Island University Elects 2015-2016 Staff Council Representatives

Published: September 30, 2015

Island University Elects 2015-2016 Staff Council Representatives

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Staff Council recently held its 2015-2016 elections for new Staff Council members and elected 11 new representatives. Staff Council is comprised of individuals representing all areas of staff, who serve on committees and plan events that contribute to the staff community. Staff Council, through its elected representatives, advises, consults with and makes recommendations to administrative officers.

The current President of Staff Council is Meredith Coplen, Senior Executive Assistant for Student Engagement and Success. Coplen has worked on campus for nearly six years, and has served as Dr. Don Albrecht’s Senior Executive Assistant for the past three years. Coplen was elected to Staff Council in August of 2013 and served as Secretary of Staff Council before being elected as Vice President/President elect. Her goals as President this year are to place an emphasis on the importance of customer service, which in turn will positively impact the student retention rates. She’s also looking forward to encouraging more cross-divisional communication in hopes of building a better understanding of what each department does to help our students every day.

The newly elected representatives include:

  • Timothy Boulan, Programmer II, has been with the College of Graduate Studies since joining the University in May 2008.  He looks forward to giving back to the University as a part of the Staff Council.
  • Cassondra Casanova, Human Resources Generalist, originally began working for the University as a Student Worker in June 2007 and has been in her current role since September 2014. This is her first time serving on Staff Council and is looking forward to all of the activities to come this year.
  • Jacqueline Fischer, Academic Advisor in the Islander Transition Center (ITC), has been with the Island University since April 2014, where she started in Academic Affairs, and transitioned to the ITC in December 2014. She is looking forward to working with other members of the University community on Staff Council to increase campus community involvement in activities and fundraising.
  • Dora Garza, Business Support Specialist in the Center for Academic Student Achievement (CASA), has been with the University since October 2007. She looks forward to serving the University community and working with all the wonderful people on Staff Council this year.
  • Diana Gaona, Library Associate II with the Acquisitions Office at the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, has been with the University since February 2012.  She looks forward to being part of the University Relations and Homecoming Committees this year on Staff Council.
  • Dr. Patricia Hill, Director of Transfer Admissions Services, began work at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in the College of Education in 1989 and received her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees from A&M-Corpus Christi. Hill has held many positions at the Island University such as Certification Officer, Transfer Counselor and Director of the Islander Transition Center.
  • Shay Lee, Administrative Assistant for the College of Liberal Arts, began work with the University in November 2005. She looks forward to getting more involved with the University this year on Staff Council.
  • Laura Mansilla, Research Project Manager in the Planning and Institutional Research Office, has been with the University since September 2010. Her prior roles include being a Graduate Assistant for the College of Graduate Studies and the Reporting Analyst for the Division of Research, Commercialization and Outreach. Mansilla looks forward to contributing to the activities this year on Staff Council and is excited about collaborating with her fellow staff members.
  • Joseph Miller, Director of Community Outreach in the Division of Research, Commercialization and Outreach, has been with the University since 2004, and is also a proud alumnus. He is looking forward to serving the University community through Staff Council again.
  • Ben Soto, Director of User Support Services in the Information Technology Department, has been with the University since 1997. He looks forward to representing and supporting his fellow staff members this year on Staff Council.
  • Shelby Stamets, Fitness and Wellness Coordinator for Recreational Sports, has been with the University since fall 2014. She enjoys working with Islander students, faculty, and staff, helping to meet the health and wellness needs of the University. She is excited to be involved with Staff Council this year and looks forward to new opportunities and events.

Other members include: Tiffany Hearne, Project Manager I and Vice President of Staff Council; Dr. Rachel Kirk, Transfer Advisor and Secretary of Staff Council; Ruby Pollard, Senior Administrative Assistant and Treasurer of Staff Council; Shawn Elizondo, Project Manager I and Historian of Staff Council; Terry Tatum, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Advisor of Staff Council; Dennis Coplen, Recreational Sports Coordinator; Valerie Gibbons, Business Support Specialist II; Judy Harral, Executive Director of Administrative Services; Deanne Hubenak, Business Coordinator; Karol Stewart, Coordinator Of Community Services at the South Texas Institute for the Arts; and Derek Vest; Help Desk Specialist III.

Staff Council includes representations from each of the seven employee categories, making it an Equal Employee Opportunity organization. Members can serve up to two terms (four years) in a row. Staff Council contributes to the University by raising money for the Dorothy Yeater Memorial Scholarship fund through the recycling of used printer cartridges and coordinates the Annual Employee Luncheon, the Employee Excellence Awards, Staff Kudos and the toy drive for Islander Lights.

To learn more about Staff Council, go to