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Graduate Students

Kathryn Benavidez

GRADUATED August 2016

Kathryn Michelle Benavidez

MAJOR: Wildlife Ecology

HOMETOWN: Skidmore, Texas


My name Michelle Benavidez and I am from Skidmore, TX, which is a rural South Texas town north of Corpus Christi.  I’ve recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX where I received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy and have now begun an MS program in Wildlife Ecology here at Texas State University.  In my spare time, I enjoy taking care of my many animals, traveling, and spending time with my family.


Currently, I am working to complete my Master’s degree here at Texas State University and afterwards I plan to enroll into a PhD program focused on wildlife.  I am particularly interested in how anthropogenic activities effect the surrounding environment and aspire to participate in research opportunities that will potentially create better ways for humans and wildlife to coexist.

Jessica Espinoza


Jessica Espinoza      jye4@txstate.ed

MAJOR:  Agricultural Education, M. Ed.

HOMETOWN:  Laredo, Texas

I come from a large family from South Texas. I received my B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy degree from St. Edwards University, Austin, TX in 2011.  As an undergraduate I was able to intern for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA for the summers of 2010 and 2011. At NIFA,  I researched the workforce of Hispanics in particular USDA agencies in comparison to the United States population. Now I find myself furthering my education at Texas State, excited for what is to come. In my free time, I enjoy playing with my dog Hank, scrapbooking, recycling, and maintaining my fish tank.
As of now I am focused on obtaining my master’s degree, while maintaining my teacher’s assistant position as well as my full time position at an Austin based company. Educating young minds of sustainable practices is one important component to my future.

S Martiney


Sarah Martinez

MAJOR:   Agricultural Education

HOMETOWN:  Sugar Land, Texas


My name is Sarah Martinez and my family is from Sugar Land, but because of my father’s career in the military, I never got the chance to live there. Since I was raised in a military family, I have lived in many different places, including Germany, which gave me a love for travel. I also love being outdoors and enjoying nature with my border collie Lassie.


Right now I am focused on completing my Master’s degree and in the future I would love to work for the USDA in a research and education related agency.

David Vela working as a summer intern with the US Forest Service in Aspen, CO. where he was a Forestry Technician.

GRADUATED December 2013 &  December 2015

David Vela

  MAJOR:  Agriculture Education
HOMETOWN:  Laredo, Texas
about me: 
My hobbies are hunting, fishing, anything outdoors, sports, exercising, anything pertaining to nature and/or agriculture.
I hope to one day work for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Department. However, I am open to any other positions working for the USDA. I hope to have earned a master’s degree in a field of agriculture that I am still undecided about.