2021 TRACS Summit Presenters

 
Dalia Blell 

Dalia Blell

Dalia Blell, MSW, LCSW-Supervisor is a Professional Counselor/Training Lead for Dallas College Counseling and Psychological Services.  Mrs. Blell served as Assistant Director of Counseling Services at the North Lake Campus and an emerging leader for Dallas College Counseling and Psychological Services during a time of organizational transition.  Mrs. Blell is a servant leader whose interprofessional and collaborative efforts are known to support student success, through campaigns aimed at addressing mental health and wellbeing, specifically for underserved students.   During this time of uncertainty from crisis of pandemic, Mrs. Blell served as a clinical supervisor to a cohort of UTA-School of Social Work MSW Practicum Interns to help facilitate essential social work services to Dallas College students experiencing mental health challenges and basic need insecurities.  

Mrs. Blell's resiliency, perseverance, and wisdom stem from years of lived experiences of adversity. Mrs. Blell grew up in deep South Texas,  one of eight children, in a Mexican American family of farmworkers.  She spent her holiday breaks and summer vacations harvesting fruits and vegetables in Texas, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wyoming, and California.   She is a first-generation college student.  She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees with need and merit-based scholarships from the College Assistance Migrant Program and Trabajadores de la Raza.  Mrs. Blell graduated from the University of Michigan School of Social with a Master of Social Work and earned a Bachelor of Criminal Justice, Minor in Psychology and Sociology from Pan American University, now known as University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley.   

Mrs. Blell believes in sustainability of our most valuable resource, human life, through advocacy for health and wellbeing.  Her high ethical standards are grounded in NASW Code of Ethics - Service, Social Justice, Dignity & Worth of the Person, Importance of Human Relationships, and Integrity and Competence.

 
Dr. Carlos E. Cruz 

Dr. Carlos E. Cruz

Dean of Student CARE Network & Basic Needs - Dallas College 

Dr. Carlos E. Cruz has over 13+ years of leadership and management in student affairs, learning development, grant programs, operational goals, and strategic planning. He has a demonstrated ability to work in a multi-departmental organization, provide support, and leverage resources to enhance organizational performance quality and experience.

Dr. Cruz started his career in 2008 as a College Placement Specialist at Project STAY Inc., a community-based Talent Search Trio program. He then assumed the Assistant Director of Campus Operations at Education is Freedom in 2010, a Dallas college access program. From 2013- 2015, Dr. Cruz held the Director of Student Success position at Mountain View College, overseeing First-Year Academic Advising, New Student Orientation Programs, Scholarships, and the Minority male initiative. He also served on various committees across the college, including the Uniform Recruitment and Retention & Strategic Planning and QEP committees.

Dr. Cruz joined Palo Alto College in October of 2015 as the Director of Student Success overseeing the Student Life department and then developed the Student, Health, Advocacy, Resource, and Engagement (SHARE) Center and managing a multi-million Department of Education Title V Grant. Dr. Cruz assumed his role as the Dean, Student Care Network and Basic Needs at Dallas College. Dr. Cruz recommends strategic solutions, resolutions to mandates, and services for students and their well-being at Dallas College. Dr. Cruz oversees the Counseling, Health Services, and Basic Needs areas at Dallas College and facilitates partnerships between Dallas College, four-year institutions, employers, non-profit organizations, and community partners. Dr. Cruz also serves on the JOVEN Board of Directors, a nonprofit organization catered to helping at-risk youth on the south side of Bexar County, and is active in numerous civic and charitable organizations in the city.

Dr. Cruz holds a Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California, a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Southern Methodist University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Cruz was born and raised in San Antonio, TX, and married his wife of 9 years, Adriana Cruz. 

 
 

Jillian Denman

Jillian Denman excitedly joined San Antonio College as the new Director of Student Advocacy Center in May 2020. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Sciences and her Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Since completing her masters, she has worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor for 15 years, with the majority of those years in the college setting.  

She relocated to San Antonio approximately 12 years ago and accepted a position with San Antonio College as a counselor with the Empowerment Center and assisted with the Mi CASA grant. Upon completion of the grant, she continued her career with the Baptist School of Health Professions (BSHP) and was welcomed as their very first counselor for the school, providing counseling and support services.  

In 2012, she was promoted to Director of Admissions & Student Services and completed her education to become a LPC Supervisor. Within her position with BSHP she mentored young professionals in college admissions & registration and supervised LPC interns as they started their counseling careers. She was also responsible for outreach/marketing for the school, student/alumni job placement services, disability support services, and the Student Crisis Fund.  

Since joining San Antonio College as the Director of the Student Advocacy Center, she has provided leadership in successfully continuing student support services, including meeting basic needs including food/shelter/clothing support, mental health support, connection to emergency aid and community resources. Due to COVID these services had to be shifted to a remote environment. These Advocacy Center services have proven to be crucial in removing barriers to student success and helping student reach their educational goals. 

Dr. Anne Egelston

Dr. Anne Egelston is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tarleton State University where she co-appointed to the political science and environmental science programs. Anne works on environmental law and policy issues at all levels of government, from the local to the international. She specializes in the intersection of science and regulations, especially in areas involving sustainable development, climate change, and air pollution policy. She is actively working on research projects in rural sustainability, green criminology, and international environmental issues. Anne holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Global Affairs from Rutgers University - Newark.

 
 

Karen Magid, Ph.D.

Special Assistant to the President, Director of Sustainability & STEM, Huston-Tillotson University

Karen holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of California, Berkeley. After her postdoctoral work at the ETH-Zürich, she transitioned her career to connect with her passion for the environment and greater connection to community. She served in the Peace Corps before moving to Austin and starting work at HT in 2014. Her role at HT, Austin’s only Historically Black College or University, encompasses academics, operations, and engagement, including working to develop HT’s Environmental Justice major, co-founding the Building Green Justice Forum, and co-advising the Green is the New Black Student group. She serves on the boards of Austin-Travis County Food Policy Board, Earth Day Austin, and on the City of Austin Joint Sustainability Committee.

 
Adam Sharma 

Adam Sharma

Adam Sharma is a veteran of the consumer electronics and tech industries. After 7 years of driving sales and innovation by crafting partnerships with corporations including Staples, TJ Maxx, and Rolling Stone, he shifted his focus to the waste side of technology. As the Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Partnerships at Human-I-T, Adam develops internal and external initiatives to simultaneously increase the social impact and reduce the environmental impact of electronic devices with organizations of all sizes, from small start-ups to large Fortune 500 corporations such as Mattel, JetBlue, the LA Kings, and Nickelodeon (ViacomCBS). In addition to building external partnerships, Adam develops strategic initiatives that increase Human-I-T’s overall impact on the community and environment.

Employing a holistic approach to reusing electronics, Adam is driven by more than just social impact. Instead, he focuses on how the economic and environmental outcomes of a single type of waste help brands achieve their business and sustainability goals. Adam holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the Pennsylvania State University, an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business, where he specialized in Marketing and Social Impact, and holds the Leaders in Sustainability Certificate from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

 
 

Thea Woodruff,  PhD

Lecturer & Well-Being in Learning Environments Coordinator, Longhorn Wellness Center at the Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, The University of Texas at Austin 

Dr. Thea Woodruff coordinates the Well-being in Learning Environments initiative (aka Texas Well-being) at the University of Texas at Austin’s Longhorn Wellness Center and Counseling and Mental Health Center. Through this initiative, she collaborates with UT faculty and administrators to embed wellness practices across colleges and departments and in classrooms, office hours, and other learning contexts. She also lectures and works at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk in the College of Education.