Alumni Stories

Alumni Stories: Look at what our graduates do!

Elias Ortega, Class of 2023

Elias is a Learning Specialist with Cats Academics, the academic arm of the University of Arizona Athletics.

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 now the Human Resources Operations Coordinator at Tucson Electric Power. Elizabeth moves into this role after working two years as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Intern at Tucson Electric Power.

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

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

Jesus Villarreal, Class of 2021

Jesus works as a recruiter for MBA Programs in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.

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 works for the University of Arizona Online Admissions as a corporate enrollment partner.

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 Assistant Director of Recruiting for the University of Arizona’s Eller MBA programs!


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 a Program Manager for UMOM Next Steps Center, one of the largest family shelter programs in Maricopa County with 500+ people on campus every night.

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.

Rebecca Perez, Class of 2019

Rebecca is the program manager for Urban to Wild, a program within the national nonprofit organization, The Wilderness Society. In this new role, Rebecca will lead local efforts to make public lands more accessible in urban spaces with local partner organizations to develop policy initiatives and design a comprehensive plan to engage youth in environmental justice projects throughout the city of Tucson.

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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!