One West University Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78520 | 956-882-8200

Meet The Student Success Staff


Beatriz Becerra-Barckholtz
Director of Student Success
Ph. (956) 882-8292

Dr. Becerra-Barckholtz is the Director of the Student Success Center, a position she assumed since October 2006.  In her position as Director she oversees many of the academic support services on campus; she also mentors students while teaching a first-year seminar for developmental students.  Before coming to The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) she was a student and an intern for the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and the Community College Leadership Program both at the University of Texas at Austin.  She also worked as a student-athlete academic mentor for the 2005 - 2006 Texas Longhorn Men’s Basketball Team. 

Betty received her B.A. in Mexican-American Studies and Spanish from Concordia University at Austin.  She completed her Master's degree in Sociology from UTB and then her Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

While she still enjoys reading, this picture is simply a glimpse into her past life as doctoral student at UT Austin.  Now, she simply enjoys reading children’s books… to her three year old son Tex.


Thelma Gonzalez-Sullivan
Assistant Director
Ph. (956) 882-4349

Thelma Gonzalez-Sullivan has been serving students in various capacities at UTB and TSC since 1988. Currently, she is the Assistant Director for the Student Success Center supervising the career, academic counseling, graduation coaching and student-athletes success services.
Thelma brings to this position many years of experience coordinating services for international students and scholars; providing academic advising for students in vocational technical programs and directing the Student Support Services (ASPIRE).

Thelma received her B.A. in Psychology from “Universidad de Monterrey” in Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico. She earned a Master’s in Education in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Houston and 18 hours above the masters from Texas Tech University and Corpus Christi State University.

She enjoys traveling, reading, cooking, gardening, learning about health and nutrition and above all, bragging about her daughters in college.

P.S. She is married to Professor Sullivan from the History Department.


Daniel Aguilar
Educational Specialist II - Graduation Coach
Ph. (956) 882-8279

Daniel Aguilar has served as one of our Graduation Coaches since February 2012.  Daniel monitors and mentors students to ensure they are on the path towards timely graduation.  Before coming to The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB) he has taught 3rd through 8th grades in elementary and middle schools.  He has also taught English as a second language at UTB’s Language Institute, Doña Ana Community College (Las Cruces, NM) and at The Center for Intensive Training in English (CITE) at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, NM.

Daniel received his B.A. in Elementary Education from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM.  He completed his Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from NMSU and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Technologies from UTB.

While he enjoys reading, basketball, and video games (especially zombie games), this picture shows Daniel missing a return serve in Ping-Pong (which doesn’t occur often, according to Daniel).


Maria Leticia Vega
Senior Admin. Secretary
Ph. (956) 882-8292

Letty is the Senior Administrative Secretary for Student Success Center since November 2006. Before being part of the SSC, she was the Administrative Secretary for Learning Enrichment; where she served for 14 consecutive years. In her position, she has been overseeing support staff, which is composed of part timers and workstudies. She has also crossed trained and mentor secretaries with budget reconciliations from other divisions as well as within Student Affairs. Before becoming a full time employee, she worked as a part time for the Deans Office after working as a college work study for the Vocational Technical Counselors. Letty joined Texas Southmost College in the summer of 1989 right after graduating from Gladys Porter High School.

Letty received her first A.A.S as an Administrative Secretarial Science from Texas Southmost College in the Spring of 1991, and an A.A.S in Word Processing Specialist from The University of Texas as Brownsville and Texas Southmost College in the Spring of 1992.

While she enjoys making fashion jewelry and working with arts and crafts, she has helped design several projects; one of which was a stuffed ocelot for the new UTB mascot door decorating contest. She has since then adopted the stuffed ocelot as one of her favorite ferocious sidekicks.


Monica Hernandez
Career Counselor
Ph. (956) 882-7086

Monica Hernandez has worked as a career counselor since 2009. She has worked in education for over 8 years as a school teacher and counselor before returning to the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB).

Monica received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the UTB. She completed her Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance from UTB.

Monica enjoys traveling with her family, reading, and arts and crafts.


Herminia Noriega-Torres
Career Counselor
Ph. (956) 882-8292

Herminia Noriega-Torres is a Career Counselor at the Student Success Center, a position she holds since October 2012. In her professional role she helps students to learn about their personal interests, values, strengths and choosing a major.  She also educates students on how to explore useful career resources leading them to learn more about the world of work.

Before coming back to The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) she was employed as a Psychotherapist for Southwest Key programs a national nonprofit organization that provides shelter and services for immigrant children.

She was previously employed as an Academic Advisor for the Academic Advising Center at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College for 9 years.  She also worked for SSSP/ASPIRE at UTB as a peer mentor for 2 years.
Herminia received her B.A. in Sociology and then her Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance at UTB. She recently got certified as a Laughter Yoga Leader.

In her free time, Herminia enjoys traveling, exercising, reading and doing volunteer work in her community.

Laugh, learn and be curious about careers. The best is yet to come!


Sandra Moreno
Educational Specialist III
Ph. (956) 882-8292

Sandra Moreno joined the UTB & TSC team in August 2010.  As the Educational Specialist III, Sandra actively mentors several students enrolled in STING classes and is often out and about presenting study strategy workshops.  She has also implemented a Sophomore Initiative in which she guides sophomores to ensure they are on track to graduation.  Sandra assists as a Graduation Coach for the 2010 cohort.

Sandra received her B.A. and M.S in Psychology from Texas A& M – Kingsville where she started working in Higher Education at the age of eighteen.

This Educational Specialist is always looking for a new destination to travel to during her spare time away from UTB and TSC.

Michael Aldape
Student Development Specialist II
Ph. (956) 882-8292

Michael E. Aldape is the newest member of the Student Success Center staff, joining the Center in December 2012 as a Student Development Specialist. Michael has been an employee of the University since 2008, working first with the Office of the President, followed by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Facilities and Planning.

As a Student Development Specialist, Michael’s main responsibility is to mentor students–specifically student athletes–ensuring they are on-track for a timely graduation. Furthermore, Michael is responsible for providing all students with opportunities for learning, personal and professional development, and the tools they will need to be successful during and after college.

Michael earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History-Social Studies Education from UTB and TSC in May 2011. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in History from UT Brownsville. Michael’s dream is to make a career in higher education, serving the students of Brownsville, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and beyond.

In his spare time (the little that he has), Michael can usually be found volunteering at church, cooking, reading, watching an awesome black and white movie, and enjoying life with his family and friends. 

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