| Chloe Johnson | General STEM News
Saadet Toker Beeson (left) and Johnelle Sparks (right) have been named fellows in the fourth cohort of the iAspire Leadership Academy.

UTSA faculty members selected to join national STEM leadership program

OCTOBER 31, 2022 — UTSA professors Johnelle Sparks and Saadet Toker Beeson have been named fellows in the fourth cohort of the iAspire Leadership Academy — a development program aimed at helping faculty from underrepresented groups in STEM rise to leadership roles in higher education.

Fellows learn effective leadership skills tailored to the higher education environment and gain strategies for creating institutional change in their current and future leadership positions. Sparks and Beeson will join 16 faculty and administrators from around the country who were selected  through a competitive, holistic review process to attend the program.

“This is a great opportunity for our STEM faculty to learn and develop leadership skills that they’ll be able to use in a tangible way at UTSA,” said Heather Shipley, UTSA senior vice provost of academic affairs and dean of University College. “Faculty play a central role in the success of our diverse student body, and the iAspire Academy will support our STEM academic leaders on their own career paths while providing them with new resources to help their students.”

“Faculty play a central role in the success of our diverse student body, and the iAspire Academy will support our STEM academic leaders on their own career paths.”

Sparks is the senior associate dean for faculty success and administration and a professor in the Department of Demography in the UTSA College for Health, Community, and Policy. Sparks’ research expertise includes analysis of spatial inequality and disparities in health and mortality, maternal and child health, biomarkers and premature aging, and Latinos in higher education. The academy will help Sparks build on her prior leadership experience, which includes three years as chair and five years as graduate advisor of record for her department.

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