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Gov. Rick Perry has appointed nine members to the Rehabilitation Council of Texas including our own, Dr. Rene Gonzalez. The council partners with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services to advocate for people with disabilities in the vocational rehabilitation process

Rene Gonzalez of McAllen is an assistant professor in the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) Department of Rehabilitation. He is a member of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education and Learning Disabilities Association of America. Gonzalez received a bachelor's degree from UTPA, and a master's degree and doctorate degree in rehabilitation psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is appointed for a term to expire Oct. 29, 2016

Irasema Silva, M.S., 27, graduated with a Master’s of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Texas Pan American and an extensive list of remarkable accomplishments. Ms. Silva is the founder of the Rehabilitation and Counseling Association (GRCA) and previous president. Recently Ms. Silva was selected as the 2014 American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA) Master’s Student of the Year. Ms. Silva was nominated by Dr. Irmo Marini for this national award and it is because of her hard work and dedication to GRCA and her surrounding community, that she has been recognized as the top graduate student nominated from over 100 rehab counseling programs in the country.

Irasema earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a second Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2009 from UTPA. Ms. Silva was employed at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and completed her internship at the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). Ms. Silva dedicated her volunteer time to a number of organizations such University Program Board, Student Government Association, Distinguished Speaker Series Committee, Golden Key International Honour Society, and Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc among many others.

Irasema has been awarded the Network (TRAN) Scholarship and The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Scholarship at UTPA, UTPA Profiles of Excellence, Veteran Javier De La Garza Scholarship in the Fall of 2013; Davidson Family Charitable Endowed Scholarship in the Fall of 2013; Dean’s List Spring of 2012-present; Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges in the Spring of 2013; Salute to Student Leader Award in Spring of 2007 and 2013; Nationally Certified Student Leader in Fall of 2006. Ms. Silva was recently published in the Journal of Life Care Planning and graduated with two peer reviewed journal publications.

Irasema shared, I'm honored to have been selected as the 2014 ARCA Master's Student of the Year and represent the Department of Rehabilitation and the College of Health Sciences and Human Services. My mission has always been to serve and represent our department and I will continue to do so. I highly admire all the faculty and staff and I'm proud to be a product of the Rehabilitation Counseling Department. My mission has always been to serve and represent our department and I will continue to do so. I highly admire all the faculty and staff and I'm proud to be a product of the Rehabilitation Counseling Department. “

Noel A. Ysasi, M.S.is currently a Ph. D student in the Rehabilitation Counseling Department at the University of Texas Pan-American. Ysasi graduated from UTPA in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a second Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, followed by a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2007. Mr. Ysasi is a member of the Graduate Rehabilitation Counseling Association (GRCA) and was recently selected as the ARCA Chair for Council on Public Policy Legislation and Human Rights.

Mr. Ysasi has been a part of the rehabilitation counseling family lecturing in the psychology and rehabilitation departments since 2007. He served as the manager of UTPA’s Veterans Service Center and was responsible for accomplishing a variety of outstanding services for the university that included the following: the implementation for UTPA Veteran Services Center (veterans counselor, veterans advisor, certification Clerk, lounge, computer lab, priority registration for all veterans and dependents, 20% discount at university store and specific dining locations); established veteran student organization and honor society, established UTPA as a “Military Friendly Institution,” and facilitated the creation of the Veterans Memorial at UTPA. Mr. Ysasi is currently the Golden Key Advisor and a mentor of the Rehab Peer Mentoring Center. Mr. Ysasi received the Bill Parson’s Life Time Achievement Award from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in 2012. Recently Mr. Ysasi presented at the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE) conference on the topic of “Assessment of Military Viewpoints Regarding Post-Secondary Education Classroom Preferences and experiences.”