Moody College faculty inspire students every day to pursue their highest career goals by giving them the knowledge and skills to place them at the top of their fields.
This year, in pursuit of this goal, Moody College has welcomed eight new full-time faculty, many in leadership positions, whose expertise ranges from political communication and creative advertising to audio editing and the research-based treatment of speech, language and hearing disorders.
“Moody College has exceptional faculty, and I am very excited to welcome even more to join our team,” Moody College Interim Dean Rachel Davis Mersey said. “These new faculty bring with them cutting-edge knowledge and skills that will provide even more learning opportunities for our students.”
Find out more about these eight new faculty in their own words, as they share about their research and expertise, why they became educators and what drew them to Moody College.
Radio-Television-Film Assistant Professor of Practice and new UTLA director
I am thrilled to join the RTF department as a professor of practice and the new director of the UTLA program. My journey to Los Angeles, like that of so many of our students, started with a solo road trip. I arrived straight out of undergrad with the name of a friend of a friend who knew someone in the business. I tracked her down and landed an internship with one of the first women studio executives. I went on to write and sell a screenplay, produce and direct behind-the-scenes documentaries for major studios and work as a supervising producer at NBCU before finding my current career, which I love, in higher education. I know how varied professional paths can be and how challenging it is to get started. There’s so much opportunity, but how do you get in the door? For our UT students one answer is UTLA.
I’ve always enjoyed mentoring, and in my new role as Program Director and Associate Professor of Practice at UTLA I’m excited to be working together with a dedicated team to achieve our goal of not only giving UT students access to the wide variety of internship and career opportunities in the entertainment business but also helping them discover and be confident about their own voice and path. Every student has their own story and inspiration for choosing to work in the industry. It’s my joy to meet each of them where they are and support them as they take on the challenge of diving into the entertainment industry for a semester — or a lifetime.
This fall, I’ll be teaching RTF 350/650 and COM 350/650, which is the “Semester in Los Angeles Internship Course,” where we cover practical career building and communication skills, develop career goals, and actively and critically reflect on and engage with the internship experience.
Lasser holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Women’s Studies from Dartmouth College. She has an MFA in Screenwriting from USC.
Speech, Language, and Hearing Science Clinical Assistant Professor
I am a first-generation Mexican-American and recognize that I am here at UT because of the sacrifice and hard work of generations before me. I am passionate about bilingualism and access and equity in education and health care spaces. I was drawn to the SLHS department at UT Austin because of its commitment to DEI through its bilingual program. Per the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), there are approximately 55 out of 321 total graduate programs that provide a bilingual focus. To increase equity in these spaces, it is important to invest in future Speech and Language Pathologists, so that they will have the training to best support multilingual individuals and their families. I am excited to support the students at UT Austin.
I will be teaching SLH 340P Clinical Observation in Speech-Language Pathology at the undergraduate level and both SLH 385F Knowledge and Skills in Clinical Science I and SLH 386F Basic Clinical Practicum I at the graduate level.
Chelsea earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from Baylor University and her Master of Science degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from New York University. She has a CCC-SLP, Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech and Language Pathology from the American Speech and Hearing Association.
Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Assistant Professor
I never intended to become an academic. A mentor in college told me that, in pursuing my passions, find what makes me angry and do something about it. Research in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences allows me to do that while bringing together my love of language and children. My dad taught in public schools for over twenty years, and hearing his experiences with inequity in education along with my background in sociolinguistics shaped the trajectory of my career.
My research focuses on how race, language, and dis/ability shape the educational experiences of young children and how to build more inclusive classrooms. My goal as an instructor is to not only develop critical awareness and cultural responsiveness in clinicians-to-be, but to model that in the content and structure of my courses. UT is an exciting place to do that because there are so many faculty invested in transformative teaching and so many opportunities for transdisciplinary collaborations.
Privette earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from Wake Forest University, a Master of Education in Communication Disorders from North Carolina Central University, and a Ph.D. in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona.
Advertising & Public Relations Professor of Practice and Director of Texas Creative
After six years leading the creative program in advertising at the University of Colorado-Boulder, I’m thrilled to (re)join UT as the inaugural Director of Texas Creative, which is already known worldwide as one of the best programs for aspiring art directors and writers in advertising.
As a former Texas Creative faculty member (2003-2005) and a proud Texas Ex (Ph.D. ’02), I was mentored by the program’s faculty lead, former UT faculty member Dr. Deborah Morrison, and I'll always strive to follow her amazing example. Texas Creative students are spectacularly imaginative, socially conscious and incredibly diverse: just the kind of talent this industry needs.
This fall, I’ll be teaching the Portfolio 1 course (ADV 343k), which helps our students recognize and develop their own creative process and decide on a career path. I can’t wait to get started, and I’ve already been so warmly welcomed by my colleagues and the Austin community. I look forward to working with the amazing team of faculty here and helping foster rewarding opportunities for our students. Hook ‘em!
Griffin earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a master’s degree in advertising and public relations from the University of Alabama. He earned his Ph.D. in advertising from UT Austin.
Radio-Television-Film Assistant Professor of Practice
I started my journey at UT as a music major, hoping to start a record label one day. After interning on a feature film, I knew I had found my path in life. I promptly transferred to RTF, graduated and began a career here in Austin. While I have worked in both production and post over the years, I specialize in post-production sound for film, television and immersive media. In July 2023, my work on “Stranger Things” received a second Primetime Emmy nomination. I have wanted to teach since my student days at UT, and I am thankful for the successes to date and love being able to share my passion for sound with the next generation of professionals. I have been a lecturer since 2018 and couldn’t be more excited to take a more prominent role on campus as the audio area head of RTF. I aim to make UT the place to learn how to be a sound professional.
This fall, I will teach 341C, which focuses on post-sound, and a special section of 366K, which focuses on production sound.
Pereira earned a Bachelor of Arts in Radio-Television-Film from UT Austin, along with a Business Foundations Certificate from the McCombs School of Business.
Mallary Tenore Tarpley
Journalism and Media Assistant Professor of Practice
I’ve been teaching at Moody College as an adjunct faculty member for the past four years, and I’m delighted to now join the faculty full-time. As a journalism professor, I’m motivated by my students’ growth and consider it a privilege to play a role in their development. Through real-world examples, I like showing my students how journalism has the power to inform people and communities, shed light on darkness, and amplify voices that may otherwise be left unheard. I teach them to use critical thinking skills while reporting and writing stories, and to embrace what I call “The five Cs”: curiosity, courage, creativity and cultural competency. I’m especially passionate about teaching students to become better writers because writing is a skill that will carry them far no matter what profession they pursue. I try to practice what I teach by writing each day and by pursuing freelance pieces for news outlets, all the while drawing out lessons that I can share with my students.
This semester, I’ll be teaching four classes: Long-form Feature Writing (J395), The Journalistic Voice (J304), Journalism Practices (J317), and a graduate-level writing course at the McCombs School of Business. I always tell my students that to become better writers, they need to write, read, and talk about writing and reading. We’ll do all three of these things in each of these classes.
Tenore earned bachelor's degrees in English and Spanish from Providence College, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in nonfiction writing from Goucher College.
Radio-Television-Film Visiting Assistant Professor
My name is Marina Fontolan, and I’m a new visiting assistant professor at UT Austin. This semester, I’ll be teaching three courses on game studies: History of Video Games, Video Game Industry, and Video Games Cultures + Criticism. My original background and masters are in history, both from the University of Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil. At the end of my master’s, I was very interested in deeply studying video games, which still is my favorite hobby. I did my Ph.D. at Unicamp in the Department of Science and Technology Policy, as I was searching for a more interdisciplinary experience. My dissertation is entitled “It is €0,10 a word! The role of localization in the video game industry,” and it has been sprawling papers in journals such as Game Studies and conference presentations. I am expanding this research to include the modding community. I am very excited to join UT, where I’ll be able to teach and research in a new interdisciplinary environment of media studies and communication and help the department grow.
Fontolan earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Policy from the University of Campinas in Brazil.
Communication Studies Professor of Practice and Director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
I’ve lived in Austin for most of the past 33 years, and The University of Texas, along with the State Capitol, has always been one of the things that I treasure about this city, so I’m incredibly happy to be here. The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, founded in 2000 by former Dean Rod Hart, is Moody’s longest-tenured academic institute, and its mission to educate and inspire the next generation of civic leaders has never been more important than it is now. I’ll start teaching this spring in the Department of Communication Studies and am looking forward to working with students. I’m what’s called a Professor of Practice, which means I don’t have an academic background, but I look forward to sharing the lessons I learned serving five terms in the Texas House of Representatives and working in the technology industry both as a startup founder and as an executive at Google.
Strama earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Government from Brown University.