the research centers student experience, I’m in! 

#1 tip for surviving graduate school

Find your people! Even introverted peeps, like myself, grow stronger with a community around them. And remember, sometimes the process takes a while – it’s worth the time of connecting with a mentor that relates to your unique intersectionalites and can help you thrive. 

Email Allie

Sam Adams

Sam Adams

McCoy College of Business Administration Quantitative Finance and Economics, MS

Hi! My name is Sam. I am originally from Austin, Texas. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends, lifting weights, cycling, and playing guitar. I love solving problems and my dream is to learn as much as possible in my life.

Education: I am earning my M.S. in the Master of Quantitative Finance & Economics (QFE). My approach to investing is a steady approach with common sense, clear understanding of the asset, and absolute luck!

#1 Tip for Surviving Graduate School:  Don't be a perfectionist! Pragmatism is the key for balancing work and school. Always think to yourself, what is the easiest way to do something? Don't send emails unless you have to, ask lots of questions in class, and read, read, read lots of material not related to your program!

Email Sam

Samuel Kimmel

Samuel Kimmel

McCoy College of Business, MBA


  • Texas Business Hall of Fame’s 2022 Future Texas Business legend
  • 2nd place winner Texas State University’s M.S.E.C. Business Plan competition
  • Best Virtual Presentation, Student Technology And Research Showcase Symposium
  • Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Texas State University
  • Outstanding Lab Instructional Assistant, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Texas State University

Other Organizations: 

  • American Chemical Society
  • The Electrochemical Society
  • Material Research Society
  • Sons of the American Revolution
  • Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center volunteer
  • Future Farmers of America


Mr. Kimmel’s hobbies include fishing, hunting, sailing, rock climbing, gardening, and cooking- though he doesn’t have much time for them during the semesters

Research Interests:

Mr. Kimmel has a MS and BS in Chemistry and is simultaneously pursuing a Material Science, Engineering, and Commercialization Ph.D. as well as an M.B.A. His research focuses on cost-effective, safe, energy dense rechargeable batteries as an alternative to fire-prone lithium ion. For the past five years, Mr. Kimmel has been working on collaborative research project designing next generation rechargeable batteries with staff scientists from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C.- results that were published a peer-reviewed manuscript entitled “Capacity and Phase Stability of Metal-Substituted a-Ni(OH)₂ Nanosheets in Aqueous Ni–Zn Batteries,” in Materials Advances in 2021.  

#1 Tip for Surviving Graduate School: 

Your program is only as good as you make it. The student-community at Texas State is really strong, embrace the grad student life, engage with your classmates, talk to your professors, stay involved.

Email Samuel

Mariangela Rodriguez

Mariangela Rodriguez

College of Fine Arts and Communication

Hi! My name is Mariangela. I am from the border of Texas and Mexico. I received my BS in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and am currently working towards an MFA in Communication Design. My thesis research is centered on typography as a cultural archive. I work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Art and Design at Texas State University. 

Hobbies: Outside of school, I find joy in exploring a new craft to make a mess with, watching documentaries and trashy reality television, taking photos on film, and attending every live music event I can. 

#1 Tip for Surviving Graduate School: Take it one day at a time. All the steps it takes to get to the finish line can seem daunting and overwhelming, but they are just that—steps! baby steps! Make time for breaks to catch your breath. Before you know it, the days have flown by, so also take a moment and take it in.
Abigail Lockhart

Abigail Lockhart

Masters of Healthcare Administration 

College of Health Professions 

Hello everyone! My name is Abby, and I received my BHA at Sam Houston State University. I am a second-year MHA student, a graduate instructional assistant with the College of Health Professions, and vice-chair with the College of Health Professions Council of Student Leadership. I am passionate about creating a healthcare environment where people receive ethical, quality care with a patient-centered approach.

My husband and I currently reside in New Braunfels, Texas. In my free time, I like to take my dog, Rue, on hikes and to the lake. Making sourdough bread has recently become a new interest of mine. I have had some failed attempts and successes, but that’s just part of learning! 

My biggest advice for surviving graduate school is to embrace challenges! It is very easy to avoid difficulties. However, you will find great rewards if you persevere through the trials and tribulations. I also found that reflection on past failures and successes will allow you the ability to adapt and streamline your approach to academic and professional goals. 


Email Abigail

Shade Oyegbola

Shade Oyegbola

College of Applied Arts

Hi! I am originally from the east coast and moved to Austin to see what the fuss was about. So far it has been a wonderful journey.

Hobbies: In my spare time I love volunteering, thrifting, traveling, going to concerts, trivia, theatre, and watching Korean dramas. Between school and work it is hard to make time for hobbies, but I try to schedule something when I can.

Research Interests: I am using my graduate studies to research food insecurity. My focus is on public policy, best practices, prevention, and sociological effects.

#1 Tip for Surviving Grad School: Get organized early! However you organize your assignments, due dates, and other activities, start as soon as you can. Life comes at you fast, and it is easy to get overwhelmed with new deadlines and responsibilities. Stay organized, take deep breaths, and you will make it through!

Email Shade

Elisa Descartes

Elisa Descartes

College of Applied Arts

Criminal Justice, PhD

Hobbies: Gardening, running, writing poetry 

Research interest: Adultification of Black girls, juvenile justice, immigration

#1 Tip for graduate students: You should always make the time to schedule self-care the way you would for any of your assignments. Your mental health is the key to surviving and thriving in graduate school.

Email Elisa

Francisco Valdovinos

Francisco Valdovinos

House Leader

College of Liberal Arts 

Masters in Political Science

Hello there! Let me tell you a bit about myself. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and come from a Navy family. I've had the opportunity to travel quite a bit, but I grew up in San Antonio for most of my life. I earned my Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Texas State and graduated in 2022. I've been studying politics and had the chance to work for a lobbying firm during the 88th Texas Legislative Session. My work there focused on policies ranging from Mental Health to Water infrastructure. I also have a dog named Utah! 

Hobbies: I enjoy cooking,  spending time with my dog, and spending quality time with my family and friends. 

#1Tip for Surviving Graduate School: Start networking as soon as possible! Join student groups, chat with your professors about potential career opportunities. Also, it's beneficial to know how to present yourself well. Remember, you are a valuable asset and understanding how to showcase your abilities is truly significant. Prioritize taking the initiative and don't fear failure. If setbacks happen, pick yourself up and keeping on moving forward.

If you have more questions, don't hesitate to reach out!

Email Francisco 

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