Leadership Spotlight


Hayley Kral, Class of 2022

Hayley Kral is a degree counselor with the University of Arizona Graduate College. In this role, Hayley will be working with graduate students in several different departments to make sure they have solid plans of study, satisfactory grades, and strong committees to defend their theses/dissertations.

Javier Baca, Class of 2022

Javier Baca is the new Pima County Director of Information Technology. In this role, Javier is responsible for the leadership of all Information Technology services for Pima County, including the design, implementation, management, and client support for all IT, network, and application systems.

Johnique Woods, Class of 2022 Outstanding LLL Senior, May Convocation

Johnique Woods is Assistant Director of Event Planning for Arizona Student Unions.

Alyssa Gandolph, Class of 2022 Outstanding Senior for the College of Education, May Convocation

In the fall, Alyssa will be attending Harvard to begin a Master’s degree in Educational Policy!

Elizabeth Estrella, Class of 2021

Elizabeth Estrella is the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Intern at Tucson Electric Power. In this role, Elizabeth is working to build a more inclusive work environment to inspire innovation and promote “a learning culture where it is safe to try new things, ask for help, seek feedback, and discuss failures.” In addition, Elizabeth will be the new Digital Outreach Graduate Assistant for the Common Ground Alliance in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the University of Arizona. Elizabeth is starting her Master’s in Higher Education at the University of Arizona in fall 2021.

Sujey Benavides, Class of 2021 Outstanding LLL Senior, May Convocation

Sujey Benavides is now a recruitment coordinator for the College of Education.

Brennen Feder, Class of 2021

Brennen Feder is the recipient of one of the University’s top Undergraduate Honors, the Robie Gold Medal. This honor is awarded to students of high “personal integrity, initiative, cooperativeness, enthusiasm, humility, well-rounded interests, active participation in student affairs, service to the University, and an overall willingness to give more than required…” Brennen has accepted a position in Seattle working for Proctor and Gamble’s Amazon account. In addition, Brennen has been recently appointed to the National Board of Directors for Delta Sigma Pi, representing their 300,000+ members. Brennen is a dual major in LLL and Business. Congratulations, Brennen!

Jesse Duarte, Class of 2021 Outstanding LLL Senior, December Convocation

Jesse is an enrollment counselor for AZ ONLINE. 

Lisa Friedman, Class of 2021

Lisa Friedman will be an Education Fellow for the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Mississippi. In this role, Lisa will be serving communities of all sizes across the Southern region by assisting teachers in implementing Jewish curriculum, leading Shabbat and holiday services, creating religious school programming for all age groups, and assisting with community and cultural programming.

Savanah Whitney, Class of 2020

Savanah is a recruiter for the University of Arizona’s Eller MBA program!


Tais Jimenez, Class of 2020

Tais Jimenez is a Program Specialist for College and Career Readiness in the Mexican American Student Services Department. In this role, Tais works with students and parents to connect them with resources related to college and career readiness.

Makenna Clark, Class of 2020

Makenna graduated in May 2022 with an MA in school counseling through the University of Iowa. For the last year, Makenna was a graduate research assistant for the Native Center for Behavioral Health MHTTC, a mental health network specifically focused on mental health-related issues surrounding American Indian/Alaska Natives. Makenna is now a school counsellor at Miguel Juarez Middle School in Waukegan, Illinois.

Don Sanchez Kitch, Class of 2020

Don Sanchez Kitch is the new Site Director for the Belleview location of Family Promise in Scottsdale, AZ. Family Promise operates four locations that transition homeless families into emergency shelters. Family Promise leads families through a 60 day program to assist with employment & permanent housing. Don’s primary concern is helping the kids who are experiencing a loss of stability gain personal confidence as they see their parents succeeding through hardship. Don is starting an M.S. in Organizational Leadership at the University of Colorado Boulder in Spring 2021.

Tony Viola, Class of 2020 Outstanding LLL Senior, May Convocation

Tony Viola is the Outstanding College of Education Senior for the May 2020 graduation. Tony is also the recipient of one of the University’s top Undergraduate Honors, the Robie Gold Medal. This honor is awarded to students of high “personal integrity, initiative, cooperativeness, enthusiasm, humility, well-rounded interests, active participation in student affairs, service to the University, and an overall willingness to give more than required…” Tony will be back at the UA this fall to start a PhD in Language, Reading and Culture in the Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies Department as one of two recipients of the Richard A. Harvill Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship completely covers his entire first year of doctoral studies! Congratulations, Tony!!!

Seleana Kleparek, Class of 2020

Seleana Kleparek is the new Reading Seed Program Manager at Literacy Connects!

Sherry Chi, Class of 2020

Sherry Chi just completed a master’s of Business Analytics from ASU and is a market analyst with Leslie’s Pool Supply in Phoenix.

Etosha Price, Class of 2020

Etosha is a registered behavior technician at Endeavor Behavioral Institute in Houston, TX. Although Etosha mainly works with children with autism, she is branching out to work more with veterans in the area of substance abuse and severe trauma. Etosha is also working on a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from ASU.

Joseph Strum, M.A., Class of 2020

Joseph Sturm will be attending Penn State University in fall 2022 for a Ph.D. in Higher Education. Joseph received the prestigious Bunton-Waller Graduate Fellowship, a 5-year funding package that includes a work stipend, tuition, and health insurance. Joseph’s research looks at how the recruitment and marketing practices of colleges and universities impact the enrollment of underserved populations. Congratulations, Joseph!

Josh Carnes, Class 2020

Josh Carnes is the Operations Manager and co-owner of Mountain Springs Community Services, LLC. Mountain Springs provides Respite, Habilitation, and Attendant Care services to people with developmental disabilities in Tucson, Arizona.

Amanda Quintana, Class of 2020

Amanda Quintana is an Admissions Counselor for the University of Arizona. In December 2022, Amanda graduated with a M.A. in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona.

Laura Juarez, Class of 2020

Laura Juarez is starting a new position as the ASU Local Yuma Student Success Coach for Arizona State University. Laura graduated in May 2022 with a Master’s in Educational Leadership/Student Affairs from San Diego State University.

Brian Pearse, Class of 2019

Brian Pearse is an Academic Advisor for undergraduates in Physiology and Medical Sciences at the University of Arizona. In this role, Brian supports students by helping them plan their degree program and navigate their overall college experience by referring them to resources/services, clubs, and internships.

J.J. Taylor, Class of 2019

J.J. is going into his third year as a running back for the New England Patriots. In addition to playing for the NFL, J.J. has taken a new position as content creator for the Rocket League under the Oxygen E-sports organization.

Aja Rand, Class of 2019

Aja Rand is the Development Coordinator at Guiding Star El Paso where Aja works with marketing, social media, outreach, and grant writing. Guiding Star El Paso is a nonprofit organization that offers medical and health services for women and families. Previously, Aja was the Director of Operations for Creative Kids, an art education nonprofit organization in El Paso.

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Celia Romick portrait
Photo Credit: Clariz Jazmyn Photography

Celia Romick, Class of 2019

Celia is now the full time Site Coordinator at the YMCA of Snohomish County in Marysville, Washington.

Andrea Gauthier, Class of 2019 Outstanding LLL Senior, May Convocation

Andrea is joining a Leadership Development Program with Axon, an Arizona-based company focused on public safety technology.  Congratulations, Andrea!

Julia (Bacchus) Eicheid, Class of 2018

Julia (Bacchus) Eicheid is a new Assistant Director in the Office of Undergraduate Admission overseeing Southern Arizona first-year recruitment. Julia also co-manages a new partnership with the Earn to Learn Near Peer Advising initiative that works with current University of Arizona students to implement college-going initiatives embedded in select Pima, Santa Cruz, and Yuma County high schools.

Raymond Barton, Class of 2018

Raymond Barton is an enrollment counselor for AZ ONLINE.

Kylee Baldwin, Class of 2018

Kylee Baldwin has been promoted to a Human Resource Business Partner with Matrix Absence Management in Phoenix, Arizona. In Kylee’s new role at Matrix, she will be working with compliance, employee relations, investigations, and performance management.

Sarah Azhar, Class of 2018

Sarah Azhar is a new Instructional Designer at Amazon. Sarah has a Master’s Degree in Digital Media Design for Learning from New York University. Before her move to Amazon, Sarah was an Analyst in Organizational Effectiveness Systems & Online Learning for Jet Blue Airlines.

Colin Eischeid, Class of 2018

Colin Eischeid is now a Learning Specialist at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine. Colin also teaches TLS 400, the career development course for LLL students in the College of Education!

Sergio Castro, Class of 2018

Sergio is working on a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Arizona. Sergio’s research is on underserved students’ access to higher education.

Michelle Yu, Class of 2018

Michelle Yu is a Recruitment Advisor at Medix, a national staffing company working primarily within the Healthcare Industry, assisting clients with their hiring needs by conducting phone screens and face to face interviews with potential candidates.

Patrick Polanco, Class of 2018

Patrick Polanco, is an Employer Outreach Specialist for Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona. In this role, Patrick assists participants, 16-24 years of age who are enrolled in Goodwill youth programs. In addition, Patrick also works with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in Arizona, working directly with employers in Pima County to develop work experience opportunities, on-the-job training opportunities, internships and up-to-date local job information for individuals with a variety of barriers to employment.

Rosie Makinen, Class of 2018

Rosie is an Education Partnership Representative for Zovio (formerly Bridgepoint Education) doing corporate education benefit events for different companies across the nation.

Nubia (Velazco) Reyes, Class of 2018

Nubia (Velazco) Reyes is the new Area Director of Northwest Tucson Young Life!

Judith Gramajo, Class of 2018

Judith Gramajo is the new Coordinator for Communications and Outreach at the University of Arizona. In this role, Judith works with the Strategy Team for Student Success and Retention Innovation, a campus-wide effort to assist students with anything that will help them complete their degree (advising/applications/financial aid/tutoring/academic, health/wellness. etc.). As part of her responsibilities, Judith coordinates the Wildcat Welcome, the mid-semester Fall/Spring Pause, and Finals Survival Week. Judith will also be coordinating the Student Success Conference happening February 15-16 on campus. In 2020, Judith received her MA from the University of Arizona in Education Policy and is also the new Head Attack Coach for the University of Arizona Women's Rugby team!

Thea Van Gorp, Class of 2018 Outstanding LLL Senior, December Convocation

Thea Van Gorp graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Anthropology and Informal Education. Thea is now a full-time Education Consultant with InAmerica Education LLC, an international education consulting firm located in New York City. Thea works with families and students all over the world to strategize education plans, research opportunities, and support students’ and families’ needs as they pursue their educational goals in the United States.

Renna Bazlen, Class of 2018

Renna Bazlen is a Career Development Specialist for the International Rescue Committee in San Jose, CA. In fall 2021 Renna will be attending Teachers College at Columbia University to start a Master’s in International Educational Development. Renna’s focus for her studies will be on education during international emergencies.

Nicole Del Principe, Class of 2018

Nicole Del Principe is teaching Dance and Physical Education at Sabino High School (Tucson Unified School District).