Posted on April 10, 2024 by Rebekah Alegria

Carlos Alvarez College of Business MBA students Gisela Riddle and Diana Vasquez were chosen to attend The Ph.D. Project annual conference in Chicago.


The conference showcases the benefits of a doctoral degree and allows students to network with students and faculty from a variety of universities. They were two of only 160 students selected to attend the conference nationwide. 

Gisela Riddle, who is a member of the college’s Alvarez Pre-Ph.D. Pathway, and Diana Vasquez, who begins the pathway in Fall 2024, learned much from the experience. Both students were eager to explore the possibilities of pursuing a doctoral degree in business and learn more about doctoral programs. 

"Being immersed in an environment of excellence and surrounded by a community that values and promotes higher education was truly uplifting,” said Riddle. “I felt incredibly fortunate and appreciative to have participated in such an enriching event.”  

Participants interacted with current Ph.D. students and university faculty from multiple disciplines and universities. “The conference was filled with positivity, insights and inspiration from those who generously shared their wisdom and experiences,” she added. 

Attending the conference was a significant step for Riddle and Vasquez in shaping their academic and professional aspirations. As they return to UTSA, they carry with them a renewed enthusiasm and determination to pursue a career in academia. 

"I firmly advocate for seizing opportunities to pursue one’s passions. It is crucial to never stop learning and important to continue to ask 'why.' In the Pre-Ph.D. Pathway, I am learning that contributing to the advancement of knowledge in any field of study through research is immensely significant," said Riddle. "My cohort and I are so fortunate to have Juan Manuel Sanchez as a mentor and passionate professor. He puts a spin on 'critical thinking and research and makes it exciting and fun—it’s all very interesting." 

Designed for driven and business-minded students, the Alvarez Pre-Ph.D. Pathway equips participants with essential research competencies sought after in doctoral programs as well as in research-intensive corporate careers. Students in the pathway take three academic courses and are part of a cohort of peers. Pathway participants have access to dedicated space to discuss research ideas and are invited to attend academic presentations and events, in addition to having opportunities to present their own research. Students interested in joining the fall 2024 cohort can find more information at , or contact Claudia Ortiz at

— Rebekah Alegria