HHL Student Conference Program
2023 HHL Student Research Conference
December 4, 2023
ACAD 300 (White Oak and Buffalo Bayou Rooms)
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM Coffee and breakfast snacks in the White Oak Room
Break: 12:34 PM - 1:30 PM
2:45 PM - 3:00 PM White Oak: Closing Remarks and Announcement of Best Paper
Student Academic Biographies
Elmer Arias is a junior at the University of Houston Downtown. He is currently working to complete
bachelor’s degree in Secondary Teaching with a history degree. After finishing his bachelor’s degree, he will
work at the Fort Bend District and teach kids the importance of history.
María Carrera is a Spanish major at the University of Houston-Downtown and will earn her bachelor’s degree
in the Spring of 2024. Maria is also completing a minor in Interpretation (medical track) and will pursue a
career as an interpreter in the medical field with a focus on pediatrics. Her personal experiences in this field
have made her very aware of the need to assist those with language barriers within the Hispanic community.
Evan Collins is an undergraduate student attending San Jacinto College, South Campus. After he graduates
in the Spring of 2025, he plans to major in history specializing in colonial United States, circa 1600-1700.
Joaquín Gabriel Dávila is a history major at the University of Houston, Main Campus. He has a special
interest in bridging the gap between the history of Chicanos and U.S. medical practice. He has conducted this
research as part of the PURS program at the University of Houston. After finishing his bachelor’s degree, he
will pursue a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in the history of medicine, specializing in public health along the
U.S.-Mexico borderlands during the Mexican Revolution.
Alexis Gutiérrez is a full-time student currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Spanish at the University of
Houston--Downtown. Passionate about language and literature, Alexis plans to attend graduate school after
graduation, with the goal of earning a master's degree in Spanish literature. This journey reflects his
commitment to exploring the rich cultural and literary traditions of the Spanish-speaking world. Beyond
academics, Alexis has a keen interest in the intersections of language, culture, and identity.
Stefhanie Lazo is majoring in Spanish at the University of Houston—Downtown and plans to graduate
January of 2024. Her intellectual interests include Creative Writing and she especially enjoys connecting with
her readers through poetry. She plans to go to graduate school to pursue a career in education. As a former
ESL student, she looks forward to inspiring children who feel lost trying to learn a new language while also
adapting to a new home like she once did. She hopes to show them that with persistence and a dreamer’s
mind they will be able to achieve both their academic and life goals.
Lindsay Miller is a history major at the University of Houston. She has a special interest in Medieval history,
with a focus on Europe in the early Middle Ages, and ancient mythologies. After finishing her bachelor’s
degree, she plans to pursue an M.A. and later a Ph.D. to further her knowledge of history and the humanities.
Mikayla Mullins is a peer mentor and a junior at the University of Houston-Downtown, where she is
on her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Mikayla focuses on softening the frightening transition into college
for freshmen students, as well as competing for the highest grade in all her courses. Along with planning to
pursue a doctorate in psychology, Mikayla is determined to continue striving to identify true intrinsic goals
for others and helping those who are overcome with grief.
Hannah Pullen is a first-year student in the master’s program in history at the University of Houston
Clear-Lake. Her interests include Medieval Church history and Women’s Studies. After she
graduates in the Spring of 2025, she plans on continuing her education and pursuing a Ph.D. in
Coby Riendeau is a Junior at the University of Houston-Downtown. His major is history with special
in modern US history and workers’ movements. Graduating after the Fall 2024 semester, he plans to stay in
school and earn his master’s in history with plans to work as a writer and consultant.
Shelby Rodwell is a graduate student at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, currently working toward her
Master’s degree in history with a Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate. In particular, her research focuses
on the history of sexuality. She will graduate in the Fall of 2024 and hopes to pursue a career in archival
Jesus Sanchez studies history at the University of Houston, and he is currently working on his master's
degree focusing on Latin American history. He will graduate in Spring 2024 and is now applying for Ph.D.
programs to further his educational knowledge of Salvadoran and Latin American history.
Briana Settles is a graduate student at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, currently working toward her
master’s degree in history with a Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate. She will graduate in the Fall of
2024 and hopes to teach history in a dual credit program or at the community college level.
Christen Symmons is a graduate student at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is finishing her
master’s degrees in history and humanities, with a history thesis titled “Democracy’s Dictatorship: The illconceived Presidency of Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam (1954-1963).” She is also completing a humanities
thesis called “Playing Alive: The Children of Theresienstadt (1941-1945).” She is currently applying to Ph.D.
Jon Tripodi is a second-year student in the master’s program in history at the University of Houston ClearLake. His interests are Jewish Studies, the Holocaust, and Eastern European History. He plans on pursuing a
Ph.D. after he graduates in 2025.
Cari Tucker is a first-year student in the master’s program in history at the University of Houston Clear Lake.
Her interests include Early American History and Women’s Studies. After she graduates in Spring 2025, she
plans on continuing her education and pursuing a PhD in Early American History.