Dr. Sara Mata joined WSU in 2023 as the Hispanic Serving Institution's (HSI) Executive Director.


Academic Interests and Expertise


Ph. D. in Social Foundations - December 2014

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Dissertation: Discourses of a Cancer Diagnosis: Narratives of Women in Academia

M.S. in Sociology - December 2007

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Creative Component: Spirit from Within: A qualitative study examining self-reported responses of resiliency by Native American women. In the hopes of bridging intergenerational connections, the findings were shared with adolescent Native American girls at varies programs.

M.S. in Community Counseling - May 2005

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Creative Component: Adolescent Girls Program

Developed an 8-session psycho-educational girls group, addressing issues typically faced during this developmental life stage. The foundation of the group focuses on promoting positive mental health, relationships, self-confidence, and wellness.

B.A. in Sociology - December 2003

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Emphasis in Juvenile Corrections and Treatment

Associates of Applied Science in Computer Graphic Design -  December 1996

Cowley County Community College, Arkansas City, KS


Alvarez, W. & De Walt, P.S. (Eds). (2022). Voicing Diverse Teaching Experiences, Approaches, and Perspectives in Higher Education. IGI Global. Https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-9000-3 Mata, S., Ch. 11 Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Praxis of Latina.

McKay, D., Mata, S., Parker, S. (2020) Flipping the Script Towards Health Equity: A Call for Native Land Acknowledgment. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Vol 52, Issue 10, October 2020, Page 905

Mata, S. (2019) Discourses of a Cancer Diagnosis: Narratives of Women in Academia, Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education, 12:1, 125-141, DOI: 10.1080/19407882.2018.1533480

Stovall-Amos, A., Parker, S., Mata, S., Fox, J., Jackson, T., Miracle, S. & Hermann, J. (2014) Eagle Adventure: School-Based Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Program Results in Improved Outcomes Related to Food and Physical Activity. Journal of Extension 14400TOT Jones, E., Peercy, M., Woods,

J., Parker, S., Jackson, T., Mata S., et al. (2015). Identifying Postpartum Intervention Approaches to Reduce Cardiometabolic Risk Among American Indian Women With Prior Gestational Diabetes,
Oklahoma, 2012–2013. Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:140566.

Professional Experience

Work Experience


Executive Director of Hispanic Serving Institution

Wichita State University - Feb. 2023 – Present


Dean of Students and Co-Director of Hispanic Initiatives

Newman University - Jan. 2022 – Dec. 2022

Duties: supervises the Residence Life, Student Activities, and Multicultural Affairs areas and coordinates judicial, assessment, orientation, and leadership training initiatives. Contribute to recruitment, retention and graduation efforts as well as serve on committees to formulate university-wide policies for academic and student affairs. Serve to advance Newman University in preparing the foundation to become a Hispanic Serving Institution.

Faculty Affiliate, Department of Sociology

University of Oklahoma - Sept. 2018– Dec. 2021

Duties: Teach undergraduate courses, to include: Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Race, Class and Gender. Promote and support research for undergraduate students

Research Associate, Vice President of Research and Partnerships

University of Oklahoma - Sept. 2020 – Nov. 2021

Duties: Supporting a collaboration with the National University of San Agustin de Arequipa, Peru. The projects relate to research necessary to improve understanding of (a) the social determinants of disease (diabetes and cancer incidence in particular); and (b) the multiple weather, water and air quality impacts of climate change; and (c) the social dynamics at the heart of the coupled human and natural systems (heath, weather, water, air and communities)
in the Arequipa region of Peru.

Research Associate for the Corix Plains Institute

University of Oklahoma - Sept. 2019 – Sept. 2020

Duties: Supporting and advocating research initiatives associated with the Corix Plains Institute at OU. Monitoring projects, program evaluations and recruiting undergraduate students, primarily from underrepresented populations to graduate programs. Collaborating with faculty and graduate programs to incorporate more inclusive curriculum and practices.

Vice President of Student Affairs

Otero Junior College - May 2019 – Sept. 2019

Duties: Provide executive-level leadership, strategic planning, oversight and coordination of all areas in the Division for Student Services for programming, policy development, personnel, facilities and fiscal resource management; Provide leadership and guidance for the development and implementation of high-quality and student-centered approaches to support student success in non-instructional dimensions of the student college experience for a  diverse student body; Develop and manage budgets within the purview for Student Services;
Develop and enhance the non-instructional assessment of student learning outcomes for  Student Services; Ensure that all programs and services with Division for Student Services comply with all relevant, state, federal and system policies.

NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program Coordinator

University of Oklahoma - Jan 2016 – May 2019

Duties: Program administration and monitoring projects, program evaluations and developing long-range plans for the NSF grant titled: NRT: Aeroecology as a Test-bed for Interdisciplinary STEM Training. Promoting broader impacts of research both at the University of Oklahoma and beyond. Promoted faculty development and undergraduate to graduate programs student support.

Coordinator of International Students

Northern Oklahoma College - Aug 2015 – Dec 2015

Duties: Provide a resource to assist international students at all of Northern Oklahoma College with support services needed to excel in academics. While housed in Stillwater, the position coordinates admissions, registration, tutoring and counseling services for all international students enrolled at NOC.

Assistant Director, Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services - OASIS

University of Nebraska-Lincoln - May 2014 – June 2015

Duties: Actively participates in efforts to enhance retention, academic success, diversity awareness, and social programming. Offer one-on-one counseling and assistance to UNL students, particularly minority students, lowincome families, students who will be the first in their family to graduate from a four-year college and other underrepresented populations. Ensure a dedication to leading and supporting academic excellence and undergraduate student achievement at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Grant Coordinator, Department of Nutritional Science

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma - Sept 2010 – May 2014

Duties: Assist in the creation, communication, delivery and evaluation of health information and interventions using customer-centered and science-based strategies to protect and promote the health of American Indian populations. Engage in mixed methods research designed specifically to enhance the understanding of the target audience's health beliefs in order to create successful social marketing and educational programs aimed at improved health of American Indian populations as well as health disparities overall.

Inclusion Leadership Coordinator

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma - May 2007 – June 2010

Duties: Promote and educate high school and college students in the Inclusion Leadership Program in preparation of working in a diverse and inclusive society. Taught and coordinate seminars, videoconferences and other forms of communication between the outreach high school sites of Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas. A focus on recruitment and retention of students of historically underrepresented populations were essential. Collaborate with high school counselors, community organization as well as corporate sponsors in promoting programs and campus activities. Created, developed curriculum, and implemented a summer program titled STYLE-Strengthening Today’s Young Leaders through Education. STYLE was created for underrepresented high school females to educate holistically with college exposure, promoting STEM’s fields, as well as overall health and wellness. Balancing budget, planning activities, curriculum development, evaluating and assessing programs, supervising both  graduate and undergraduate student workers and presenting at conferences were among other duties assigned.

Counselor: American Legion Children’s Home

Ponca City, Oklahoma - April 2008 – May 2009

Fill-in part-time counselor for adolescent girl’s dormitory. Provided individual as well as group activity sessions for residents to contribute to their well-being and individual treatment plans.

Counselor: Northern Oklahoma Youth Services

Ponca City, Oklahoma - May 2004 – June 2007

Duties: Adolescent individual therapy and family counseling, case formulation, treatment plans, report writing, progress notes, anger management and substances abuse groups, teaching classes in schools, First Time Offenders Group, Adult Role Model (ARMS) program, Juvenile Municipal Court, billing for Community At Risk and Medicaid. Outreach counselor for Kay, Noble and Pawnee Counties.

Americorp: Kaw Nation Tribal Youth Program

Newkirk, Oklahoma - Aug 2003 – Aug 2004

Duties: Advocating & tutoring in rural schools with Native American students. Assisting in summer program involving activities, field trips, and retreats pertaining to Native American culture. Attending seminars and conferences for the federal funding of Tribal Youth Programs across the United States.

Learning Lighthouse Afterschool Program-USD 470

Arkansas City, Kansas - Feb 2003 – May 2003

Duties: Promoting tutoring, activities & fieldtrips during the afterschool hours.

Intake worker: Stillwater Domestic Violence

Stillwater, Oklahoma - Feb 2002 – July 2002

Duties: Assisting shelter clients during 24-hour weekend shift. Answering 24-hour crisis hotline. On-call shifts to respond to incidences requiring Stillwater Domestic Violence services.

Detention Assistant

Stillwater Police Department, Stillwater, Oklahoma - Feb 2002 – Oct 2002

Duties: Operating control panel in jail. Assisting jailers, dispatch & police officers with various operations of jail & inmates.

Records Work-Study

Stillwater Police Department, Stillwater, Oklahoma - Aug 2001 – May 2002

Duties: Work-study for Fall ’01 & Spring ’02 semesters. Record filing, data entering, & various duties within the records department.

Psychological Services Center

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma - July 2000 – Feb 2001

Duties: Scheduling clients, billing & payment collections, answering & handling crisis calls. Handling monthly clinic budget. Scoring assessments & maintaining client paperwork and files.

First Intermark

Arkansas City, Kansas - May 1996 – Sept 1999

Duties: Computer Graphic Design for a follow-up sales company. Worked with ATV, motorcycles, watersports and other utility vehicles dealerships throughout the United States doing letterhead, logos, mailing materials and greeting cards.

Dr. Vaidya Neurologist & Psychiatrist

Ponca City, Oklahoma - Dec 1995 – Feb 1996

Duties: Scheduling clients & various tests. Billing, payment collections, answering & handling crisis calls. Maintaining client paperwork, insurance, and files.

Referral Clinic Coordinator

Arkansas City Memorial Hospital, Arkansas City, Kansas - July 1994 – Dec 1995

Duties: Scheduling patients for area doctors. Assisted with Emergency Room registration, billing, admissions, PBX switchboard operator, & insurance processing.



Awards and Honors

2021-2022 NASPA Pillar of the Profession
2019 Namesake for the University of Oklahoma Camp Crimson
2015 Recipient of the NASPA Ruth Strang Research Award

Areas of Service

Service Leadership

KHEDF-Educational Committee

Kansas Hispanic Education & Development Foundation

Apr 2023 — Present

Sedgwick County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Board Member

Apr 2023 — Present

Mid-America All-Indian Museum Education Board Member

Apr 2023 — Present

NASPA Foundation Board of Directors - Member at Large

Mar 2018 — Present

Core Affiliate Board Member of the Carceral Studies Consortium board

Dec 2020 — Dec 2021

LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) Member

Feb 2020 — Dec 2021

TICA (Tulsa Indian Community Academy) Board Member

Aug 2017— Dec 2021

Pawnee/Osage C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Board Member

Jan 2007 — Dec 2021

State of Oklahoma C.A.S.A. Board Member

Jan 2018— May 2019

NASPA Latinx/a/o Knowledge Community Co-Chair

NASPA - National Association of Student Personnel Administration

Feb 2015— Mar 2018

NASPA Foundation Ambassador Region IV-W

NASPA - National Association of Student Personnel Administration

Nov 2013— Mar 2018

Regional Rep Liaison for Latino Knowledge Community

NASPA- National Association of Student Personnel Administration

May 2014—Mar 2016

NASPA Multicultural Institute Conference Planning Committee

NASPA - National Association of Student Personnel Administration


El Centro Board Member Lincoln, NE

Feb 2015—July 2015

Humanities Nebraska Council Board

Jan 2015—July 2015

NASPA Region IV-W Communication Coordinator

NASPA - National Association of Student Personnel Administration

Jun 2014—Mar 2015

Project A.L.L. Leadership Lincoln

Fall 2014

Strategic Initiatives & Assessment for Latino Knowledge Community

NASPA- National Association of Student Personnel Administration

Nov 2010—May 2014

Region IV-W Co-Chair for 2013 Regional Conference Hot Springs, AR

NASPA - National Association of Student Personnel Administration

Nov 2012—Nov 2013

Region IV-West Knowledge Community Co-Coordinator

NASPA- National Association of Student Personnel Administration

Nov 2010 – Mar 2013

National Advisory Committee

NCORE- Latino Caucus -National Conference on Race & Ethnicity

May 2009 – 2012

Board Member

Simon Estes Educational Foundation

Apr 2011 – Feb 2012

Conexiones Steering Committee Member

Community Service Council, Tulsa, OK

Aug 2008 – Aug 2011

Research, Evaluation & Assessment Knowledge Community Rep.

Regional IV-West NASPA- National Association of Student Personnel Administration

Mar 2008 – Mar 2011

PANI H.O.P.E. Coalition Member

Helping Others through Preventive Education

Oct 2006 – Nov 2009

President of Hispanic Faculty & Staff Association

Mar 2008 – Mar 2009


Volunteer Experience

NUFP Mentor

Duties: Mentor for NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program Scholar

Nov 2017 — Current

Advisor for ASAP

Duties: Advisor for Aspiring Student Affairs Professionals

Sept 2018 — Dec 2021

Advisor for SACNAS

Duties: Co-Advisor for Society of Advancement for Chicano/Hispanic & Native Americans in Science

Feb 2018 — Dec 2021

Advisor Theta Nu Xi, Inc.

Duties: Campus advisor for multicultural sorority

Oct 2016 — Dec 2021

OU Latinx Coalition (Co-Founder)

Duties: Promote and support Latinx/a/o faculty and staff at OU

July 2016— Dec 2021


Duties: Mentor for Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholar

Dec 2017 — Dec 2021

NUFP Mentor

Duties: Mentor for NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program Scholar

Nov 2017 — Dec 2021

Advisor for LGSA

Duties: Advisor for Latinx Graduate Student Association

Aug 2018 — Dec 2021

Advisor for SIC

Duties: Advisor for STEMs Inclusion Council-Graduate Students in STEM

Sept 2018 — May 2019

Member of Environmental Concerns Committee

Duties: Serve to promote sustainable initiatives at OU

Aug 2017 — May 2019

Advisor for LASH

Duties: Advisor for Latinx Association for Science and Health

July 2017 — May 2019

McNair Mentor

Duties: Mentor research project for current McNair Scholar

Dec 2016 — May 2019

Member of Staff Initiatives Committee

Duties: Support policies and procedures support staff at OU

Aug 2016—May 2017

Advisor for UNITE University of Nebraska Inter-Tribal Exchange

Duties: Campus advisor for Native American Student Organization

Sept 2014—July 2015

Advisor for UNL Sigma Lambda Gamma

Duties: Campus advisor for sorority

Aug 2014—July 2015

Advisor for OSU Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Duties: Campus advisor for sorority

Oct 2013—May 2014

Advisor for Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

Duties: Campus advisor for professional student organization

Aug 2012—May 2014

Co-Advisor Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority

Duties: Mentor founding members of the 1st Latina sorority at OSU

May 2009—May 2010

Additional Information

Speaking Engagements


NASPA Undergraduate Student Conference - April 2023

Considering the Profession of Student Affairs

Young Latinos of Wichita - September 2022

Our Latinx/a/o Identity

OSU-HSC SACNAS Chapter - May 2022

Cultural Identity and Professionalism

The Ije Awele Foundation - June 2021

Cancer Diagnosis and how it affects people in the Workplace

Graduate College, University of Oklahoma - April 2021

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

OSU-HSC Social Consciousness Series; Oklahoma State University - April 2021

Mentorship, Perspectives and Purpose: Examining Health in Latinx Community

Latin X Intelligentsia, Podcast - October 2020

Meaning of Latinx

Keynote McNair Banquet - April 2018

Silencing Imposture Syndrome in Pursuing Graduate Education

Keynote Oklahoma Sociological Association - November 2017

Violence of Environmental Racism and the Casualties of Brown and Black Bodies

Keynote Hispanic College Institute; Fort Hays State University - June 2017

Keynote McNair Research Symposium; Oklahoma State University  - March 2016

Keynote Latina Youth Leadership; University of Nebraska, Kearney  - February 2013

Putting Together the Pieces: Understanding our strengths & visualizing our

Leadership Presentation; Pittsburg State University - April 2012

Finding Leadership and Employing Advocacy


Conference Presentations


NASPA National Conference, Boston, MA - April 2023

Mujeres in Leadership

NASPA National Conference, Boston, MA - April 2023

Beyond the NUmbers: The Process of Determining Institutional Servingness for 4 Emerging HSIs.

NASPA Undergraduate Student Conference, virtual - March 2022

Senior Student Affairs Officers Panel

NASPA National Conference, Baltimore, MD - March 2022

Sip & Chat Chronicles Pandemic Edition: Lessons for Building Healing & Inclusive

NASPA National Conference, virtual - March 2021

Womxn of Color Gathering Event

NASPA National Conference, virtual - March 2021

Moderator: SA Unscripted: Activist vs Advocate vs Administrator

OK-LSAMP Ph.D. Camp, virtual - March 2021

Why Go to Grad School & Where to Apply

NSF Research Traineeship Annual Meeting. - January 2021

NRT’s as Change Agents: Design Interventions for Broadening Participation. Contributed talk. Kuras ER, S Mata

National Science Foundation-New PI Orientation - September 2020

The Role of the Program Coordinator

OK-LSAMP Ph.D. Camp, Weatherford, OK - March 2020

Why Go to Grad School & Where to Apply

Association of SNAP Nutrition Education Administration-Arlington, VA - February 2020

Understanding Cultural Relevance: Implications for SNAP-Ed

NASPA Multicultural Institute-New Orleans, LA - December 2019

Advancing Equity w Intrusive Multi-Year Programming for Underrepresented Students

National Science Foundation Research Traineeship-Evanston, IL - September 2019

Cultural Barriers of Graduate Programs

Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior-Orlando, FL - July 2019

Public Policy Considerations: Rooted in Food and Culture

Minority Women’s Conference-Norman, OK - April 2019

Exploring Gender Identity thru Art Expression

NASPA National Conference-Los Angeles, CA - March 2019

Bridging Belonging & Student Success: Impact of Intentional Programming 10 Years Later

NASPA Region IV-W Conference-Wichita, KS - October 2018

Supporting Our Future: Advocating for Graduate Students of Color

Society of Advancement of Chicano/Hispanic and Native Americans in Science-(SACNAS)
San Antonio, TX - October 2018

Promising Practices of NSF Research Traineeships: Promoting Interdisciplinary
Researchers and Transformative Approaches to Graduate Education

National Science Foundation NRT Annual Meeting-Arlington, VA - September 2018

Broadening Participation for Graduate STEM Education

Minority Women’s Conference-Norman, OK - April 2018

Promoting Graduate Education for Minority Women

NASPA National Conference-Philadelphia, PA - March 2018

What I Wish I Knew Moving Up the Ladder: Lessons From Rising Professionals

NASPA Multicultural Institute-New Orleans, LA - December 2017

Re-examining Access & Fostering Inclusive Excellence in Graduate Ed

NASPA Region IV-W Conference-Lincoln, NE - November 2017

Sowing Pathways for Latinx/a/o Students: Barriers, Resilience & Supportive Practices

NASPA National Conference-San Antonio - March 2017

Panelist -Intersections of Social Justice and Campus Safety Pre-Conference

NASPA National Conference-San Antonio - March 2017-

At a Crossroads: Examining the Implications of the Latino/a KC Gender Identity &
Expression Survey

Latinos Without Borders - March 2017

Empowering Leadership with Cultural Identity

NASPA Multicultural Institute-Miami, FL - December 2015

Creating a culture for identity infusing curriculum with identity development
for students in higher education

NASPA National Conference-New Orleans, LA - March 2015

Navigating with Courage: Latina Experiences in Pursuing the Doctorate

No Limits! -Omaha, NE - March 2015

Discourses of a Diagnosis: Narratives of Women in Academia

Latina Youth Leadership Conference-Kearney, NE - February 2015

Striving for Success

Women in Educational Leadership –Lincoln, NE - October 2014

Discourses of a Diagnosis: Narratives of Women in Academia

Oklahoma Women in Higher Education –Edmond, OK - November 2013

Discourses of a Diagnosis: Narratives of Women in Academia

Oklahoma Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics -Oklahoma City, OK - April 2013

Addressing Health Disparities to Increase Health Equity

Oklahoma Educational Studies Assoc.-Stillwater, OK - March 2012

Documenting the Undocumented

NASPA Region IV-W Conference-Omaha, NE - November 2010

DREAMing of New Frontiers: The College Dreams of Undocumented Students

Oklahoma Women in Higher Education Conference-Edmond, OK - November 2009

Transforming Girls into Women of Higher Ed with STYLE

NASPA Region IV-W Conference-Santa Fe, NM - November 2009


NASPA Region IV-W Regional Conference-Tulsa, OK - November 2008

Educating with STYLE

National Conference on Race & Ethnicity (NCORE)-Orlando, FL - May 2008

Cradle to the Grave

Oklahoma Educational Studies Assoc.- Norman, OK - May 2008

Tolerance Is Not Enough

Big XII Conference on Black Leadership Government-Stillwater, OK - February 2008

Reaction to Pro-action

NASPA-Multicultural Institute- Miami, FL - December 2007

Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Leaders