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  • 2009 Alumnae Biographies


    Front Row (Left to Right): Toni Tafolla, Maria Jacobo, Yesenia Fuentes, Kimberly Hackstock, Vanessa Ocampo, Kety Luna, Sarah Guthrie-Angvik, Mayra Martinez, Amie Fender, Amy Kilgore, Tina Alzaga.
    Second Row: Jessica Sotelo, Cassidy Forrester.
    Third Row: Jean Pilario, Kallie Day, Valerie Barnes, Elia Bell, Tamara Torres, Gregan Wingert, Maria Jimenez-Ortiz, Cariela Santana, Eva Rodriguez-Saenz, Angela Thomas, Marilu Heredia, Mirna Cortes

    Tina Alzaga is attending the College of Southern Nevada and majoring in Communications. She is a union member of Local 433 Structural Ironworkers Las Vegas, Nevada. Tina is also the Southern Nevada Liaison of the Sisters in the Building Trades. Her goal is to introduce the various trades to young women who may be emancipated from foster homes or who have been incarcerated, and need a second chance.

    Valerie Barnes recently earned her B.A. from UNLV in Elementary Education, and also her teaching license. During Fall 2009, she had the opportunity to participate in the International Student Teaching program in Galway, Ireland. Having worked with Las Vegas youth in various fields over the past six years.

    Elia Bell is currently attending Nevada State College pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She is the Student Coordinator of the NSC Student Academic Center, with her expected graduation date in Spring 2011. Her passion lies in working to facilitate opportunity for individuals to create change and impact their campuses and communities.

    Mirna Cortez is currently attending Great Basin College, working toward a Certificate of Spanish Interpreter. She is the first in her family to graduate high school and the first to pursue a professional career. She hopes to continue her education and receive a Masters of Business Administration, and one day, own a business that helps that Latino/a community in Elko.

    Kallie Day attends Western Nevada College and has made the Dean’s Honors List each semester. She plans to transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno in the spring of 2010, leaning toward a degree in Social Work or Education. Recently, she had the opportunity to intern for Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford for the Nevada 75th Legislative Session.

    Amie Fender is a dual degree student pursuing a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Social Work at UNLV. She plans to pursue a public-interest legal career in Las Vegas after graduating in May 2010. During the past few years, she has worked on the Nevada Legislative Audit of Child Welfare, participated as a student social worker in the Thomas and Mack Legal Clinic, and taught a Paternity/Custody law class to community members in need. She hopes to one day be an active participant in the legislative process, an aggressive advocate for women and children, and possible be elected to a judgeship within the Clark County District Family Court.

    Yesenia Fuentes attended Western Nevada College before transferring to the University of Phoenix to pursue a Bachelers Degree in Criminal Justice. Her goal was to be the first in her family to graduate from a university which she achieved in 2013! She has worked as an Administrative Assistant for the Division of Welfare and Support Services and has plans to work in a field helping people in her community.

    Cassidy Forrester is working toward her Associates Degree in General studies at the College of Southern Nevada, and plans to graduate in 2010. Afterward, she plans to attend UNLV and major in Women’s Studies. Through the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada and NEW Leadership Nevada, she was given the opportunity to intern with Harrah’s Entertainment in the Government Relations Department.

    Sarah Guthrie-Angvik is working toward a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from UNLV. In 2008, she volunteered at the Stable House, a nonprofit organization working with victims of domestic violence, and also volunteered for the Guaranteed Attendance Program as a mentor to adolescents at a juvenile detention center. The volunteer work inspired her to work in the nonprofit field, and one day, developing one of her own.

    Kimberly Hackstock is a nontraditional student who recently attained a B.S.W in May 2009 at UNLV. She began the Advance Standing M.S.W program in June 2009 and will obtain her Master’s degree in May 2010. Additionally, her goals are to enter the doctorate program at UC-Berkeley in Social Welfare, pursue a career path as a clinical social worker for children and young adults, and eventually work to contribute to or engage in policy work.

    Marilu Heredia is a Youth Coordinator for Nevada Hispanic Services, a nonprofit agency that works to improve and educate the Hispanic community throughout Nevada. She is pursuing a degree at Nevada State College and hopes to earn a degree in education so she can further her goals of educating and helping students. Her goals and commitments are to educate and develop her skills so that she can be of better service to the students she works with and her wider community.

    Maria Jacobo is attending Great Basin College in Elko, Nevada. She is the first in her family to graduate high school and the first to attend college. For this reason, she is pursuing a career as an elementary teacher, hoping to one day teach at the school she attended as a child. Her goal as a teacher would be to help Hispanic parents through their children’s education. She is also working to obtain a certificate as a Spanish Translator.

    Mari Jimenez-Ortiz attends UNR pursuing a B.A. in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Spanish. She then plans on going to graduate school with the hopes of a PhD in counseling. Her ultimate goal is to become a college counselor, so she can help people reach their goals, serve as a mentor, and work with young Latina women.

    Amy Kilgore is currently a student at Nevada State College pursuing a degree in Education, specifically working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She wants to be an educator of the DHH and wants to continue to work with the community. After finishing her BS in education, she plans on getting certification in Interpreting.

    Kety Luna is a full-time student at Truckee Meadows Community College and a part-time student at UNR, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Spanish. She works in the Academic Advisement Center and Career Services office at TMCC, where she assists the advisors, peer advisors, and the receptionist. She helps students with their concerns and works to help find solutions. Her goal is to be an educator, where she can assist a diverse population of students and to teach others the importance of higher education.

    Mayra Martinez is currently working toward a degree in Human Services Counseling, with the hope of attending law school at some point. She recently graduated from CSN and is now full-time at UNLV. At CSN, she served as a Senator for a semester; also, Mayra was President of the Student Organization of Latinos, which did a number of events and educational awareness events for the community. She now plans on joining Student Government in order to be more involved in the campus community.

    Vanessa Ocampo recently finished her first year at UNLV where she is planning on studying Hotel Management. She has been living away from her mother in brothers since the age of seven. Her ultimate goals are to finish school, work to high positions within the hotel industry, so she can eventually support her family and bring them to the United States. Her passions lie in educating and empowering other Latina women.

    Jean Marie Pilario graduated Spring 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in American History with a concentration in Women’s History from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She is currently married Coy Munson and draws Green Machine Comix (http://greenmachinecomix.tumblr.com/.) Other post graduation work involves art, such as making weekly comics for an online blog, mural work for a pediatric room in the Western Regional Brain and Spine Surgery Center, and illustrating for Real Funny Obituaries book publication. Jean also started a small art girl group called MuseMaids with friends to foster a creative space and supportive network for producing pieces and ideas.

    Eva Rodriguez-Saenz recently graduated from UNLV with a B.A. in Political Science / Latin American Studies and a B.S. in International Business. While a student, she was a proud sister of Sigma Theta Psi Multicultural Sorority, where she worked to create UNLV’s first Multicultural Greek Council and was named Greek Woman of the Year. Outside of campus, she is heavily involved in immigration issues in local and national activist campaigns. In addition, she’s had the opportunity to intern in Washington D.C. with Senator Tom Harkin and this Hispanic Caucus, Congresswoman Dina Titus, and Harrah’s Entertainment’s Diversity Department.

    Cariela Santana is a junior at UNLV majoring in International Business. With a graduation date set in 2011, she plans to join the Peace Corps in order to help the less fortunate in other countries. At some point, she’d like to go law school and eventually work for the United Nations or an NGO that works with various countries in an effort to resolve issues.

    Jessica Sotelo attends Truckee Meadows Community College and is majoring in Criminal Justice with the hopes of becoming a Juvenile Probation Officer. She has chosen this career path because she wants to help youth make good decisions and follow the right paths. As a young person, her probation officer and family helped her make better decisions pursue school. She is also passionate about doing positive work for the Latino/a community in Reno.

    Toni Tafolla recently graduated from CSN with an Associate’s degree in Political Science. She currently attends UNLV and is majoring in Political Science with a minor in History. After graduation, she plans to work toward a Master’s in Public Administration or Law School. Her dream is to one day open a non-profit organization that focuses on children’s education, health, and poverty.

    Angela Thomas attends the College of Southern Nevada, taking classes in Communications. She writes for the Las Vegas Black Image Magazine and has worked to create, develop, and produce television content about women. She recently formed her own company, Alegna Media Group, which focuses on telling the stories of compelling and culturally diverse women.

    Tamara Torres graduated from CSN and UNLV. At CSN, she was an active Senator for the Cheyenne Campus in the Associated Students of the College of Southern Nevada Student Government. Post-graduation, Tamara joined the Peace Corps. She currently volunteers in Asuncion Paraguay and works with the Orquesta Reciclado de Cateura. When her term ends, in 2014, she plans to obtain her Masters and then her PhD. She wants to do her part to change the world.

    Gregan Wingert attends the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is studying Journalism and Media Studies. She is currently the Intern Manager for CLASS! Magazine, a free, monthly, bilingual publication by, for and about the high school students of Clark County, Nevada. Her passions and career goals lie in writing and journalism. During the summer of 2009, Gregan completed an internship with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Las Vegas office. Her scholarships include: Las Vegas Review-Journal’s R-Jeneration Scholarship, Marydean Martin CLASS! Intern of the Year Scholarship, the Greenspun Journalism Scholarship, among others. She is expected to graduate in 2011.

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