Student Ambassadors



A Student Ambassador for the College of Education (COE) professionally and proudly represents the student perspective of the college to prospective and new students and family, the University of Arizona community, and other groups/organizations as called upon. Ambassadors communicate and present information as needed at various programs and events (e.g., Arizona Experience, Arizona Road Trip, and other recruitment events, career fairs, new student orientation). In exchange, Ambassadors are provided with skill development and leadership opportunities. Being a Student Ambassador is an honor that reflects academic rigor, leadership, and a commitment to higher education. Meet members of our UA College of Education Ambassadors committee below.

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Sami Byker

She/Her/Hers. Sami Byker was born in Michigan and moved to Arizona two weeks before beginning high school. It was her experience taking dual enrollment American Sign Language courses that sparked her passion for working with children and ASL. With the University of Arizona being the one of the only Universities in Arizona with an interpreting program, along with the beautiful campus and welcoming environment, she knew this would be her home for the next few years. Given her primary goal of becoming an Occupational Therapist, she decided to pursue a major in Rehabilitation Studies and Services with a Minor in American Sign Language. After graduation, Sami hopes to go to graduate school to work towards a doctorate in Occupational Therapy and work with disabled children. She is passionate about providing equal access and education, along with advancing and promoting education and activities for under-represented kids. As a COE Ambassador, she hopes to aid incoming students in their goals and dreams, and provide proper and sufficient information to broaden students' view on the opportunities ahead of them. Bringing pride and belonging--within the COE--to a student attending the University of Arizona is her main goal as a COE ambassador.

Lanaiya Coakley

Lanaiya Coakley (La-nay-ya) (she/her/hers) is from Tucson, Arizona and is studying mild to moderate disabilities. In her junior and senior year of high school, she was a peer mentor to students with disabilities. During her senior year, she shadowed multiple teachers in the special education department at her school and through that experience she saw a behind the scene look at what teachers experience everyday. This includes their interactions with students and other teachers, lesson planning, modifications and more! Throughout this experience Lanaiya found her passion for teaching. She is also an Army brat so she has moved and traveled quite a bit. Lanaiya has lived in 5 different places including Belgium, Germany, North Carolina, Maryland and now Arizona. As an ambassador, her goal is to help and welcome students into the college of education and help and support students all throughout their college journey.

Lauren Distler

Lauren Distler (she/her/hers) was born in Omaha, Nebraska but later moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Choosing to go to the University of Arizona was a very easy decision for Lauren. She fell in love with the beautiful campus and the sense of community at the UA. She decided to enter the University of Arizona as an elementary education major with a minor in Spanish. Lauren found her passion for teaching at a very young age and was inspired by her mother who was an elementary school teacher. She is looking forward to talking with future Wildcats and explaining how impactful this program has been for her!

Julia Holden

Julia Holden (she/her/hers) is from San Ramon which is about an hour from San Francisco, California. During high school, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career in teaching so she interned in a kindergarten and a 5th-grade classroom as a senior in high school. After high school, Julia decided to move to Arizona because she wanted a change of scenery from California. When she saw the University of Arizona campus, she felt at home. She is currently studying Elementary Education with a minor in Korean. She hopes to teach back in California in the future, in a 2nd or 3rd-grade classroom. As an ambassador, her goal is to help new students and transfer students adjust to the college. She is very excited to meet new people and help in any way possible.

Bethany Horton

Bethany Horton (she/her/hers) was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has grown up all over the Southeast and now Arizona. Only living here for a few years now, Bethany has found a home in the desert and a home here at The University of Arizona. She is currently studying Mild-Moderate Disabilities with a minor in Educational Psychology with the plans of becoming a high school Special Education teacher. During her time here at The University of Arizona, Bethany hopes to prepare for her future, make memories, and share her love for the university as an ambassador.

Alex Kellerman

Alex Kellerman (he/him/his) is a senior in the Deaf Studies: American Sign Language Educational Interpreting Program. He is actively involved within the college; as a student worker at the front desk in the new Student Services area, head chair of the Dean's Advisory Board, and founder/President of the ASL Club. Alex looks forward to meeting new people, and hopes to provide more clarification on how the College of Education can support you and your goals.

Hayley Motika

Haley (she/her/hers) is originally from Pottsville, Pennsylvania but has lived in Tucson since 2012. Tucson has become her home and is so proud to be a Wildcat! Hayley is currently studying for a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education at the University of Arizona, graduating in May 2024. Her first job was at a preschool during high school senior year. She worked in a Pre-Kindergarten classroom for two years and her experience teaching as an assistant teacher influenced her choice of major. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and pets, enjoying the cooler weather in Mount Lemmon, and exploring the paths as well as the Cookie Cabin!

Rebecca Murillo

Rebecca Murillo (she/her/hers) is a senior in Literacy Learning and Leadership with a Minor in Spanish and is Newly admitted into the AMP Program for Educational Psychology. Rebecca is from Nogales Arizona/Nogales Sonora Mexico. She is a first-generation student and is proud to be a wildcat! Rebecca hopes to work as a program coordinator and finish her master’s program. Rebecca loves being involved within her College as it gives her a community and a safe space!

Savannah Patterson

Savannah Patterson (she/her/hers) is a Deaf Studies and SLHS major. She is from Rogersville, Alabama. She loves learning ASL and hopes to use her majors to one day work in a school setting to bring equal access to communication and learning to d/Deaf students.

Roarke Poggio

Roarke Poggio (she/her/hers) is an Early Childhood Education major from Scottsdale, Arizona. She has been volunteering with kids and students for several years through church and school organizations. She is excited to attend the U of A, and especially as an Honors student and COE Ambassador. She is passionate about being an influential teacher in the classroom and encouraging other Wildcats to be the best they can be!

India Sachar

India Sachar (she/her/hers) is from York, Pennsylvania, and moving across the country to attend the University of Arizona has been the most exciting and rewarding experience. She is majoring in Elementary Education (ESL) with a minor in Spanish. She has always loved working with and teaching kids through swim lessons, summer camps, and child care, but she did not enter college as a COE student. When she decided the College of Education was the place for her, she felt immediately embraced by the community. After graduation, India hopes to teach abroad, so she can travel forever! As an ambassador, India hopes to present the same welcoming energy she received to prospective UofA and COE students.

Lily Wexler

Lily (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She is studying Mild to Moderate Disabilities! She chooses this major because she loves helping out people who need extra support. It has been a passion of hers for a while. She loves to see the smiles on the student's faces when you are able to be their advocate. Lily wants to teach students how to overcome their own learning challenges, and share her tips and skills from when she was a student in Special Education, and how it helped her succeed to become the well-rounded leader that she is today. Her favorite COE event the Hounds and Hoagies event; it's a great way to de-stress from her school work, and pet some dogs while meeting fellow students. Her favorite place to study is the World of Words Library on the 4th floor of the College of Education. Her goal is to make sure that every student's voice is heard. She wants to advocate for the students who need extra support or is too shy to share their voices. She hopes to utilize her own experience overcoming learning challenges to ensure that other students get what they need to succeed.