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Site Leaders & Staff Partners for Spring 2022!

Well before the tires hit the road, our incredible team of student Site Leaders and Staff/Faculty Partners are carefully crafting the transformative experiences that U of U students enjoy each year. These daring darlings of social change coordinate the community engagement, issue education, and reflection pieces on their Alternative Breaks experiences, and they'd love to share their enthusiasm for their work with you. Knowledgeable, hard-working, and passionate about student engagement, these folx are great resources for Alt Breaks participants to connect with the campus community in different areas and ways. Site Leaders are the go-to people for questions about their specific AB experiences, so please reach out to them if you have any questions about the Alt Break they're planning! You can also feel free to connect with our Staff/Faculty Partners with any questions about Alternative Breaks, their department and work on campus! Reach out to them if you have any questions about the experiences they're planning!

AB Spring Experience Leadership Teams


 

Katherine Park

Katherine Park

SITE LEADER FOR Community Health

She, Her, Hers

Katherine Park

Hi everyone! My name is Katherine and I am a second year Psychology major and Music Performance minor. I am beyond excited to be leading this break as I always strive to advocate for well-being, whether that's physical, emotional, mental, etc. I was born in New York, grew up in Las Vegas, and went to high school in Southern Utah. Music from the early 2010's will always have my heart, so if you like to jam out to old Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga, I'll definitely be right there with you. Besides that, I love painting, cooking (well, attempting to cook at least), playing beach volleyball, and going out of my way to pet a cute dog. I can't wait to meet new people and make new friends next year!

Sierra Whipple-Padgen

Sierra Whipple-Padgen

STAFF PARTNER FORCOMMUNITY HEALTH

She, Her, Hers

Sierra Whipple-Padgen

Helloooo there! I'm Sierra Whipple-Padgen, an advisor for the College of Engineering and Honors College. I grew up near Salt Lake and graduated from the U in Business Management. During my undergrad, I gained an exceptional love for traveling and community from captaining Utah State's Quidditch Club, and by taking a semester off to facilitate English in China! Since then, I've traveled to 5 other countries with my partner, Gabe- eating all the food and visiting all the museums we can. Traveling and connecting with different cultures and communities sparked an intense passion for me, and I can't wait to connect more locally through the Alt Breaks program! In my free time I enjoy playing DnD, painting, and hanging with my two cats, Finn & Oso.

Jasmine Arreguin

Jasmine Arreguin

SITE LEADER FOR DEGENDERIZING CLASSISM

She, Her, Hers

Jasmine Arreguin

Hi! My name is Jasmine Arreguin. I'm a third year majoring in Health & Kinesiology with a minor in English. Currently, I'm on the pre-physical therapy track. I've been involved with the Bennion Center since my freshman year when I was on the first-year service corps. I went on the spring 2021 alt-lite break focused on poverty that inspired me to continue being part of the Alternative Breaks program and in becoming a site leader. I'm looking forward to exploring the issue of classism, connecting with organizations out in the community, and having impactful conversations. Some of my interests include; making playlists, listening to music, reading, sports, and drinking coffee.


DEGENDERIZING CLASSISM


 

Jonathan O'Neil

Jonathan O'Neil

STAFF PARTNER FORDEGENDERIZING CLASSISM

They, Them, Theirs

Jonathan O'Neil

I am a maintenance specialist at The George S Eccles Student Life Center. when people ask me what I do the best answer I've come up with is that I'm a professional dad for a building and the 250+ student staff who call it a second home. I grew up on campus in the east village as a kid back in the 80's/90's before the internet was a thing and my first job at the University was in housekeeping at the Natural History Museum of Utah. I studied Computer Science/Computer Aided Game Design and I have never used those skills in a professional manner. I like to tell people you aren't locked into the path of what you study. sometimes life has a way of sending you where you're needed most. It's important to find what brings you joy and a sense of purpose everyday.

Trisha Ngo

Trisha Ngo

SITE LEADER FOR Environmental Stewardship

She, Her, Hers

Trisha Ngo

Hi friends! I am very excited to be leading the Environmental Stewardship experience, I think Utah is a great place to learn from, whether it is off to the red rocks or inside our mountain ranges. I love learning about ecology and still want to learn with you all to have a more enriched conversation about environmental stewardship. I was born in UT, lived in WA for a bit, and now back here! I am studying Health, Society, and Policy and graduating in 2022! I love trying new foods, the rain, and matcha oat milk lattes. Also I am adamant on getting a golden retriever after I graduate :).


ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP


EMAIL Site Leader & Staff Partner

Myra Gest

Myra Gest

STAFF PARTNER FORENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

She, Her, Hers

Myra Gest

Hi there! My name is Myra and I work for the wonderful Center for Student Wellness. I am a Saint Louis native and have been in Utah for a year and a half now and I was previously traveling overseas for two years. I am so excited to be apart of alt breaks, I grew up being apart of tight knit communities through sports and summer camps and it is definitely harder to get that same feel when you're an adult. I can't wait to experience that all over again with alt breaks while doing it through the lens of justice, empowerment, and creating change. I have a public health background and have found myself gravitate towards violence prevention, something I am incredibly passionate about and have the privilege of working in this field. I love to cook, go for hikes, and spend a copious amount of time with my little family.

Jaina Lee

SITE LEADER FOR HIV & AIDS

She, Her, Hers

Jaina Lee

Hey y'all! I will be serving as the Recruitment Coordinator and be your site leader for HIV/AIDS! I've lived in Utah all my life and I will (hopefully) graduate with my Health, Society, and Policy and Anthropology degree next year. I have loved all the alternative breaks I have been on and have learned so much from them so I wanted to pass along my experience to you all! I still have so much to learn for myself and am excited to continue my social justice work in our community. Recently, I have enjoyed longboarding, playing Stardew, and slowly developing my own sense of fashion. However, I'm known to not be able to stick to a hobby so don't be surprised if these things are no longer applicable when we meet!

Ashley Yong

Ashley Yong

STAFF PARTNER FORHIV & AIDS

She, Her, Hers

Ashley Yong

Hi! I’m Ashley (she/her), and I am the Program Coordinator of the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention at the U! I have the privilege of working on campus to end relationship and sexual violence with a power-conscious and intersectional lens. I studied strategic communication at the University of Missouri and got my masters in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the Ohio State University. I’ve been both an alternative breaks trip participant and adviser in the U.S. and Guatemala. Being a part of alternative breaks is one of my favorite things to do at a university because of the coming together of service and social justice. A few fun facts: my favorite smell is Home Depot, I LOVE Arby’s, and I am one inch short of the length of 10 Olive Garden breadsticks stacked vertically on top of each other.

Eian Brightwell

Eian Brightwell

SITE LEADER FOR HOUSING JUSTICE

He, Him, His

Eian Brightwell

Hi I'm Eian and I am from Salt Lake City. I am studying Health, Society, and Policy here at the U with a minor in Russian. I enjoy staying active by playing basketball, hiking, and golfing. I also enjoy reading, listening to all kinds of music, and learning new things. I have a goal to at least once in my life participate in a triathlon. I am stoked to be leading the housing justice experience in the coming year! It is heartbreaking to hear of those who are struggling to find proper housing for themselves and their families. My hope is to gain a better understanding of those who are facing homelessness and to learn as much as we can during this experience so that we can go forward and create real change now and in the future!

Maeve Haggerty

Maeve Haggerty

STAFF PARTNER FORHOUSING JUSTICE

She, Her, Hers

Maeve Haggerty

Hello! My name is Maeve and I work in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. I graduated from the U in 2020 with my degree in Social Work and I plan on going to grad school in Social Work as well. I have too many interests to choose a specific path within that field yet, but I'm especially interested in education, community health, disability justice, and mindfulness. I participated in a Bennion Center Alt Break as an undergrad and it was an incredible experience! I'm excited to be participating again, this time as a staff partner. In my personal life I enjoy listening to podcasts and audiobooks, dancing, hiking, and hanging out with my cat, Lloyd. (Though, I'm actually more of a dog person.)

Alice Snelling

SITE LEADER FOR HUNGER & FOOD JUSTICE

She, Her, Hers

Alice Snelling

Hello! My name is Alice and I'm a fourth year majoring in Biochemistry and International Studies. I'm originally from Belmont, CA. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, climbing, and skiing. I'll be leading my second AB experience, Hunger and Food Justice, this Spring. I'm so excited to continuing learning, growing, and reflecting in this wonderful and supportive community of social justice activists (that includes you!). Fun fact about me is I don't really like condiments. I'll skip the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.


HUNGER & FOOD JUSTICE


EMAIL Site Leader & Staff Partner

Megan Bettilyon

Megan Bettilyon

STAFF PARTNER FOR HUNGER & FOOD JUSTICE

She, Her, Hers

Megan Bettilyon

Whats poppin' y'all! My name is Megan Deon Bettilyon (beh-till-yon). I have been either a student or a staff member at the U since 2010, and have done work with the Bennion Center for all eleven of those years! I am, and will always be, an evangelist for the Humanities, so--of course--I work for the College of Engineering. Lol, no one is more flummoxed by this than me, but you better believe I sneak humanities elements into every program I create or support! I love the U and all its sporting programs, especially our Red Rocks Gymnastics team (I am manifesting a 2022 national championship bay-bee!). I am a fan of all things true crime, and the outdoors, which may seem like incompatible hobbies, but I have made it work so far (SSDGM if ya know what I mean). If you are in the market for podcast (I do listen to ones NOT related to murder), book, TV, or movie recommendations, I am your gal. If you are looking for new music, I will just suggest the same three early 2000s pop-punk albums that I have been listening to for the past 15 years...NOT SORRY.

Alex Acuna

Alex Acuna

SITE LEADER FOR IMMIGRATION

She, Her, Hers

Alex Acuna

Hi! I am a fifth-year student studying Biology with a C&M emphasis and minoring in Chemistry and African American Studies. This year, I will serve as the Chair of the Alternative Breaks program and site lead the Spring Immigration experience. I'm looking forward to engaging with these leadership positions because equitable justice work continues to profoundly impact my life and I want to help others explore their roles in this field through a lens of compassion and service. Fun fact: I am a first generation Venezuelan immigrant.

Christina Kelly LeCluyse

Christina Kelly LeCluyse

STAFF PARTNER FOR IMMIGRATION

She, Her, Hers

Christina Kelly LeCluyse

Hi everyone! My name is Christina and I am a licensed clinical social worker and Outreach Coordinator at the University of Utah’s Counseling Center (UCC). I have been working in the field of social work for the past 24 years in a variety of settings, including domestic violence shelters, foster care, community mental health and college counseling centers. I have a passion for working with the Latino immigrant community and have spent a significant amount of my career working with clients who have this background. I love all things animal-related and benefit from spending time with my beautiful corgi, Bonnie. I find personal satisfaction and gain a sense of meaning and purpose through my relationships with friends and family as well as my work. I like to recharge mind, body and soul by eating good food and being out in nature.

Maeghan Lasley

SITE LEADER FOR Marine Conservation

She, Her, Hers

Maeghan Lasley

I want to be a site leader so I’m able to share and connect with others on our passions! Being able to find like minded people and come together for a common goal is awesome. For the incoming school year I’m super stoked to see real people. I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah! I love sharks, I play water polo, and I have a gecko name Ollie Tangerine (his stage name is O-tang.)


MARINE CONSERVATION


EMAIL Site Leader & Staff Partner

Theresa Ashman

Theresa Ashman

STAFF PARTNER FOR Marine Conservation

She, Her, Hers

Theresa Ashman

I work in Financial and Business Services for the University. I'm a Purdue alumna with degrees in biology, accounting, and business administration. I've worked in higher ed all my career at three different universities (Purdue, UofU (twice), and University of Miami) as well as for a consulting firm that worked with universities. My favorite times of the academic year are the start of the fall semester and spring graduation. I have three young adult sons - two are at the U. In my spare time, I'm a drummer in two different bands one of which is a metal/prog rock band based in Orem.

Sai Parsawar

SITE LEADER FOR Mass Incarceration

She, Her, Hers

Sai Parsawar

Hey everyone! My name is Sai and I am the Reorientation Coordinator and am leading the mass incarceration break this year. I’m a senior studying Health, Society, & Policy and Ethnic Studies. I’m thrilled to connect and work with people who want to learn about the prison industrial complex and abolition. In my free time, you can catch me cooking, eating lime hot Cheetos, and hiking.

Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean

STAFF PARTNER FOR MASS INCARCERATION

She, Her, Hers

Courtney Dean

I'm Courtney (she/her) and I'm very excited to be a part of this year's Alt Break Program! I'm an alum of the U of U and participated in an Alt Break experience as a student. After a few years away from the U, I've returned to the Bennion Center and am working as the Student Programs Coordinator. After work you'll often find me outside, attending community events, cooking good food, and enjoying time with the people I love.

Ian Stout

SITE LEADER FOR Queering Justice

They, Them, Theirs

Ian Stout

Hello Everyone! My name is Ian Stout (pronouns they/them) and I am beyond excited to be apart of the AB team this year! I will be site leading the Queering Justice Alternative Break this spring 2022, Focusing on the impact of queering justice and the strives we as a community still need to take to fully support and reach the level of justice so deserved for the community. I am originally from Washington State, I moved down here during the pandemic to get a change of scenery while still living with family and now study at the University of Utah. I love to go hiking, camping, and all other things outdoors, which sounds about right since I am a Washingtonian! Speaking of which, I also love me a good cup of coffee! Once again, I cannot wait to meet all of you, and hope you are all excited for another great AB year.

Tricia Cook

Tricia Cook

STAFF PARTNER FOR QUEERING JUSTICE

She, Her, Hers

Tricia Cook

Tricia is a Utah native and has spent her academic and professional careers learning and working in multiple Utah higher education institutions. She began academic advising in 2016 and was immediately hooked! She loves nurturing others by helping them to reach their highest potential through teaching, advising, and training. During her free time, Tricia can be found traveling, running, woodworking, bargain hunting or hugging strangers’ dogs. She believes the best way to travel is with purpose and is excited to help facilitate a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience through the UofU Alternative Breaks program!

Minahil Usman

Minahil Usman

SITE LEADER FOR Refugee Rights & Resettlement

She, Her, Hers

Minahil Usman

I am originally from Lahore, Pakistan and the oldest of four siblings. I am on the Pre-Med track and hoping to change my major to Social Work. In my free time, I enjoy baking, hiking/exercising, and watching TV shows/movies. I applied to the Alternative Breaks program in hopes of involving myself with the community and making new lifelong friendships, along with gaining leadership experience. This is my first year as a site leader and I am extremely excited to join the team and can't wait to meet and collaborate with all the members!


REFUGEE RIGHTS & RESETTLEMENT


EMAIL Site Leader & Staff Partner

Melissa Cheng

Melissa Cheng

STAFF PARTNER FOR REFUGEE RIGHTS & RESETTLEMENT

She, Her, Hers

Melissa Cheng

I'm an associate professor at the School of Medicine and an occupational and addiction medicine physician. I want to join Alt Breaks to help support the students interested in these very important topics. What drives me? To make a positive impact to my community, neighbor and fellow person.

Melody Liu

Melody Liu

SITE LEADER FOR URBAN ENVIRONMENTALISM

She, Her, Hers

Melody Liu

Hello! My name is Melody. I am a sophomore on the Pre-Nursing Track, and I am minoring in Medical Humanities and Ecology & Legacy. I come from California, but before that I have lived in Shanghai and Michigan for a few years. I love singing, dancing, making crafts, and eating good food from different countries. Also, I love learning new languages, I can speak fluent Mandarin and some Japanese and Spanish. I had a wonderful time doing community service and learning about justice work in my past AB experience. So I am very excited to serve as an AB site leader for the first time and lead the Urban Environmentalism trip this spring. Let’s learn about how we can develop a better relationship with our planet. I hope we can all grow from the journey and have an unforgettable adventure. I can’t wait to get to know each one of you and make great memories with you all. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.


URBAN ENVIROMENTALISM


EMAIL Site Leader & Staff Partner

Danny Rhodes

Danny Rhodes

STAFF PARTNER FORURBAN ENVIRONMENTALISM

He, Him, His

Danny Rhodes

Hey y'all! I'm Danny, and I am the graduate assistant at the Bennion Center. I am beyond excited to serve with AB! I am beginning my master's in Educational Leadership & Policy with an emphasis in Student Affairs. Thank you so much for welcoming me in, I am thrilled to learn, grow, and breathe AB! I am brand new to Utah, making the painfully long (kidding) journey from Nevada. Not being dramatic AT ALL (totally dramatic), but that one-hour time zone difference is ROUGH. When I am not napping, I cannot wait to explore and adventure some red rocks and flower fields, or whatever else (PLEASE give me your recommendations) there is to do in Utah! If you ever need anything, please do hesitate to reach out. Chances are, we will figure it out together!

Last Updated: 11/3/21