There are some teachers you just don’t forget. Nominated by alumni, these professors are among the best and most inspiring on the Forty Acres. Meet this year’s Texas 10.
Professor, Communication Studies & Director of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium
With today’s daunting job market, many students have little to no plan for life after college. Richard Cherwitz is determined to fix that, one student at a time.
Cherwitz is the founder and director of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium, a cross-disciplinary effort that tailors a student’s educational track to his or her passions.
The inspiration for IE came from Cherwitz’ own experiences as a college student. “I was going to be a lawyer,” he recalls. “One afternoon in an advising session, my professor asked me if I knew anything about the day-to-day life of a lawyer. He set me up shadowing a lawyer, and I discovered that wasn’t for me. This is what laid the groundwork for my IE program.”
The IE pre-grad internship program, started in 2003, has been recognized by the Texas House of Representatives for its innovative leadership. But the success of IE is only one facet of Cherwitz’ career.
In his 35 years in education, Cherwitz has accrued a long list of accolades, including three of the National Communications Association’s top awards.
Despite all of the praise Cherwitz and his program have garnered, his proudest moment came when he first read the testimonials of his IE students. “For the first time in my life, I began to see how students think,” Cherwitz says. “I saw real epiphanies. I was practically in tears reading these students’ reflections.”
Describing himself as “the constant workaholic,” Cherwitz is always giving lectures, answering emails, or chatting with students. “Sometimes it’s very hard to shut the computer off, to shut my brain off,” he says. “But I’m not a total nerd!”
Cristina Cabello de Martínez
Senior Lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese
Cristina Cabello de Martínez has traveled the world from Italy to Tanzania to China, but it’s here at UT where she has found her calling.
Cabello de Martínez teaches a wide array of language classes on the Forty Acres. Although she specializes in Spanish literature, she’s also taught medical Spanish courses for pre-med and pharmacy majors—areas of study she never planned to teach. But it’s in those courses that she sees the most noticeable effect on her students.
“The most rewarding thing is teaching language in the health professions, because that’s perhaps where it’s most crucial,” she says. “I know that the students will take that knowledge and save someone’s life because of it.”
Cabello de Martínez is fluent in six languages (Latin, Spanish, Italian, English, French, and Portuguese), a skill that comes in handy on translation projects, including several books by a priest in the Vatican.
She also plays the flute, the piano, and the harp. At the University of Guanajuato, she held a chair in the symphony orchestra. Music was her first passion, and it sparked her interest in education.
“As I grew as a musician, I began to realize that the voice is an instrument, not just in music but in life,” Cabello de Martínez says. “I began to respect more and more the thought process behind both what people perform in music and what they say. I’m more conscious of how I provide information to students.”
The conscientiousness Cabello de Martínez has learned throughout her studies and travels is what she ultimately hopes to instill in her students. “This is a beautiful world that we live in,” she says, “and it’s ours to continue to construct.”
Meet our other Texas 10 professors here.
Photo by Matt Wright-Steel.