Rising Star Alumni Event 2021

Ms. Cortney Lebens: CEO of Muy'Ono Resorts

In 2014, Lebens started Muy’Ono, a resort management business in Belize. As chief executive officer, she expanded the portfolio from a single resort property to a diverse set of 16 highly successful resorts and supporting businesses.  Her design of the firm’s vision, culture, innovative marketing approach and the Travel Better initiative is leading the industry in a sustainable direction, creating 300 well-paying jobs while supporting local charities and community organizations.  Each of the Muy’Ono Resorts has been recognized by TripAdvisor with its certificate of excellence and the resorts have won many awards in the travel industry.

Lebens’ latest business venture is Live Large, a lifestyle movement that creates communities of inspiring individuals. Lebens’ future business plans include expanding Muy’Ono, creating an organic farm in Belize, developing a resort near Fredericksburg, and starting her own fashion line.

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Recent Alumni

Brittany Markides headshot

Brittany Markides ‘15

MS-Human Nutrition

The most valuable part of my education was the training and mentorship I received from the nutrition faculty, particularly from my thesis adviser, Dr. Sylvia Crixell. I was given the opportunity to gain a wide variety of research experience during my studies, which ultimately led to my receiving a full scholarship to complete my PhD at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia - whose nutrition and exercise science program has been ranked number one internationally.”

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 Seanna Marceaux ’12

 MS Human Nutrition

“Having a publication from my thesis changed the way people perceived my expertise, opened doors for me, and as a result, I am now VP of Nutrition, Health, and Impact at Meals on Wheels of Central Texas.”

Distinguished Alumni

Diana McGinty Schick headshot

2016: Diana McGinty Schick, ’71

Diana McGinty Schick has traveled the globe in her lifelong work as an internationally renowned Christian author, speaker and advocate for Christian outreach and ministry. But no matter how far she travels, she is never far from her roots at Texas State University.

A second-generation Bobcat and a four-year Strutter, McGinty’s commitment to Christian outreach began with a New Testament Religion course during her junior year. Soon after graduation, she joined Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU International). What began as one-on-one meetings with students and school leaders and faith outreach in juvenile detention facilities grew to serving as director of training for CRU’s national high school ministry.

In 1978, she joined CRU’s Christian Embassy, where she’s worked with cabinet and congressional officials, as well as foreign diplomats, including one year as a consultant to Charles Malik, Lebanon’s ambassador to the U.S., a founding delegate to the United Nations and co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 1985, McGinty left CRU to found Creative Living International, a nonprofit organization through which she’s authored, published and distributed 25 “user-friendly” Bible study books, with translations into nine languages. Her books have been used by thousands of Bible study groups nationally and internationally, and in prison ministries.

Beth Guastella headshot

2015: Beth Guastella, '84

After one year as president and COO of upscale baby product retailer, giggle, Inc., rose to chief executive officer, building on 30 years as a leader for international brands like Stuart Weitzman, Kate Spade New York and Hermes

Cleofas Rodriguez, Jr. headshot

2013: Cleofas Rodriguez, Jr., '91

Executive Director of National Migrant Seasonal Head Start Assoc.; former executive director of Texas State Head Start Assoc.; developed Rodriguez & Associates consulting firm addressing early childhood education, public policy, advocacy and nonprofit management

Nelwyn Moore headshot

2005: Nelwyn Moore, '51 & '66

Honored by Kinsey Institute for Sexuality Research; National Osborne Award for Excellence in Teaching

Judy Bishop headshot

1998: Judy Bishop, '63 & '93

Received the 1996 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching; education consultant for Creative Publications

Esther Broome headshot

1992: Esther Broome, '43

Led the research that developed flammability standards for mattresses and clothing and developed care labeling for textiles