Wed, Mar 2, 2022

11:30 AM – 1:30 PM CST (GMT-6)

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Private Location (sign in to display)



Celebrate the diversity of community-engaged, experiential learning at UHD. You will see and hear the stories from our faculty, students, and staff collaborating with community partners across the Houston Metroplex. These experiences span diverse curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular settings and are expansive in their positive social impact.
Food Provided (Box lunches will be served during the break out poster session. )


Dr. Loren Blanchard's profile photo

Dr. Loren Blanchard


University of Houston-Downtown

Dr. Loren J. Blanchard joined the University of Houston-Downtown as its seventh president in March 2021. At Houston’s second largest university, President Blanchard oversees the University’s historic downtown campus, UHD Northwest (serving Houston’s northern communities), and off-site centers at Lone Star College campuses in CyFair and Kingwood.

Blanchard has diligently paved a road forward for the University, particularly as it approaches 50 years of helping Houstonians realize their academic and career dreams.

During his first year, he unveiled his strategic priorities in the form of the UHD Institutional Compass, which is leading the University to Four Points of Excellence: 1) 
Strengthening Justice, 2)Strengthening Student Success & Equity, 3) Supporting Institutional Excellence & Infrastructure, and 4) Growing as an Anchor Institution.

President Blanchard ardently supports higher education and remains committed to ensuring access and affordability for all students. He also is dedicated to making sure each student who enrolls at UHD receives the support they need to succeed and graduate.President Blanchard previously served as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs at California State University (CSU), the largest and most diverse higher education system in the United States. President Blanchard additionally led CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025, an ambitious effort to increase graduation rates for all students while eliminating equity gaps and preparing more students to meet California's projected workforce needs by 2030.

Prior to that, Blanchard served as Provost & Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana. As the chief academic officer for the country’s only historically Black and Catholic university, he led the campus in achieving accreditation re-affirmations by SACS-COC, the Accreditation Council for Pharmaceutical Education, and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. He helped launch academic baccalaureate programs in Public Health Sciences and Communication Studies and proved integral in Xavier University’s receiving $6 million in private and federal grants to strengthen high school pipeline programs and student retention programs.

President Blanchard's other professional leadership roles include Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Multicultural Affairs at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – New Orleans and the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Accreditation, Leadership & Accountability within the University of Louisiana System.

A first-generation college graduate, Blanchard holds a bachelor's degree in Speech Pathology Education from Xavier University of Louisiana, a master's degree in Education from McNeese State University, and a Ph.D. in Education Psychology from the University of Georgia.

Dr. Poonam Gulati's profile photo

Dr. Poonam Gulati

Executive Director, Impact Learning Office

University of Houston- Downtown

Dr. Poonam Gulati Salhotra received a Ph.D degree in Microbiology and Immunology from Cornell University. She has worked at academic research labs, a biotech company and taught at UHD for 20 years. For the past five years, she has directed the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, which is the hub of community engagement activities at UHD. Dr. Salhotra has always been passionate about engaging students in and out of the classroom and enjoys directing many projects through the center. 

Caroline Smith, MBA's profile photo

Caroline Smith, MBA

Associate Director, Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning

University of Houston- Downtown

Caroline earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Graduate Business Certificate in Leadership and Master of Business Administration with a concentration on Organizational Leadership and serves UHD as the Associate Director for the Center of Community Engagement & Service Learning and as adjunct faculty in the Marilyn Davies College of Business. She believes that allowing students to participate in community activities and develop creative solutions to community issues benefits students’ ultimate ability to think critically about the world around them. Caroline has a passion for diversity and inclusion dialogue and social justice.  In this effort, she facilitates intensive trainings on diversity and inclusion topics.  Caroline’s passion for growing, learning, and creating is constantly being fueled by further offering her experiences and abilities to serve in countless ways.

Sharnae Gilmore, MA's profile photo

Sharnae Gilmore, MA

Program Coordinator, Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning

University of Houston- Downtown

Sharnae Gilmore has been an employee of the University of Houston System since July 2014 and has 10 years of Higher Education experience with servicing faculty, staff and students. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Communication from Texas Southern University. She serves as the Program Coordinator for Center of Community Engagement and Service Learning. She believes in servicing the community by using her interpersonal communication skills and has a passion for informing people of the resources around them to make life easier.

Angelica Jones's profile photo

Angelica Jones

Graduate Student - MBA

Angelica Jones is currently an MBA student with a concentration in Finance/ Investment Management, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with a minor in Sociology. Service for her is an opportunity to build robust relationships and partnerships throughout the community. Her passion to serve comes naturally with her personality- especially when it comes to introducing initiatives, leading change and projects and collaborating within teams.  

Miguel Garcia's profile photo

Miguel Garcia

University of Houston-Downtown

Miguel Garcia is a non-traditional student pursuing a degree in psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown. Before transitioning to higher education, he worked in the oil and gas sector for over 12 years. His desire to improve the world around him started at a young age and continues to drive him. Garcia's efforts and involvement with various community organizations have earned him the Newman Civic Fellowship at the University of Houston-Downtown. Post-graduation, he plans to pursue a master's in social work and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. 

Dr. Angela M. Goins, DSW, LMSW's profile photo

Dr. Angela M. Goins, DSW, LMSW

Lecturer of Social Work

University of Houston-Downtown

Angela M. Goins, DSW, LMSW, is a full time Lecturer of Social Work in the Social Work Program at the University of Houston-Downtown. Dr. Goins is currently the Director and founder of the Service, Teaching, Aging, and Research (STAR) Lab at UHD under the College of Public Service. She has been a Licensed Master Social Worker since 1996. Dr. Goins' past work experience includes over 19 years direct frontline experience as a supervisor and investigator under the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services with Adult Protective Services. She was a case manager with the Community Attendant Services (provider care) program under the Department of Aging and Disability Services for 2 ½ years. In addition to her teaching duties, Dr. Goins continues her community work. She works part-time as a medical social worker with Home Health Care Network and part-time as a clinician doing therapy with clients at Shaunty Healing Center. She is an active member of the Texas Elder Mistreatment and Abuse Institute (TEAM) and the Houston Financial Abuse Team (H-FAST). Dr. Goins is a director with the Alumni Association Board with the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston – Central Campus and she is on the Region 6 Adult Protective Services Board (Houston District).

Gladys Chan's profile photo

Gladys Chan

University of Houston-Downtown

Gladys Chan is a senior honors student majoring in Health and Behavioral Science, graduating in May 2022. She is originally from Hong Kong and moved to Houston when she was 13 years old. Gladys has always been fascinated by the different healthcare systems worldwide and aimed to benefit others during her college years. During the pandemic, Gladys first started the Health Empowerment Organization to promote health and wellness during difficult times. She wanted to reach out to students and encourage them to learn more about healthy living, the healthcare industry, potential jobs for HBS majors, and many more.

Gladys was awarded multiple Community Engagement Student Grants in the past 3 semesters, where she developed projects that positively impact the community. She collaborated with community organizations to create different types of projects. Her first grant successfully shed the spotlight on the Autism Spectrum Disorder community. Her second grant helped spread mental health awareness among college students. Her current grant collaborates with the Texas Children’s Hospital to donate supplies to their patients. She was awarded first place at a national conference in Florida with her collaborative partner. She shared how community engagement has benefited many communities during the pandemic within her internship through CCESL. Gladys has always enjoyed sharing her community engagement experience with others and hopefully can influence others to help build a better community.

Claudia Vega's profile photo

Claudia Vega

University of Houston-Downtown

Claudia Vega is a senior majoring in International Business with a minor in Spanish, graduating in May 2022. She was born in Houston, Tx from an immigrant household and is set to become the first female, first-generation college student to obtain a bachelor’s degree. She later went on to join the Health Empowerment Organization as their treasurer. She had the opportunity to be awarded two Community Engagement Student Grants in her senior year of college, one on which she is currently working with her partner. The first grant brings a special focus to college students’ mental health. The current grant is a donation of items to the Texas Children Hospital patients. She has always taken pride in her projects and hopes to spread some sort of awareness to topics of importance.

Steven Benson's profile photo

Steven Benson

University of Houston-Downtown

Steven Benson is a graduate student currently pursuing his Master's degree in Non-Profit Management. Steven serves the community and targets the youth with positive initiatives that combat drugs, violence, and other risky behaviors. He is committed to making long-lasting changes in the lives of future generations with his ability to leverage his role as a pastor and gospel recording artist. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family, reading, writing music, and traveling. One of his favorite scriptures is,Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” He believes anything is possible through faith, hard work, and dedication.

Gabriela Medina Torres's profile photo

Gabriela Medina Torres

University of Houston-Downtown

Gabriela Medina Torres is a DACA recipient and senior at the University of Houston-Downtown. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work. She served has a small business intern for the Entrepreneur Connection Program of BakerRipley where they provided business assistance to the local business community. Upon graduation, Gabriela intends on earning her graduate degree in Social Work.


Allison Martinez Nolasco's profile photo

Allison Martinez Nolasco

University of Houston-Downtown

Allison Martinez Nolasco is a senior and a psychology major at UHD. In her free time she enjoys reading and arts and crafts. She also likes watching documentaries. 

Odalis Uriostegui's profile photo

Odalis Uriostegui

University of Houston-Downtown

Odalis Uriostegui is a junior at the University of Houston-Downtown. She is studying Bilingual Education and hoping to get certified to work with pre-kinder through 6th grade classrooms. She currently works with Momentum Education, which is an organization that provides resources for students who are low income or first-generation college students. She was introduced to this organization, thanks to Caroline, and the Community Scholars program. She feels passionate about her position because she likes working and helping other students.

Carlos Huerta-Enciso's profile photo

Carlos Huerta-Enciso


University of Houston-Downtown

Carlos Huerta-Enciso is currently a student at the University of Houston-Downtown where he majors in Computer Science. Apart from CCESL, Carlos enjoys reading, programming, and hosting his own podcast. 

Paloma Esparza-Guerra's profile photo

Paloma Esparza-Guerra

University of Houston-Downtown

Paloma Esparza-Guerra is a First Time in College student at the University of Houston-Downtown majoring in Education (EC-6 with a Bilingual Supplement). She is in her third year and expecting to graduate in Spring 2023.

As a teacher, Paloma aspires to become a role model for all her students. She hopes to never stop learning and growing so that she can be proud of the teacher she is to her students. The career she chose is very rewarding and she would love to see her first class of pre-K students graduate from high school and chase their own dreams. She aspires to cultivate respect, accountability, and creativity within every student she has the privilege of teaching.

Hosted By

Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL) | Website | View More Events

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