Board of Directors

WE EXIST TO SUPPORT STUDENTS: While many college bookstores are operated by for-profit corporations, The University Co-op is an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and operated by a board of directors comprised of students, faculty, and staff at The University of Texas at Austin.

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS STUDENTS: Run to be on the Co-op Board of Directors

Every year during the annual campus-wide election, two UT students are elected to serve as representatives
of the UT student body on the University Co-op Board of Directors.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you do not want to miss out on. You will:

  • Get actively involved in directing a $25+ million business.
  • Oversee scholarships, grants, and funding.
  • Maintain a fiduciary responsibility to the University Co-op with a duty of care, a duty of loyalty and a duty of obedience,
    as mandated by state and common law.
  • Advance the educational interests of the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Represent the student voice on the Co-op board!
  • Get 40% off merchandise, textbooks and school supplies.
  • Kickstart your professional career.

Election Information

The positions are open to full time students at UT Austin, who have completed a minimum of twenty four (24) hours credit in residence and have at least a 3.2000 grade point average. Graduate students who have completed twelve (12) hours credit in residence are eligible to apply. Candidates must be able to serve for two years while maintaining full time student status.

These positions share equal responsibility and voting rights with the entire board consisting of two additional students, four faculty members, two independent members and a chair.

Both the application and Election Code are also available at The University Co-op: 2246 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78705

Being on the Board will not only further your student experience at our university, but will also enrich your professional experience. If there are any questions, please feel free to email

Meet the University Co-op directors

Garrett Sonnier

Chairperson of the Board
2021 - 2024

Dr. Garrett Sonnier is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. in marketing from the UCLA Anderson School of Management

His current research interests include product management, product and brand perceptions, pricing, Bayesian economics, and multivariate Bayesian statistics.

His research has been published in Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Marketing Science and the Journal of Marketing Research. Before earning his Ph.D., Dr. Sonnier was a strategic planning manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc.

Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez

Faculty Director
2020 - 2024

Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez is a writer-performer and dancer from San Antonio who has toured extensively throughout the United States. His book, Performing Policy: How Politics and Cultural Programs Redefined U.S. Artists for the Twenty-first Century (Palgrave, 2014), assesses how research and development initiatives since the late 1990s have radically reshaped artistic practices nationwide. Chronicling both historical, paradigm-setting moments and contemporary artist-driven initiatives

Performing Policy demonstrates how "creatives" regularly negotiate market-based and value-based concerns and shows how they may more effectively and ethically pursue opportunities in communities where they work.

His articles appear in Artivate: a Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Theatre Topics and a forthcoming anthology on New WORLD Theater. His plays have been published in The Color of Theater: Race, Culture, and Contemporary Performance (Continuum, 2002), Jump-Start Playworks (Wings Press, 2004) and Text and Performance Quarterly.

Currently, he serves as the head of Undergraduate Studies in Theatre and Dance, as well as the director of the Minor in Arts Management and Administration for the College of Fine Arts.

Ahmad Sammy Hamid

Student Director
2023 - 2025

Ahmad Sammy Hamid is a proud Palestinian, raised in Baytown, Texas before moving to Austin to attend The University of Texas as a member of Texas ‘24. He is currently pursuing a degree in Finance from the McCombs School of Business with goals of establishing a career Investment Banking.

Sammy has a strong passion for markets and understanding macroeconomic events in these markets. He currently interns at UT Southwestern as a Finance and Operations Executive Intern and will be joining Wells Fargo as part of their Investment Banking Energy Group in the Summer of 2024.

As far as involvement on campus, he is a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, serves as the Vice-President and former Head of the Analyst Committee for the Longhorn Macro Investors, has participated in the Neighborhood Longhorn Program, and was in the Energy Fund of the University Securities Investment Team. Outside of his campus life, he loves to box, spend time with my friends, and watch movies.

Kevin Haynes

Faculty Director
2022 - 2026

Kevin Haynes currently teaches Contracts and Property, and Contracts and Business Associations in the LL.M. Program, at The University of Texas School of Law. A graduate of Rice University and Stanford Law School, Kevin taught for many years at the University of North Carolina School of Law, and was a visiting professor at the law schools of Duke University, the University of Missouri, Seattle University, and American University.

Before law teaching, Kevin was a transactional lawyer in Silicon Valley, California, and in the Research Triangle Park, in North Carolina, representing tech and biotech startups and corporate and financial sector clients. Before he started teaching law school, Kevin was a Ph.D. candidate in English at Duke University, studying nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American literature (Kevin’s first-year Property and Contracts students have this to thank for being forced to read Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” with him).

Kevin also sits on the boards of Vivent Health, a national nonprofit providing comprehensive healthcare to people living with HIV, and Equality Texas, a statewide political advocacy organization that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, and, in 2020, was appointed by the Dean to represent the Law School on the University’s Council for LGBTQ+ Access, Equity, and Inclusion.

Harrison Hensley

Student Director
2024 - 2026

Harrison, a native of Lubbock, Texas, is currently pursuing a Finance degree with a Management Information Systems minor and an Elements of Computing certificate. He is set to work with Kestra Financial as a Business Consulting Intern during the summer of 2024. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in consulting and later a JD-MBA joint degree.

On campus, Harrison is involved as the Academic Director of Delta Tau Delta, an Analyst for Longhorn Macro Investors, a Consulting Analyst for the University Finance Association, and a member of the Neighborhood Longhorns Program. Beyond academics, he enjoys playing the cello, casual chess, and weightlifting.

Chris Oakland

Independent Director
2024 - 2026

Chris Oakland after more than a dozen years living in New York City, Chris Oakland decided it was time to return to Austin, where he was born, grew up, and completed his undergraduate degree in the Liberal Arts at The University of Texas, Austin. His post-graduate work includes an MPhil in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University.

In the eight years since his return to Austin, Chris has established himself as a highly qualified and respected real-estate professional with experience in residential sales, and development. He hopes to apply his knowledge and passion of real estate, and the business world, to the University Co-Op during his tenure on the Board of Directors. Currently, Chris is Principal at Oakland Urban, a development group focusing on historic preservation, and multi-family development--including senior-living projects—and has domestic and international projects. He also is affiliated with Twelve Rivers Realty, where he works as an agent.

Chris has been a life-long traveler and has lived abroad in four countries on two continents. His heart, however, always has been in Austin, and he is glad to have come home.

Luis Osorio

Student Director
2023 - 2025

Luis hails from Caracas, Venezuela, but was raised in Dallas, Texas. He is pursuing a degree in General Finance, and is interested in the intricacies of the consulting world. This includes understanding consumer behavior and how the market can change. Last summer he interned with PwC and Big-Thought as a non-profit consultant, and is looking forward to summer 2023 as he will be working with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a Summer Associate in Dallas. Later down the road he plans on pursuing an MBA.

Luis' involvement on the 40 Acres has included being the Head Social for his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, a Consulting Analyst for the University Finance Association, and the Philanthropy Chair for his professional organization, Phi Gamma Nu. Outside of school, he enjoys playing soccer, listening to podcasts, and spending time with family.

Cheryl Phifer

President & CEO

On February 1, 2016, Cheryl Phifer was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the University Co-operative Society and serves on the University Co-op Board of Directors. Cheryl Phifer brings extensive senior executive leadership experience from her long and successful tenure at Barnes & Noble and other national retailers. Prior to joining the Co-op, she held the position of Regional Vice President at Barnes & Noble Inc., and was responsible for a region with 135 stores with $730M annual sales volume within 13 states.

A highly accomplished and forward-thinking retail executive with consistent track record of exceeding expectations, Cheryl Phifer brings to the role, among other talents, an extensive knowledge of store operations, positive “people first” leadership style and philosophy and more importantly - strong passion to serve her alma mater. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Finance and has been a Life Member of the Texas Exes since 1987.

Tony Rogers

Independent Director

Tony Rogers joined Signet Jewelers in August 2022 as the Chief Marketing Officer. In this role, he leads marketing for the Signet family of brands, amplifying the unique voice and relationship each brand has with its prospective and loyal customers. With over 25 years of marketing and digital leadership experience, Tony has led purpose-based brand-building for iconic brands in both retail and consumer goods.

Tony spent the last 16 years at Walmart, Inc. where he served as CMO of Walmart U.S. and Walmart China, and as Chief Member Officer for Sam’s Club. During his time on Walmart, Tony and his team rebranded the company, (“Save Money. Live Better.”), modernized the marketing department in Walmart China, and unified the physical and digital marketing teams in Walmart US. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting and an MBA, both from the University of Texas at Austin. He remains deeply involved there, working with students, and serving on the McCombs Marketing Advisory Council.

Tony is a committed champion of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. He previously served as Co-Chair of the ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) and helped lead Sam’s Club’s HBCU recruiting efforts.

Lorenzo Sadun

Faculty Director
2021 - 2025

Dr. Lorenzo Sadun joined The University Co-op Board of Directors in 2021 as a faculty director. He is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from MIT, and a Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California Berkeley.

He has held teaching positions at the California Institute of Technology, New York University, Israel Institute of Technology and UT Austin and his research interests include topology and dynamics of aperiodic tilings, adiabatic quantum transport, and other problems of both physical and geometric interest.

Shirley E. Thompson

Faculty Director
2023 - 2027

Professor Thompson is Associate Professor of American Studies. She currently serves as the Associate Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. She received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization (2001) and her A.M. in History (2000) from Harvard University. She received her A.B. degree in History (1992) from Harvard College.

She is currently researching a book project entitled "No More Auction Block for Me: African Americans and the Problem of Property" which traces out some of the legacies of slavery for African American encounters with property and ownership. The project draws on the methodologies of cultural history, literary criticism, performance studies, ethnography, and critical theory. Her first book, Exiles at Home: The Struggle to Become American in Creole New Orleans is a cultural history of New Orleans' French-speaking free people of color over the middle decades of the nineteenth century. The dissertation on which it is based was awarded the Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Prize by the American Studies Association in 2001. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the American Association of University Women.

Melinda Wang

Student Director
2024 - 2026

Melinda Wang is a student at The University of Texas pursuing a degree in Management Information Systems with an Economics minor and Elements of Computing Certificate. She is a member of Texas '26 and is from Katy, TX. During summer 2024, she will be a Business Analyst Intern at The Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Later during summer 2025, she will enter PwC as a Cybersecurity -- Data Risk & Privacy Intern.

On campus, Melinda serves on the executive board of Texas Management Information Systems Association as the Special Events Director and former Logistics Director. She is also a Junior Analyst in the Asian Business Student Association Consulting Team. Previously, she was involved in UT Student Government's 117th Assembly as the Chair of the Financial Affairs Committee and worked to allocate funds among 80+ UT student organizations. Additionally, she was Texas Blockchain's Marketing Director. She is passionate about uplifting the community and making an impact on campus.

The Co-op Leadership Team

Cheryl Phifer

President and CEO

Michael Seyffert

Chief Operating Officer

Angie Cartwright

VP of People Experience

Angie Sorrell

Souvenirs, Bags, Market & Graduation Buyer

Daniel Karnatz

Store Director

Jer-el Martinez

Director of Management Information Systems

Joelle Houshmand

Women's, Kid's, & Best Brands Buyer

Jason Shumate

Art and School Supplies Buyer

Kate Mounger

Marketing Director

Kelli Hanks

Director of Corporate Projects

Kelly Mounger

Assistant Store Director of Personnel

Lindsey Hollingsworth

Assistant Store Director of Visual Presentation

Michael Kiely

Director of Course Materials

MJ Robinson

Director of Visual Merchandising

Olivia Biagi

VP of Merchandising

Omar Rosado

Distribution Center Director

Paul Korniyenko

VP, Controller

Rosie Barrera

Men's Apparel Buyer

Shane Siefke

Assistant Store Director of Operations