Staff

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Dee Dixon

Ldixon4@alamo.edu

As the advisor for the MESA Center, I believe that all students are gems. When they come to the MESA, we like to help them to shine. One of the greatest joys I have in this position is watching students push through and overcome their individual challenges. A particular challenge facing STEM students is writing. As an award-winning journalist, I enjoy helping STEM students improve their writing and express themselves through the written word. Like many of the people who work at the college, I too am a SAC graduate. We are all here to help students succeed.

Fun Fact: I have interviewed celebrities before they were reality TV stars. 

 

 

 

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Angie Taylor

ataylor58@alamo.edu

 

 

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Ben Uresti

Buresti1@alamo.edu

 

I am the Academic Lab Technician for the MESA Project Room, and working with students, sharing my work experience, applying a realistic approach to engineering and design projects is the most satisfying aspect of this position. I am an experienced designer and have knowledge in CAD software. One of my biggest professional accomplishments was working on medical equipment. When a family member was in the hospital, I saw the equipment I worked on being used on the family member to make their stay more comfortable. One advantage I have for helping students is that I have taken the same classes and done some of the same projects they are doing. I can also pass on the experience from other projects I have seen done in the lab. The MESA lab has a large amount of basic equipment and it is fun to share knowledge and, on many occasions, learn something about the equipment.

My outside volunteer work has been with STEM organizations. I am a board member for ARASE (Alamo Regional Academy of Science and Engineering), and I have been a member for over twenty years. This organization sponsors local science fairs for middle and high school students. On occasion we have also helped local elementary schools to hold their own science fairs. In fact, one of their board members is one of my high school teachers and has become one of my closest friends.  Another organization I have been involved with for over twenty-five years is SABEST (San Antonio Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) which sponsor a local robotics contest for middle and high school students. The event started with around ten schools and currently has lately over forty schools from all over Texas. The BEST organization has blossomed from just a few Texas regions to over six states in the south.

Other than engineering, I have worked as a professional photographer and graphic designer. My hobbies include cycling, drumming, astronomy, and history. As a cyclist I did have a sponsorship with Raleigh bicycles and Bike World of the Valley. My wife and I have taken in a small black dog named Chica. Originally this dog was planned to be my dog because she was attached to me when I would visit her mom. She is now my wife’s dog and that is just fine as long as she is safe! Chica also enjoys going on long drives and walking around SAC campus on lazy days.

 

 

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Irene Salazar

Isalazar44@alamo.edu

 

I've been a Peer Mentor for about three years in the MESA Center at San Antonio College. I am proud of the opportunities and accomplishments I have made because of my experience here at SAC. I have the opportunity to give back in my role as a peer mentor, where I enjoy watching and helping students navigate their own academic journey. When I was in high school, I participated in FIRST robotics and was the lead computer programmer. This led me to pursue engineering here at San Antonio College, where I have been fortunate enough to participate in several programs aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in STEM. Some of my achievements include receiving the Motivating Engineers to Achieve (META) and Texas Science Technology Engineering and Math (T-STEM) scholarships. I’m a SPHE member at large and take advantage of their online opportunities. 

My involvement has included expanding my leadership skills and abilities by participating in STEM Clubs like the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Latinos in Science and Engineering-MAES and participating in the SAC Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) for several years. Through those opportunities, I was the electrical team lead and driver for the first hydrogen-fuel cell vehicle built here at San Antonio College by SAC Motorsport. Our team took a third-place finish at our first entry in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition, which was held in Detroit, Michigan that year. After that win, I was the overall project manager for an unmanned underwater robotics team that partnered with area emergency responders to test a remote-controlled submarine. The accolades I received from that project was a first-place blue ribbon at the 29th annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) poster competition at the Great Minds in STEM Conference, which was held in Pasadena, California that year. Other achievements include landing competitive internships at the MIssion Systems Headquarters working on military projects for Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Department of Defense; and participating in the NASA L'SPACE Academy performing research on sending payloads to Titan and the Moon. Now, I’m on the NASA Proposal Evaluation Experience.  

In my free time, I LOVE to garden! My favorite plants to grow are serrano peppers and lemon verbena. Also, I like to try new recipes and cook with my mom. Fun fact: I have over 15 years of experience dancing Ballet Folklorico. It is my absolute favorite hobby in the world. Currently, I have an 11-year-old chihuahua named Nicki.

 

 

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Meredith Liza

Mliza@alamo.edu

 

I am a MESA Center tutor who assists students with overcoming difficulties with topics in STEM courses like Calculus I-III, Physics I, Engineering Graphics, Engineering Mechanics I: Statics and Differential Equations. My favorite part of my job is when I see someone understand a concept that blocked them from progressing. I also have the great opportunity to delve into the puzzle word as a part of my job by creating our Problems of the Week, a MESA Holiday Heist Mystery and a virtual escape-the-room adventure. Problem-solving is exciting for me — whether it’s visualizing how parts can be drawn, a complex math problem, or a mind-boggling riddle about doors — I have an itch to solve problems that must be scratched!!! I am proud to have participated in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program.

Outside of work, I am still Meredith, just a little quieter and I spook easily! I am not good at fun facts, but here is a funny story about me and the first time I made Aji, which is a spicy Peruvian sauce. (My parents are Peruvian, and I am first generation Peruvian-American.) I made several mistakes while making this sauce. I didn’t wear gloves and — wait for it — I touched one eye, causing the other to water. (Strange. I know.) But there I am rubbing BOTH eyes with spicy fingers. I never cried so much. And where was my family during all of this? Laughing at my misfortune. Fast forward. I survived. I can proudly say it’s easy to make whenever someone wants it. (OK. Here comes the fun fact about me.) Personally, I can’t handle spicy food! I’ve tried. I can make it. I just can’t taste it. (Look for that fun fact in my next puzzle.) My constant companions are Ruffio, who is a Malte-poo (Maltese Poodle); and Chorizo, who is an orange cat — hence the name. 

 

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Stephanie Connolly

Sconnolly5@alamo.edu

 

I’ve been a tutor for various levels of education for more than five years. The experience has made me a better communicator and student, which is definitely helping me now as a computer science major at UTSA.  Currently, I am a tutor in math, physics and computer science at the MESA Center. As a former MESA student, who needed extra support during my time at SAC, it is awesome to return the favor and provide that same support for others. My time at MESA made a huge impact on where and who I am today. Through MESA, I joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and found personal and professional relationships that I will carry for the rest of my life. Thanks to MESA, I also gained scholarships, undergraduate research opportunities, and travel experience that I would not have found simply searching on my own. 

In my free time, I like hiking, camping and traveling — as cheaply as possible. Also, board games with friends are fun. Along the way, I accidentally acquired a dog. He’s great. We’re on a lifelong journey together.