Our dedicated team prevents injury and death on U.S. roads.
Regional Representatives help you get the Teens in the Driver Seat (TDS) and U in the Driver Seat (UDS) initiatives started and keep it running smoothly.
Russell H. Henk, P.E., CPPE – YTS Program Manager
210-321-1205 | [email protected]
Mr. Henk has worked at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute for 29 years, been a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas for 23 years, and currently serves as Program Manager of the Youth Transportation Safety Program in TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety. He has supervised and/or participated in over 100 research projects and technical studies. These technical activities have primarily been focused on transportation system operations, management and safety, with most of his recent projects being in the area of young driver and passenger safety. Mr. Henk is a nationally-Certified Peer Program Educator (CPPE).
Mr. Henk has held numerous leadership positions at the state and national levels. He is the founder of the innovative peer-to-peer teen driver safety program called Teens in the Driver Seat®. One of the fastest-growing initiatives at TTI, this program has now reached over 1,300 high schools and one million teens in 38 states. Since deployment of this nationally-recognized, award-winning program started in Texas in 2002, teen fatalities have decreased nearly 70 percent. The program now has active program elements for junior high schools, high schools and colleges/universities and is supported by a diverse mix of public and private sponsors at both the state and national levels.
Lisa Minjares-Kyle, CPPE, MCHES® – Assistant Research Scientist
713-613-9211 | [email protected]
Lisa Minjares-Kyle is a TTI Assistant Research Scientist under the Youth Transportation Safety Program at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). Her primary area of expertise involves research and development of educational outreach materials pertaining to young drivers. Topics of interest include: distracted driving, impaired driving, child passenger safety, peer-to-peer outreach and data analysis. She has conducted extensive literature reviews on multiple transportation topics and has co-authored several traffic safety technical papers as well as two traffic safety programs regarding drug and alcohol traffic safety issues. She led in the development of the Continuing Professional Education workshop for Teen Traffic Safety and played an active role in the development of the Peer-to-Peer Training Initiative for young teens. She is a Certified Passenger Safety Technician, which focuses on educating the public on child occupant safety through car seat checks and hands-on education. She is also a Certified Peer Program Educator, which focuses on educating teens about peer-to-peer outreach and programs including Peer Leadership. Current projects include Peer-to-Peer Traffic Safety Programs in Colorado, Delaware and Texas as well as Impaired Driving Education and Prevention in Texas. She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist and she obtained both her Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees from Texas A&M University in Psychology and Health Education.
Stacey M. Tisdale, MAIS, PMP, CPPE – Associate Research Specialist
210-321-1232 | [email protected]
Ms. Tisdale’s background in Communication, web development, and graphic design allows her to find new and innovative ways to convert statistics and safety messaging into materials, activities, and easy-to-remember education for peer-to-peer delivery for all age groups. Ms. Tisdale has developed several activities deployed within schools, including Zero Crazy, Ride With Me, and Extra Mile and was instrumental in Teens in the Driver Seat becoming a Certified Peer Program. She is also a Certified Peer Program Educator who has worked with hundreds of schools across the country to teach peer leaders to become traffic safety champions within their community and activate teams. Ms. Tisdale has been Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator for multiple projects in multiple states while continuing to work in the field with teens and young adults, giving her the unique perspective of how developed activities are carried through, materials are used, and end educational results. She is team lead for communication and marketing and is the regional representative for Georgia, the Midwest, and California. She currently serves on the National Association of Peer Program Professional’s Professional Development Board. Ms. Tisdale is a Certified Project Management Professional and has obtained her Master of Arts degree in Communication and Business.
Rubi Mares, CPPE, CPST – Research Associate
210-321-1211 | [email protected]
Ms. Mares has been employed with the Texas A&M University System for over 13 years. She joined the Youth Traffic Safety Center at Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) team in 2013 as a Research Specialist/Regional Representative. In her current role, as the Regional Representative for South Texas and other program schools nationally, she enjoys interacting and educating Teacher Sponsors and their students on traffic safety messaging and spreading the Teens in the Driver Seat lifesaving mission. Her dedication to the program has helped increase growth and peer-to-peer outreach significantly across her region. Ms. Mares serves as the principal investigator for the Deterring Distracted Walkers grant in the San Antonio region; coordinates the U in the Driver Seat Symposium and assists in coordinating other special events for the Youth Traffic Safety program, like the Teens in the Driver Seat Summit. She is a 2004 graduate of Texas A&M University and is a Child Passenger Safety Tech, and a Certified Peer Program Educator.
Gabriella Medina, MPA, CPPE, CPST – Assistant Transportation Researcher
512-407-1139 | [email protected]
Ms. Medina has been working in the field of communications for over six years, with four years professional experience in public relations, graphic communications, and outreach. Ms. Medina has extensive experience in electronic communications conceptualizing, collaborating, producing and managing a wide range of multimedia content; including: video, newsletters, websites, graphics, infographics, and social media. Gabriella serves as the Central Texas Regional Representative for the Teens in the Driver Seat and U in the Driver Seat program where she delivers presentations and assists with project deployment. Ms. Medina is the principal investigator for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety grant in the Austin region; assists in coordinating other special events for the Youth Transportation Safety (YTS) program; and serves as lead development officer for YTS Program 501(c)3 initiatives. Gabriella holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service. She is also a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, as well as a Certified Peer Program Educator.
Tia Olarinde, MHP, CHES
Research Specialist I
512-407-1107 | [email protected]
Tia Olarinde is a new traffic safety professional with the Youth Transportation Safety (YTS) program at TTI. She has previous experience in public health as a program specialist for 5 years. Tia has experience with program implementation, training development and delivery, program evaluation, and engaging public health stakeholders. Tia serves as a Texas Regional Representative for the Teens in the Driver Seat and U in the Driver Seat programs where she provides technical assistance to schools implementing the YTS programming. Tia also serves as lead researcher for YTS Program Health and Traffic Safety Initiatives. Tia holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.
Gracie Martinez, BFA – Program Specialist I
210-321-1252 | [email protected]
Ms. Martinez has spent over 10 years as a graphic designer and marketing professional. Before joining the Youth Transportation Safety (YTS) Program she worked in the healthcare private sector where she created and maintained brand standards as well as played a vital role in establishing an award-winning marketing department. She is a skilled creative marketing professional and holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Houston. Gracie now uses her graphic design and marketing skills as a part of the Teens in the Driver Seat team in a collective effort to promote teen traffic safety on our website, through social media, in print, electronically, and through the You in the Driver Seat app. She can regularly be seen photographing events and finding new ways to engage teens through social media channels and online.
Mr. Dever had worked with the YTS programs for several years before officially joining the team. Tyson conducts assemblies as a public speaker around Texas and other states telling teens about a crash with a distracted driver that left him paralyzed from the waist down. His moving presentation encourages teens to not only dirve safely, but also to grasp life and use their power for good in the world. Tyson also helps schools he comes in contact with get started with Teens in the Driver Seat or U in the Driver Seat to keep the safe driving message going in their communities. He regularly posts social media messaging answering questions about creating a great life from a wheelchair and encouraging teens to #BeTheChange.
Christy Thomas, CPPE, CPST – Senior Administrative Coordinator II
817-462-0512 | [email protected]
Ms. Thomas joined the Institute in 1987 and has served as the North Texas Regional Representative for the Teens in the Driver Seat and U in the Driver Seat programs since 2011 where she works with teacher-sponsors and students, delivering presentations and assisting with project deployment. Christy is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, as well as a Certified Peer Program Educator. Additionally, she serves as the Senior Administrative Coordinator for the North Texas Research and Implementation Group in the TTI-Arlington office. She has considerable knowledge in travel planning, purchasing, financial project management, report preparation, and graphic design. Christy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas.
Shannon Barkwell, CPPE, CPST – Research Specialist I
210-321-1207 | [email protected]
Ms. Barkwell is a Research Specialist I with the Youth Transportation Safety Program at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) San Antonio Texas Office. Shannon serves as the Nebraska and Southwest Texas Regional Representative for the Teens in the Driver Seat and U in the Driver Seat program where she delivers presentations and assists with project deployment. Prior to joining TTI in 2015, Shannon was the Injury Prevention Coordinator at UNC Hospitals, in Chapel Hill North Carolina. There Shannon was the Safe Kids Coordinator for two different Coalitions. She is actively involved with local, state and national initiatives to reduce childhood injuries and fatalities through educational programs and community outreach. She has extensive experience in program development planning, and management. Shannon holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Baylor University and a Masters from Texas A& M- Commerce.
Anna Hernandez Annette Dominguez
Brittany Urbina – Waamene Yowika – Cashondra Roberson