2006 - 2007 Community Sabbatical Grantees
Julian Huerta is the current Director of Community Services for Foundation Communities, Austin's largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing and supportive services. He develops and directs educational, social service and asset-building programs that serve more than 12,000 working poor families annually and have been recognized as among the best housing-based supportive services in the country. Huerta is also co-founder of Sammy's House, a nonprofit childcare center for young children with special medical and developmental needs in Austin. He brings more than 15 years experience in program development, nonprofit administration, and fundraising. During his research leave, he will focus on strategies to improve and expand supportive housing opportunities for homeless families with children and those at-risk of homelessness in Austin.
Faculty Advisor(s): Dr. Laura Lein, UT-Austin School of Social Work and Department of Anthropology; Dr. Elizabeth Mueller, UT-Austin School of Architecture
Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company
Lana Lesley is co-founder, co-producing artistic director and business manager for the ensemble theatre company, Rude Mechanicals. She has co-created, co-produced and performed in seventeen original productions, and toured select venues like the Walker Center for the Performing Arts, Wexner Arts Center, UCLA Live! On the Boards, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Network of Ensemble Theaters Festival, and the Sommer Szene Festival in Salzburg, Austria. She has received fifteen awards and nominations for her work as an actor, and was selected "Best Actor/Actress" in Austin by the Austin Chronicle 2002 and 2004 Readers' Polls, and as one of "Austin's Most Valuable Players" by Austin Chronicle critics. During her Community Sabbatical, Lesley will research naturalistic acting techniques and the ways in which actors can contribute as generative artists in Rude Mechanicals’ creative process.
Faculty Advisor(s): Dr. Charlotte Canning, UT Austin Department of Theatre and Dance; Dr. Franchelle Stewart Dorn, UT Austin Department of Theatre and Dance
Gail Rice serves as the Community Advocacy Director for SafePlace, a non-profit agency in Austin that provides a spectrum of services for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic abuse and violence. She works with community organizations, task forces, and coalitions to create more effective local responses to the people SafePlace serves. Rice has an MSW from the Worden School of Social Work and began working as Volunteer Coordinator with the Austin Center for Battered Women in 1981. Although the greater part of her work in the intervening years has been in community education and advocacy, she has counseled victims of domestic violence individually, and still has direct contact with individual victims each month through the class she teaches, "Understanding Domestic Violence." During her research leave, she will identify the necessary steps in the application of restorative justice principles to help counter domestic violence in Austin and Travis County.
Faculty Advisor(s): Dr. Marilyn Armour, UT-Austin School of Social Work; Dr. Noel Busch, UT-Austin School of Social Work