FACULTY & STAFF
Laura D. Seligman, Ph.D., ABPPOffice: EACSB 1.124F
Phone: (956) 665-2866
Dr. Seligman is a Professor of Psychological Science at UTRGV and Past President of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). Dr. Seligman received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Clinical Psychology from The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in Statistics, from The State University of New York at Oneonta. Dr. Seligman is a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Texas, and she is Board-Certified in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Seligman’s research interests include internalizing disorders in youth and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based behavioral health treatments. Currently, Dr. Seligman is the Principal Investigator (PI) of a National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) R01 research grant to study methods to prevent the development of dental anxiety and phobia; the PI of an NIDCR UG3 research grant to develop a one-session culturally-appropriate treatment for dental phobia in youth; and a site MPI for a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) U01 research grant to examine genetic impacts on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Latino/a individuals in North America and South America. For a copy of Dr. Seligman's vita, please click here.
Joseph D. Hovey, Ph.D.Office: EACSB 1.124D
Phone: (956) 665-3330
Dr. Hovey is a Professor of Psychological Science at UTRGV. Dr. Hovey received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from The University of Michigan and a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA. Dr. Hovey is a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Texas and is an internationally recognized scholar in the areas of suicide risk and prevention, behavioral health of acculturating individuals, rural health, cultural adaptation and development of psychological measures, and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions for anxiety, depression, and suicidal behavior. Dr. Hovey is a former Research Director of the American Association of Suicidology, and he currently serves as a Commissioner and Research Co-Chair on the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA). Currently, Dr. Hovey is a site MPI for an NIMH U01 grant to examine genetic impacts on OCD in Latino/a individuals in North America and South America, and a Co-Investigator (Co-I) on an NIDCR UG3 grant to develop a one-session culturally-appropriate treatment for dental phobia in youth.
Liza Talavera-Garza, Ph.D.Office: EACSB 1.124C
Phone: (956) 665-2662
Dr. Talavera-Garza is an Assistant Professor of Psychological Science at UTRGV. Dr. Talavera-Garza received a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Talavera-Garza’s research focuses on the intersection between behavioral and physical health issues among older Latino/a adults. Currently, Dr. Talavera-Garza is the PI on a grant awarded by the RGV Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center for Minority Aging Research, and a Co-I on an NIDCR UG3 grant to develop a one-session culturally-appropriate treatment for dental phobia in youth.
Katelyn Villa, M.S.Office: EACSB 1.124G
Phone: (956) 665-3312
Katelyn Villa is a Research Associate III at UTRGV. Ms. Villa received an M.S. and B.A. in Exercise Physiology from The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Ms. Villa serves as a Project Director for an R01 research grant awarded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Ms. Villa has a demonstrated history of working within the higher education and clinical research industries. Her previous work experience includes research in topics such as exercise physiology, treatment-resistant depression, suicide behavior, stroke, and neuroscience.
Andrea Carolina Torres, B.S.Office: EACSB 1.124K
Phone: (956) 665-3304
Andrea Torres is a Research Associate I at UTRGV. Ms. Torres primarily works on a UG3 research grant awarded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) whose aim is to develop effective treatment for dental phobia in pediatric populations. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Behavior with a minor in Psychology at Florida Atlantic University. Previous to that, she received training in undergraduate medicine at The University of Cauca in Colombia. Ever since her first glimpses at psychobiology and psychopathology courses as well as her psychiatry rotations, she knew that her passion was in understanding the underlying mechanisms responsible for human behavior and mental disorders. She has prior experience in epidemiology, gastric cancer research, family medicine, and outpatient services.
Daniela Chavez, B.S.Email: email@example.com
Daniela Chavez was born in Toluca, Mexico, and raised in Mission, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is working on completing her Master’s in Experimental Psychology at UTRGV. Her research interests include mental health risk and protective factors, coping skills, resiliency, and acculturative stress in Latino/a individuals. Daniela is an advocate for accessible, effective, and bilingual mental health care so that all people in the Rio Grande Valley can have happy, fulfilling lives.
Veronica Ramirez, B.S.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronica Ramirez graduated from UTRGV in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include mental health risk and precipitating factors in Latinas, with a special focus on immigration and acculturative stress. She seeks to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Monica Ochoa, B.S.Email: email@example.com
Monica Ochoa is a UTRGV alumni who graduated with the B.S. in Psychology in the Fall of 2022. She is currently a student in the Clinical Psychology M.A. program at UTRGV and she plans to continue her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Monica is interested in becoming a clinical psychologist and plans to advocate for the normalization of seeking help with mental health in the Hispanic population, primarily in the Rio Grand Valley. Her interests in psychology include anxiety, mood disordrs, body image, and personality disorders. In her free time, Monica enjoys spending time with her family, reading, listening to music, running, practicing yoga, and coaching and playing volleyball.
Kate Danica Felix, B.S.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate is a graduate of UTRGV with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and hopes to attend dental school to become a general dentist. She has served as a leader for the university's Pre-Dental Society / American Student Dental Association as Vice President and has recently completed her term as President. Through passion projects such as "Giving the RGV Something to Smile About" and "Helping the RGV Smile Again," Kate has been able to actively advocate oral and overall health to her underserved community through means of giving back and educating others. One of her main goals as a future dentist is to instill change in underserved communities that tend to neglect their oral health by providing positive dental experiences to shape health smiles.
Martha Garcia, B.S.Email: email@example.com
Martha Garcia graduated in 2022 from UTRGV with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and plans to continue her education by pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She is interested in community-based work that focuses on closing the gap between mental illness and accessible care that disadvantaged populations face. Her main subjects of interest in psychology are PTSD, child development, acculturative stress, gender psychology, and sexual trauma. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family (including her pets), being active, and listening to and playing music.
Christian GonzalesEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christian Gonzales is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and plans to further his education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Christian is interested in becoming a Clinical Psychologist and working with individuals with the goal in mind of having a lasting impact on others' lives for the better. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, being active, spending time with others, and listening to music.
Lorena Houghton, B.S.Email: email@example.com
Lorena graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a B.S. in Psychology in 2022. Currently, she is working on completing an M.A. in Clinical Psychology at UTRGV. She hopes to work for a couple of years before moving on to complete a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include gender, eating disorders, body image, and the impacts of social media. In her free time, Lorena enjoys reading, crocheting/knitting, sewing, baking, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Haley Nadine Gonzalez, A.S.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Haley Nadine Gonzalez graduated from South Texas College with an Associate in Science degree in December, 2020. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Biology with a Focus in Biological Sciences. She is passionate about pursuing a degree in Dentistry and has been involved with UTRGV's Pre-Dental Society / American Student Dental Association as Secretary and, now, as President. She is also engaged with her church and enjoys spending time with her family, as well as cooking, baking, and going on walks. She aspires to serve her community as a future dentist by providing quality oral care while ensuring every patient is treated with kindness and compassion.
Kaitlynn Garza, B.S.Email: email@example.com
Kaitlynn Garza graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from UTRGV in 2023 and is currently a student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at UTRGV. Kaitlynn is primarily interested in working with children and adolescents and her main subjects of interest are personality disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. During her free time, she enjoys going on walks, spending time with family, and trying new recipes.
Nadeen Salhadar, B.A.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nadeen Salhadar graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Health and Society. She is working on completing her Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology at UTRGV and seeks to continue her education by pursuing her Ph.D. afterward. Her research interests include mental health and disorders in relation to health disparities and social determinants of health, with a focus on depression, anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, art, and learning new skills.
Isabella Cruz, B.S.Email: email@example.com
Isabella Cruz graduated in 2023 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from UTRGV. She is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Psychology at The University of Texas at San Antonio and she plans to further her education and obtain her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Isabella's research interests are in gender, LGBT, and sexual trauma. In her free time, Isabella enjoys reading, listening to music, and watching movies.
JUNIOR RESEARCH ASSISTANTS
Hannah I. Hovey
Hannah was born in Toledo, Ohio and now resides in Edinburg, Texas. She is currently a student at the South Texas Preparatory Academy where she is a member of the National Junior Honors Society and a member of the girls basketball team. Hannah provides consultation and experiential assistance on child and adolescent studies; contributes her acting skills to training videos; and she consults on the interior design of the lab. Outside of the lab, Hannah has many interests. She loves spending time with family and friends, she plays basketball, she plays the piano, she enjoys board games, she loves to bake, and she is a promising artist. Hannah has kindly donated some of her artwork to the lab.
Gabriella S. Hovey
Gabriella was born in Toledo, Ohio and currently lives in Edinburg, Texas. She is currently a student at the South Texas Preparatory Academy where she is a member of the National Junior Honors Society and a member of the girls basketball team. Gabriella consults with lab faculty and staff on child and adolescent studies; assists with research tasks in the laboratory; and contributes her acting skills to training videos. Gabriella loves to build with Legos, solve puzzles, and go surfing. She also plays basketball, is an avid reader, enjoys television shows from all eras, and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Gabriella is interested in pursuing a career in engineering.
David S. Hovey
David is currently a senior at the South Texas ISD Science Academy and is a member of the National Honors Society. David has many accolades attached to his name. For example, he is a 2024 National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. In addition, he has won or placed in dozens of regional University Interscholastic League (UIL) Academic competitions in Math, Science, Number Sense, and Calculator Use. He took first place in Science and third place in Math at the 2023 Texas Math and Science Coaches Association (TMSCA) statewide meet. He was also awarded the 2022 Vitruvian Man Award from the South Texas ISD Science Academy, which is given to the student who best embodies the qualities synonymous with the tradition and culture of the Science Academy. Finally, David presented his original research on number theory at the 2023 conference of the Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America and was awarded the Student Presentation Award. David provides software programming to the lab, consults on mathematical modeling, and contributes his acting skills to training videos. Outside of the lab, David enjoys listening to music, watching horror movies, playing guitar, and playing basketball and table tennis.