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Community Advisory Board

Community Advisory Board

Within the central Texas area there are many organizations and individuals that seek to promote gender equity and to understand and improve the lives of women, girls, and families. We applaud their efforts and endeavor to provide scholarly support for their work. Our Community Advisory Board includes representatives from business, the arts, and education that are involved in such efforts. We work with these distinguished community leaders to plan programs and workshops that allow our faculty and students to learn from the experience of community members and that provide scholarly support to groups seeking to understand and advance the position of women and girls. We will also seek the board's assistance in our development efforts, so that we can achieve financial security for our programs.

Linda Aaker 

Linda Aaker learned early in life in Texas that if you made good grades and were polite, you could get away with otherwise outrageous behavior, including protesting the Vietnam War, hitchhiking through Europe, trekking in the Himalayas, branding cattle, and becoming a pilot and a mother. After attending The University of Texas Law School, she joined the Texas Attorney General’s Office (1974-83), where she wrote the opinion holding that women did not have to assume their husband’s surnames upon marriage. Eventually she became Chief of the Antitrust Division where she negotiated the settlement of the largest state antitrust civil penalties lawsuit in the United States at that time. Linda left public service to become a partner in the Austin firm of Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel (1983- 2000). President Clinton appointed Linda to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities where she served from 2000-05. In addition to her book, A Woman’s Odyssey: Journals 1976-92 she has published numerous articles in The Washington Post. She has served on various boards involving women’s issues, including the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, Texas.

Nancy Baker Jones

Nancy Baker Jones is founding president of the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation for Texas Women’s History (Austin). An independent scholar and educator with professional experience in nonprofit, corporate, and academic settings, her focus is educational and social equity. She is general editor of two book series, “Women and Texas History” and “Ellen Temple Classics,” both published by Texas A&M University Press, and she is the book review editor for the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. She has published juried articles and books; been a consultant for the desegregation of public schools, the implementation of Title IX, and the development of multicultural curricula; and directed research for the revision of the Handbook of Texas to assure inclusion of women and people of color. She has graduate degrees in African American history and women’s literature and earned the Ph.D. in American Studies from UT/Austin.

Lynn Bradshaw

Lynn Bradshaw has been practicing law in Texas for a few odd months short of thirty years.   She handles significant, interesting cases in litigation where she can make a difference. Currently, she is working with a team of lawyers on an important  environmental case in North Carolina. In recent years, she also received a mid-life Master's degree in Art History from the University, with a focus on the early American period. As a part of her work, she was fortunate to have taken courses in the Gender and Women's Studies program, which brought her onto the community advisory board.  In her spare time, she is also researching and writing a nonfiction book that compares citizen and judicial lynching in the early Territorial period of Utah by closely looking at one particular 1881 murder trial that was tried and re-tried four times in Federal Court in Salt Lake City, after repeated appeals to the United States Supreme Court.  

Perla Cavazos

Perla Cavazos is from San Benito, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley and has lived in Austin for nearly 20 years. She received her BA from Stanford University and an MPAff from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.  Perla currently works as Director of Government Affairs for Central Health, the local public entity that provides access to high-quality health care for low income and uninsured people in Travis County. Perla has over 15 years of public policy and government affairs experience. She previously worked for Texas Legal Services Center, Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and in the Texas Senate as a Senior Policy Analyst and Legislative Director. In 2009, she was a candidate for the Place 1 City Council position. Although she was not elected, she continues to be an active force within the city.  Perla serves on the boards of Planned Parenthood-Greater Texas, Girls Empowerment Network (GEN), Frameworks CDC and LUPE Arte and Austin Steering Committee for Annie's List.  She is a founding member of FuturoFund, a local philanthropic circle that supports Latino-serving nonprofit organizations in Austin. Perla is past president of the Austin Women’s Political Caucus and has served on the city’s Planning Commission, Commission for Women, Resource Management Commission, and former Mayor Lee Leffingwell's Community Cabinet. Perla is a Leadership Austin Alum ('08) and recipient of the Austin Under 40 award in government and public affairs ('08).

Lulu Flores

An attorney and community leader, Lulu Flores is Partner at Hendler Lyons Flores, PLLC.  She currently serves as Chair of the Austin Arts Commission, as a Community Advisory Committee member of the UT Center for Women’s & Gender Studies, as a Board member and Secretary of the National Women’s Political Caucus Foundation and as Vice Chair and Board member for the Aguila Alliance.  She is the past-President of the National Women’s Political Caucus and the NWPC-Texas, past-President and board member of Mexic-Arte Museum, a former board member of the Austin YMCA Metro, and a former member of Leadership Austin board of Leadership Austin.  She has held the positions of Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs at the Texas Railroad Commission, Legislative Director for the State Bar of Texas, and Legislative Director for the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas.

Cynthia Levinson 

Cynthia Levinson has volunteered in the past with a number of local organizations, including the Austin Interfaith Alliance, the Breast Cancer Resource Center, Impact Austin, and Congregation Agudas Achim. She helps area authors through the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and does alumnae outreach for her alma mater, Wellesley College. In addition, she holds a degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and attended the LBJ School of Public Affairs. A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, Cynthia writes nonfiction for young readers that focuses on diversity and social justice.

Mary Sanger

Mary Sanger has had a professional career in community organizing and electoral politics. As a program specialist with the Environmental Defense Fund, her work focused on growth and development issues, water and farm bill policies. She is the co-author of a number of publications, including “Texas Environmental Almanac” and “Fair Warning: Global Warming and the Lone Star State.” Sanger is the founder and was project leader for the Hill Country Roundtable, a 17-county initiative to protect the natural resources and heritage of this unique ecological region of Texas. She managed two successful campaigns for statewide officeholders. As an appointee of Gov. Ann Richards, she served on the Texas Housing and Community Development Board, and on the boards of Women and Their Work, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service; and Hancock Neighborhood Association. She served on the Board of the Hill Country Alliance and currently serves on the advisory board. Sanger received a master’s degree in social work from UT Austin.

Nancy Scanlan
Nancy Scanlan is a professional, award-winning photographer and longtime community leader. In addition to her work with Save Our Springs Alliance in Austin, she is a board member of KMFA, Austin's classical radio station; the Texas Photographic Society, and the Advisory Councils of the UT Austin Department of Theater and Dance, and the Harry Ransom Center.

Judge Bea Ann Smith

Bea Ann Smith served as a justice on the Third District Court of Appeals in Texas for 16 years. Since retiring from the court, she has enjoyed a ten-year teaching career both at The University of Texas School of Law and University of Texas Liberal Arts Honors undergraduate program. Justice Smith was the first Texas judge to serve as President of the National Association of Women Judges and as a Director of the International Association of Women Judges. Throughout her judicial career she was recognized as a leader in judicial education for state and federal judges and continued to teach new appellate judges for many years past her retirement.  She continues to serve as a mediator and appellate consultant.  Justice Smith has received the Austin Bar Association's Distinguished Lawyer Award, and the Texas Law Review Association has honored her with its prestigious Leon Green Award for outstanding contributions to the legal profession.  Justice Smith remains active in the community and with the University of Texas.  She is proud to serve as in-house counsel to the Ann Richards School Foundation. 

Carmen Tawil
Carmen Tawil is vice president of Diversified Communication Engineering, Inc. (DCE), a consulting engineering firm. In 1986 she co-founded Global Information Technologies, Inc. (Global), the Managing Partner for Corridor Television, L.L.P.  During the past 20 plus years, Global has owned and operated numerous communication companies that were developed and sold to companies such as Sprint, NexTel and Argyle Television.


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  • Center for Women's & Gender Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    Burdine Hall 536
    2505 University Avenue, A4900
    Austin, Texas 78712
    512-471-5765