Presidential Interns

UVU’s Presidential Internship Program is a prestigious internship housed in the Office of the President Astrid Tuminez, aiming to provide students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with UVU’s executive leadership team. Each intern will work directly with a member of UVU’s cabinet to create and implement high impact projects on behalf of UVU’s leadership and the university as a whole. Through working alongside cabinet, students will gain a greater knowledge of UVU’s mission, core values, and an inside look at higher education. Students will gain knowledge and skills that will enrich their academic, professional, and personal experiences.

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Intern Bios

torihooper

Tori Hooper - Lead Intern, Intern to Kara Schneck, Chief of Staff

Lead Intern

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.”

While attending UVU, Tori has served in a variety of areas on and off campus. This past summer she had the opportunity to be a part of the Station1 Frontier fellowship that connected STEM students to social impact companies and curriculum. Most recently, she had the opportunity to work as the Student Director for the Excellence and Innovation Initiative to bring more interdisciplinary and industry innovation to campus. She has also been a Foundation Ambassador Chairwoman and provided a student perspective while serving in the role. Also, as a residential community leader, she planned events and encouraged students to continue their education at UVU. She served in the Clubs office, as an assistant in the student government, and as a student researcher in biology and exercise science. She was the program director and basketball coach for the UVU Special Olympics and had the opportunity to be involved with the Center for Social Impact and the Pre-Medical Association.

 

 

jonah

Jonah Gonzalez - Intern to President Astrid S. Tuminez

Jonah Gonzalez is a senior at Utah Valley University (UVU), pursuing a degree in biology and two minors — Spanish and Spanish for interpretation/translation. Upon graduation, he aspires to attend an MD-PhD program to become a physician scientist. Jonah also hopes to one day open a panadería, a Mexican bakery, or family diner after his years of medical service.

Jonah is originally from San Diego, CA, where he began his undergraduate studies at the University of San Diego. After his freshman year, Jonah decided to take his educational career to Utah Valley University, where he made Orem his second home. In his first year at UVU, he joined the English Conversation Club where he helped ELL students practice conversational skills in a comfortable environment. He also had the opportunity to meet and develop a relationship with Dr. Eddy Cadet, a professor of environmental science. Jonah was extended an offer to be a project lead on the Senegal Project in Dr. Cadet’s lab. Off campus, he was a direct support specialist at Chrysalis, providing in-home intensive applied behavior analysis (ABA) services to individuals with intellectual disabilities. In his second year, Jonah continued his research within Dr. Cadet’s lab and began work as an educational coach and office assistant at the Melissa Nellesen Center for Autism.

Now Jonah will be assuming the role of presidential intern to President Astrid S. Tuminez. His role has him overseeing the progression and visual redesign of the Wolverine Stories initiative. His responsibilities extend to institutional research, social media management, and transportation of executives. Jonah will also be getting involved with Catholic Community Services providing tutoring and mentorship to youth refugees.  

In his free time, Jonah enjoys hiking, running, exploring new music, and trying new restaurants.

 

 

kayla baggerly

Kayla Baggerly - Intern to Kehaulani Folau, Program Director-Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Kayla is a UVU student that is passionate about learning and spreading positivity. She has earned her associate in humanities and social sciences. Currently, she is pursuing her bachelor’s in communication with an emphasis in journalism and minors in digital media and Latin American studies. During her time at UVU, Kayla worked with the university’s independent student newspaper the UVU Review within multiple positions. In these opportunities, she gained valuable experience in writing, interviewing, social media, and leadership. Her most memorable experiences with the UVU Review were creating the local music podcast Valley Vibes, launching the broadcast journalism team, serving as editor-in-chief, and winning second place at the Utah Society of Professional Journalists awards for her “Latter-day LGBTQ+” series.

Along with her roles at the UVU Review, Kayla interned at Bennett Communications where she worked on projects for Utah Valley Magazine, BusinessQ, and Utah Valley Bride. She also interned on ABC4’s morning show, Good Things Utah, where she wrote articles, assisted on live shoots, as well as successfully executed seven original segment ideas. At these internships, she further developed her professional skills and learned about the production process of magazines and broadcast journalism. 

In addition to her journalism experience, Kayla performed on UVU’s Ballroom Dance Company and was inducted into UVU’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter where she assists with charity work. After graduation, she hopes to publish her books and work somewhere she can share stories that matter.

Kayla is excited to spend her final year in school serving as a presidential intern. She is looking forward to giving back to the university that has given her so much and hopes she can do her part to help the school further achieve its core values to include, engage, and achieve.

 

 

makana santiago

Makanala'i Santiago - Intern to Kyle Reyes, VP of Student Affairs

Makanala’i Santiago is a senior at Utah Valley University and will graduate Spring of 2022 with a bachelor’s in psychology, Global/Intercultural Distinction, and the Leadership for Personal and Social Impact Certificate.  After graduating, she plans on getting her Masters in Higher Ed. Administration and continuing her work in Higher Education.

Makana is a first-generation college student and has become passionate about sharing the opportunities UVU has to offer. During her first year at UVU she became involved in various programs such as the Ambassador program, Cultural Envoy Leadership Program, Pacific Islander Initiative, and even participated in the Women’s Club Volleyball team. As her time at UVU continued, she rose to the top of various programs. Within the Ambassador program she became a Manager where she trained and mentored 8 student ambassadors in UVU recruitment efforts. Then a Section leader for the Cultural Envoy Program and taught other students Pacific Islander dances and shared how important it is to learn of not only your own culture but others as well.

Now, as a presidential intern for Student Affairs, Makana’s No. 1 focus is being an advocate for students here at the university. She now sits on several committees such as the Supporting Undocumented Student Taskforce, UVU’s Women’s Council, Wolverine Spirit Task Force, and a few other, to ensure that the students are represented in changes that may happen in Student Affairs. 

 

 

 

 

alessia love

Alessia Love - Intern to Kara Schneck, VP of Marketing and Communication

Alessia Love is a Utah native and senior at Utah Valley University (UVU) pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in theatre arts. She is deeply passionate about storytelling, especially through the written word and performance, which she believes has the power to inspire minds and change the world. She also loves interacting with and getting to know other people and their stories. Since coming to UVU, Alessia has been in the Honors Program and is currently serving as an Honors Program Ambassador where she participates in new Honors student outreach. She has served as an editor on the campus Warp & Weave literary journal and written for the school’s independent student voice newspaper, the UVU Review.

Alessia is proud to be a Wolverine — UVU is a place that has given her opportunities to grow, discover her worth and potential and forge her path in ways she never expected. One such unique growing opportunity was the Utah State Legislature internship during the 2021 General vSession from January to March. With the help of phenomenal UVU faculty, Alessia was able to prepare for the incredible experience to intern for Representatives Kohler and Abbott in the Utah House of Representatives.

Now, as a presidential intern for Kara Schneck in the University Marketing and Communications office, Alessia works on projects for the school such as content marketing for the new UVU Student App, social media, and the Wolverine Stories campaign.

After finishing her bachelor’s degree in 2022, Alessia plans to attend graduate school and to continue doing meaningful work, whether that be in the marketing/communications field, teaching English at a high school, or something else entirely. She also plans to continue work on and publish some of her creative projects. In her spare time, Alessia loves to read, go to the gym, hike, and spend time with people (and some of her choice group activities include pickleball, ultimate frisbee, and Secret Hitler).

 

danielle corbitt

Danielle Corbett - Intern to Clark Collings, General Counsel

Danielle Corbett is a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art & design with a minor in art history. In the years preceding her role as a Presidential Intern in the Office of General Counsel, she served as UVU’s Student Body President, and was the first woman to serve as such in 25 years. In that role she was able to head initiatives focused on health inequities and financial transparency, serve on various governing boards, and fight for student interests in administrative settings. She takes pride in UVU’s dual mission and the invitation extended to “come as you are.”

Previously she was also a member of the Wolverine Ambassador program where she advocated for the importance of higher education in the community. She also served as a member of the Executive Service Council at UVU’s Center for Social Impact, which jumpstarted her interest in design thinking and systemic approaches to problem solving. On the off chance that she has free time, she loves attending concerts, picnics in the canyon, and watercolor painting. She is a big fan of sunsets, COIN, and cat videos. 

Upon graduating from UVU in Spring 2022, Danielle is planning to pursue a master’s degree in higher education leadership or art administration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

marisa crist

Marisa Crist - Intern to Linda Makin, VP of Planning, Budget, and Finance

Marisa is a senior at UVU and will graduate in spring 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She plans to attend graduate school in pursuit of her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. Marisa is a first-generation student and has been very impressed with the abundant resources and opportunities available for students at UVU. She grew up in Orem, Utah and UVU has always felt like home to her. 

Marisa is very passionate about mental health and is eager to empower individuals to prioritize, protect and promote their mental health. She currently holds another internship at the Utah County Jail where she collaborates with inmates by utilizing resources and assisting them in creating career plans following sentence completion. 

Throughout her experience at UVU, Marisa has been involved as a student leader on campus in various ways. During her freshman year, she volunteered on Green Team where she assisted in planning and executing events on campus for non-traditional students. In her sophomore year, inspired by her Green Team experience, she applied to be on UVUSA student government. She served on the activities branch as the Traditions Chair. In this role she planned large scale events for students traditional to UVU campus. Her junior year, she was elected as Vice President of Student Activities on UVUSA executive council. 

In Marisa’s role with planning, budget and finance, she works to expand information awareness, encourage effective planning, and promote equity across the university. She is excited to gain new experiences as a presidential intern and contribute to UVU’s mission of exceptional care, accountability and results. 

 

 

                  

 

Linus Wu

Yu Linus Wu - Intern to Mark Arstein, VP of Institutional Advancement

Yu Linus Wu Was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, and lived there for 15 years. He came to Utah at the age of 15 as a foreign exchange student. Having fallen in love with Utah, he decided to stay as an international student. He completed high school in 2017, and then attended Snow College and received his associate in science degree in one year. After he completed his associates, he went back to Taiwan to complete his mandatory army service.  He transferred to UVU in 2019. Now he is a senior double majoring in aviation management, public relations, and strategic communication.

Before becoming a presidential intern, in the past three years, Linus has held positions all over campus, such as chaperone for the UVU aviation summer camp, Campus Connection receptionist, parking enforcement officer, and finance specialist at the bursar office. He is also part of the aviation management and international student club on campus.

In his role with institutional advancement, Linus works along with the executive event, communication, alumni relation, and donor relation. His position allows him to engage with the community, share the university mission and values, and share stories from students.

Linus is trilingual. He speaks English, Mandarin Chinese, and Taiwanese. He is a strong believer in second chances, and everyone has a chance and place here at UVU. Determination and commitment are religion to him.

Linus is a lover of nature, traveling, and motorcycles. Starting May 1, 2020, he set a goal to hike the Y for 100 days straight. He was able to accomplish that and continue his daily hike. Unfortunately, he was hit on his motorcycle, so the streak stopped on August 23, 2021, which was day 478.  He plans on going back to complete his hiking goal for 100 days straight at the Y again once he gets the okay from his doctor.

 

 

abbie merrill

Abbie Merrill - Intern to Dr. Wayne Vaught, VP of Academic Affairs

Abbie Merrill is a junior at Utah Valley University studying mathematics education and psychology. Before transferring to UVU, Abbie received her Associate of Science from Southern Utah University and was awarded a spot on the Dean's List. During her time at SUU, she was involved in the Student Programming Board where she was able to plan weekly events for students on campus. Abbie also worked as an academic advising assistant in the Online Outreach Department where she had the opportunity to work with and help hundreds of online and on-campus students. 

During her time here at UVU, Abbie has involved herself in multiple capacities on campus. She was the traditions director in the Student Alumni Association for the 2020-2021 school year and was able to plan events such as Burning of the UVU, The Dribble and many more.  This school year, Abbie is serving as an Alumni Ambassador and works directly with the Alumni Association.  In this role, she plans the yearly Valley United Food Drive and helps execute the annual Scholarship Ball.  Abbie is also a Wolverine Ambassador and works directly with Prospective Student Services. She represents Wolverine Ambassadors by giving on-campus tours, attending high schools, hosting recruitment events, and being involved in Utah Higher Education Day (UHED).

Abbie is thrilled for the opportunity to be involved in this year's presidential intern cohort. In her role within the Office of Academic Affairs, Abbie works closely with Provost and Senior VP of Academics, Wayne Vaught, to conduct research, review academic policies and tackle large collaborative projects alongside the other presidential interns and VP’s. She is excited to learn more about the ins and outs of higher education. 

Upon graduation, Abbie plans on pursuing her career as an educator where she hopes to have the same kind of positive impact on her students that her professors have had on her.  She is passionate about education, learning, involvement, and service. In her free time, Abbie loves to read, dance, go camping, and spend time with her family.

 

makencie cline

Makencie Cline - Intern to Val Peterson, VP of Finance and Strategic Relations

Makencie is a senior at Utah Valley University (UVU) working to graduate with honors in political science with a Spanish language emphasis and a dual minor in constitutional studies and economics. She is thrilled to be working as a presidential intern this year for Val Peterson, Vice President of Administration and Strategic Relations. Makencie was fortunate to meet Val Peterson on Utah’s Capitol Hill during the state’s 2021 General Legislative Session where she had the incredible opportunity to work for the majority leader, Representative Gibson. She has witnessed firsthand how state government functions, as well as federal government. In the summer of 2021, Makencie had the honor of completing a congressional internship in Washington D.C. at the United States Capitol for the House of Representatives. Following her accomplishments this year, Makencie hopes to empower and elevate students at UVU by encouraging them to invest in their futures by completing life-shaping internships. 

As a first-generation Hispanic student and part-owner of a small business who comes from a diverse community in Aurora, Colorado, Makencie takes the initiative to create meaningful change in her sphere of influence. When Makencie is not volunteering in Mexican orphanages and rest homes; she can be found traveling, snowboarding, playing the piano, or reading. She hopes her background, professional, and academic experiences will be a springboard that launch her toward her professional career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

melanie wolfe

Melanie Wolfe- Intern to Marilyn Meyer, VP of People & Culture

Melanie is a senior at Utah Valley University and will graduate Spring 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Family Science. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a Master of Social Work. Melanie is a first-generation DACA-recipient student. Coming from an immigrant household, education has always been the key to independence. While seeking higher education, she found her home at UVU.

Melanie believes every student has a story and a voice that needs to be heard. She has found her own voice through involvement and leadership at UVU. She has been involved in the Multicultural Student Council as a co-president, the Interfaith Student Council, the UVU Ambassador Program, and has completed the UVU LEAD Program. She is also currently the president of the Family Science Club. During this last summer, Melanie was a research assistant for a professor on campus where she analyzed the results of a marriage improvement program facilitated by college seniors and held over telecommunications. She has a certification related to this workshop with the National Council of Family Relations as a life instructor. With this certification, she has been able to teach families in the community in Spanish and English through the UVU Stronger Families Project. This helped her find her focus of helping youth. She first started as a youth mentor at Timpview High School with an organization called Teens Act. This organization empowers students to graduate from high school and further their education. From there, she became a youth mentor for 4-H Mentoring. On top of her presidential intern position, she works with Utah County 4-H Mentoring as the program operations coordinator.

Melanie was born in Lima, Peru and came to the United States when she was five years old. She grew up in California and later moved to Utah. She loves Latin dancing, horror movies, crime documentaries, roller coasters, and spending time with her family. 

In March 2020, Melanie married the love of her life, Jon, and expanded their family with their fur baby, Blu. They love to go on various adventures together.

 

 

makenzytoro

Makenzy Toro - Intern to Kat Brown, Deputy Provost 

Makenzy is a junior at UVU studying marketing with a minor in entrepreneurship. She is passionate about being involved on campus and is the president for the Women of Woodbury, the VP historian for the Immigrants and Refugee club at UVU and is a graduate from the Women LEAD program. Outside of school, Makenzy owns a private swim lesson and coaching business where she emphasizes the safety and survival skills of learning how to be safe in and around water. Makenzy is an advocate for women working in STEM. She has spoken to the Utah House of Representatives four times on behalf of a STEM activation program and to lobby for the implementation of a yearly Girls in Tech Day law in the state of Utah. In addition, she sits on the leadership and marketing boards for Latinas in Tech Utah and provides mentorship for young women pursing a degree or career in STEM.

Her career goal is to be a chief people officer that focuses on diversity and inclusion work along with company culture. In addition, she hopes to pursue her entrepreneurial goals and gain a master’s degree with the emphasis of women in leadership.

Makenzy is half Venezuelan and Irish and loves any excuse to eat Venezuelan food. She was born and raised in Orem, UT, but spent most of her summers living with her dad in the Seattle, WA area. She is the oldest of four and has two brothers and one sister. She loves to spend time with friends and family, watch movies, travel the world, and bake just about any sweet treat.