The Word: UIW Community Newsletter - March 5, 2021


Living the Mission: UIW Provides COVID-19 Vaccine for Students and Employees

On Monday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 2, the UIW Vaccine Clinic opened at Founders Hall, welcoming more than one thousand members of the UIW community to receive and volunteer to assist with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. The two-day clinic brought the Cardinal community together in an unprecedented way, as volunteers from Health Services to Athletics to faculty members gathered to assist with the clinic, taking the idea of our shared responsibility to one another to yet a new level. 

Sam McDaniel, associate vice president of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management, helped secure the Pfizer vaccine doses for the University community. The UIW Medical Team, which includes Dr. Ronda Gottlieb, Dr. David Garza, Dr. Brent Summerlin and others, led the establishment of the clinic and all operations. The team worked to secure volunteers, signage, processes and more to ensure a smooth vaccine distribution process, working closely with people like Jose Herrera, director of Special Events, and Phil Lopes, director of Facilities Management. Faculty from across UIW's health professions schools including Dr. Nile Barnes of the Feik School of Pharmacy, Drs. Holly DiLeo, Linda Hook and Lorena Paul of the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions, Dr. Natalie Slater of the School of Osteopathic Medicine and Dr. Caroline Goulet, dean of the School of Physical Therapy served as team leaders, providing guidance for volunteers from across the UIW system. In addition, members of the University's IT Department like Brian Anderson provided the tech support needed for appointment registrations, UIWPD offered security and directed guests where to park, UIW Facilities staff were on hand to set up the areas to best accommodate volunteers and patients, and the Office of Communications and Brand Marketing worked to share important clinic information with the UIW community. 

At the entry, students and employees with an appointment were greeted, had their temperatures checked and were guided to the next post in the registration process by UIW Athletics staff, including Men's Soccer Coach Kiki Lara. Like other volunteers, they offered hours of their time to ensure that the event was well staffed and the process moved seamlessly. And for Lara, helping take part in this effort was important. "For me, it was two-fold," he explained. "One, they're offering vaccinations, which is important to me and my family, and two, the University needed support."

The next stop was registration, followed by a checkpoint where volunteers instructed those arriving on the vaccination process. Participants then moved to speak to more volunteers from all over UIW who took health information and directed them to the queue for the vaccine. In the vaccination area, representatives from the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions expertly administered the first of two vaccines. Then, guests moved on to the observation area, staffed by yet more volunteers and physicians from the School of Osteopathic Medicine who helped monitor for potential adverse reactions. 

Just behind the vaccine administration area, students and staff from the Feik School of Pharmacy alongside faculty from health professions schools worked the clinic's pharmacy area. Dr. Nile Barnes, assistant professor of Pharmacy and one of the team leads, helped prepare syringes with Pharm.D. students Calvin Cuevas, Jacob Crowsey and Mason Pierce, members of the Class of 2021. 

Scroll down for images and captions from the clinic. 

A volunteer takes someone's temperature

Men's Soccer Coach Kiki Lara checks someone's temperature.

A woman in a mask sits behind a computer

A volunteer checks a patient in for their vaccine.

Volunteers hold up signs that say "ready"

Volunteers signal to guests to make their way to the next station, where they will go over vaccine information and collect any necessary medical history. 

A nurse holds up a sign that says "vaccine"

A vaccine administrator signals that her station is ready for the next guest.

A collage of people getting vaccinated

Members of the UIW community administer and receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

A doctor gestures where to go into an observation room

Dr. David Garza of the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine guides a guest into the observation room.

Three people in masks conversing

Members of UIW's COVID-19 medical response team touch base with one another about the ongoing clinic.

A pile of stickers

Each guest received a sticker that read, "I got my COVID-19 vaccine!"


Faculty Published in Journal of Athletic Training

Headshots of Dr. Fisher and Dr. EsparzaDrs. Reid Fisher and Shandra Esparza, both associate professors of Athletic Training, were recently published in the Journal of Athletic Training. Their published research, called “Outcomes of Embedded Athletic Training Services within United States Air Force Basic Military Training,” aimed to assess the effect of an embedded athletic training musculoskeletal care model within a basic military training unit. 

Learn more and find their research

Faculty Present at 15th Annual International Conference on Design Principles and Practices

Headshots of School of Media and Design faculty

Four faculty from the School of Media and Design presented at the 15th Annual International Conference on Design Principles Practices this week. The conference featured research addressing the the themes of special focus, scope and concerns, and themes and tensions. 

Adam Nash, assistant professor of Interior Design, presented a paper presentation, “Going Beyond the Textbook: Incorporating a Book Club Model into the Interior Design Studio Course” in a themed session related to design education.

Doris Palmeros-McManus, associate professor of Graphic Design, presented a paper presentation, “Call to Action! Empowering Student Activity Engaging Students in Social Advocacy with Design” in a themed session related to design education.  

Michael Clayton, professor of Graphic Design, presented a paper presentation, “Methods of Capturing Lectures and Demonstrations for Primary and Supplementary Learning,” in a themed session related to architectonic, spatial, and environmental design. Clayton also presented a poster presentation entitled “How Can I Make a Meaningful, Personable, and Engaging Content to Help My Students Learn?” 

Dr. Melinda Adams, professor of Fashion Management, presented a focused discussion on “Tech Pack: Communication from Afar” related to design education.

Interior Design Faculty Presents at Interior Design Educators Council Annual Conference

A headshot of Dr. Diana AllisonDr. Diana Allison, assistant professor and program coordinator for Interior Design, presented with Dr. Heather Carter and Dr. Karen Zwanch, faculty from Oklahoma State University, at the Interior Design Educators Council Annual Conference on Monday, March 1. 

Their presentation was titled "Architectural Scale: Exploring Interior Design Students’ Mathematical Units Construction and Coordination." The presentation reviewed a units construction and coordination method that researchers used to evaluate interior design students’ mathematical reasoning with the goal of identifying need for arithmetic intervention early in the undergraduate degree. 

Communications Art Faculty Published in Western Journal of Communication

A headhshot of Dr. Zazil Reyes GarciaDr. Zazil Reyes García, associate professor in the Communication Arts Department recently co-published an article called "Podcasting Latinidad as a Crónica Rhetorical Narrative in Stories, Music, and Entrevistas" in the Western Journal of Communication. 

Per the article's abstract, "the Podcasts provide opportunities for challenging cultural practices and offer valuable perspectives. This essay explores how Latina/o/x podcasts extend notions of Latinidad to new media technologies, transcend borders, and offer a 'hemispheric perspective' as an alternative to the “citizenship narrative” so ingrained in rhetoric’s intellectual history. We use the concept of crónica to examine three podcasts distributed by NPR: the award-winning Radio Ambulante and Latino USA, and the music-centered Alt. Latino. The analysis reveals that crónica uses a hemispheric approach to Latinidad, personalizes broader issues, and historicizes Latina/o/x experiences."

Find access to the article here

Mission and Ministry

Lenten Reflection: Is He the Messiah? Am I the person at the well? By Dr. Trey Guinn

A headshot of Dr. Trey GuinnThis is the question asked by the Samaritan woman after leaving her jar beside the well and running back to the village. Like me, she was an ordinary person. She was going about her day and accomplishing necessary tasks (like drawing water from the well). Unaware that she was in the presence of the only begotten Son, she spoke to Him as one living in the natural world, inquiring, “How will you draw this living water without rope or bucket?” Yet, He persisted in pursuing her supernaturally, offering “My water brings eternal life.”

In awe of Him, she ran back to the village and urged others to see a man who could tell her all she had done. Transfixed on His ability to know her past, she might easily have missed what He offered for her future. Bewildered and perhaps overwhelmed, she runs away to her village and beckons that others come and see this man. She even ponders, “Could he possibly be the Messiah?” And because of her many Samaritans from the village came out to see, listen, and, ultimately, believe in Jesus.

John’s account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman is beautiful and gripping. It is beautiful for many reasons. Jesus reveals Himself to be the Messiah. He proves to be radically inclusive, making way to salvation for all who believe. And as we read, many Samaritans came to know and believe Jesus because of the woman at the well. We know that she and her village were moved by Him. His presence in their village was alive and real. They discovered a food they previously knew nothing about.

It is also a beautifully gripping story because her question raises another question. Could I possibly be the woman at the well? As I reflect on this story of an imperfect human who was focused on meeting her day-to-day needs, I am convinced that, of course, I am her. Or, at least, I recognize that her sins are no greater than mine and that my existence is no greater than hers. We are both imperfect humans in need of living water.

I have the benefit of growing up with her story. I have imagined what if it had been me at the well and how I might hope to have responded had I met the Messiah that day. For those growing up with scripture, it can be a bit like watching a movie you’ve seen plenty of times before. At times, I almost plead with the characters, as if it might redirect the outcome. I beg the woman at the well to stay with Him a bit longer. I find myself encouraging her, “Yes, you are right! IT IS THE MESSIAH! Kiss HIS feet! Do not leave His presence! His living water gives eternal life and to live in His presence on this earth is the only hope of an abundant life. Forget your past, focus less on ordinary tasks and more on what is eternal, and follow HIM wherever HE leads.”

But just then, as I hear myself pleading with her, I discover that I am looking down into the well, seeing my own reflection, and delivering the message to myself: Jesus is the Messiah. He gives living water. Follow Him wherever He leads.

Sunday Morning Prayer and Liturgy Schedule

The interior of a chapel

Please see the information below for our upcoming liturgies, as well as our new Flocknote app. 

Liturgy schedule:

  • Sunday, March 7 at 11 a.m. – Sunday Morning Mass 
    • IN-PERSON attendance:  Due to physical distancing requirements, space in Our Lady’s Chapel is severely impacted. For the time being, in-person attendance will be limited to students only. Students wishing to attend Mass in person will be asked to register for a seat using our new Flocknote app (see below), as well as abide by all safety guidelines put in place for the pandemic, including the health screening via the Cardinal Daily Health Check and wearing a mask during the entirety of the liturgy. 
    • VIRTUAL ATTENDANCE: Those wishing to attend Mass virtually should continue registering through Zoom. 
      Register for the March 7 virtual service.

Over the last few months our online gatherings have brought forth a wonderful community of worshippers whom we value and want to continue to serve along with our in-person assembly. Our livestream Mass will be a hybrid broadcast bringing the in-person assembly in Our Lady’s Chapel and online assembly together. The in-person assembly will also be able to see the online assembly and vice-versa. 

We appreciate your understanding, patience, and support as our staff, graduate assistants, and student interns work to unite the prayer of our Incarnate Word family in as much as technology will allow. 

About Flocknote

Flocknote is a ministry database and communication tool used by many churches nationwide to keep connected to their flocks. One of the things the pandemic made us keenly aware of was that we had limited channels of communicating to our worshipping community in an emergency. Most especially, this affected our contact with our worshippers from the local community. Though we will continue to use social media and our website as communication tools, we will be using Flocknote to communicate via secure email and/or text with our worshipping community and ministry volunteers – especially for cancellations, delays or rescheduling due to inclement weather or other unexpected circumstances. It will also facilitate registration for in-person attendance by students at Sunday Mass (a necessity for Our Lady’s Chapel due to physical distancing requirements and limited seating), for faith formation opportunities, and a host of other things. If you worship at the University or wish to stay active with University Mission and Ministry, registering through Flocknote will be the best way for us to reach you. 

We invite students, faculty, staff, administrators, CCVIs, alumni, and community members who wish to be involved in Mission and Ministry events to sign up via Cardinal Apps or by going through our Flocknote web address. Please note that if you are searching for the University of the Incarnate Word by city, the app locates us in Alamo Heights, zip code 78209. 

If you have additional questions or need further information, please email

Community News

Vote UIW: San Antonio Express-News Readers' Choice Awards

The UIW Administration Building

Calling everyone with a little UIW pride! Voting is underway for the San Antonio Express-News Readers' Choice Awards, and UIW has made it to the top 5 in the Local University/College category!

Cast your vote for UIW as your favorite San Antonio institute of higher education here

UIW Celebrates Women's History Month

A banner of silhouettes of women that reads "UIW celebrates Women's History Month"

Our 2021 Women’s History Month theme is Valiant Women Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.

This theme celebrates the perseverance of women winning the right to vote—a continuation of last year’s theme. Because of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, many of our Women’s History Month celebrations on campus were either cancelled or put on hold. We as a UIW community are here in 2021, demonstrating our perseverance. We honor the valiant women who refused to be silenced throughout history, including those in the historic moment we are current living in together. Like the National Women’s History Alliance, we believe that “Despite the interruption of the pandemic, celebrations of women’s historic achievement in winning the 19th Amendment will not be silenced. Suffragists, too, faced a deadly virus– and a war–while trying to win the key state of New York in 1917. Their strength is our inspiration.”

View our Women's History Month programming

Day of Giving: New Date!

An image of a steeple with the UIW Day of Giving logo

Originally set for Feb. 25, UIW's 3rd Annual Day of Giving will now kick off on March 25, in tandem with the annual Incarnate Word Day celebration! 

We look forward to coming together with you as One Word later this month. All funds are active and accepting donations at this time. To make an early Day of Giving gift, click the button below, select the area(s) you're most passionate about, and make a gift. All gifts add up to make a big impact! 

Fund Your Passion

To support our Cardinals who may have been impacted by the recent winter storm or are facing ongoing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are some worthy funds with links to where you can make an early Day of Giving gift: 

In the News

San Antonio Express-News: Freshman quarterback Cameron Ward leads Incarnate Word to rout of McNeese in opener

A row of football helmets on the football field"Freshman quarterback Cameron Ward threw for four touchdowns in his first college start as UIW rolled to a 48-20 win in its season opener against McNeese State on Saturday at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles, La.

Ward completed 24 of 35 passes for 306 yards, helping UIW build a 31-3 halftime lead. He hit Caleb Ducross out of the backfield for a 35-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1, connected with Darion Chafin on a 56-yard scoring bomb down the right sideline, and floated a 27-yard touchdown toss to Jaelin Campbell."

Read the full story

Tolds named Southland Conference Special Teams Player of the Week

A football player on the field

Ce'Cori Tolds of the University of the Incarnate Word was named one of the Southland Football Players of the Week, the league announced Monday. Weekly awards are presented by Hercules Tires. 

Tolds, a junior defensive back from Houston, earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors after returning a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown in the Cardinals' 48-20 upset of No. 19 McNeese on Saturday. It marked the third kickoff return for a score in his career, matching a program record and moving to fourth on the Southland Conference leaderboard. UIW (1-0, 1-0 SLC) is back in action at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lamar.   

Two other Cardinals were on the ballot and received Honorable Mention distinction. On offense, it was Cameron Ward for his performance in his career debut with four touchdown passes. On defense, Chance Main was recognized for his two sacks against the Cowboys. 

Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school's sports information director. Voting for one's own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on 25 percent of ballots.

Cardinals Wrangle No. 19 Cowboys in Season Opener

A football player runs with a football 

The University of the Incarnate Word football team cruised to its largest road victory under third-year head coach Eric Morris, 48-20, against No. 19 McNeese on Saturday, Feb. 27, to open the much-awaited Spring 2021 season at Cowboy Stadium.  

Cameron Ward led the Cardinals with 306 passing yards and four touchdown passes to ink his name in the UIW record book for most touchdown passes in a game by a true freshman. Kevin Brown set a new personal-best with 117 rushing yards.  

The Cardinals jumped all over McNeese early, building a 31-3 lead at halftime. The first quarter saw Ward throw a 35-yard TD pass to Kaleb Ducros to get the Cardinals on the board at the 8:13 mark. Ce'Cori Tolds returned a 101-yard kickoff to answer a McNeese 25-yard field goal to go up 14-3.   

Ward added two more touchdown passes in the second quarter, a 56-yard bomb to Darion Chafin and a 27-yarder to Jaelin Campbell with 4:40 left in the half. Carson Mohr was a perfect 3-for-3 on extra points and booted a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter.   

UIW played staunch defense, flying around the field, and limited the Cowboys to just two-of-nine on third downs and 180 yards in the first half.  

McNeese's scoring came in the second half to break their touchdown drought with 2:54 to go in the third quarter. Quarterback Cody Orgeron dished it off to Carlo Williams who rushed for nine yards into the endzone for the Cowboy's first touchdown of the game.   

Ward matched a true freshman touchdown record in a single game, off an eight-yard pass to a wide-open Roger McCuller in the endzone early in the fourth quarter.   

The Cowboys' final points in the game came late in the fourth as Orgeron carried the ball across the goal line on a 12-yard rush, followed by Abel's extra point.  

Sophomore quarterback Kevin Yeager came in to close out the game with a final score for the Cardinals connecting with Ameer King on a short three-yard pass. Mohr's extra point closed out the game in UIW's 48-20 win against McNeese.  


UIW Hosts Blood Drive in Honor of Women's History Month

The University community participated in a South Texas Blood and Tissue Center Blood Drive, sponsored by the University of the Incarnate Word on Tuesday, March 2 and Wednesday, March 3 in the SEC Ballroom. The effort was a collaboration between the University's Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability, Office of Campus Life and the Student Engagement Center.  

UIW, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center and Be the Match reached their donor goals. Thank you to all who participated. 

A volunteer checks a blood donor's temperature

The blood drive was also part of the University's Women's History Month celebration. According to the National Women’s History Museum, “women have been of historic importance both as donors as well as donation center staff. But it was one woman, Clara Barton, whose vision of volunteerism during crisis and her founding of the American Red Cross paved the way for the truly amazing system of altruistic blood donation in the U.S.”

Read more about Clara Baron

Cardinal Corner

UIW Students Accepted to JAMP Program

The sleeve of a white coat with the UIW sealUIW Cardinals Aracely Castro, Elizabeth Doan and Jake Garza, were accepted into the Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP). JAMP is a program funded by the Texas Legislature to assist “highly qualified, economically disadvantaged” students to attend medical institutions. Through this program, students receive scholarships, internship opportunities, mentoring, and most importantly, guaranteed admission into one of 11 medical schools in Texas. While attending medical school, students also receive scholarships from JAMP. Students begin the JAMP program while in their sophomore year of college, and attend summer internship programs that first summer. The students will begin their summer experience with one of the medical schools this summer and prepare to take the MCAT this fall.

UIW students currently in the JAMP program include Erica Ruiz (attending the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston) and Christian D’Haiti (attending Texas Tech Medical School). Two juniors, Eloise D’Haiti and Victoria Doan, are preparing to take the MCAT and are completing the medical school application process. Three sophomore students, Aracely Castro, Jake Garza, and Elizabeth Doan, will begin their summer experience with one of the medical schools this summer and will prepare to take the MCAT this fall.

Fun fact: Victoria Doan and Elizabeth Doan are siblings, as are Christian D’Haiti and Eloise D’Haiti!

Learn more about JAMP

Cardinals Featured at Conference of the Society of Early Americanists

A headshot of Reign KingsberryReign Kingsberry, UIW English major of the Class of 2024, participated in a student colloquy with Honorée Fannone Jeffers at the 12th Biennial Conference of the Society of Early Americanists, held virtually from March 3-7. The Society of Early Americanists studies literature and culture of America up to 1830. Kingsberry was selected out of a group of nationally nominated students. Additionally, UIW students Jaykcob Martinez, America Sanchez, Journie Gaeta and Madeline Otting gave presentations at the on-demand virtual student center during the conference.

Alumni and Parent Relations

Storytellers: Mikala Gibson and Ya’Ke Smith

Mikala Gibson and Ya'ke Smith at Smith's graduationArtists Ya’Ke Smith and Mikala Gibson, both graduates of UIW, have made their mark on the film world – Ya’ke as a filmmaker, director and educator, and Mikala as an actor, director, writer and teacher. For the married couple, art is both a craft and a tool of social change. Looking at stories through the lens of social justice and authenticity, they inspire, challenge and further critical conversations. We asked Mikala and Ya’Ke about their time at UIW, what inspires them and the power of art in transforming hearts and minds.

A Q&A with Mikala Gibson and Ya'Ke Smith

Tell us a little bit about your personal and professional backgrounds.

M: I was born in Kansas, but I have lived all over Texas. My father was a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and his job required us to move a lot. I consider both San Antonio and Houston home because we lived in these two places the longest. Ya’Ke and I have a beautiful 5-year-old son and reside in Austin, Texas. I’m an award-winning stage and screen actress, director, screenwriter, published writer and master teaching artist. I’ve appeared on major networks such as HBO, Showtime, BET, PBS and most recently in season five of AMC’s  Fear the Walking Dead as Doris. My work has also been featured at the Cannes International Film Festival, Sundance, SXSW, Austin Film Festival, Urbanworld Film Festival and the American Black Film Festival, to name a few. I’m also an artistic associate for Creative Action, a lecturer at the University of Texas and I serve on the board of ATX Interfaces.

Y: I grew up on the East Side of San Antonio and graduated from Sam Houston High School, which is where at 15, I made my first film. I didn’t always want to be a filmmaker, but I knew I wanted to be in the business in some way. After seeing  Boyz n the Hood, I knew that I wanted to write and direct, because that film had such a profound impact on me. It was that film that really opened my eyes up to the power of cinema and the way a great film can affect an audience spiritually, mentally and psychologically. Once I got to Sam Houston and had access to cameras, I made that first film and have produced content every year since.

Who are your personal and professional role models?

M: I’ve always admired the work of Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen. They both are directors, actors, and educators. I hope to have the opportunity to work with them someday. I also love Anna Deavere Smith. I love how she uses theatre to educate and comment on the people we walk by and ignore. She has shed light on so many situations through her work.

Y: There are so many, it’s hard to name them all. Some of my filmmaking influences are Spike Lee, Charles Burnett, Haile Gerima, Julie Dash, Kasi Lemmons, Andrea Arnold, Wong Kar-wai, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu and Fernando Meirelles. I’m also very inspired by what’s happening in television and am excited about folx like Lena Waithe, Felicia D. Henderson, Issa Rae, Michaela Cole, Misha Green and Donald Glover to name a few. I am also very inspired by the unsung heroes that have been most instrumental in pushing me forward both professionally and personally. My family (wife, sisters, mom), my longtime filmmaking partner and brother (Ralph Lopez) a host of professors, and the many people in my tribe that are constantly supporting and encouraging me as I continue on this creative journey.

How did you meet at UIW?

M: We were introduced to each other by the editor of  The Logos. She asked Ya’Ke to write an article about me because I was nominated for an ATAC Globe award for my work as Maria in Twelfth Night. After the interview, we became friends but didn’t start dating until the following year.

What clubs/organizations were you involved in as UIW students and how did your experiences as members contribute to your success today?

M: I was involved in the Black Student Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Being part of the BSA was fun and gave us an opportunity to bring awareness to the Black experience on campus and Black culture. We organized study groups, fundraisers to help our community and presented campus events celebrating Black culture, including the annual Black History Program. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, founded in 1908, is the oldest Black sorority. My chapter, Delta Rho, was a city chapter with members attending Our Lady of the Lake, St. Mary’s, Trinity and of course UIW. Joining this sisterhood taught me so much about leadership, business etiquette as well as creative and effective ways to serve my community.

In your recent UIW DreamWeek session, you both mentioned one UIW faculty member in particular – Dr. Fitzgerald. Can you tell us about the impact she had on your education and careers?

Y: I can vividly remember the day that Dr. Fitzgerald came in to deliver her job talk and how inspired I was. She talked about film language in a way that I’d never heard. She broke down film scenes from a critical standpoint, not merely an emotional one, for the first time really showing me what it means to evoke emotion via a composition, sound, language (or the lack thereof) color, etc. From that moment, I clung to her and wanted to suck up all the knowledge she had to offer, and from there, our relationship evolved from merely an academic one to a personal one. My family has become part of her family. Our families usually have dinner at least three or four times a year, and we talk on the phone about everything from film, to being Black professors in predominately white institutions. She’s like a god-mother to me and I really do credit her with giving me the added confidence I needed to apply and be admitted into film school.

M: I didn’t meet Dr. Fitzgerald until the year after I graduated. She was Ya’Ke’s professor. She was one of two Black female professors that I remember being on campus at that time. Seeing someone in this academic space who looks like you is impactful. It is encouraging in so many ways. Not only was her presence encouraging, but she offered us so much great advice regarding being a Black creative. From music to film to books, she continues to introduce me to the works of other artists and challenges my growth as an artist. UIW is so blessed to have her.  

Various art forms have been used throughout history as political and social commentary. How do you use your art to contribute to national conversations and to impact social change?

Y: If it doesn’t have some sort of social influence or will enact some change, I don’t do it. Art for art’s sake doesn’t really move me, and for me, serves no purpose. I want to feel joy from a piece. I want to feel turned on by a piece. I want to feel inspired by a piece. I want to feel as though I’m furthering critical conversation by making a piece. If I’m not doing that, or having those feelings, then for me, I’ve wasted my time and energy.

You have both stayed true to your morals and values throughout your careers. What pillars keep you grounded and guide your career decisions?  

M: God. My purpose is bigger than me and my selfish desires. I believe that God gave me my talents for a reason. That reason is not just for my own glory, but to empower people. Once I understood that, it became a little easier to say “no” to certain opportunities that could possibly help my career but didn’t align with my beliefs. Honestly it is still a struggle and I don’t always get it right, but I trust God. I sit in his presence every day and ask him to help me recognize what is and isn’t for me.

Y: God and my spiritual practice lead and guide everything that I do. I am a firm believer that all opportunities aren’t good opportunities, yet if you see things through merely a physical lens, you’ll oftentimes miss this critical component of long-lasting and meaningful success. You must take time to listen to yourself, to weigh things long term, to not look at everything from a selfish (it’s all about me) point of view. We’ve not been put here just to garner praise or attain wealth that will only benefit us, but I believe we have been placed on Earth to transform the world in some way. I always ask myself: how can this help me to be transformational? 

What’s next for you in your careers? Where can people see your work next?

M: I’m working on my solo show exploring my experience as a pastor’s daughter, and my journey into womanhood as I navigated between “the church” and “the world.” I’m also working on another indie film project that I can’t discuss yet.

Y: I’m working on developing two feature films right now and am constantly working on various projects. Please visit my website,, to learn more.

What advice can you offer current students about how to make the most of their time at UIW?

M: Be present! Yes, you are in college to prepare for your future, but take advantage of all that UIW has to offer without losing focus. Volunteer, join organizations, go to events, explore the city. The college experience is more than what you learn in the classroom.

Y: Be curious. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and put yourself in spaces with people that you may not know. I’ve learned so much from individuals who didn’t think like me, didn’t see the world like me, but they offered unique and out of the box perspectives on so many things.

Mikala Gibson

A headshot of Mikala GibsonYou recently launched a new website called The Black Artivist Collective. What is an “artivist” and what is The Black Artivist Collective?

An artivist is an artist who uses their art to combat oppression and comment on social injustice. The Black Artivist Collective is a platform I created to specifically highlight these artists who are being intentional when it comes to addressing the injustices facing the Black community, as well as celebrate Black culture. The platform consists of a blog and a podcast right now, but more is coming. I want it to be a communal gathering of Black artists to celebrate each other. I want it to be a learning experience for young artists who are trying to find their voice. I know I’ve learned a lot from these artists so far.

How do you think art can be channeled to fight injustice and oppression? How do you try to do this through your own work?

Art has always influenced current social and political climates. When my ancestors were brought over to America as slaves, they used songs, drumming (when allowed) and dance to fight for their freedom. Those artistic expressions helped many survive the horrors of slavery. The Harlem Renaissance was more than beautiful poetry and colorful short stories. When Billie Holiday defiantly sang “Strange Fruit” she was doing more than entertaining. These artists were commenting on the oppression of their time. They wanted change. I strongly believe that my purpose in life is to create art that helps liberate my people: the mother trying to help her abused son heal from a traumatic experience, the woman who is trying to prove to her family and herself that she can stay out of jail and acclimate into a society that is not welcoming, the counselor who sacrifices her life to help men and women clean up theirs and fight the demons that have kept them from being successful. All of these characters that I’ve played have moved someone to change their life. People see themselves or a loved one in these stories. These stories ignite change.

What is your favorite role to date and why?

My favorite role so far is Nona from  WOLF because that film impacted so many people. It started a conversation that many have ignored for years. I still get messages from mothers who are in a similar situation as Nona. They want to vent to me after seeing the film. They ask for my advice. Now I’m careful in giving advice and often refer them to a professional counselor but I’m glad that they are seeking help. I’m proud that my work sparked them to do something about their situation. That’s the power of art.

You are a firm believer in continuing education. How do you strive to continue your education even after all your professional success?

I am a lifetime student. I believe that you should always create space to learn something new. That might be a dance class. That might be an improv class. Who knows, I might decide to pursue another degree. I love taking classes/workshops/seminars. I love learning new things. I even love learning from my students. Some of my former students and mentees taught me about podcasting. I also believe that I must continue to study my craft, so I try my best to take two workshops/classes a year. This industry is constantly changing, and these classes definitely help me stay abreast of these changes.

Ya’Ke Smith

A headshot of Ya'Ke SmithDuring your recent talk with UIW students, you discussed that UIW taught you how to connect your spirit to your art. Can you elaborate on this?

Being at a university that first spoke about art and literature as an act of courage, and one’s voice having the ability to offer spiritual transcendence for the speaker and for the hearer, brought the idea of film as offering a type of freedom into clear focus for me. I can remember being in Dr. Gilmore’s class and reading James Cone’s  The Spirituals and the Blues, which laid bare the way that Black slaves and their descendants used both the blues and the spirituals to not only get closer to God, but to really get closer to their humanity and reaffirm their existence. To sit in a class and read about this, dissect it and discuss it; a discussion that for me amounted to tapping into the soul of creation, getting to the soul of why one creates. Being in a class like that just affirmed for me something that I’d already instinctually knew, that art must be more than beauty. It must provoke, challenge and offer humanity back to those that consume it.

You also said that your art can leave a viewer either “changed or damaged.” How do you try to positively change your audiences with your films?

I’m not sure I want to necessarily “positively” change the audience, but I do want them to leave changed in some way. I’m all about making audiences uncomfortable, because I believe that being uncomfortable is one of the first steps towards true liberation. One of the reasons why our world remains the same, is because we’re too afraid to really confront things head on and oftentimes refuse to acknowledge our faults and mistakes. The idea of that level of transparency frightens all of us, yet if we allow that uncomfortable confrontation to happen, so many great things can happen for us personally and for the world at large. With my films, I hope that viewers see themselves, even if it’s just a small part of themselves that they needed to see reflected on screen, and that the seeing transforms them in some small way.

Tell us about one of your most recent works,  The Pandemic Chronicles. Where can viewers find this latest work?

The Pandemic Chronicles is an anthology series about love, grief and joy during quarantine. It was produced this past summer as both a way for me to process the craziness that was 2020, and also as a way to talk more broadly about the collective way that we’re getting through. It also allowed me to look at the unique circumstances that each individual is facing during this season of COVID-19. Experiences that can be very different depending on socio-economics, location, race, age, relationship status, etc. Each episode is very different in its visual and story approach. They run the gamut from romantic dramedy, to social drama, to purely romance, covering everything from the immigrant experience to the experience of our health care workers, and the different sacrifices that come with each of these. The series has won numerous film festivals, recently winning Best Web-Series at the Denton Black Film Festival and is currently being distributed through Full Spectrum Features. You can watch here. 

You were named UT Austin’s first associate dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Moody College of Communication. What work in this role are you most proud of? 

Operating in the DEI space can be pretty daunting, as the work you’re tasked with doing can oftentimes put you in direct opposition to the institution that you’re working with. Academia can be a very exclusionary place when it comes to both race and gender, and my position is to not just bring awareness to the many inequities that exist, but to find solutions. To that end, I’m really excited about some of the initiatives we’ve already gotten underway and also the ones that I’m planning to start moving the needle on. We started a Student Emergency Fund, created a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Pedagogy Program, appointed a cohort of students that will be both advisors to my office and also create content centered around issues of Equity and Inclusion, and we’re one of the first colleges on campus to mandate diversity training for all faculty, staff and graduate students. My dean has been very supportive of these initiatives and it’s that support that has allowed us to get things done. Also, I’m just really proud of the conversations that we’ve created throughout the college when it comes to issues of equity and justice, and how those conversations are slowly, but surely, changing the culture of our college.

Cardinal Headshot Event

Last weekend, the Department of Alumni and Parent Relations hosted the Cardinal Headshot Event along with the UIW Office of Career Services. Thank you to all of our students and alumni who came out to get their professional pictures taken! Watch a recap of the event below!

"Red Put a Ring On It!" Celebration

A student holds her hand out in a fist to showcase her class ringJoin the Department of Alumni and Parent Relations along with Herff Jones for the 2021 "Red Put A Ring On It!" Celebration. This event will take place on the beautiful UIW Broadway Campus from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, 2021 in a drive through format. Students of junior status and up who purchased a class ring are eligible to participate. UIW alumni are also welcome to join us!

Learn more and register for the celebration


Cardinal Baseball Cruises to Series Sweep of Texas Southern

Baseball players lift their caps in the air

The University of the Incarnate Word baseball team wrapped up a series sweep of Texas Southern with a 13-5 win on Sunday afternoon, at Sullivan Field, sponsored by H-E-B. The Cardinals scored 41 combined runs to post their second opening series sweep in as many years under second-year head coach, Ryan Shotzberger.  

UIW scored in each of the first three innings to build a comfortable 8-2 lead. The Tigers tacked on two runs in the fourth, but a three-run fifth inning for the Cardinals sealed the series sweep.  

Ryan Flores continued to swing the hot bat, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs on 2 doubles and a two-run home run in the first inning. The first black and red homer of the season. Flores went 7-for-12 (.583) at the plate with three doubles, a home run, 11 RBIs and five runs scored over the weekend. 

Wilson Ehrhardt got the Cardinals going with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first inning, Jordan McFarland hit a sharp liner to the second baseman before Flores lifted a shot over the right center field wall to take a 2-1 lead. Lee Thomas hustled around the bases for a two-out triple and scored on a Grant Smith double for the 3-1 lead after one inning of play.  

TSU scratched across a run in the second inning after two walks and a two-out single. The Cardinals countered with two runs in the second with an RBI double by Flores to score Zach Limas who walked to start the inning and Trent Koerner scoring from third on a passed ball.   

The third inning saw eight Cardinals step in the batter's box with Grant Smith drawing a leadoff walk before Ridge Rogers rocketed a shot over the right-centerfield wall to build a five-run, 7-2, lead. Back-to-back two-out walks from Ehrhardt and McFarland set up another Flores RBI double to score Ehrhardt. Flores' third hit of the game.  

TSU (0-7 overall) was only able to add two runs in the top of the fourth and one in the seventh as the Tigers' comeback efforts fell short.   

The Cardinals added three more runs in the fifth inning and two in the seventh.  

After two quick outs in the bottom of the fifth, McFarland reached on a fielding error and Flores was hit by a pitch that set up a Noah Brewer RBI single to right and Lee Thomas knocked in his second triple down the right-field line to clear the bases.  

UIW used five pitchers who combined to scatter five runs on five hits and nine strikeouts with Isaiah Zavala earning the win. Zavala pitched 3.1 innings, with four strikeouts while surrendering just one hit. 

Cardinal Volleyball Captures Win Over Colonels in Five Sets

Volleyball players gather in celebration

The University of the Incarnate Word volleyball team picked up its first home win of the young season in five sets against Nicholls on Saturday in the McDermott Center.   

UIW had an up and down game winning the first two sets but giving up the third and fourth sets. The Cardinals then wasted no time getting ahead in the fifth set for victory.   

Today our team fought hard against another hungry team. Our team stayed together the entire match, even when things weren't going our way, said head coach Samantha Dabbs Thomas.   

"We knew going into the 5th set that we needed to serve tougher which I thought Macy Sumrall came up big in the 5th set with her aggressive serving for us."  

The Cardinals claimed the first set, 25-19, off seven kills from Bethany Clapp and three apiece from Allison Palmi, Chase Jackson and Jacqueline Arrington.   

Palmi led the squad in the second set with seven kills while Arrington's four blocks helped on defense. Despite a closer score in the second set, UIW led for most of it only allowing Nicholls to tie the score three times, claiming the set, 25-22.  

The Cardinals looked to close out the match in the third set for a sweep but struggled against the Colonels' defense and .263 attack percentage. The set saw 11 ties each time as the Cardinals tried to come from behind. Ultimately, the Colonels took the set, 27-25.  

Once again, UIW tried to close out the game in the fourth set behind another seven-kill performance by Clapp. With the score tied 20-20, the Colonels took off on a 5-1 run to force the game into the fifth set.   

UIW went into the fifth set on a mission as they quickly jumped ahead 3-0. The Cardinals defended the lead with six clutch block assists to keep the Colonels at a distance and claim the fifth set 15-8 and the match.

Cardinals’ Softball Offense Explodes in Doubleheader Sweep

The softball team gathers in a huggle 

The University of the Incarnate Word softball team got a pair of wins in the midweek doubleheader against the University of Houston-Victoria Tuesday afternoon. The Cardinals won game one, 8-0, in six innings and had a walk off win in the bottom of the seventh to give them the, 6-5, victory in the nightcap at H-E-B Field.


  • Catarina Esteves got her first career start in the UIW batting lineup. She went 3-6 through both games.  
  • Sophomore Natalie Myers and Annie Gunther picked up their first wins of the season today. Myers threw four complete innings only giving up one earned run. Gunther threw five complete innings giving up no earned runs.
  • Cardinals are now on a two-game win streak.  

How it Happened 

Game 1 

UIW struck first in the bottom of the second with a bases loaded sac fly from Senior Hailey Goins that scored Abby Frank from third. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cardinals extended their lead to five as freshman Cat Esteves scored a hustling Maddie Boldt. Abby Frank later scored on a sac bunt from Renee Hoffman. 

There was no slowing the Cardinals offense in the bottom of the sixth inning. Boldt singled to right to score Savannah Behabetz. Hoffman called game with the single to centerfield that score the final two runs to give UIW the eight-run rule win in game one.  

Game 2 

The Jaguars broke it open in the third and fourth innings offensively, putting UIW down 4-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.  

The Cardinals found their stride in the home half of the sixth when Boldt doubled to center and the next pitch Maddie Guillen scored on a pass ball. UIW would go on to take the lead when the sixth inning was all said and done. 

The Jaguars tied the game in the top of the seventh on a UIW error, but the pressure didn't faze the Cardinals as Bella Sanchez drew a bases loaded walk to win the game, 6-5.

Women's Basketball Wins Home Finale, 68-59, Clinch Spot in Southland Conference Tournament

A women's basketball player shoots a basket

The University of the Incarnate Word women's basketball team put on a first-half show against Houston Baptist to win, 68-59, in the season home finale on Wednesday evening in the McDermott Center.  

"We're very happy we got the win, it's a great learning experience," said head coach Jeff Dow. "The first half was arguably the best we've played all season, to jump out to a 23-point lead and score 49 points in the process, I think we just had tremendous energy in the first half."  

UIW's 49 points in the first half were a season-high for the black and red. The Cardinals' scoring frenzy was a product of efficient shooting at a rate of 73% from the field in the second quarter, going 59.4% overall in the first half.   

The Cardinals jumped ahead getting on the board first. Shortly after, the teams went back and forth with five lead changes as HBU led, 10-8, midway through the first quarter. That would be the last time the Huskies held the lead for the remainder of the game.  

Senior Kara Speer led the squad with nine points in the first period, but it was a group effort as five others in the rotation contributed to the score.  

UIW was a force to be reckoned with in the second quarter on both sides of the ball as it bested HBU in every category including, rebounding (9-to-5), forced turnovers (9-to-5) and steals (7-to-2). Tiana Gardner came off the bench adding seven points to lead the squad as she went 3-for-3 from the field. The Cardinals led, 49-26, at the half.   

The Cardinals struggled to find their footing out of the break with a four-minute scoring drought that was snapped immediately after the media timeout off a second-chance bucket by Speer. HBU worked to make a dent into UIW's success only getting to within 16 but the Cardinals held a 61-39 lead heading into the final stretch.   

The Huskies broke out on a 20-point scoring run catching the Cardinals on their heels as they struggled to score points. HBU had managed to make it a two-possession game with just 1:03 remaining in the game. UIW put away five of its seven points away in the final stretch to come away with the 68-59 win.   

UIW's win against HBU, along with a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi loss to Sam Houston on Wednesday, clinched a spot in the 2021 Hercules Tires Southland Conference Basketball Tournament for the red and black. The Cardinals secured a spot in the tournament last season and were set to make their first appearance in program history before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Quoting Coach Dow

On making the SLC tournament…  

"I'm incredibly proud of this team. With only four returning players we've been a work-in-progress this entire season. The resiliency this group has shown has been tremendous. Having 13 games and 48 practices canceled was a lot to overcome but they never wavered. We've leaned on four freshmen a lot and they've been up to the challenge and our returners have set a great example for them. Last year's team was special being the first to qualify for the Southland Conference tournament in school history, but in a lot of respects this is comparable given the unique circumstances and obstacles we've had to overcome."  

On Speer and Gardner…  

"We got a tremendous lift off of the bench from Tiana Gardner in what was definitely her best game in the short time that she has been here. It was also arguably Kara's finest game of the season. She was very efficient from the field and the free throw line, and she came up with eight big rebounds."  

On the defense…  

"Defensively, we were flying around getting a bunch of loose balls we were getting out and running in transition that allowed us to get a lot of fast break points in the first half so that was great to see."  

On the third quarter…  

"[HBU] had a great third quarter, they got off to a great start but then we responded. It was not a great quarter by any means, but we only got outscored by one point, so we weathered the storm."  

On the fourth quarter…  

"The fourth quarter [struggle] was a lot of youth and inexperience getting a little bit sped up at times. It wasn't the turnovers as much as it was just the rushed shots we were induced to take, which in turn only really helped [HBU]. We were happy that Jaaucklyn Moore gave us the only two made field goals in the fourth quarter to give us a little bit of a distance."


  • Three Cardinals scored in double figures: Speer 13, Gardner 12 and Moore 12.  
  • UIW's now 2-12 all-time against HBU, the win snapped a six-game losing streak against the Huskies. The only other win was at home during the 2016-17 season.  
  • UIW snagged 13 steals to match a season high.   
  • UIW's 43.9% efficiency from the field is the second-best performance this season.  


COVID-19 Resources

A student in a UIW mask looks at a computer

The University of the Incarnate Word continues to monitor the local, regional and state-wide progression of COVID-19 to inform decisions about safe campus operations. Below you will find links to helpful information regarding UIW's COVID-19 warning indicators, case tracking, safety guidelines and resources for the UIW community. These sites will be updated to reflect changes or new information.

Cardinal Daily Health Check

COVID-19 Information Site

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 Case Updates

Cardinal Flight Plan 

Schedule a COVID-19 test on the Broadway campus (students and employees ONLY)

Schedule a COVID-19 test at the UIWSOM campus (open to general public)