TU-CASA Team

Patrick-Kelley-Headshot.png Mr. Patrick Kelley
TU CASA Program Director
Mr. Patrick Kelley Email
210-784-2424
Madla 336

Mr. Kelley joined the TU CASA Team at Texas A&M University-San Antonio in the Fall of 2020. He is a Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Toledo where he was the Program Coordinator for the Toledo Transition Program. His work and research focus is on postsecondary education and transition services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Before starting his professional adventure in higher education, Mr. Kelley worked for many years in the public schools' sector as an Educational Audiologist, Speech-Language Pathologist, American Sign Language teacher, Associated Student Body Advisor, and Educator of the Deaf.


Axel-Esparza-Tristan-Headshot.pngAxel Esparza
Administrative Assistant
Axel Esparza Email
210-784-2425
Madla 336

Mr. Esparza Tristan joined TU CASA in the Fall of 2020. He is an A&M SA alumnus who currently attends the Counseling graduate program. Mr. Esparza Tristan is a native San Antonian and a first-generation college student. He has served in the areas of diversity as well as youth and families facing economic and educational barriers to success.


Jennifer-DeLeon-Headshot.pngJennifer DeLeon
Academic Success Advisor
Jennifer DeLeon Email
210-784-2425
Madla 336

Mrs. Jennifer De Leon is a graduate of Texas A&M University-San Antonio with a Master’s in Special Education. She has served in multiple positions within the University since August of 2016. Her first position was with the Special Education Department. While teaching undergraduate courses for the Special Education Department, she began working in the Educator Preparation Program (EPP) as a Teaching Specialist for both Generalist and Special Education majors in August 2017. Also, in August of 2017, she began teaching for the First-Year Seminar. Her next educational milestone at the university was assisting students by tutoring for TExES core exams. Mrs. De Leon was also an ESL instructor for the Baptist University of Americas. In collaboration with another faculty member, Mrs. De Leon helped to build an “Online Instruction Faculty Handbook” for the College of Education and Human Development.


Joycelyn-Joya.jpegJoycelyn Joya
Career Success Advisor
Joycelyn Joya Email
210-784-2425
Madla 336

Ms. Joycelyn Joya received her Bachelor's of Applied Arts and Science from Lamar University and her Master's in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas in San Antonio. She has over four years of experience in student affairs. Ms. Joya has worked for student health services, learning communities, and an advocacy center. She is passionate about helping students turn their aspirations into careers. Thank you and stay safe!




If you're interested in volunteering contact Mr. Patrick Kelley


TU-CASA  Principal Investigators

Mariya-Davis.JPGDr. Mariya Davis
Principal Investigator
Dr. Davis is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at the Department of Educator and Leadership Preparation. Dr. Davis received her Ph.D. in Special Education from Texas Woman’s University (Denton, Texas). Her work and research expertise centers on transition to post-school environments for students with disabilities, inclusive practices, student empowerment, family engagement, and professional development. Dr. Davis has established a wide network of collegial relationships in the professional community and is currently serving as President of the Texas Division on Career Development and Transition. Dr. Davis oversees research and project implementation.

Eric-J-Lopez-Headshot.pngDr. Eric J. López
Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. López is a Professor at the Department of Educator and Leadership Preparation. Dr. López has over 20 years of higher education experience and works with underserved communities. Dr. López received his Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Iowa. He worked as a Bilingual School Psychologist, before joining the faculty at New Mexico State University. Dr. López was an American Council on Education Fellow (2016-2017). His research interests include multicultural assessment, consultation, and intervention. Dr. Lopez oversees family engagement and career-based integrated employment components.

Gavin-Watts-Headshot.pngDr. Gavin Watts
Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Watts is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Dr. Watts holds a Ph.D. in emotional-behavioral disorders. His current areas of research include training and supervising students with emotional-behavioral disorders as cross-age tutors for promoting skills in academics, behavior, and social-emotional domains. He is interested in developing no/low-cost behavioral interventions for students with disabilities and evidence-based practices for supporting students with disabilities, as well as first-generation college students in higher education settings. Dr. Watts oversees campus life experiences and activities associated with the project.

Dr. Carl Sheperis, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Sheperis is the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

Dr. Melissa Jozwiak, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Jozwiak is the Chair of the Department of Educator & Leadership Preparation.

Drs. Sheperis and Jozwiak oversee: (a) coordination of university curriculum changes; (b) alignment of the program to SACS and A&M University System policies; (c) development and execution of Memorandums of Understanding with the LEAs; and (e) coordination of the expansion of services beyond the seven ASPIRE school districts.