Content starts here
AARP AARP States Texas Community

AARP Texas Announces 2022 State Walking College Fellowships

AARP Texas has announced the names of nine local advocates who have received fellowships to participate in the Texas State Walking College.

The program is presented in partnership with AARP Livable Communities and America Walks, a national education and advocacy organization. The group works to advance safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and move by giving people and communities the resources to effectively advocate for change.

“We are pleased to welcome this group of passionate community leaders who are working to improve walkability and livability in communities throughout the state,” said AARP Texas Acting State Director Ryan Gruenenfelder. “The fellows represent a range of backgrounds and experiences, and we look forward to their success.”

The Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents. Fellows will complete a six-module distance-education program this summer, covering the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with decision makers.

The Texas State Walking College fellows are:

  • Marissa Alexander, a high school teacher who resides in Houston and Wyoming.
    Marissa Alexander.jpg
    Marissa Alexander

  • Laura Atlas, a community planner and former teacher and project manager in Austin.
    AtlasLaura_Walking College Photo.png
    Laura Atlas
  • Leslie Cantu, a county extension agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Leslie Cantu

  • Nancy De La Fuente, a project coordinator with the Harris County Department of Public Health who resides in Humble.
Nancy De La Fuente.jpeg
Nancy De La Fuente

  • Deb Kellstedt, an assistant professor and extension specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and an adjunct assistant professor at Texas A&M: School of Public Health.
Dr. Deb Kellstedt.JPG
Deb Kellstedt

  • Hazel Paguaga, a program associate at The Funders Network, who resides in San Antonio.
Hazel Paguaga.jpg
Hazel Paguaga

  • Ricardo (RJ) Requejo Jr., the communications director for San Antonio Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia.
Ricardo (RJ) Requejo Jr.png
Ricardo Requejo

  • Mary Shockley, an educator and the Family and Community Health Agent for the Texas AgriLife Extension Office in Hunt County.
Mary Shockley.jpeg
Mary Shockley

  • Addie Walker, a community organizer and advocate from Austin with a background in public health and equity.
Addie Walker headshot TXWC.jpg
Addie Walker

The following Walking College mentors have been appointed to provide coaching and facilitate discussion groups:

  • Letora Anderson, a landscape architect, urban planner and educator. Anderson is an assistant professor at the University of Texas Arlington’s College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.
Letora Anderson

  • Katie Smith Deolloz, a walkability advocate and health coach who is a 2017 fellow of the National Walking College.
Katie Deolloz Headshot.JPG
Katie Deolloz

  • Heyden Black Walker, director of planning for Black + Vernooy Architecture and Urban Design. Walker is a 2016 National Walking College fellow.
Heyden Black Walker
Heyden Walker

AARP Texas Associate State Directors Ismael Herrera and Jessica Lemann will assist in administering the program.

About AARP Texas
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.