From Our Leadership

Liz Castañeda, M.S.W.

Director | Talent Search - Austin


Since joining the staff of Texas State University in 2010, Ms. Castañeda has served in multiple capacities within Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and University Administration.  Liz’s current role as Program Coordinator for Educational Talent Search allows her commitment for serving vulnerable populations to be at the forefront of her daily obligations.  An active community leader, Liz has a passion for people and culture, and is dedicated to dismantling structures of oppression that prevent those two from thriving. 
A third-year doctoral student in the Adult, Professional and Community Education program at Texas State University, Liz also holds a BSW and an MSW with a concentration in Administrative Leadership also from Texas State University.  Her research interests include higher ed access and achievement in underserved populations, advancing diversity and social justice issues, Latina Identity formation, and community development and engagement as a public pedagogy. 

Liz loves spending time with family and friends and enjoys traveling when not focused on work or school.

bio picture of Cynthia Mendieta-Gill

Cynthia Mendieta-Gill

Director of Talent Search - Del Valle

I received my Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, Master of Science in Educational Administration, and a Master of Education in Adult Education. So, for over 20 years, I've been a teacher, an assistant principal, and a program coordinator.  My inspiration in education was my 3rd grade teacher. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and cooking in the kitchen.

Carolina Benavides

Director of Talent Search - San Marcos

Carolina Benavides grew up in Laredo, TX and has been a proud San Martian since 2012. She received her Bachelors in Exercise and Sports Science and a Maters In Business Administration from Texas State University. She has  worked with the Texas State TRIO programs for the past 5 years in several roles. She is passionate about educating and empowering the next generation of students, so they can excel not only academically, but in all aspects of their lives. In my spare time, I like to hike and camp, read books, and solve puzzles

Bio picture Dr. Rebecca Lancaster

Dr. Rebecca Lancaster

Director of Talent Search - Seguin

I’m a lifelong educator; I started at 3 with my Mom as she attended college, I attended the college’s child development center. She became a teacher and I thought she had the best job ever! So, for over 30 years, I’ve been a public education teacher, an assistant principal and principal in several states and England. I enjoy the university experience and I’ve taught at that level but working with TS allows me even more opportunities to touch the future. I relish that our students hold the keys to make the world a better place for all of us. In my spare time, I love being a new grandmother, practicing yoga and dabbling into genealogy.

Interested in Talent Search?