James Jesse, Director of UBMS & EOC,
& Co-Founder of ORS
James was a first-generation low-income student from Eastland, TX and earned a B.A. in English and Philosophy at Hardin-Simmons University and started a graduate program in English at Texas Christian University. James has seven years of professional experience in higher education serving in the Student Support Services program. He also has experience as an Adjunct Instructor teaching Transition to College courses at a local community college.
Dustin Phillips, Director of UB & Operations, & Co-Founder of ORS
Dustin was a first-generation low-income student from Amarillo, TX and has earned an M.A. in Communications from the University of Texas Arlington and a B.S. in Church Ministry from Southwestern A/G University. He has sixteen years of combined professional experience working with students in educational and travel settings, seven of those years specifically as part of Upward Bound programs. Dustin also has experience as an Adjunct Instructor teaching Speech Communications.
Norma Marquez, Program Coordinator - UB
Norma was a first generation low-income student from Dublin, Texas. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish at the University of North Texas in 2017. Norma has been a member of TRiO programs for the past 8 years. She also has 4 years of experience working for TRiO programs, having served as a tutor and residential assistant for UNT Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science, front-desk student assistant at UNT’s TRiO office, and supervisor for one of Talent Search’s yearly STEM camps. During her free time Norma enjoys running, playing volleyball, and spending as much time as she can with her family.
Daniel De La Pena, Program Coordinator - UBMS
Daniel is a first generation, low-income student from Burleson, TX. He has earned an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts at Hill College, has his B.S. in Psychology/Counseling at Tarleton State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Kinesiology. Daniel has three years of experience with Upward Bound Math & Science as an academic tutor, and two years of experience in higher education as a Resident Life Coordinator at Hill College. He is the son of migrant workers who value education and have had numerous jobs to help him pursue his education.
Robin Taylor, Program Coordinator - UB
Robin Taylor is a first generation, low-income Native American student from Claremore, Oklahoma. She has a Bachelor's Degree from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Bible and Theology with minors in Biblical Languages and Philosophy and Religion. She has 4 years of experience working with Upward Bound. Her favorite hobbies include cross stitching, hiking, and daydreaming of the day she can own her own puppy.
Alyssa Cantu, Program Coordinator - UBMS
Alyssa is a first generation low-income student from San Antonio, Texas. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at Texas Tech University in 2017. Alyssa is a previous member of TRiO programs having served as a tutor, residential adviser, and academic coach for Upward Bound at TTU. During her free time Alyssa enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and spending time with her family.
Kristen Miller, Student Development Coordinator- UB
Kristen is a first-generation, low-income student from Joshua, Texas. She earned her B.S. in Pre-Professional Counseling with Minors in Psychology and Children/Family Ministries from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. She has 8 years of experience working in Youth Ministries and 3 years of experience volunteering and working in the Social Work field. She enjoys volunteering, rock climbing, and spending time with her family.
Erin Dugan, Office Manager
Erin is from Buda, TX and earned a B.B.A. in Marketing from University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She has over ten years of professional experience in finance, including eight years in higher education & public school settings. Erin currently lives in Itasca with her husband and two kids.