Assistant Vice-Provost and Executive Director
Mario Vela serves as the Assistant Vice-Provost for Career-Engaged Learning and Executive Director of the University Career Center (UCC). As Executive Director, Mario is responsible for providing vision and leadership for the UCC. He builds and maintains relationships with established employers and implements outreach efforts to new employers to assist in the creation of internship and employment opportunities. Mario is also responsible for the development of short term and long term operating plans and policies for the UCC. He develops professional relationships with peers and colleagues at UTSA to enhance operational performance, provide information about changing needs and builds teamwork opportunities for the UCC with different divisions at UTSA. Mario participates in professional development activities to ensure professional growth and knowledge for the UCC and it’s staff members.
Mario is a double alumnus of UTSA. During his time at UTSA, Mario earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Philosophy and his Master of Science in Sociology.
Mario comes to the UCC with 7 years of higher education experience. Prior to joining the UCC, Mario held the position of Director of Employer Relations at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In this role, Mario oversaw the employer relations efforts of the school for over 1,500 full-time MBA students, 1,100 part-time students, 500 Executive MBA (EMBA) students, and an alumni base of 60,000. Through those efforts, Mario created, monitored, and evaluated the sustainable development and maintenance of over 300 recruiting relationships. He developed recruiting strategies in partnership with employers and maintained Kellogg’s competitive advantage among a wide array of employment partners through high-touch relationship management.
Michelle is the Senior Director of UTSA’s centralized University Career Center. She partners with all UTSA colleges and centers to work with companies on their campus-wide recruitment strategy. Her team manages all large scale, campus wide recruiting events and supports smaller, boutique recruiting events as well as customized employer recruiting events with corporate partners.
Michelle began her post-undergraduate career as a finance officer in the U.S. Air Force. After 8 years of active duty service, she pivoted into a career in higher education. She worked in MBA Career Management at Texas McCombs, The University of Texas at Austin for 13 years, starting as a career advisor and lecturer for the full-time MBA program and eventually moving over to the employer relations side of the house. As Director of Employer and Alumni Engagement for the Texas McCombs MBA Program, she was on the leadership team recognized by Poets & Quants as The Best MBA Career Centers 2019.
In February of 2021, she took on the newly created role of Director of Employer Engagement at UTSA. The University Career Center has been undergoing a transformation, and she’s thrilled to be a part of the leadership team to develop and implement innovative and impactful new programming and initiatives. She grew up in San Antonio, went to undergraduate school here, was stationed at Lackland AFB while in the Air Force, and she’s happy to be back to where she considers home with her husband Ben, a native San Antonian/UTSA alumnus and their son, Alex.
She earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Trinity University, an M.P.A. from The University of Washington and an M.A. in Advertising from The University of Texas. While attending Trinity University, Michelle took AFROTC classes at UTSA Det 842, so she considers herself an honorary Roadrunner. Birds up!
CEL Director of Operations
Bryan Heard serves as the Director of Operations for Career Engaged Learning. In this role, Bryan provides logistical and technical administration support to the offices within the division. He also assists CEL departments with budget, data, event, and inventory management.
Heard joined UTSA in November of 2021 and comes to UTSA with over 10 years of Systems Administration and Project Management experience, including 5 years at UTSA as a Certification Specialist I, Athletic Certification Specialist, and Assistant Registrar. Bryan received his Bachelors of Computer Science at Trinity University and Masters in Higher Education at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Prior to UTSA, Heard was the University Registrar at the University of Houston Clear Lake.
Assistant Director of Career Development
As an Assistant Director of Career Development for the Career Center, Dionne Davila serves students and alumni by helping them with various levels of career exploration to development needs to include such services as: career assessments, job search help, resume assistance, internship search, mock interview help, and special topic workshops (i.e. What Can I Do With My Major; Job Search, Interview Prep, Selecting a Major). Dionne is a two time graduate from UTSA where she earned both her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A in Counseling. She has over 20 years of experience in the Counseling/Social Service field, of which, 16 years has been with UTSA and has over 8 years of experience teaching at the university. She has taught the Personal Career Planning course (UCS 2033) to undergraduate students. Her professional interest areas include Career Development for first-generation, transfer, non-traditional students, and those who have criminal background issues. In addition, she frequently facilitates and presents on StrengthsFinder and the theories/principles proposed by strengths psychology and how others can apply those principles to their career, academics, and personal life.
Assistant Director of Career Development
Sara Goede is an Assistant Director of Career Development in the University Career Center. She has 10 years of experience providing career consulting in individual and group settings on college campuses ranging from 12,000-34,000+ student enrollment. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a Master’s Degree in Counseling, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Sara is passionate about working with students and alumni at all stages of their career development as well as collaborating with College Success Centers, faculty, staff, and student organizations on innovative ways to help students and alumni succeed and reach their career goals. Facilitating an environment of career confidence, insight, encouragement, and inspiration is her ultimate goal in helping students and alumni reach their fullest potential.
Associate Director of Employer Engagement and College Relations
Regina Gomez currently serves the UTSA University Career Center as the Associate Director of Employer Engagement and College Relations. Regina has 13+ years of experience in higher education. Her primary goal is to develop and cultivate relationships with employers interested in recruiting UTSA students and alumni. In addition to connecting employers to students, she helps employers navigate the various departments and centers at UTSA university-wide. Regina also oversees and manages personnel and programming within the unit which serves both employers and students and alumni seeking full-time, part-time, and internship/co-op opportunities.
Regina is originally from Colombia and is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. She holds a Bachelor of Science in General Management from Western Kentucky University. Prior to coming to UTSA, Regina previously worked at Texas A&M University for both the Office of International Outreach and the Center for Retailing Studies, Mays Business School. Regina also has worked in Human Resources and has extensive experience with public service and community initiatives.
Assistant Director of Business Development
Cristina Sanchez serves as the Assistant Director of Business Development for the University Career Center, bringing to the role over a decade of experience in the higher education system with a focus on relationship building and the development of experiential learning opportunities for students and employees. Her comprehension and appreciation for the education ecosystem will create new pathways toward strategic and impactful cross-sectional partnerships with our employer and education communities.
As a first-generation student, Cristina has a passion for working with underrepresented student populations and developing programs and services that eliminate barriers to their success.
Cristina is a double alumnus of UTSA. During her time here, Cristina earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.
Senior Career Consultant
Bryana Ortiz is a Senior Career Consultant at the University Career Center. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Counselor Education – Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Texas Tech University. She has been in the career counseling field since 2018 and continues to educate herself to provide the best support possible to students and alumni in their career development. Bryana also loves collaborating with colleagues, faculty, staff, and student organizations to find fun and interesting ways to help students succeed in their career endeavors.
In addition to career counseling, Bryana is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and believes mental health exists in every aspect of life, and career counseling is no different. She thrives off helping students and alumni see their potential, utilize it to move forward, and believe in themselves in ways they never have before. She does this by creating a welcoming, encouraging environment that fosters hope and confidence.
Overall, Bryana wants students to know that they are not alone in navigating possible careers and welcomes any and all questions regarding successes and challenges their career development journey may bring.
Senior Career Consultant
Courtney Pletcher is a Senior Career Consultant at the University Career Center. She is a U.S. Navy Veteran who served primarily at Ft. Meade, MD as a Cryptologic Technician (CTR) and earned her Information Dominance Warfare pin designation. Her prior service and understanding of military culture allow her to connect with and better serve UTSA’s military-affiliated Students and Alumni.
Having received both her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from UTSA, Courtney is a proud double UTSA Alumna. Her professional interests include Design Thinking, Career Development, Motivational Theories, Solution-Focused and Strengths-Based approaches, SMART Goals, and CliftonStrengths.
Dedicated to the professional development and success of UTSA’s diverse community, Courtney is committed to providing quality assistance to colleagues, faculty, and staff members while empowering students and Alumni to pursue and achieve BOLD futures.
Senior Career Consultant
Eva Fernandez is a Senior Career Consultant at the University Career Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UTSA and a Master of Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University. With over two decades of experience in the nonprofit and higher education sectors, coupled with seven years in the business sector, Eva possesses a diverse and well-rounded professional background.
As a Licensed Master Social Worker, Eva is deeply committed to advocating for others. Collaborating actively with various departments, including the College of Education and Human Development (COHED), Fostering Futures, Dreamers, and the Student Disability Center, she has become a key figure in empowering students from all walks of life. Throughout her career, Eva has worked closely with diverse student groups, such as First Gen students, individuals facing mental or physical challenges, first-time college attendees, non-traditional students, LGBTQ individuals, and military students. By employing the strengths perspective from her social work background, Eva consistently helps her students realize their higher educational and career aspirations.
Beyond her work at the University Career Center, Eva’s dedication extends to community service. She is the founder of her own Latina consulting company, showcasing her entrepreneurial spirit. Moreover, Eva has actively contributed to the Inspiration Center in the past by serving on its Board of Directors, and she continues to volunteer with reputable organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, Dress for Success, Habitat for Humanity, Hispanic Women’s Network, and The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas.
Eva’s passion for advocacy is not limited to her professional life; it also shines through in her personal endeavors as a proud parent of two teenagers who actively participate in the Inspiration Center’s Dollars for Scholars program. Through their efforts, they set an inspiring example for others in advocating for worthy causes.
Senior Career Consultant
James Ritchie is a Senior Career Consultant at the University Career Center. James has over 5 years of experience working in higher education providing career consulting to all classifications of students from every major including an internship with the University Career Center in his graduate studies. James has worked on college campuses ranging from 2,000 – 37,000+ students providing services such as resume/cv/cover letter assistance, career assessments, job & internship search assistance, and mock interview assistance among various others. James has a wide array of experiences presenting to classes, student organizations, and industry professionals on a wide array of professional topics.
James earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology minoring in HDFS from Texas Tech University (Wreck ‘Em Forever) and his Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from right here at UTSA. James is a Licensed Professional Counseling Associate (LPC-A) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC) in the state of Texas as well. James uses a brief solution-focused & student-centered approach to ensure students can get something out of their very first appointment! James feels that goal setting is essential to your success and this does come in the form of homework, but I promise it is not graded and comes with guidance and a smile!
Senior Career Consultant
Jeff Patten is a Senior Career Consultant at the University Career Center. He spent ten years as a Career Counselor at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, AZ. In his role there, he served as a liaison to the College of Agriculture & Life Science, the Graduate College and the Honors College. During his tenure, he developed tailored content for these colleges, as well as tailored content for the College of Engineering, the Eller College of Management, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and the Film & Television Studies program.
Prior to his work at UA, Jeff was the Director of Counseling & International Students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott, AZ, where he also served as an academic advisor for Aeronautical Science students. Jeff has a Masters’ in Counseling from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is ABD in a Ph.D. program in the Organization and Administration of Higher Education from the University of Arizona.
Josue is a Career Consultant for the University Career Center. He has 4 years of experience helping college students navigate their academic, personal, professional, and career journeys. He has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies. He is also pursuing a Master of Divinity. Josue’s goal is to make sure every student he encounters feels confident and prepared for their career journey. His ultimate desire is to equip students with the right knowledge and tools that will make them excited to tackle any challenge that may come with career development.
Josue is also passionate about using strategic collaborations with university partners to effectively serve students. He has 3 years of experience at the university level developing programs and events that increase student engagement. In his previous role in higher education, he planned and executed over 20 university events, 5 of which brought in more than 2,000 students. Josue hopes to use this experience to help provide a holistic approach to meeting student needs, which includes strategic programming and events, and excellent one-on-one consultations.
Senior Events Manager
Melissa is the Senior Events Manager, she is responsible for planning the Career Fairs and any other events hosted by the Career Center for students, alumni and employers.
She is originally from El Paso, TX, but moved to San Antonio to attend UTSA. She graduated in May 2018 with her degree in Sport, Event and Tourism Management with a minor in Marketing. She enjoys the whole planning process of events and seeing the whole event come together for employers and students.
Employer Engagement Manager
Chianna currently serves as the Employer Engagement Manager within the UTSA University Career Center (UCC). Her responsibilities include bridging student organizations and employers together, tracking sponsorships and operations of the Employer Engagement Team, and managing the partnerships developed from the UCC Student Advisory Board.
She is originally from Strasburg, Colorado, and is an alum of Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo), where she holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mass Communications (emphasis in Integrated Communications) and a minor in Leadership Studies.
During her time at CSU-Pueblo, she had the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research on how different socio-demographic consume the media with a research colleague. Upon conclusion of their research findings, “Satire or Fake News: Social Media Consumers’ Socio-Demographics Decide” was published in the WWW ’18 Companion Proceedings of The Web Conference 2018.
Prior to joining the Employer Engagement Team at UTSA, Chianna worked in the corporate and the non-profit sector. She has a variety of different experiences within higher education, at both the community college and 4-year institution levels, including Admissions, Student Ambassador Programs, Journalism, and New Student Orientation.
She brings a variety of different perspectives as a first-generation college student and a military spouse to the UCC. In her free time, she enjoys spending time exploring new areas with her husband and 2 kids, hiking a variety of different trails, running, cooking, and reading books.
Administrative Associate II
Victoria Tesillo is the Employer Engagement Administrative Associate II.
Victoria has been with the University Career Center for 10 years. Her main responsibility is working with employers who post jobs in the Career Center’s job bank.
Victoria enjoys working with employers who actively recruit UTSA students and alumni.
Specialties and InterestsJob Postings, Internship Posting
CEL Marketing and Communication Manager
Shruti Anand is the Career-Engaged Learning (CEL) Marketing and Communication Manager. With over 7 years of Marketing and Sales experience in various industries, she has created, implemented, and analyzed multiple marketing and sales strategies. Shruti is driven by understanding, educating, and serving the customer to the best of her abilities. Whether it is building a strategy, implementation, or evaluation, all parts of the Marketing mix focus on helping the customer choose the best product or service.
Shruti received her Bachelors of Commerce at the University of Mumbai, her M.B.A. in Marketing & International Business at Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, and her MS in Marketing at Texas A&M University.
In her free time, Shruti likes to create Mandala Art, solve Sudoku puzzles or cook something delicious in the kitchen.