College of Science Advisory Board


Sarah L. Garza
Director of Environmental Planning & Compliance
Port of Corpus Christi

Mrs. Sarah Garza started her career with the Port of Corpus Christi in 2002. She worked in environmental and was promoted to her current position as director when the department of Environmental Planning & Compliance was established in 2014. Mrs. Garza is also an active board member of the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center, the Corpus Christi Area Oil Spill Control Association and the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (proxy).



Jessie Gilbert
President and Chief Executive Officer
Texas State Aquarium

Mr. Jessie Gilbert started at the Texas State Aquarium in 2003, working various research roles to leadership positions. He was a Senior Vice President working under Tom Schmid for over 10 years. Mr. Gilbert helped open the state-of-the-art Port of Corpus Christi Center for Wildlife Rescue in Fall of 2002 with over $13 million raised in funding, The rescue center is the only center in Texas licensed to care for birds, sea turtle, and marine animals.



Eric Lindgren
Senior Environmental Investigator
Texas Commission on Environmental Equality

Mr. Eric Lindgren was raised in North Texas and graduated high school in Keller, TX. He started his undergrad degree at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi in the fall of 2009. After graduating in Spring 2014 with a degree in Environmental Science, Eric completed a post graduate internship at AT&T in their Environmental Department. He worked for an environmental company here in Corpus for a year before starting his career with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), where he is a Senior Environmental Investigator in the Corpus Christi Field Office. Mr. Lindgren works with their Water Section, specializing in drinking water, waste water treatment, water rights, and emergency response.



John Metz
Meteorologist in Charge
National Weather Service

Mr. John Metz is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Services (NWS) in Corpus Christi, TX. John organizes weather preparedness activities trains severe storms spotters, and leads a team of meteorologists who provide life-saving weather forecasts and warnings. He works closely with the media, emergency managers, and other local, state, and federal officials, to ensure that South Texas communities are ready when Hurricanes, Floods, and other hazardous weather threaten. John graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Atmospheric Science in 1992, and has worked with the NWS for over 25 years.



Sarah R. Schlessinger
Chief Executive Officer
Texas Water Foundation 

Sarah Rountree Schlessinger is the CEO of Texas Water Foundation. She previously worked in ground water policy and regulation and has experience with international nonprofits and disaster response. Sarah currently serves as an appointed member of the Water Conservation Advisory Council, the Texas + Water Advisory Council, and as a board member for Texas Water Trade. Sarah holds a Master of Science in water science, policy and management from the University of Oxford.



Susan Ochoa Spiering
Attorney At Law
Ochoa Patents

Susan Ochoa Spiering is a registered Patent Attorney with more than 25 years of experience. Susan obtained her Juris Doctor from Williams Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, and previously had earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Currently, she is licensed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and has a license to practice law in Texas and Minnesota. Through her years of experience, she has helped entrepreneurs and inventors obtain patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other protection for new processes, ideas, machines, and products. Susan’s areas of expertise include obtaining patent , trademark, and copyright registrations, preparation and/or review of agreements having a technical nature such as licensing, joint development, nondisclosure/confidentiality, and prepare opinions such as freedom to operate or agreement-assessment, conduct searches, portfolio assessment, and consulting on infringement.



David Stewart
Chief Credit Officer
Kleberg Bank

Mr. David Stewart joined Corpus Christi-based Kleberg Bank as Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer in May 2018. He is leading the bank in growing its loan portfolio and is responsible for oversight of the bank’s loan review, compliance, collections and credit analysis functions. Stewart is a certified public accountant with experience managing, planning and executing the external financial statement audits of banks throughout Texas, and has served as a lender and credit analyst in the Houston and Corpus Christi markets. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and an MS degree in accountancy from the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business. 



Michael Womack, Ed.D.
Executive Director & Garden Columnist
South Texas Botanical Gardens

Dr. Michael Womack has been the Executive Director of South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center since March, 2006. He previously served on the Botanical Gardens board and was the Nueces County Horticulture Extension Agent where he managed the Nueces Master Gardeners and was founding advisor for the South Texas Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists. Also, he has been the garden columnist for the Corpus Christi Caller Times since 1998 providing practical gardening advice for Coastal Bend residents on a weekly basis. Dr. Womack obtained a B.S. in Agriculture (Horticulture) from Texas A&IUniversity in Kingsville in 1989 majoring in Horticulture and Minoring in Biology and Agricultural Economics. He received an M.S. in Floriculture from Texas A&M in College Station in 1991 working on growth regulator effects on Syngonium podophyllum ‘White Butterfly.’ He received a Doctorate of Education from Texas A&M and Texas Tech, jointly in 2004, with his dissertation entitled “The Promotors and Inhibitors of Creative Programing in Texas Cooperative Extension.”