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.

Please visit our Facebook page for more information and meeting times:
College of Education Ambassadors UA!

If you have any questions, please contact Angela Botello

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.

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!

Destinee Duran

Destinee Duran (she/her/hers) was born in Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating high school, she decided to enter UA as an Pre-Mild-Moderate Disabilities major and moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona.  During her first semester, she realized that she wanted to interact with students with special needs in a different way.  Thus, she decided to change her major to Rehabilitation Studies and Services and add a minor in Psychology. After graduation, she hopes to either get accepted into an Occupational Therapy program or attend the University of Arizona’s graduate program for Rehabilitation. Destinee is  passionate about helping others and being a guide that people can rely on. As a COE Ambassador, her goal is to be a resource for future students of the college so they can feel comfortable in knowing the opportunities available to them, while also being able to expand their view on getting involved in college and creating an experience that will leave them with great pride in having attended the U of A.

Annabelle Fine

Annabelle Fine (she/her/hers) was born and raised in New Jersey. After high school, she was ready for a change so she travelled across the country to attend the University of Arizona. Starting anew in an unfamiliar city has helped her grow and step outside of her comfort zone. One thing she brought from her home state to Arizona is her dream to teach. Before college she worked at a local gymnastics gym where she taught children ages 3-16. She was inspired by the impact she had on the lives of her students. Now, here at the College of Education, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in pre-education and is on track to receive a degree in elementary education with an ESL endorsement. As an ambassador, she’s looking forward to sharing information about the college and its programs with potential University of Arizona students.

Val Garzon

She/Her/Hers. Val Garzon is from Rockville, Maryland. After high school, she knew she wanted to go to school somewhere warm and different than what she was used to. Having always wanted to live on the West Coast, Val visited the University of Arizona and fell in love—knowing this was the right place for her. Throughout high school, Val completed the Child Development program and grew a passion for teaching children. After discovering her passion for teaching, she decided to become an Elementary Education major with a Bilingual endorsement and minor in Spanish. After graduation, Val hopes to return home and become a kindergarten teacher. As an ambassador, she looks forward to sharing her passion for teaching with others who may also want to become educators, and share all of the amazing things Arizona and the College of Education has to offer!

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.

Ashley Jeffries

Ashley Jeffries (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. When she was in high school, she got a part-time job at an elementary school for the after-school program. This is where her dreams of working with kids really began. After graduating high school, she knew she didn’t want to dive back into school just yet. Instead, she spent a gap year working full time in the classroom as an Inclusion aid where she got the opportunity to work with students with disabilities and help them navigate day to day. She got to work with not only those amazing kids who inspired her daily, but also some amazing teachers who loved their jobs and the kids they worked with endlessly. This grew her appreciation for teachers, support faculty and grew her passion for working with kids. She knew she loved to be in the classroom, so she decided to study Early Childhood Education here at The University of Arizona. As an ambassador, she can’t wait to talk to prospective students who share the same passions as she does and help them on their path as a wildcat here at The University of Arizona!

Madison McCoy

Madison (she/her/hers) was born in Denver, Colorado and spent her childhood exploring the Rocky Mountains until she finally got sick of the snow and moved to Tucson for school. She absolutely loves living in the desert and being a wildcat!  She is currently a junior in the College of Education majoring in Elementary Education with a Teaching English and a Second Language endorsement. After volunteering at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as a highschooler, she realized her passion for education and love of teaching. As an ambassador, she loves talking with prospective students and helping them find the right path for them! Bear Down! 

Ashley Michalski

Ashley Michalski (she/her/hers) is from Naperville, Illinois. In the first grade, she befriended a boy named Jack, and, thanks to his radiant energy, funny jokes, and caring attitude, she still calls him her best friend today. She says Jack has changed her life tremendously because he has helped her view people with kindness. The first time she entered a special education classroom was because of Jack. Jack and these classroom experiences in the first grade helped form her dream of becoming a special education teacher. Now at the College of Education, she is following her dream by pursuing a degree in mild to moderate disabilities. After graduating from college, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in severe to profound disabilities. As an ambassador, her goal is to spread awareness about available opportunities throughout the college. She hopes to use her energy and knowledge about the college to help future students feel like a Wildcat from day one.

Abby Nickum

Abby Nickum (she/her/hers) was born in Dixon, a small town in Northern California. All throughout high school Abby did not know she was going to a college out of state but she quickly fell in love with Tucson the first time she visited. Abby began her college career at the University of Arizona with a major in Psychology then decided to switch to Elementary Education to pursue her passion with helping kids academically. Abby still plans to get a minor in psychology and eventually become a student advisor. She joined the team of COE Ambassadors to guide potential University of Arizona students into having the same amazing experience that she has had so far in the College of Education.

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.

Tanner Phillips

Tanner Phillips (she/her/hers) is an Arizona native, born and raised in Chandler, Arizona.  She is studying Deaf studies with an emphasis in education and minoring in Adolescence, Community, and Education. After graduation, she plans to enter the one-year Master’s in Teaching & Teacher Education program—Teach Arizona—to eventually work in the classroom as a American Sign Language teacher at the high school level. Tanner cannot wait to work in the classroom someday and knows that the College of Education is the perfect place to help her prepare to become a great teacher someday!

Lily Wexle

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.