Foundation Ambassadors

Foundation Student Ambassador Program

The Foundation Board recognized its ten outstanding past chairs by establishing the UVU Foundation Ambassador Endowed Scholarship. The recipients of this scholarship become UVU Foundation Student Ambassadors, charged with representing the institution at key events throughout the year. The scholarship is awarded to ten UVU students, one in the name of each board chair to honor the chairs' dedication and loyalty to the University.

Mission

The UVU Foundation Student Ambassador program aims to support the work of the UVU Foundation and the Division of Institutional Advancement through student ambassadorship-select students serving as the face of UVU and its students and telling the story of the University.

Vision

The program assembles a group of student leaders dedicated to UVU and its mission and eager to develop the skills for ambassadorship, to represent UVU, and to assist its administration. As a result of their participation, these students will become better prepared to serve in their professions and as leaders in their communities.

Objective

The program will establish and maintain a specially trained group of UVU students equipped to effectively represent the University in a strategic and uniformly branded way, with a goal of engaging current and prospective donors, friends, alumni, and VIPs. Ambassadorship will provide an experimental opportunity for students and will support UVU's mission of engaged learning.

Purposes

  • Promote UVU's mission, academic excellence, and core themes.
  • Provide a positive link to students for donors and alumni at development, alumni, and presidential events and at the University in general. Assist during key campus events in any capacity necessary.
  • Represent the Foundation in philanthropic and fundraising efforts.
  • Promote the UVU Foundation Board, the Alumni Association Board, and other UVU advisory boards as needed.
  • Conduct campus tours for VIP visitors, current and prospective donors, and returning alumni.
  • Greet and welcome visitors to campus, specifically in the Alumni House and Visitors Center.
  • Promote volunteer participation or attendance at UVU activities as directed.

Become a Foundation Ambassador

2019-20 Foundation Ambassadors

Hamaidu Fadika

Hamaidu Fadika

Junior, Statistics
Hometown: Orem, UT

Hamaidu Fadika likes the way UVU supports social inclusion and makes it possible for students to become more than they were before they enrolled. “As the president of the UVU African Club, I have personally felt empowered by my student peers as I led in showcasing a local African dance group at a UVU basketball game. The roar of the crowd made me proud to share my family’s African, and now American culture,” he says.

Hamaidu also felt encouraged when President Astrid S. Tuminez embraced him as he received a scholarship from the NAACP at a Martin Luther King convention. “She took interest in my life and connected me to her husband, Mr. Tolk, who has plenty of experience working on Wall Street, just as I intend to do,” he says.

As president of the African Club, Hamaidu increased membership six-fold in just a month and a half. He credits his success to a strong work ethic, which he cultivated during years of developing a professional network around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and around Utah’s Capitol Hill. He also has worked for Tesla’s finance operations in Draper, Utah.

Hamaidu is the oldest son of a single immigrant mother of three who struggled to feed her family while struggling to get a green card. He says that growing up in these circumstances taught him resilience, integrity, empathy, and charity of heart.

Jacob Fox

Jacob Fox

Senior, Psychology
Hometown: West Jordan, UT

Touring college campuses as a senior in high school, Jacob Fox knew immediately that he would like UVU. “As soon as I stepped foot on UVU campus, I felt at home and a sense of belonging. I knew there were special things in store for me as a UVU student.” He loves the welcoming, inclusive environment and the focus on student success.

Jacob says that UVU is like a family, which took him in from day one, cared for him, and helped him to reach his goals. One of those goals is to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and no student debt, and he is on schedule to accomplish it. He also loves UVU’s focus on engaged learning, and says, “I have been able to gain real-life, applicable experience to help prepare me for my future jobs and career. I am well respected by my peers and people in the community because of the opportunities I have been given at UVU.”

Jacob plans to attend graduate school and earn a master of social work or graduate degree related to higher education. “I enjoy the development side of higher education and could see myself working in development as a major gift officer or in some other philanthropic work at a university,” he says. He’s passionate about collegiate athletics and could also see himself in the role of sports therapist for student athletes.

Jacob has been very active at UVU, serving in UVUSA, the Young Alumni Association, the Student Alumni Association, and the Center for Social Impact. He has also been a team lead at the Center for the Advancement of Leadership, co-chair of the Service Committee for the LDS Student Association, and team lead of the Telefund, among other activities.

Matthew Hepworth

Matthew Hepworth

Senior, Behavioral Science
Hometown: West Valley City, UT

As one of nine children, Mat Hepworth isn’t able to rely on his parents to help him pay for college. He’s been financially independent since he was 18 and needs to work full time while attending school. He chose UVU for its numerous academic options, flexible class schedules, and affordable tuition — he didn’t think he could work full time and take a full class load anywhere else.

But Mat found much more than flexibility and affordability at UVU. “The best thing about UVU is how invested the University is as a whole in student success,” he says. “UVU helped me discover my talents and abilities. More than anything I want to share my story with everyone about the impact UVU has had on my life. By investing in me and my success, UVU has helped me to believe in myself and see my potential.”

This year Mat was chosen for a prestigious presidential internship, working with Vice President Scott Cooksey. He is also a member of the Wolverine Fund, a student-led venture capital fund, and currently serves as chief of staff for the UVU Student Association. He says his primary goal in life is to be a husband and father. His passion is human development — he loves helping people recognize and develop their strengths — and he plans on pursuing a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology with the goal of one day becoming a professional executive coach or leadership consultant. He hopes to be able to pay it forward one day by helping others in the way that UVU helped him.

Reuben Holdaway

Reuben Holdaway

Junior, Communications
Hometown: Pleasant Grove, UT

When Reuben Holdaway first came to UVU, he didn’t know what he wanted to study. He took an entrepreneurship class during his first year at UVU and was assigned to create a business plan that could legitimately be used. That assignment convinced him to start a business of his own, which opened up many new opportunities. He says, “These opportunities would have been just dreams if it had not been for UVU’s emphasis on academic engagement with real-life experience.

“The best part about the UVU experience is its focus on engaged learning. Every single class at UVU is intentional about implementing at least one activity, project, or assignment in its curriculum that combines academic knowledge with professional experience.”

UVU helped Reuben find his passion for entrepreneurship, and he hopes to continue pursuing that passion over the next couple of decades. “Whether that’s as a founder, in a supporting role with a growing startup, or as a venture capitalist, I hope to find my place in the startup ecosystem,” he says.

As assistant program manager for the Wolverine Ambassador program, Reuben is responsible for planning events such as the Presidential Scholarship Banquet, Wolverine Weekend, and Sterling Scholar. He is also responsible for hiring, training, retaining, and developing 80 student leaders. His on-campus involvement has also included representing the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in the UVUSA Senate, being an investment associate on the Wolverine Fund, and raising money for UVUs athletics program while serving as a member of the athletics marketing team.

Natalie Holloway

Natalie Holloway

Senior, Hospitality Management with Minor in Event Planning
Hometown: Spokane, WA

Natalie Holloway’s high school teachers and classmates tried to discourage her from attending UVU. They thought she wouldn’t be challenged here and that her options would be limited. But that didn’t stop her from coming, and she’s never regretted her decision. The many opportunities she’s been given to plan events and be involved on campus have helped her discover her passions and prepare for a career.

“This university has given me opportunities I never would have had at another school,” says Natalie. “The faculty and staff have cared about me not only as a student but as an individual as well. Through my involvement on campus, my communication, event planning, and management skills have improved immensely. This school has something for everyone; it has helped me decide what to do with the rest of my life. The opportunities at UVU are endless.”

At UVU Natalie has served as the vice president of student relations for the Student Alumni Association. She has assisted the vice president of activities for UVUSA and has served as the UVUSA spirit chair. She has also worked as an events marketing specialist for UVU Athletic Marketing. Currently, she works as the assistant marketing and community relations director in UVU’s Athletic Marketing Department. She hopes to pursue a career in event planning and eventually earn an M.B.A. She says, “Choosing UVU changed my life forever. I owe a lot of what I have today to this university. I am very excited to see where the next chapters of my life take me.”

Victoria Hooper

Victoria Hooper

Junior, Exercise Science
Hometown: Sterling, VA

Tori Hooper started her college career as a varsity basketball player at a university in Virginia. After serving a religious mission, she needed to return home for family reasons. During that time, she attended a community college in Virginia. She loved the college’s focus on student success and the involvement of her professors, but she wanted a bachelor’s degree. That eventually led her to Utah Valley University.

“I wanted to go to a school that was invested in me,” says Tori. “I wanted a four-year school that had the same values. I wanted to come to UVU, because I wanted the opportunity to be involved in many facets of campus life and academics. At UVU everyone and anyone can get involved.”

At UVU, Tori has served as a residential community leader, planning events and encouraging students to continue their education at UVU. She has also served as an assistant in the Student Government and Clubs Office and as a student researcher in biology and exercise science. She has been the program director and basketball coach for the UVU Special Olympics and has been involved with the Center for Social Impact and the Pre-med Association.

Tori plans to attend medical school after graduation and dreams of specializing in dermatology and one day owning her own practice.

Kelsi Jeffery

Kelsi Jeffery

Senior, Communication emph. in PR with Minor in Theatrical Arts
Hometown: Orem, UT

A lifelong resident of Orem, Kelsi was offered many scholarships from Utah colleges and universities. She had the opportunity to tour a few of them, but when she toured the UVU campus, she sensed the school was unique. “The energy of UVU is amazing,” she says. “I received more help and resources from UVU while trying to decide on a school and register than from any of the other colleges I was accepted to, and that was huge. I felt accepted, encouraged, and supported.”

Now in her fourth year on the UVU Student Alumni Association, Kelsi Jeffery is president. This year she will also be a District Seven representative for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s Affiliated Student Advancement Programs. She has also served on the Den Taskforce and as a member of the UVU Philanthropy Council.

After graduation, Kelsi hopes to work as a public relations practitioner for an entertainment company or as a publicist. She is also interested in event planning and nonprofit organizations. She says, “I also look forward to discovering ways to give back to the University and my community as I continue to grow and develop.”

Christina Keller

Christina Keller

Senior, Spanish emph. in Medical Interpreting with Minor in Communications
Hometown: Orem, UT

Christina Keller works at Keller Capital, planning and hosting monthly community events and parties, including political debates, wedding receptions, and concerts. She is a licensed esthetician and makeup artist and a certified pro makeup artist. She has also taught Spanish at the Missionary Training Center for her church. She is president of the Utah County Republican Women and has interned for the Utah State Legislature and for Utah Senator Deidre Henderson.

Christina chose UVU because of the opportunities for getting involved as well as for the academics. She is the director of alumni relations for the Student Alumni Association and has been a Wolverine ambassador, a presidential ambassador, a student leader for the Center for the Advancement of Leadership, and a student advisor for the Presidential Leadership program. She is also involved in the Career Passport program and the Women of UVU club, and she is a co-founder of the Fashion Club.

Christina is creating a short film series about successful families who are unified through a common activity. “I am excited to apply my UVU education in Spanish, business, and communications to inspire family unity all over the world!” she says. “The sky is the limit at UVU, so dream big! As long as you put in the work, you will have all the resources you need to succeed.

Chelsie Kraczek

Chelsie Kraczek

Junior, Personal Finance
Hometown: Orem, UT

At UVU Chelsie has been a project manager and presenter for Enactus, an organization developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. She has also served as a coordinator for the Service Council, helping to establish service learning opportunities for UVU students. And she was elected vice president of academics in UVUSA. Through her experiences with the Presidential Transition Committee and the Faculty Senate, she has seen how the many people around the University work on behalf of students.

Outside of UVU, Chelsie has devoted more than 6,000 hours to community service, including helping the elderly, community clean-up and gardening projects, after-school programs, Special Olympics, and food banks. She has even volunteered in schools and orphanages in India and Mexico.

Leila Namazzi

Leila Namazzi

Junior, Mechatronics engineering and technology management
Hometown: Orem, UT

Leila Namazzi came to UVU for the hands-on, practical experience it provides. She says that experiences like the Technology Fair, for which she and her team developed a “dough bot,” foster creativity and innovation. “Working on this project gave me a glimpse of working in the field; it was a little internship in itself,” she says. She loves that at UVU the professors are accessible and put student success first.

At UVU Leila has served as the academic coordinator for the Multicultural Student Council and as vice president and treasurer of the African Club. She has also been a member of the Black Student Union, Women of UVU, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Phi Theta Kappa.

What Leila likes best about UVU is the camaraderie she has developed with other students and with the faculty and staff. “We have worked in harmony and brought inclusion and togetherness on a whole new level,” she says. As a Foundation ambassador, she will rely on her boundless enthusiasm and optimism to achieve success.

Beyond UVU, Leila works with organizations that provide assistance to the people of Uganda. In her experience as a community volunteer, she has used her problem-solving skills to defuse difficult and tension-filled situations. She plans to work in the medical field before pursuing graduate study in biomechatronics. She thanks the guest speakers and lecturers UVU brings to campus for helping her to make decisions about her future.

Karlee Preston

Karlee Preston

Junior, Communication
Hometown: Orem, UT

Karlee Preston chose UVU because it offered everything she was looking for: a focus on student success and leadership development, opportunities for internships, and scholarships. “From the beginning I felt like UVU cared about me; I am not just a number here,” she says. “UVU is welcoming to all, and because of this I have found my place here.”

What Karlee likes best about UVU is that professors go out of their way to help students succeed. She says, “I know that no matter who I meet at this university, they will all help me be successful and help me become more than I ever thought I could be.” She points to the University’s decision to provide free UTA passes to all students as an example of its responsiveness to student needs. “President Holland had so much going on, but he made sure to make the parking issue a priority and offer students a solution. I am just so grateful to be part of such an amazing institution.”

Karlee has been a manager of Wolverine ambassadors and has completed the L.E.A.D. program in the Center for the Advancement of Leadership with high distinction. As a member of the Student Alumni Association, she has served as a student relations director and a vice president and chair of philanthropy. She also served on the activities branch of UVUSA.

Karlee hopes to one day work in higher education development and raise scholarship funds for students. She says, “I have been blessed to receive multiple scholarships throughout my time at UVU, and I hope to give others the same opportunity.”

Kai Schulze

Kai Schulze

Senior, Finance
Hometown: Payson, UT

What Kai Schulze likes best about UVU is the engaged learning opportunities. He says, “UVU has strong community support and unique learning opportunities when it comes to higher education. Some of my engaged learning experiences have included planning and staffing an event for more than 1,500 people, meeting with CEOs and establishing potential investment opportunities, and traveling to participate in national competitions. UVU truly enables students to gain experiential knowledge beyond the classroom.”

Kai is a member of the Wolverine Fund, UVU’s student-led venture capital fund. He has served as a UVUSA senator for the Woodbury School of Business and department representative for finance. He has also been the director of alumni-student relations for the Student Alumni Association. He works at AircomUSA as an office manager, where he has helped design a new website, create a new reseller program, reconstruct an internal payment management system for accounts payable, and find new partnerships and channels to bring in new customers.

He says, “Attending UVU has changed my life, and I know I can make a meaningful impact on the University and the community as a UVU Foundation ambassador.”