Eric Lupfer, Executive Director
Eric Lupfer became executive director of Humanities Texas in August 2019. He served as the organization’s director of grants and education from 2004–2019. Formerly a high school English teacher, Lupfer holds a PhD in English (2003) and an MS in information studies (2004) from The University of Texas at Austin and a BA with high honors in English from Bowdoin College (1991). While finishing his graduate studies at UT, he worked as assistant director of freshman writing in the university’s Division of Rhetoric and Composition and as editorial assistant on The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, published by Princeton University Press.
From 2002–04, Lupfer worked at UT’s Harry Ransom Center, where he codirected the center’s summer teacher institutes and curated a traveling exhibition on Isaac Bashevis Singer that was displayed across the country during the centennial of the writer’s birth. Lupfer has published articles on American literature and publishing history, including an essay in A History of the Book in America, a five-volume collaborative scholarly project sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society. The Missouri Review published his essay recounting his attempt to “thru-hike” the Appalachian Trail, which was later collected in the 2006 anthology The Best of the Missouri Review: Travel.
Emily Brown, Public Programs Coordinator
Emily Brown joined Humanities Texas in July 2022. Originally from College Station, she recently graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown with a BA in English literature and film. As an undergraduate, she interned as a photographic archives assistant in the university’s special collections. Prior to joining Humanities Texas, Emily worked at a local domestic violence crisis center where she cultivated her interest in the humanities’ power to foster empathy and equity. Emily supports Humanities Texas’s public programs and the monthly newsletter.
Marco Buentello, Director of Grants
Marco Buentello first joined Humanities Texas in September 2015. A native of Laredo, he received his MA in history and political thought and his BA in history from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). During his graduate studies at TAMIU, he researched the involvement of American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War of 1936. He also worked as a graduate assistant for the Department of Humanities, assisting history professors with class administration and lectures. At Humanities Texas, he assisted in administering the grants program and supported the education program. In November 2018, he took a position in the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) at The University of Texas at Austin. At OSP, he assisted departmental grant seeking efforts by reviewing and submitting federal and private research grants. Marco returned to Humanities Texas in October 2020 to continue to support the grants program.
Elizabeth Bradford Frye, Co-Director of Education
Elizabeth Bradford Frye joined Humanities Texas in October 2015. She received her PhD in English and her MA in creative writing from The University of Texas at Austin. While completing her doctorate, Elizabeth taught courses in literature, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition. She also served as the assistant director of UT's New Writers Project MFA program and as an editorial assistant for the Walt Whitman Archive. In addition to administering Humanities Texas’s family reading program Texas Storytime, she supports the organization’s teacher institute and education programs.
Yvonne Doerr González, Deputy Director
Yvonne González joined Humanities Texas as fiscal officer and grants administrator in May 1988, served as director of finance from 1995–1999, and associate director and chief financial officer through 2003. During an executive director search, she served as interim executive director for Humanities Texas from April through July 2002. Born and raised in Brownsville, she worked previously as fiscal agent for two non profit organizations funded by city, state and federal grants. She holds a BA of liberal studies in accounting from St. Edward's University. She serves as financial and compliance officer, human resources, and oversees the facilities, meetings, and events.
Betty Hewell, Director of Advancement
Betty Hewell joined Humanities Texas in June 2019. A multi-generation Texan, she attended The University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her BBA from the McCombs School. Betty has been a professional fundraiser for over two decades, primarily in higher education. She also serves on numerous boards. Betty is honored to serve as Humanities Texas’s first director of advancement. As the daughter of a teacher in an urban, underserved school, she is passionate about supporting educators across Texas.
Melissa J. Huber, Director of Programs and Communication
Melissa Huber joined Humanities Texas in December 2007. She holds a BA in art history from Arizona State University and an MS in historic preservation from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Humanities Texas, she worked at the Blanton Museum of Art and in UT's Architectural Conservation Lab. Her combined focus on collections, exhibitions, and historic buildings developed in her previous role as conservation assistant for the Arizona State Museum Preservation Division at The University of Arizona in Tucson. At Humanities Texas, she oversees the traveling exhibitions program and public programs including Veterans’ Voices, the Pivotal U.S. Elections: Then and Now statewide forum series, History Harvests, and the council’s website. She also curates the Byrne-Reed House collections and served as staff point-person for the restoration.
Kameko Jacobs, Education Program Officer
Kameko Jacobs joined Humanities Texas in April 2023. A native of Maryland, she received her BA in history from Oberlin College and her master’s in social studies education from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Humanities Texas, she spent six years teaching a variety of eleventh-grade U.S. history courses in Round Rock ISD, including Advanced Placement, OnRamps, and on-level U.S. history. She also worked closely with the school district in designing curricular materials for U.S. history and Mexican American history. Kameko supports the Humanities Texas education programs.
Liz James, Co-Director of Education
Liz James joined Humanities Texas in September 2008. Originally from Austin, she attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated with a BA in the history of art in May 2008. As an undergraduate, she developed a passion for education through her involvement with ArtReach, a program designed to bring art and education programs to the underserved Nashville community. In addition to administering the Outstanding Teaching Awards, she works on Humanities Texas’s teacher institute and education programs, serving as lead coordinator for individual teacher institutes.
Morgan Jeitler, Communications Officer
Morgan Jeitler joined Humanities Texas in December 2022. She holds a BA in English and Plan II Honors from The University of Texas at Austin. During her time at UT, she worked as a consultant at the University Writing Center and interned with Austin Film Festival and Candid. Morgan supports Humanities Texas’s communications, which includes work on the website and monthly newsletter.
Kristina Kissel, Office Administrator
Kristina Kissel joined Humanities Texas in January of 2023. Growing up in a few cities surrounding the greater Austin area, she has spent the beginning of her adult life pursuing her interests in the arts, historical architecture, and preservation. With her past professional work history involving administrative work in the solar industry and management in the coffee industry, she plans to further her study of the arts and passion for historical architecture with Humanities Texas.
Autumn Lennartz, Exhibitions Coordinator
Autumn Lennartz joined Humanities Texas in July 2022. Originally from Maryland, Autumn holds a BA in anthropology with a concentration in disasters, displacement, and human rights from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and an MA with a biological concentration from Texas State University. Prior to joining Humanities Texas, she worked as a program manager for an organization that served K–12 teachers teaching STEM subjects. Autumn supports the traveling exhibitions program.
Bethany Offer-Moscoso, Grants Program Officer
Bethany Offer-Moscoso joined Humanities Texas in May 2021. Originally from the San Antonio area, she received her master’s in public affairs and her BA in English and government from The University of Texas at Austin. During graduate school, she worked in varying capacities with a number of Austin-area non-profits, including United Way for Greater Austin, I Live Here I Give Here, and Dress for Success.
Jenny Peterson, Exhibitions Curator
Jenny Peterson joined Humanities Texas in June 2020. Born and raised in The Woodlands, Texas, she graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos with her BA in political science and history and her MA in public history. Prior to joining Humanities Texas, she worked as the associate curator of exhibitions for the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin and as an independent museum and interpretation specialist based in Midland. Jenny supports the traveling exhibitions program and serves as the curator of the Byrne-Reed House collections.
Rand Renfrow, Exhibitions Technician
Rand Renfrow joined Humanities Texas in January 2023. Born in Midland and raised in Austin, he received two BFA degrees from Texas State University in 2010 in communication design and studio art and an MFA in studio art from Maine College of Art and Design in 2018. Prior to joining Humanities Texas, he worked in various contract positions across several fields including design, illustration, screen printing, art handling, archiving, landscaping, and home remodeling. He is also currently a practicing artist and arts educator. Rand supports the traveling exhibitions program.
Ariana Seeloff, Development Intern
Ariana Seeloff joined Humanities Texas as an intern in January 2023. Originally from Houston, she attends The University of Texas at Austin pursuing a BS in psychology and minoring in African and African diaspora studies. Her passions are centered around equity in education and healthcare, with an emphasis on public policy. Ariana will continue her education with dual Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work degrees after graduating in 2024.
Jade Trent, Grants Program Officer
Jade Trent joined Humanities Texas in June 2023. Originally from the north Austin area, she holds a BA from the University of North Texas in arts management with minors in art history and management. Prior to joining Humanities Texas, she worked for Texas Commission on the Arts, where she assisted with various grant programs and connected with many nonprofit organizations across Texas. Jade supports the grants team and plans to further her experience in grants management with Humanities Texas.
Kelsi Tyler, Assistant Director of Public Programs
Kelsi Tyler joined Humanities Texas in October 2013. Originally from Houston, she holds a BA in English and rhetoric and writing from The University of Texas at Austin. As an undergraduate, she worked as a writing fellow for the Liberal Arts Honors program and as a consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center. She serves as editor of the monthly newsletter and is point of contact for Humanities Texas's public lectures, the Texas Originals radio program, and the Holiday Book Fair.
Laura Willis, Program Officer
Laura Willis joined Humanities Texas in March 2023. She holds a BSEd in secondary English education from Baylor University and an MA in English literature from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. Before joining Humanities Texas, she worked for over seven years as a middle and high school English teacher in Houston and Austin before transitioning out of the classroom into a project management role. In addition to supporting the work of the board and executive director, Laura serves as a coordinator for Humanities Texas’s teacher education programs, co-administers the Outstanding Teaching Awards, and coordinates the organization’s hiring processes.
Tinbit Yirdaw, Accountant
Tinbit Yirdaw joined Humanities Texas in June 2021. Born and raised in East Africa, she received her BA degree from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Prior to moving to the United States, she worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where she was involved with grass root level educational programs. She is a certified public accountant in the state of Texas and has experience working in both public and private contexts. Tinbit serves as an accountant for Humanities Texas.