Dean's Undergraduate Advisory Board

The College of Education Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board represents the voices, concerns, and interests of the diverse undergraduate student body and serves as a direct line of communication between students and College of Education administration in an effort to improve the undergraduate student experience.

The board meets monthly with the dean to lend advice and support on matters of importance to the student body. The board also serves as a representative voice in sharing the hopes and concerns of the students with the dean. Each board member serves as an outreach source to gather student voices and bring them to the table for discussion. The job of the board is to provide a voice for all undergraduate students in the College of Education.

For more information or to get in touch with a board member, please contact the board advisor, Sara Knepper via email. Applications to join the board are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Elle Li Allman
Elementary Education

Why did you choose your major?  I decided on this major because I love being around kids and after my senior year I got to student teach during the summer through a program and it was amazing to help 13 developing brains get to where they need to be.

Why did you want to join the Board?  To see other majors in the college of ed as well as seeing how they may play a future role when I get my own classroom.

Favorite memory in the COE: One of my first professors Cindy Cruz had us do a yoga day to help us balance our school work and mental health and we had a fun time failing at all of the poses.

Samantha Faith Byker
Rehabilitation Studies & Services
American Sign Language

Why did you choose your major?  I have a passion and heart for serving individuals underserved and disadvantaged by society. I love caring for others and forming relationships to help people reach their goals. With a future in Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation provides the skills and education required to reach my goals.

Why did you want to join the Board?  I wanted to be active in the College of Education and make sure to represent the student body. I love being active and collaborating with others so this was a perfect club for this.

Favorite memory in the COE: Club parties are so fun! Any of these have been such a great memory.

Alex Kellerman
Deaf Studies

Why did you choose your major?  I chose to go into Deaf Studies major to become an American Sign Language interpreter. My high school offered ASL as a second language, so I took it to get an easy “A” for a language credit, but I ended up falling in love with the language, the culture, and just learning about the Deaf/Hard-of-hearing perspective. It has led me to be very involved with anything related to ASL at the U of A. I am the president and founder of the ASL Club, an ambassador for the College of Education, and I am the lead chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board too. If there is any way I can help support the students at the U of A, I am right up front and center to help give my support.

Why did you want to join the Board?  I decided to apply for a position on the Dean's Advisory Board once my counselor told me about the opportunity. I have really grown to like being a part of this program because I feel like I am going to be making a difference on what decisions are made within the education department for all of the students that are a part of it.

Favorite memory in the COE: My favorite COE memories are going to any scholarship event, whether it has been a breakfast or a general ceremony. The reason why those have been my favorite memories is because of all of the wonderful people I’ve met as alumni, donors, faculty, staff, and other recipients. I love listening and watching people do their speeches as well as listen to the stories of the past students that are now providing these scholarships.

Any other information you would like to share! I look forward to seeing what great accomplishments that we can make as a team together.

Madzy Ryan LaMonica
Early Childhood Education

Why did you choose your major? I am passionate about researching and addressing inequities in early childhood as these years are the foundation for all future education.

Why did you want to join the Board? I wanted to join the board to provide more opportunities for students who want to get involved but need accessible options to do so. I am an online and disabled student, and so I want to advocate for opportunities for online involvement for others.

Favorite memory in the COE: My favorite memory in the COE is getting to come on campus for the first time after doing my first three years online and getting to see the COE building.

Hayley Nicole Motika
Early Childhood Education

Why did you choose your major? My first job was at a preschool and I've loved teaching ever since. Early childhood education brightens my day and encourages me to express my inner child.

Why did you want to join the Board? I joined the Board to be more involved with the college of education and help amplify the voice of our student body.

Favorite memory in the COE: My favorite memory in COE was the end of the year event that my the COE Ambassadors organized in December. We had a great time celebrating the end of the year and semester with decorating cookies, having dinner, and playing games.

Jenna Nicole Newkirk
Rehabilitation Studies & Services
Business Administration and Psychology

Why did you choose your major? I chose Rehabilitation Studies and Services as my major because of my passion for advocating and caring for people with disabilities. In the future, I hope to become an Occupational Therapist that helps patients develop, recover, and maintain the skills needed for daily activities of living and working.

Why did you want to join the Board? I joined the Dean's Advisory Board to share my experiences as a Rehab student to become a  useful representative for this major and promote positive change. I hope to form relationships with all people involved including students, advisors, professors, and the dean to learn and grow from their personal stories and backgrounds. I love being in welcoming communities that promote friendships and new opportunities.

Favorite memory in the COE: I am a new member and have only experienced one meeting with the Board so far. Everyone welcomed me with smiles, eager to get to know who I am and what I will bring to this new community.

Samantha M Paredes
Early Childhood Education

Why did you choose your major? I chose to study early childhood education because I want to be able to provide a welcoming and diverse community for young children to help them develop a healthy and positive relationship with their education.

Why did you want to join the Board? I decided to apply for the Board because I have always focused on participating in civic engagement. I am very passionate about speaking up about issues that may arise in my communities, so I am excited about the Board as an opportunity to do that.

Favorite memory in the COE: My favorite memory in the COE so far, was taking TLS 150, because this course was so impactful and allowed me to learn about the institutional issues within the education system throughout its existence.

Ashley Marie Taoka
Elementary Education
Bilingual emphasis with a Spanish minor

Why did you choose your major? I choose to study Elementary Education because education is a feild I have always been drawn to and is where my passion is. I found that elementary was the ages I loved most. I absolutely love being in the classroom with the kids, and seeing them grow and learn is so fulfilling. Their joy brings me joy! I choose to pursue a bilingual endorsement on my degree with a Spanish minor because these are skills I feel are so important in the feild in todays society. There are so many children who need the Spanish support in schools and I want to be able to give it to them. In pursuing this, I have been more emerged in my culture and its language than ever before. It has been very special for me, and it's even more special that I get to share this with the students I work with. Besides this career being where my heart is, I feel like this career is one of the most impactful careers you can choose. As teachers we get to teach and shape the minds of the future, and I feel like that is something really special and amazing. That is why I choose to study Elementary Education with a bilingual endorsement.

Why did you want to join the Board? I was initially promoted to join the board due to my position as the College of Education Student Council President. At the time I did not know much about it but soon realized this was a place I was meant to be. As a member of the board we get to represent the voices of our fellow students to share their ideas, thoughts, and concerns about the college with the Dean. In our recent times with the country being in an economic crisis, campuses becoming more and more dangerous, and a global pandemic; this job has become so important as students today are facing a lot of issues. I have always believed that it is important to stand up and speak out when necessary, being a part of the board you get to do this and that is why I want to be on the board; to help make a difference for the better.

Favorite memory in the COE: I have had so many great memories being a student in the UA COE it is too hard to pick just one as my favorite. That being said the majority of my favorite memories are with my amazing cohort that has become my family. We have shared so many laughs and good times. While it hasn't always been rainbows and sunshine, the hard times make the good ones even sweeter. My college experience would have been so different without my cohort (including the teachers and professors for our cohort), that being said my favorite COE memory is all the ones I shared with them!

Any other information you would like to share! During my time on the board, with the help of my cohort, classmates, teachers, and of course the Dean, I have started an anniciative to help get student teachers paid for their time. I brought to the Dean's attention, that due to the large amount of time we spend student teaching, many of us are not able to work jobs and have had to quit jobs we previously held to support ourselves. This is a national issue that the UA COE has begun taking steps to combat. Due to everyone's hard work and action, this semester is the first semester student teachers in the college are provided with support opportunities from the college and university during student teaching asside from the support offered to all students. I am proud to be behind this annicative, and this proves that every voice is important and how impactful being on the Dean's board can be!

Lily Wexler
Mild-Moderate Disabilities

Why did you choose your major?  I choose this major because I love helping out people who need extra support. It has been a passion of mine for a while. I love to see the smiles on the students faces when you are able to be their advocate. I want to teach students how to overcome their own learning challenges, and share my tips and skills from when I was a student in Special Education and how it helped me succeed to become the well rounded leader that I am today. 

Why did you want to join the Board?  I really wanted to make sure that every student's voice was heard. I want to advocate for the students who need extra support, or are too shy to share their voices. I want to be the student who has her own learning challenges, and can make sure that other students get what they need to succeed. I want to make sure that all our programs are running the way they should be.

Favorite memory in the COE: My favorite event that the COE holds is at Hounds and Hoagies Events. I went my freshman year and It was a great way to de-stress from my school work, and pet some dogs. I met some amazing students there.