Speaker Information

Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia

Gonzalo Martinez De Vedia Program Manager, Buffett-McCain Institute Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia is the program manager for the Buffett-McCain Institute Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery, a comprehensive program to counter human trafficking in the agricultural sector in Texas.
Before joining the McCain Institute for International Leadership, Martinez served as senior policy associate at Humanity United, where he helped manage the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), and human trafficking specialist at the Worker Justice Center of New York.
Under various state and federal government grants, Martinez provided comprehensive case
management for trafficking survivors, led targeted outreach to high-risk workplaces, and trained thousands of law enforcement officers and service providers on trafficking identification and response.
He has also served as a human rights commissioner for the County of Ulster, New York, and policy co-chair for Freedom Network USA. He has informed rights-related coverage for NPR Weekend Edition, This American Life, and the New York Times, among many other national and local media outlets.
Martinez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from Cornell University, where he was the founding president of the Immigrant Farmworker Initiative. His latest publication — Labor Trafficking: The Garcia Case and Beyond — went to print in 2017 with the Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company in Phoenix.

Valerie Rivera

Valerie M. Rivera is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. She earned her undergraduate degree in social work from The University of Texas-Pan American where she also went on to receive her Master of Science in Social Work.
Mrs. Rivera is a former school social worker that worked primarily with adolescents at-risk of dropping out of school due to emotional, physical and psychological abuse. She provided social support services to students in individual and group formats. She treated a variety of mental health concerns, with a focus on the treatment of Post- traumatic Stress Disorder.
Mrs. Rivera is an avid believer that complex trauma endured in childhood has adverse effects in adulthood; therefore, she has received specialized training in Cognitive Processing Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, Narrative Processing Therapy and Internal Family Systems. Through these therapy modalities, she has seen progress in behaviors and thinking patterns.
Today, Mrs. Rivera is a clinical social worker for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. She also teaches for the same institution as an adjunct lecturer with the School of Social Work. Mrs. Rivera enjoys contributing to the professions of counseling and
social work and to the community at large through trainings and facilitations of on-going learning.

Molly Voyles

Molly Voyles is a Public Policy Manager for the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) and has worked at the coalition for over 10 years. In her position at TCFV, she provides technical assistance and training across the state on family violence program policy issues with a focus on supporting survivor-centered services. She also works on systemic efforts to examine the intersection of homelessness and domestic violence and currently serves on the Texas Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Prior to joining TCFV, Ms. Voyles worked in a variety of roles within domestic violence programs with a primary focus on assisting survivors with accessing stable housing and working with children of survivors of domestic violence. She has worked with survivors in both rural and urban settings and has an understanding of the unique challenges, and solutions, available to these different communities. She attended Indiana University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.

Roy Rios

Roy Rios is the Prevention Manager at the Texas Council on Family Violence in Austin, TX.
Rios has worked extensively with victim, offender, and prevention programming service providers on best practices, advocacy, and facilitation. Rios has worked in the movement to end gender based violence since 2002; his current areas of expertise are on issues related to developing innovative prevention practices, understanding the
impact of technology on prevention and intervention processes, engaging men to end gender based violence, and effectively serving LGBTQ populations. Prior to joining TCFV, Rios held various leadership roles at Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock, managing the community education and prevention department, organizational development, and battering intervention and prevention.

Carrie Nettles

Carrie Nettles, an ordained minister with a master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, began her role as a victim services specialist at the Julie Valentine Center in January 2017. In her role as a victim assistance specialist, Nettles will help adults, children and families process spiritual questions pertaining to abuse and will coordinate this work with the medical and mental health professionals assisting the child.
Nettles will also oversee training of clergy throughout the state to assist them in better addressing the spiritual impact of child abuse and sexual assault.

Elizabeth Gershoff

Elizabeth Gershoff is a Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on how parental and school discipline affect child and youth development and how parent education and early education programs, such as the federal Head Start program, can improve the lives of at risk children. She is an internationally recognized expert on the effects of physical punishment on children. She currently serves as Director of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative on Development in Context and as Associate Director for Faculty Development at the Population Research Center, both at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Gershoff’s research has been supported through federal grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute for Mental Health, and the National Science Foundation.

Heath Hardwick

Special Agent Heath Hardwick began his law enforcement career in 1995 in West Texas as a Police Officer with the Alpine Police Department. SA Hardwick graduated in 1999 from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. In 2003, SA Hardwick began his federal law enforcement career and was stationed in Presidio, Texas, and then in 2007 in Midland, Texas. SA Hardwick became a Computer Forensics Agent in 2008 and investigated numerous child exploitation cases throughout West Texas. In 2010, SA Hardwick began to conduct public speaking events in school about Cyber Safety to educate children, parents, teachers, school administrators, and law enforcement about the dangers to children while online and teaching children how to protect them from online predators. In 2015, SA Hardwick transferred to the Corpus Christi, Texas, office to continue working toward the protection and safety of children throughout the Coastal Bend area. 

Jamie Ferrell

Jamie Ferrell is a Forensic Nurse with 30 years of experience in many areas of nursing practice. She directs the Forensic Nurse Response Team at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, training and leading nurses in the work of evaluating victims of physical and sexual assault. Beyond Houston, she is a founding member of the Forensic Nursing Certification Board of the International Association of Forensic Nurses. She travels throughout Texas and the nation training nurses and assisting institutions in creating violence response teams.

Sonja Eddleman

Sonja Eddleman is also a Forensic Nurse with 30+ years of experience in many areas of nursing practice, 25 of which are in forensic nursing. She created and directs the CARE Team at Driscoll Children’s Hospital and the CAART Team at Valley Baptist Health Systems. CAART has worked for the past 13 years with victims of violence, law enforcement agencies, and community advocates in improving our community’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.

Raquel Vargas-Whale

Dr. Raquel Vargas-Whale serves as the Medical Director and Child Abuse Pediatrician with the CARE (Child Abuse Resource & Evaluation) Team at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dr. Vargas-Whale primarily provides medical and forensic services to children in south Texas with concerns for any type of child maltreatment. She is also responsible for resident and medical student education related to advocacy and child maltreatment and provides community education and outreach. Dr. Vargas-Whale graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2005, and completed her pediatric residency in 2008 at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. After graduation, Dr. Vargas-Whale served as an Indian Health Services Scholar and staff pediatrician for the Choctaw Nation Health Service Authority in Oklahoma. Her practice emphasis was in the area of behavioral health and child development. Dr. Vargas Whale completed fellowship training in Child Abuse Pediatrics at The University of Utah and at the same time completed a Master’s degree in Clinical Science Investigation, graduating in July, 2015. Dr. Vargas-Whale is Board Certified in both General Pediatrics and Child Abuse Pediatrics.

Brad Norat

Dr. Norat is in his third year of fellowship training in Child Abuse Pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio’s Long Schol of Medicine. As part of his training, Dr. Norat provides clinical assessments for children who are suspected of being victims of all types of child maltreatment. Because of the nature of these assessments, he also provides expert testimony in civil and criminal proceedings. In addition, Dr. Norat’s responsibilities include outreach education in the community, including presentations and creating educational materials. He is also involved in teaching medical students, residents, and nursing students.
Dr. Norat received his medical degree from Michigan State University in 2014. He completed his pediatric residency training at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. His calling to take care of and advocate for children who have been abused brought him to San Antonio, Texas to study with physician leaders in the subspecialty of Child Abuse Pediatrics.
He is currently pursuing a three-year fellowship to join their ranks as a Child Abuse Pediatrics specialist.

Andrew Perez

Dr. Andrew L. Perez obtained his doctorate degree in Rehabilitation Counseling in May 2018. He holds licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor. Dr. Perez attended the University of Texas-Pan American where he obtained his undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Following the completion of his master’s degree, he worked as a Mental Health Clinician for the University of Texas medical Branch-Correctional Managed Care Division at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison, providing assessment and counseling services for inmates struggling with mental health issues.
He then returned to UTPA (which became part of the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) and has been working as a counselor for the campus counseling center for the past six years. He is currently a Supervising Clinical Therapist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Counseling. On a part-time basis Dr. Perez teaches for the School of Rehabilitation Services and Counseling and the Counseling Department when needed. Dr. Perez’s interests include disabilities, family violence, sexual assault, malingering and feigning, suicide prevention, and counselor supervision.

Eddie Hurtado

Eddie Hurtado – Supervisory Special Agent, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement SSA Hurtado is currently the commander of the RGV CEITF, which incorporates personnel from HSI Brownsville, HSI Harlingen, HSI McAllen, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Brownsville Police Department, the Harlingen Police Department, the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office, the Brownsville Independent School District Police Department, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Cameron County District’s Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The guiding principal of the RGV CEITF is to co-locate partner law enforcement officers and agents to force multiply each agency’s resources, authorities and jurisdictions to prevent, identify, investigate, and ultimately prosecute child exploitation related crimes. Prior to overseeing the RGV CEITF, SSA Hurtado served as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Director of the Financial, Narcotics and Special Operations Division in Washington, D.C., which administers a wide variety of programs and special operations targeting transnational criminal organizations involved in money laundering, bulk currency smuggling, narcotics smuggling and other crimes enforced by HSI. SSA Hurtado also served as the task force commander overseeing the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats (ACTT) in Southeastern Arizona. ACTT is a collaborative enforcement effort that leverages the capabilities and resources of more than 60 federal, state, local and tribal agencies in Arizona and the Government of Mexico. Together, these entities combated individuals and criminal organizations that pose a threat to communities on both sides of the border.

Joe Mirino

Special Agent Joe Mirino is a Computer Forensics Agent with Homeland Security Investigations. Prior to joining HSI in 2010, he earned a Bachelor of Science from the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Special Agent Mirino also holds an A+ Certification from the Computing Technology Industry Association. As a Computer Forensics Agent, Special Agent Mirino supports federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in a wide range of investigations varying from drug trafficking, to money laundering, to homicide.
His primary area of expertise is in the mobile device arena, where the increased usage and proliferation of small scale digital devices has led to an entire subfield of digital forensics growing out of the mainstream practice of computer forensics. Special Agent Mirino is currently assigned to the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit in Brownsville, Texas.

Marsha Griffin

Marsha Griffin, MD, is  rofessor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Child and Family Health at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. Immigration and border militarization are two critical global child health issues on the southern border. In response, Dr. Griffin has spent the last ten years writing and speaking both nationally and internationally about her concerns for the trauma inflicted on immigrant children living along the border, as well as those immigrant children who are forced to pass through this region in search of safe-haven. She served previously as the Co-Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Special Interest Group on Immigrant Health and co- author of the AAP Policy Statement on the Detention of Immigrant Children. She now serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the newly formed AAP Council on Immigrant Child and Family Health.
She is a designated spokesperson to the media on immigration issues for the Academy and reviews proposed federal legislation and regulations. In 2018, D. Griffin received one of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ highest awards, the Clifford G. Grulee Award, for her advocacy for all children and for her outstanding service to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Brandy Bailey

Brandy Bailey is an Assistant District Attorney in the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Bailey is a graduate of Texas A&M University and of the University of Texas School of Law. Ms. Bailey joined the District Attorney’s Office in 2008. Ms. Bailey is one of the founding members and current supervisor of the Cameron County Child Abuse Unit which was created in July of 2013.

Victor Vieth

Victor Vieth has trained thousands of child-protection professionals from all 50 states, two U.S. Territories, and 17 countries on numerous topics pertaining to child abuse investigations, prosecutions and prevention. Victor gained national recognition for his work in addressing child abuse in small communities as a prosecutor in rural Minnesota, and has been named to the President’s Honor Roll of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. In 2012, Victor was awarded the Pro Humanitate Award from the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare. Victor is the Director of Education and Research of the Zero Abuse Project, a 501©(3) public charity based in St Paul, MN, committed to education, training, and survivor support in order to eradicate child sex abuse and remedy its resulting harms. He is the 2018 President of the Academy on Violence & Abuse, and founder of the National Child Protection Training Center. With NCPTC and its partners, Victor has been instrumental in implementing 22 state and international forensic interview training programs and dozens of undergraduate and graduate programs on child maltreatment.
Mr. Vieth graduated magna cum laude from WSU and earned his Juris Doctor from Hamline University School of Law (HUSL). In 2017, Victor earned an MA in theology from Wartburg Seminary. Mr. Vieth has published countless articles related to the investigation, prosecution and prevention of child abuse and neglect. He is author of Unto the Third Generation, a bold initiative that outlines the necessary steps we must all take to eliminate child abuse in America in three generations, and On This Rock: A Call to Center the Christian Response to Child Abuse on the Life and Works of Jesus (Wiff & Stock 2018).

Shauna Galloway-Williams

Shauna Galloway-Williams is the Executive Director of Julie Valentine Center. Shauna has more than 18 years of experience in the eld of mental health, specializing in child abuse and sexual assault. As a licensed professional counselor, she conducts forensic interviews, provides expert witness testimony, conducts training in the eld of child abuse and sexual assault, and facilitates groups for non-oending caregivers. Shauna received her BA in Psychology at Winthrop University and her M.Ed. in Counseling at Clemson. Shauna serves as immediate past board president of the SC Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, as an adjunct faculty member of the USC Upstate CAST program, and a member of the Silent Tears task force. Shauna is passionately committed to helping children and families to navigate the storm of child abuse and sexual assault and to see an end to these crimes in our community.

Joel Perritte

Joel is the founding pastor of Emmaus Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Emmaus Church recently marked their sixth anniversary in the fall of 2019; the church family remains committed to the vision – “May it be in Corpus Christi as it is in Heaven.” Joel’s passion is to equip the church to treasure King Jesus as a family of disciples on mission for the glory of God, the good of the city, and the joy of the nations.  Joel also serves as the Pastoral Ambassador for CarePortal in South Texas. Joel and his wife Kari have been married for 15 years and have two children, Barnabas (5) and Jonatha (11 mo.).