About the English Language Center

Learning English at The University of Texas at San Antonio is not simply going to class. It’s an experience.

The welcoming environment at our university is one-of-a-kind. Our campus is located on the north side of San Antonio, a South Texas city that celebrates multiculturalism and diversity.

We think you’ll like it here.

Coming from more than 90 countries, UTSA students are some of the friendliest and brightest. When you make UTSA your home, you won’t just be a student, you’ll be family.

Enjoy a virtual tour and learn more with the UTSA Virtual Experience!

A Welcome From The Vice Provost For Global Initiatives:

As Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, this is what I want for you:

  • I want you to feel welcome and safe as you make lifelong friends.
  • I want you to learn all you can from our amazing faculty.
  • I want you to be successful in whatever career path you choose.

Our faculty and the staff are committed to your success and well-being.  From the moment you apply until you graduate, we are here to guide and assist you.  We hope you like what you see here and apply.  We look forward to meeting you!


Lisa J. Montoya, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Global Initiatives

Dr. Lisa J. Montoya has been at UTSA since 2005, serving in various roles, most recently as Vice Provost for Global Initiatives. Previously, she served as the COB Associate Dean for undergraduate programs, for professional development, and for international initiatives. She earned her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, MPA from Arizona State University, and BA from the University of Denver.

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: lisa.montoya@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-7370


Blanca Pokorney

Blanca Pokorney has been in the field of International Education for over a decade. Performing in different roles, Blanca has served as a cultural liaison to the international student population in the San Antonio Metropolitan area. As Director, she leads a team of dedicated professionals who support lifelong learning. Her expertise among many involves program development and management in Higher Education. Blanca received her Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her areas of interest include Diversity and Inclusion, Institutional Management, and Immigration Policy and Law.

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: blanca.pokorney@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-6136


Leidy Bello
Student Development Specialist

Leidy Bello is originally from Colombia and has been a member of the UTSA community since November 2021 serving in Administrative Operations and the area of Student Services. Her educational background is in Business Administration with an emphasis on accounting. She has ample experience in the management of language programs, serving in the field of education for over 8 years. Leidy is passionate about student success and supporting students from the beginning of their registration process until the culmination of their studies.   

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: leidy.bellocristancho@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-7677


Minako Shibazaki
Senior Program Coordinator

Minako has been an instructor for the Academic English Program at UTSA for 25 years. She is also a consultant for UTSA’s English Language Center and volunteers her time with Japanese and multicultural student organizations. Minako earned her master’s degree in Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at UTSA. Originally from Japan, Minako also lived in Montreal before moving to San Antonio as a teenager.

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: minako.shibazaki@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-8177

Cristian Aldrete 
Project Specialist

Cristian is a San Antonio native and an alumnus of the UTSA Class of 2020, where he received his B.A. in Global Affairs. After graduation, he spent the summer of 2021 studying Spanish abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica and Medellin, Colombia. He is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. A founder and former VP of the UTSA Global Intelligence Association, and a former member of the UTSA Model United Nations Society, he is a highly motivated professional who knows how to get the job done. He has a passion for intercultural exchange and has been working with the English Language Center since January 2023. 

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: cristian.aldrete@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-7677


Maria Clarke
ESL Specialist

Maria Salinas Clarke has been teaching for thirty-plus years and has been at UTSA since 2009, first as a graduate student and then as a faculty member. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Art History and Museum Education from Virginia Commonwealth University, and her Master’s degree in Bilingual/ESL Education from UTSA. She also holds certificates in Montessori Education, English Language Arts, Dyslexia training, Spanish, Art, and Art History. Maria is a native of Texas. As such, she loves to do genealogy research and read about Mexican and Spanish history. She is a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and does volunteer work for their organization. 

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: maria.clarke@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-8177


Mateusz Donda
ESL Specialist

Mateusz has been an instructor since the Fall of 2022 after having acquired a master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from UTSA in the Spring of 2022. Being an immigrant from Poland, and having had the experience of learning foreign languages and navigating foreign cultures, he was inspired to dedicate himself to working in the field of English language instruction. He teaches reading, oral communication, and grammar/writing courses. He received his B.A. in History at UTSA prior to attaining his master’s degree. 

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: mateusz.donda@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-8177


Jenny Thomas 
ESL Specialist

Jenny Thomas joined UTSA in January 2023. She has been an educator for more than 15 years. Her teaching experience includes teaching bilingual education in the public school system in the Houston Metro area, ESL for adults at the Houston Community College, and online ESL teaching to executives from different countries including Korea and Turkey. She has also taught abroad at the Universidad Internacional del Ecuador. Mrs. Thomas graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Linguistics with a minor in TESOL in 2005. She obtained her MA in TESOL from Grand Canyon University in 2020. Originally from Ecuador, Mrs. Thomas moved to the U.S.A. in 1999 and is happy to call Texas her home. 

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: jenny.thomas@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-8177


Gregory Dobie
ESL Specialist

A UTSA graduate (M.A., Bicultural Studies), Greg spent 25 years teaching ESL and Citizenship in California before joining the UTSA faculty. He also works in the museum field as an editor and educator and as a literacy consultant for library programs. 

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: gregory.dobie@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-8177 


 Joshua Zapata
Teaching Assistant

Joshua is from a very small town called Sinton, TX. He came to UTSA in the Fall of 2018 and completed his bachelor's degree in Modern Language Studies in the Spring of 2022 with a focus on Japanese. He also has a minor in East Asian Studies and Audio Technology. Joshua is very passionate about language and hopes to bring many different kinds of people together through language! 

Email: joshua.zapata@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-7677 


 Adriana Rodriguez Puertos
Marketing Intern

Adriana is originally from Tampico, Mexico, and speaks English and Spanish. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in Business Administration and will graduate in May 2025. She completed her bachelor's degree in Marketing in the Spring of 2023.

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: adriana.rodriguezpuertos2@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-7677


 Alexandra Graelles
Student Associate

Alexandra was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has lived in many U.S. cities before coming to San Antonio in 2018. She began pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UTSA in the Summer of 2022. She also holds certificates in pharmacology, phlebotomy, and mental health first aid.

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: alexandra.graelles@utsa.edu
Phone: 210-458-7677


Stephanie Cortez
Student Associate

Stephanie was born in Houston, TX and moved out to San Antonio to study at UTSA where she is completing a BA in Psychology. She is passionate about the developmental process in young adults and her goal is to achieve a career that helps the awareness of mental health expand. Stephanie identifies with Hispanic culture but appreciates the diverse population at UTSA, she is bilingual in both English and Spanish while currently learning French.

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: stephanie.cortez3@utsa.edu 
Phone: 210-458-7677

Maria Orencia 
Student Associate

Maria is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology at UTSA since Fall 2022. She has previously lived in Japan and Italy before moving to San Antonio in 2016. She is also curious and passionate about learning about the different experiences, cultures, and languages from all over the world.

Location: Graduate School and Research Building, Room 2.116
Email: maria.orencia@utsa.edu 
Phone: 210-458-7677



Visit our Virtual Office

Office Location

Graduate School and Research Building 2.116
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249

Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm

Click to visit our Virtual Office in Zoom.
Click to schedule a virtual appointment.

The University of Texas at San Antonio Academic English Program is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation for the period April 2022 through April 2032 and agrees to uphold the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions. CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S. For further information about this accreditation, please contact the CEA, 1001 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 630, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 665-3400, www.cea-accredit.org.

Additional information can be found below:
CEA Standard
Complaints Against an Accredited Program

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