Luis Cavazos is a speaker, writer, and empowerment coach. He graduated from Texas State with a BA in Psychology in 2013 and completed a MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In 2016, he self-published The Five Virtues That Awaken Your Life, and he also started his business Nova Life Coaching in San Antonio. He works with both organizations and individual clients, with a particular focus on existential practice and the meaning of life. He works with organizations to analyze workplace conflicts. In 2020, he published his second book Emotional Beauty: How Its Gift Can Bring You to a New Meaning of Embrace. He has won several awards related to his writing and speaking, including Best Author of San Antonio 2018 by the San Antonio Current, Best Speaker in the Toastmasters Club (2018), and the Texas Trailblazer Award for Author of the Year and Best Mental Health Advocate (2020). In 2022, he gave a virtual talk on existential philosophy and finding meaning for the European Commission on Mental Health.
Most important thing he learned at Texas State:
He remembers feeling shy when he arrived at Texas State, and his professors made him feel at home and were a second family. He appreciated the cohesive environment at Texas State, which allowed him to learn to be a good leader and mentor to others. He learned communication skills and the importance of sharing our stories to be more empathetic. His Choice Theory class gave him a glimpse of life as a therapist, and he got excited about his future career. He also learned about existential therapy at Texas State, which motivated his interests in graduate school.
Favorite classes at Texas State:
Lifespan Development with Dr. Ogletree, Social Psychology with Dr. Angulo, Cognitive Processes with Dr. Westerberg, and Choice Theory with Ms. Rogers.
Fondest memories of San Marcos:
Luis remembers making friends on the first day of class and having friends from different backgrounds and cultures. He remembers study groups with friends at Alkek, including a particular evening when he and a group of pajama-clad friends grabbed doughnuts and went to study at Alkek Library late at night. He also remembers going to River Pub and Grill on weekends, sitting outside by the dock and enjoying the sunset. He also enjoyed floating down the San Marcos River.
Advice to new Texas State students:
College life is a series of events, and it’s important to be adaptive and flexible. Always keep in contact with parents and family, and reach out to a counselor or professors when facing unexpected challenges. Join clubs and organizations. Keep your mind moving toward growth and be open to new experiences.
Advice to students approaching graduation:
He encourages students to continue finding new avenues for service to the community after graduation. He encourages them to continue to grow their passion while at the same time finding ways to give back and shape the future.
Dr. Lindsay Bira
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Clinical Psychologist
UT Health San Antonio
Recognized by the university in 2016 as a Distinguished Alumni, Dr. Bira graduated from the Texas State Psychology program in 2008 before going on to complete her Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of Miami and her residency at the Boston Consortium, where she was a fellow for both Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine.
Dr. Bira currently has an Assistant Professorship at UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry where she works with STRONG STAR, which is the largest research consortium for the treatment and prevention of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in the world. She is also a clinical psychologist in private practice as well as a speaker and consultant.
Dr. Bira has been featured on local NBC and FOX affiliates, Women's Health Magazine, and on public radio programs. She recently participated in TEDx San Antonio where she gave a talk titled, "The Counterintuitive Life," covering how acting instinctively can reinforce problems and potentially lead to mental health issues. Evidence-based treatment for many mental health disorders is effective because it is approached in a manner that may initially seem counterintuitive, guiding the patient to do the opposite of what feels right to get better and achieve lasting change.