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 - 2022

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 hte Journal of Marketing Research. Before earning his Ph.D., Dr. Sonnier was a strategic planning manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc.

Tammy Benton

Independent Director

Tammy Benton offers more than two decades of experience in the Financial, High Tech and Real Estate industries. Tammy’s extensive experience includes strategic direction, Financial analysis, profit and loss responsibility, program management, partner marketing, and product marketing.

She is currently a Partner Marketing Manager at Amazon Web Services. Resourceful, tenacious and adept at looking at the big picture as well as diving into the details, Tammy thrives on new challenges and thinking “without the box” with creative solutions.

Tammy has an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and BA from Clark Atlanta University. She has returned to Austin to allow her “inner flower child” to blossom and spends any free time cycling or keeping up with her two teenager.

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.

Diane P. Bryant

Faculty Director
2019 - 2023

Dr. Bryant is a member of the Board of Directors for The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, the Project Director for the Mathematics Institute for Learning Disabilities and Difficulties, and the Co-Coordinator of the Assistive and Instructional Technology Lab in the College of Education. Dr. Bryant holds the Mollie Villeret Davis Professorship in Learning Disabilities.

She is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Learning Disability Quarterly and serves on numerous journal editorial boards. She is Principal Investigator on Project AIM, which is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and focuses on algebra-readiness concepts and skills for middle school students with mathematics difficulties.

She has published numerous articles on instructional strategies and assistive technology adaptations for students with learning disabilities in refereed journals such as Learning Disability Quarterly, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Exceptional Children, and Remedial and Special Education, and is the co-author of textbooks and educational tests.

As part of her early career in special education, Dr. Bryant taught students with learning disabilities and behavior disorders in Chelsea, MA; Crown Point, NM; and Albuquerque, NM. Further work in Albuquerque included working as a coaching specialist to assist special education teachers with instructional and behavioral issues in their classrooms.

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.

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.

Devon Hsiao

Student Director
2022 - 2024

Devon Hsiao was elected to the Co-op Board of Directors in Spring 2021. She is a proud double Longhorn -- she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2019 with a B.A. in Humanities and is currently a student in the University of Texas School of Law.

As an undergraduate, Devon was involved in the Foundation Scholars Program as a peer mentor, and also served as the president of the student organization Women in Foreign Affairs. Prior to law school, Devon served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in local Austin non-profit Family Eldercare.

Collin McCabe

Student Director
2021 - 2023

Collin McCabe hails from Fort Worth, Texas and is the first person in his family to attend the University of Texas. He is a general finance major with a minor in government and a certificate in public policy. He is most interested by the interaction between business and government, and how innovative companies can provide market solutions to societal problems. Last summer, Collin worked as a marketing intern for the Dallas Mavericks and presented marketing strategy solutions to the Mavericks’ executive leadership. Upon graduation, Collin hopes to work for a management consulting firm with a focus in sustainability. Later in his academic career, he may pursue an MBA or attend law school.

Collin is also thoroughly involved on the 40 Acres. He is a member of student government as a representative of the Recreational Sports Committee. He is also the assistant treasurer of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. As a member of the McCombs Leadership Program, he hones in on his leadership skills through community outreach and volunteering. Outside of these pursuits, you can find him jogging Austin’s best trails or cheering for Longhorn football. Hook ‘em!

Chris Oakland

Independent Director
2022 - 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.

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.

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.

Eric Yu

Student Director
2020 - 2022

Eric Yu was elected to the Co-op Board of Directors in Spring 2022. Eric is a student at the University of Texas Law School. During his summers, Eric works at Latham & Watkins in Austin performing private equity, capital markets, and M&A legal work.

Before law school, Eric studied at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, majoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. After Georgetown, Eric worked as a management consultant in Washington, DC, during which he consulted on the F-35 Fighter Jet Program, the Columbia Nuclear Submarine Program, and helped develop the budget for Puerto Rico’s Transportation Agency.

The Co-op Leadership Team

Cheryl Phifer

President and CEO

Michael Seyffert

Chief Operating Officer

Angie Sorrell

Supplies & Market Buyer

Daniel Karnatz

Store Director

Jer-el Martinez

Director of Management Information Systems

Joelle Houshmand

Women’s and Kids’ Buyer

Kate Mounger

Marketing Director

Kelli Hanks

Director of Corporate Projects

Kelly Mounger

Assistant Store Director of Personnel

Lindsey Hollingsworth

Assistant Store Director of Merchandising

Michael Kiely

Director of Course Materials

Olivia Biagi

Director of Merchandising

Paul Korniyenko


Rosie Barrera

Souvenirs & Graduation Buyer