NEW Leadership Nevada 2016 Application Now Available
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The Eleanor Kagi Foundation, 
 A Lynn M. Bennett Legacy

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  • 2006 Alumnae Biographies


    First Row (left to right): Carmen Ortiz, Leticia Mays, Stephanie Dziedzak, Adelle Cruz, Diana Rhodes, Felicia Hersh
    Second Row: Crystal Jackson (FIR), Jana Gordon-Pylant, Kenia Morales, Ashlee Watson, Melissa Rothermel, Irmeli Saarsalu
    Third Row: Theresa Farmer (Program Assistant), Lindsay Beirne, Ivette Sanchez, Juawana Grant
    Fourth Row: Nicole Long (FIR), Alyssa Maldonado, Jennifer Hooshmand, Christina Hooshmand, Bridget Kelleher
    Fifth Row: Anita Revilla (FIR), Julianna Ormsby (Program Manager), Irma Reyes, Hannah Mcraney, Chata Holt

    Lindsay Beirne
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas 2007
    Major: Social Work
    Lindsay Beirne currently works in the MGM MIRAGE Corporate Diversity and Community Affairs office as the Community Affairs Coordinator. In the future, Lindsay plans to obtain a Master’s degree, and hopefully start her own business. She is dedicated toward improving society by building a world where everyone has equal rights and equal access to resources, services, opportunities, and acceptance.

    Adelle Cruz
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Major: Psychology 2007
    Minor: English
    Adelle Cruz currently works as the staff assistant for Senator Harry Reid in his Las Vegas office. She handles day to day constituent operations including responding to constituent calls, responding to written correspondence, and she manages the Las Vegas office intern program. Adelle also serves as a liaison to federal agencies for constituents and attends events and activities when Senator Reid is in Washington, D.C.

    Jana Gordon-Pylant
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Major: Journalism and Media Studies
    Jana Gordon-Pylant recently graduated from UNLV, where she was very active in the campus community. She worked on the Ethnic Student Council, Rebel Pride Council, and served as the Event Coordinator for the Student Organization for Diversity Activities (S.O.D.A). She is currently employed by Fox Television in Virginia, where she is the Community Affairs Coordinator.

    Juawana Grant
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Major: Cultural Studies
    A “Vegas native,” Juawana Grant is a case manager for Aid for AIDS Nevada (AFAN). She assists HIV positive individuals and their families navigate the social services system by providing a number of services, including legal and financial assistance. Prior to that, she was working at the Jean Nidetch Women’s Center as their Rape Prevention Coordinator.

    Name: Brianna Hayes
    University: Lake Forest College
    Major: English
    Brianna Hayes got her first taste of leadership as a member of the Student Council at her high school. Current involvement in her sorority, Tri Delta and other involvement on campus gave her the confidence needed to become a leader when she joins the workforce. Brianna hopes to apply to the Peace Corps or World Teach after graduation and continually work with organizations that provide humanitarian assistance throughout the world.

    Felicia Hersh Lindquist
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2009
    Major: History
    Felicia finished her History degree in 2009 while studying abroad in Viterbo, Italy. Today, she works at the Las Vegas Mob Museum as the Development Officer. She has been a faithful volunteer for the NEW Leadership Keynote dinners.

    Chata Holt
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Major: Criminal Justice/Law School
    Chata Holt has taken an interesting, though rewarding route in her pursuit of her Bachelor degree in Criminal Justice. She is currently pursing a law degree at Sam Boyd School of Law. Chata is a proud mother to a baby boy, and has worked several jobs in her effort to complete her studies. In the future she hopes to stay in the legal profession and help other single mothers find the resources and inner strength to complete their studies.

    Christina Hooshmand
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2007
    Major: Special Education
    Minor: Psychology
    Christina Hooshmand recently graduated from UNLV with a B.A. in Special Education & Psychology. During her studies, she was the Student Government Senator for the College of Education and also involved in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

    Jennifer Hooshmand
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Major: Political Science
    Minor: English
    Jennifer Hooshmand is a volunteer member on of the NEW Leadership Nevada Advisory Council. She recently received the 2009 Carson City Legislature Internship. Currently, she is pursing a degree in Political Science with hopes to attend law school, after which she hopes to become a family court judge.

    Bridget Kelleher
    University: University of Nevada, Reno
    Major: Political Science
    Minor: Journalism
    Bridget Kelleher credits a trip to Washington D.C. as the Nevada Senator for Girls Nation for awakening her passion for the political world. She hopes to one day be a press secretary for a member of Congress and completed her graduate studies in public policy to meet this dream. She has worked in Democratic Party campaigns for many years starting as an intern and working as a research associate, legislative correspondent, policy assistant, and currently as policy director for Catherine Cortez Masto’s campaign for U.S. Senate.

    Pravina Lal
    University: University of Nevada, Reno
    Major: Social Work
    A first generation college student, Pravina Lal was very active during her time on campus coordinating volunteers, creating events and raising awareness about middle to low income families on campus. Pravina plans to continue her education and receive her Masters in Social Work. She will continue to work on expanding educational opportunities for women throughout the state.

    Alyssa Maldonado
    University: University of Nevada, Reno
    Major: Journalism
    Alyssa Maldonado was very active during her high school years, with positions as both the Yearbook Editor and a member of Student Council. Alyssa hopes to be a part of the Teach for America program, helping to educate low income children in the state.

    Leticia (Leti) Mays
    University: Truckee Meadows Community College
    Major: Nursing
    Leticia Mays came to the US with aspirations of helping children, the poor and the elderly. Leticia experienced several roadblocks that only fueled her passion to help other members of her community received the health care and assistance they need.

    Hannah McRaney
    University: Great Basin College
    Major: Bachelor of Science Integrative and Professional Studies
    Hannah McRaney is a recent addition to Nevada, relocated after Hurricane Katrina from her hometown in Mississippi. She credits this experience with helping her find a whole new set of friends and community as well as to help shape who she is. Hannah would like to pursue her studies in Environmental Resource Management.

    Kenia Morales
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Major: Political Science
    Minor: Sociology
    Kenia completed her MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University after receiving her BA in Political Science from UNLV. She currently serves as the State Director for America Votes. She coordinates progressive partners in Nevada to advance policies, win elections, and protect the right to vote. Kenia has deep roots within social justice and reproductive justice organizing in Colorado, New York and Latin America. She believes in building the leadership of women, and women of color to effect social change.

    Carmen Ortiz
    University: Truckee Meadows Community College
    Major: Nutrition
    Carmen Ortiz has faced significant challenges including poverty, abuse and a dysfunctional upbringing. Carmen is very active in her son’s education and acted as a mentor to a young girl as part of the State of California’s Mentor Program for 10 years. A personal experience led Carmen to pursue a nutrition degree and she hopes to affect positive change in her community.

    Irma Reyes
    University: Great Basin College
    Major: Social Science
    Irma Reyes is currently employed at Great Basin College in the Adult Basic Education/English as a Second Language program where she feels privileged to have the opportunity to help others gain communication skills that are vital to their success. Very active in the community, Irma is currently working on a bilingual poetry book meant to raise awareness of and promote healing for victims of domestic violence.

    Melissa Rothermel Biernacinski
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Major: Journalism
    Melissa serves as director of public relations/reputation manager for Imagine Communications. As a result of her success in the industry and time spent giving back to the community, Melissa has received numerous awards, including: one of the Las Vegas Business Press’ Rising Stars of Business; a finalist in the Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Athena Awards (Young Professional category); and inducted in 2014 into the Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Hall of Fame (Young Professional category). She has also authored several industry articles.

    Irmeli Saarsalu
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Major: International Business
    Minor: Dance
    Irmeli graduated from UNLV in the spring of 2008 with BA in Foreign Languages (German). After graduation she moved to New York City to study acting and was accepted to Anthony Abesons drama where she studied for two years. She was born in Tallinn, Estonia, and during a trip to her hometown she booked a regular part on an Estonian soap opera series and appeared on it for two seasons. She recently finished writing a feature film screenplay.

    Ivette Sanchez
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas 2007
    Major: Political Science
    Ivette Sanchez is very involved in the community, actively participating in a Hispanic Youth Group, the Las Vegas March for immigrant rights, and national women’s conferences. She is currently the Multicultural Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Health Disparities at UNLV’s School of Public Health. She would like to eventually go to law school and work in immigration law.

    Stephanie Dziedzak
    University: Northern Arizona University
    Major: Public Relations
    Minor: Political Science
    Stephanie Dziedzak has always found communication to be her strength and hopes to pursue a law degree with that emphasis. Stephanie has a deep respect for education and believes in having a commitment to understand and discover more about the world around us.

    Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes
    University: University of Nevada, Las Vegas 2006
    Major: Sociology / Women’s Studies
    Diana graduated from UNLV magna cum laude. She currently works as the Director of Public Policy for Advocates for Youth in Washington D.C. She previously worked at the Center for Women’s Policy Research and as a Program Director for WRIN. She is a graduate of UNLV in the Women’s Studies Program and received her MA from George Washington University.

    Ashlee Watson
    University: University of Nevada, Reno
    Major: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Originally from Elko, Ashlee Watson is pursing a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology, with a minor in Developmental Disabilities at UNR. She is involved in the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) and also Women’s Rugby.

  • Improving the Lives of Women through Research and Education

  • NEW Leadership Nevada 2017 Keynote Dinner

    Featuring Restaurateur and Philanthropist Jenna Morton
    Blasco Event Wing, UNLV Foundation
    4505 S. Maryland Parkway
    Thursday, June 8, 2017
    Reception at 5:00pm
    Dinner and Program at 6:00pm

  • Meet women who have played an integral role in shaping Nevada's history.

    Flolliott LeCoque

    Flolliott LeCoque is the First Lady of Las Vegas Entertainment who ...
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    Women's Research Institute of Nevada
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 455083
    Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-5083

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