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Class Notes


David E. Moore

​Graduation Year: 2012

Graduation Major: Criminal Justice

Class Note Type: Career 

Police Sergeant- Houston Community College Police Criminal Investigations Division




Eduardo E. Landaeta

Graduation Year: 2009

Graduation Major: Interdisciplinary Studies

Class Note Type: Career

After almost 10 years of my graduation, I have been working in the Sales and Communications area with different companies a couple months ago that I started to do a special project in the Negotiations Department for Central America at the Ministry of Foreign Relations - International Cooperation’s Direction for the Republic of Panamá @cancilleriapma. 


It is like reviving all my political classes and the amazing experience got it with the Model UN working with embassies, dignitaries and entities. It is an amazing opportunity to grow and share knowledge as preparation to a PhD program in International Studies that I will start next fall at Old Dominion University.


I did an specialization in International Business in Brazil at @mackenzie1870 , four years ago. UHD gave me the foundations to be where I am today, I’m a thankful, I’m a Gator!

Eduardo Landaeta 
Graduation Year: 2014

Graduation Major: Political Science

Class Note Type: Career

My name is Leroy Adams, an alumnus of the 2014 class. My latest achievements include graduating from the Maynard 200 Journalism Institute as a fellow of the Media Entrepreneurship track.

Also, recently I was selected as a 2020 Fellow for New Leaders Council, a non-profit organization that works to recruit, train and promote young progressive leaders ranging from elected officials and civically-engaged leaders in business and industry.



Leroy Adams 

Graduation Year: 2007

Graduation Major: Business Administration

Class Note Type: Career

UHD helped me achieve my goal of becoming an attorney by giving me a strong educational foundation that helped me be a successful student at the UH Law Center. UHD offers the benefits of impactful professors as well as classes that fit into my schedule, which made obtaining my degree a reality. I now practice law in the area of public finance at Orrick, a renowned international firm and #1 Bond Counsel firm in the country. Being a public finance attorney helps me give back to Houston and Harris County through assisting in various types of municipal and county financing transactions. I would not be where I am today without UHD.

Donna McIntosh 

Lorenz Losbanos

Graduation Year: 2019

Graduation Major: Interdisciplinary Studies

Class Note Type: Career

Since graduating from UHD this past July 2019, I have been accepted to start my Master of Science in Accountancy at Rutgers University in the NYC metropolitan area. I have also been given a full time offer to work as an accountant in Manhattan, NY (NYC). Thank you UHD, my professors, and the community for providing the tools I needed for this next step in my personal, professional, and academic journey.

Brook Bell

Graduation Year: 2017

Graduation Major: Education

Class Note Type: Career

I am truly grateful to be a UHD Gator Alumni. I was a mother, working a full time job as a teaching assistant. UHD made it possible for me to get my degree. Online classes. Affordable tuition. Payment plans. What more could I have asked for? I am now a special education teacher, in school to obtain my masters in special education/diagnostician. Thank you UHD!
Brook Bell 

Brian Bayani

Graduation Year: 2013

Graduation Major: Applied Administration

Class Note Type: Career

Brian has been the Executive Director and EMS Chief of Northwest Community Health since 2014. He completed his Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Disaster/Emergency Preparedness from Sam Houston State University, and is in his final seminar year in the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies Program at Dallas Baptist University.
Brian Bayani 

Sherry M. Thornburg (née Ledet)

Graduation Year: 2014

Graduation Major: Professional Writing

Class Note Type: Career

Finally got my first job after graduation as a technical writer in California for Department of the Navy. Your projects-based program helped verify my skills to them.

Laquitta Sarah DeMerchant

Graduation Year: 1997

Graduation Major: Computer Information Systems

Class Note Type: Board / Commission Service

New Board Member for The Alliance
Laquitta Sarah DeMerchant 

April Y. McIntosh

Graduation Year: 2016

Graduation Major: Business Management

Class Note Type: Career

In the month of February, I received my SHRM Senior Certified Professional certification in HR and was hired as the Finance and Administrative Director for Camp for All. This nonprofit reaches over 11,000 people with its unique programs.

Roman McAllen

Graduation Year: 1990

Graduation Major: Business

Class Note Type: Award & Recognition

Roman is the President Elect of Preservation Texas and the Democratic Nominee for The Railroad Commission of Texas for 2018. Vote in November 2018.
Roman McAllen 

Esteban Duran

Graduation Year: 2017

Graduation Major: Computer Science

Class Note Type: Career

I started an internship at NASA's Johnson Space Center in January. My work involves developing deep learning applications for the Hybrid Reality Lab in order to assess an astronaut's brain-state during training. In May, I start a full-time position as a Flight Software Engineer working on rockets for FireFly Aerospace. Shoot for the stars and you will get there fellow Gators!
Esteban Duran 

Keith Henry

"I graduated from UHD in 2010 and majored in Finance. Since then, I lived abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I learned Spanish. I started a creative agency called Kickstreet, a business that helps companies create names.

Dateline Downtown wrote an article about Kickstreet in Volume 44.5 (Page 2) in Spring 2010. (Kickstreet was a different company at the time.)

Also, I recently released a book called How to Create a Great Business Name (See www.NameIsKing.com)."

Peter T. Tran

Graduation Year: 2014

Graduation Major: Accountancy

Class Note Type: Career
Peter T. Tran 

Jewel Kusek

"DPA Microphones announces that Jewel Kusek has joined the DPA team in the United States as general manager.

Kusek joins DPA Microphones after serving as controller for Next Level Resource Partners in Denver, Colorado. Prior to her role as controller, Kusek served as vice president of Accounting at Tristar Web Graphics and as a financial analyst for Hunting Energy Services, both in Houston, Texas.

Kusek holds a bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of Houston-Downtown."

- ProSoundWeb
Jewel Kusek Source: ProSoundWeb

Leander J. Obregon

Graduation Year: 2010

Graduation Major: Computer Information Systems

Class Note Type: Award & Recognition
Completed two certifications recently as part of the company's DevOps/Agile journey. In effect, like many other companies, we are looking at new ways of working collaboratively in order to bring more value to the business.

The Advanced Certification took me 1:59 of the 2 hours allowed. Reminded me of my UHD exam days!
Leander J. Obregon 

José Leal

"At a brief ceremony in the Manuel Rodrí­guez, Jr. Board Auditorium, José Leal was sworn in as District III trustee by State Sen. Sylvia Garcia. He was surrounded by friends and family during the board ceremony, which was presided over by District II Board Secretary Rhonda Skillern-Jones.

Leal was appointed to the Board of Education in August 2017 by unanimous vote of HISD trustees. He is serving a portion of the unexpired term of District III representative, a position left vacant by the passing of Trustee Rodriguez. Leal's term will expire in January 2018 after a special election for the office will be held on Nov. 7, 2017.

Leal earned a bachelor of science in business information computer systems and graduated cum laude from the University of Houston-Downtown."

- HISD News Blog
José Leal Source: HISD News Blog

Patrol Deputy Shandalynn Rhame

"Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader announced the selection committee's choice for "Employee of the Month"...to be Patrol Deputy Shandalynn Rhame, who is a 12-year veteran with the Sheriff's Office.

Rather than burden the already over-loaded detective division with another case to manage, she will follow up on many of these type cases and will see them through to completion, which results in a very high rate of case closures and an equally high conviction rate in court.

Her future goal is to someday become an investigator with the Sheriff's Office, and with her firm foundation in investigative skills this seems to be a goal that will be attainable one day.

Rhame first came to the Sheriff's Office as a dispatcher and supervisor and later put herself through the University of Houston-Downtown police academy."

- The Indicator

Wilfredo Montanez

"Wilfredo Montanez is a product of HISD schools and began his educational career as a teaching assistant and associate teacher. He served as Spanish teacher at the Ninth Grade College Preparatory Academy and he taught math at Sam Houston MSTC. Montanez served as a curriculum and content specialist, instructional specialist, and most recently dean of Students at both Sam Houston and Hamilton Middle.

Montanez earned his bachelor's degree in Spanish with a minor in mathematics from University of Houston-Downtown [as well as a master's from another institution]."

- HISD News Blog
Wilfredo Montanez Source: HISD News Blog

Summer Day

" Meals on Wheels Montgomery County (MOWMC) has announced the selection of Summer Day as its new Executive Director.

Day had previously served as Operations Manager for MOWMC, during which time she revised and streamlined operations to be more effective and efficient.

Day is a graduate of University of Houston-Downtown."

- Conroe Today
Summer Day Source: Conroe Today

Victor Garcia

"Victor Garcia has been selected as the new principal at Port Houston Elementary School.

His leadership experiences also include the position of instructional specialist and assistant principal at Benavidez Elementary.

Garcia attended the University of Houston-Downtown for his undergraduate degree in Urban Education."

- HISD News Blog
Victor Garcia Source: HISD News Blog

Jane Ocanas

"Jane Ocanas has been named principal of Marshall Elementary School after serving as principal of Grissom Elementary for four years.

Ocanas began her career in education as a bilingual teacher with HISD in 2004 and has also served as an instructional coordinator and assistant principal.

Ocanas has a bachelor's degree in general business from University of Houston-Downtown [as well as a master's from another institution]."

- HISD News Blog
Jane Ocanas Source: HISD News Blog

Juan A. Sorto

Graduation Year: 2007

Graduation Major: Criminal Justice

Class Note Type: Books, Publications, Exhibitions and Performances
In 2016, I was approached by an organization in El Salvador about writing a book with 60 other young Salvadoreans from around the world who are giving a positive image to our society through the type of work that we do in our communities.

While the book, now in its 2nd edition, is currently written in Spanish I would like to share my chapter with the University of Houston-Downtown.

The title of my chapter is translated to Youth: Community, Education, and Empowerment. The theme of my chapter pertains to all the work that I have done throughout the years with various communities, and the relationship that I have fostered with politicians and various leaders by using tools that I have learned throughout Ph.D. I discuss the importance of consensus building through education, and how it can be used as a tool to not only empower our youth but the growth of our communities.

In the chapter, I credit the University of Houston-Downtown for allowing me to grow and publish this book.
Juan Sorto Juan Sorto book cover 

Brishaun Sutton

"Brishaun Sutton has been selected as the new principal for Kate Bell Elementary School. Sutton has been an educator for 20 years and has served in various roles, from teacher to assistant principal.

Sutton earned her bachelor's degree in computer information systems from University of Houston-Downtown [as well as a master's from another institution]."

- HISD News Blog
Brishaun Sutton Source: HISD News Blog

Magdalena Mendoza

Graduation Year: 2014

Graduation Major: Psychology

Class Note Type: Career
Title V, Program Manager at Lone Star College-Tomball

Earned Masters of Science in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University
Magdalena Mendoza 

Dr. Michelle Burke

"Dr. Michelle Burke has been selected as the new director for HISD's Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Department. She will continue working on assisting schools, families, and community stakeholders with the tools, guidance, and resources needed to support student academic achievement. She will take an active role in empowering families and the community at large to make the best decisions for their child's academic success.

Dr. Burke holds a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston-Downtown, [as well as graduate degrees from other institutions]."

- HISD News Blog
Dr. Michelle Burke Source: HISD News Blog

Trazanna Moreno

Trazanna Moreno has been appointed to the Houston Zoo executive team as vice president of marketing & communications. She previously served as chief marketing officer for the Houston Symphony. Moreno's lengthy career also includes two tenures at the YMCA of Greater Houston where she served for five years as the senior vice president and chief marketing. Moreno and her YMCA team won AMA Houston Marketer of the Year in 2013, as well as PRSA Houston Nonprofit Team of the Year in 2012.

Moreno earned a Master's of Science in Professional/Technical Writing from UHD in 2007.
Trazanna Moreno 
 

Steven Kaufman

Steven Kaufman, founder and chief executive officer for ZeusLending.com, was recently named to Houston Business Journal's 2018 Most Admired CEO List (For-Profit Sector). ZeusLending.com is a Houston-based real estate finance provider of home equity loans, hard money loans, crowdfunding opportunities and mortgages to individual and corporate consumers. The Houston Business Journal and Inc. Magazine placed the now 14-year-old company as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S.

Kaufman earned a Bachelor's of Business Administration in Accounting from UHD in 2001.
Steven Kaufman 
 

Cheryl "Charly" Weldon

Cheryl "Charly" Weldon, president and chief executive officer of Family Houston, was named to Houston Business Journal's 2018 "Most Admired CEO List (Nonprofit Sector)". Family Houston provides programs and outreach services dedicated to teaching life skills necessary to face financial, health, relationship and other critical challenges to strengthen families—leading to a healthier, more stable community.

Weldon earned a Bachelor's of Business Administration in Management from UHD in 2005.
Cheryl Weldon 
 

Casey N Sowers

Graduation Year: 2018

Graduation Major: College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies

Class Note Type: Career Controller Production Accountant

Earned Masters of Science in Educational
Casey N Sowers 

PreSha Barnes

Graduation Year: 2006

Graduation Major: College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Communication Studies

Class Note Type: Career Controller Production Accountant

PreSha has been in education for over a decade. During her tenure in education, she has helped many students overcome bullying. Most recently, she has used her experience in education to begin the FrankieBMovement. She is the author of Frankie B, "When the fear stops, the bullying stops!" PreSha goes to inner-city, surrounding schools and organizations to promote her anti-bullying campaign through activities aligned to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), and encourages students to overcome bullying. Through student engagement and the FrankieBMovement, she helps target a plan of action for students and adults in order to tackle situations that students encounter when faced in a situation that entails bullying. Through her passion for philanthropy, she partnered with another local business this Summer 2018 to create the first annual, "Frankie B and Party Caboodle Community Event" that encourages students to do their best and be their best in their community. PreSha is determined to reach all students and encourages them to become authors as well. Visit www.frankiebmovement.com to see how Frankie B is impacting students everywhere.

PreSha Barnes 

Taylor Anderson

Graduation Year: 2014

Graduation Major: College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Communication Studies

Class Note Type: Career

I am so thankful for UHD and the lessons I learned there. I now have my dream career, I bought my dream car and I live in my dream apartment in Downtown Dallas! I am the Territory Manager for the largest blank wholesale apparel distributor, called SanMar.

Taylor Anderson 

Jeffrey Palmer

Graduation Year: 2020

Graduation Major: College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

Class Note Type: Career

Cum Laude with two minors: Political Science and Public Policy Administration
Honor Societies: Psi Chi, Pi Ga​mma Mu, Pi Sigma Alpha
palmer.jeffrey@icloud.com

Jeffrey Palmer 

Elizabeth Campbell

Graduation Year: 2016

Graduation Major: College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Rhetorical Communication

Class Note Type: Career

UHD helped me obtain my first ever internship at the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM). Four years, a Bachelors Degree, a Masters Degree and two promotions later, I am now the HCOHSEM Social Media Specialist. I could not have done it without the amazing support that UHD provided me. I am forever blessed and grateful to have been a Gator! #GatorStrong

Elizabeth Campbell 

Valdene Mark

Graduation Major: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Class Note Type: Career

I have a juvenile fiction title Jade Braves the Dark being released on September 15, 2020. Included below is my author biography and more information about Sugar Apple Books.

Author Biography

Valdene Mark is a Vincentian writer, an M.Ed. in Higher Education graduate, and the founder of Sugar Apple Books. Her first book, Jade Braves the Dark, follows the main character Jade as she learns to use her imagination to conquer her nighttime fears. Valdene’s stories, inspired by her childhood in the Caribbean, encourage children to use the power of imagination to navigate their feelings. Valdene now lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with her husband and two children.

Sugar Apple Books creates diverse children’s books aimed at early readers. Founder Valdene Mark encourages stories with a focus on promoting imagination, encouraging resilience, and teaching children how to navigate feelings and emotions. Valdene hopes to spread joy and share a love of quality books with young readers all around the world.

For more information visit: sugarapplebooks.com

valdenesmark@gmail.com

Valdene Mark 

Nayeli N Moyeda

Graduation Year: 2016

Graduation Major: College of Public Service

Class Note Type: Career

I graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown in 2013 with a B.S. in Sociology and went back for a M.S. in Criminal Justice which I received in 2016. It was such an accomplishment because not only was I the first in my family to have the opportunity to receive a higher education, but I started my journey at UHD undocumented with the fear of never being able to put my education to use. In 2012, however, I literally received the best gift an undocumented individual could receive and that was the opportunity to work and be protected from deportation all due to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). I was immediately seeking part-time and paid internship experiences that could help jump start my next adventure in life, which was getting on the field and putting my education to work. Ever since 2012 I have had the opportunity to work in the private, public, and non-profit sector in different positions where I have tutored children, aided the minority community in ESL, assisted attorneys, advocated for survivors, and guided at-risk youth. My dedication to helping others continues at Crime Stoppers of Houston as I strive to empower the youth and our community from the greater Houston area by utilizing my bilingual voice to educate on safety and prevention topics. I am DACA proud, finished UHD strong and now I help prevent crime at Houston's top non-profit.

Nayeli N Moyeda 

Cory Obrien

Graduation Year: 2016

Graduation Major: College of Sciences and Technology

Class Note Type: Career

Since graduating in 2016, I have been working in the environmental industry.

coryobrien832@gmail.com


Jessica L Byars

Graduation Year: 2000

Graduation Major: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Class Note Type: Career

Next week I'm starting a new job at NVIDIA as a Senior Technical Writer. This is an exciting new endeavor!

I'm grateful for my UHD education. It has taken me to wonderful places. During these 20 years, I've written for numerous subject matters including - toxic mold, water safety, seismic processing, network security, and so much more. I look forward to adding more awesome, innovative technologies to my list next week. #gogators

Jessica L Byars 

Anthony J Hinojosa

Graduation Year: 2003

Graduation Major:College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Class Note Type: Career

ajhinojosa03@gmail.com

I am currently the Federal Manager for Compassion and Choices, the oldest and largest nonprofit advocating for end of life options.

Anthony J Hinojosa

Last updated 10/7/2020 7:14 AM