Skip to main content


UST Alumna of the Year Embodies GRACE

UST Alumna of the Year Embodies GRACE

"Giving back to University of St. Thomas constitutes giving time, treasure and talent," said Maria Younger M.Ed. '05, assistant director of annual giving. For this reason, she nominated her friend, Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez '97, M.Ed. '01, assistant professor and director of Reading and Catholic Education, and the GRACE program, for the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan CSB Alumni of the Year Award. Because Gonzalez's service to the university goes beyond the classroom, she was honored to receive this award from the University she loves.


"All alumni have an opportunity to give back to the University," Gonzalez said. "My liberal arts education prepared me for the rigor of being a classroom teacher, doctoral student and assistant principal - it propelled me to new heights."
 
Gonzalez served on the Freshman Symposium Alumni Panel after being involved with the Alumni Association for several years. She said it was a chance to plant the seed for the incoming freshmen, so they will appreciate their education and maximize efforts to attain their goals. Younger said Gonzalez is devoted to helping students do just this.
 
"I have, as well as many others, witnessed how many students Dr. Gonzalez has affected," Younger said. "She has mentored with encouragement, advised with strict focus and inspired a wide variety of students. In particular, her ability to motivate students has a direct influence on our student retention during their studies and afterward in becoming active alumni."
 
As an alumna working at the University that helped develop her astute educational skills, Gonzalez credits UST with maturing her understanding of herself.
 
"I am Catholic, but I am not sure I truly understood what that meant until I completed courses in theology and philosophy," Gonzalez said. "Learning about my religion and other religions truly helped me to understand the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. It also helped me to apply the ideals of faith and morality to the other content areas."
 
Using her ideals as a spring broad, Gonzalez directs the Gulf Region Academy for Catholic Educators, or GRACE, program, which prepares newly-employed teachers to serve in Catholic schools while pursuing a Master of Education at UST through a partnership with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Gonzalez initiated the GRACE guides program, which assigns GRACE alumni to a first-year participant.
 
As she cultivates educators, Gonzalez said she is still learning from professors who guided her while studying at St. Thomas. Gonzalez said Dr. Rick Krustchinsky, associate dean of undergraduate education, was and still is an outstanding model for what teachers should strive to become.
 
"He not only taught us how to teach math and science, but also how to always be the best prepared and most heartfelt teachers for all students," Gonzalez said. "It has been my pleasure to continue to learn from him, as he is my School of Education mentor."
 
Now that Gonzalez has a bachelor's of special education, a master's of educational leadership, a doctorate in educational psychology from University of Houston and a thriving position as the director of a major program under her belt, she is grateful for the place that started it all.
 
"I was accepted to many universities as a senior in high school, but when I walked onto the St. Thomas campus, it just felt like home - and, 20 years later, it still feels like home."

---

The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houstonís only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers.

Keywords: University of St. Thomas, the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan CSB Alumni of the Year Award, Alumni, Alumna, GRACE, Gulf Region Academy for Catholic Educators, Dr. Rick Krustchinsky



NEWSLETTERS »

E-mail:       Zip Code: (ex. 90001)
Today's Headlines

Sign up for a roundup of the day's top stories. 5 days / week. See Sample

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

1 - 1 of 1 Comments

  1. abey
    11 months ago

    Being true to the name of St. Thomas is to keep the faith in Christ Jesus above education, which will bring about a better eduction, unlike the many students of Christian & Catholic universities falling into leftist agendas, which work contrary to the faith, to say that Educations that sans faith is but dead knowledge whatever it be, to "Heading no where" 'cause Faith is the leader.

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Find your College Now