Denise E. Herrera, Ph.D., MCHES

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Research-Evaluation-Learning Unit)


  • B.S., University of New Mexico (2002)
  • M.S., University of Arizona (2004)
  • Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin (2009)


The UT-HED doctoral program equipped me to provide expertise in program planning and evaluation at local, state, national, and international levels. My academic journey was never a straight or smooth path, and my resilience was often tested to the brim. Fortunately – the faculty, peers, and mentors I encountered during (and beyond) my UT tenure believed in me when I failed to believe in myself. Some of the greatest lessons I learned stemmed from mistakes I made or projects that did not go as planned. It took me years to embrace failure, but now I have the career of my dreams.

Words of Wisdom

  1. Dream B-I-G and fail fast!
  2. Find a mentor (or multiple mentors) and cultivate relationships early and often.
  3. Adopt a healthy life/work balance. Community service does wonders for your soul.
  4. Find or create opportunities to network – the universe has a funny way of coming full circle when you least expect it.