Student Alumni Page

ACES ALUMNI NETWORK


Our ACES Peer Health Educators graduate and go on to do great things. Where are they now? See below!

CLASS OF 2021


Fig Schwartz

Harm Reduction

Fig Schwartz

Harm Reduction
Pronouns:They, them, theirs
Degree: BS, Health and Kinesiology with an emphasis in Community Health Education
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? I work at the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health as the Youth Coordinator. I am also planning on catching up on reading now that I will have more free time. I also look forward to skiing more in the winter.

Daniela Zamora

Harm Reduction

Daniela Zamora

Harm Reduction
Pronouns: She, her, hers
Degree: BSW, Social Work with a minor in Psychology
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah born and raised but my parents are from Mexico.
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so? I loved being a part of ACES and I am so glad I had the opportunity to be part of such a welcoming cohort. I learned more about wellness and how to connect with students. As well as how to facilitate presentations and be more tech savy when it came to doing Instagram takeovers. It has helped be more of a leader and take initiative. As well as learning about all the topics of sexual wellness, suicide prevention, eating disorders, harm reduction will help me in my career of being a social worker by finding ways to better support people.
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? I will be pursuing my Master's in Social Work at the University of Utah. My goal is that after I graduate with my Master's I will pursue my License to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and be a therapist. I have not quite decided what specific population I will want to work with. So for my free time, there will be a lot of self-care of dancing, hiking, and being with my dogs, family and friends.

Johnny G. Rivera

Harm Reduction

Johnny G. Rivera

Harm Reduction
Degree: BS, Kinesiology
Where are you from? Salt Lake City, UT
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so? If I could describe in one word it would be… “empowering”. As Kinesiology major, I wanted to support students on how to navigate the U and increase physical activity in students to prevent illnesses/diseases from a high sedentary lifestyle. I learned in ACES Scholars how I wanted to guide & support folxs to improve their wellness. It went from individual to community to societal level of peer health education on campus. I learned new perspectives from my fellow ACES on how they support student wellness. It felt inspiring to see other ACES be passionate about harm reduction, sexual wellness, or violence prevention. I found a community of fun, caring, and supportive folxs. I felt at home at the Center of Student Wellness. They embraced my ideas for a student-led program called Walk and Talk, a walking community within ACES scholars to be more physically active, make friends, and understand & navigate mental health sources on campus. ACES help understand the career I wanted after graduation. I hate to say it but I’m going to miss ACES after I graduate.
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? On my to-do list: I plan to visit more national parks in US with friends, start working out starting three times a week for 1 to 2 hours (including resistance training, flexibility training, cardio training, and balance training), prepare and explore to go to graduate school, learn Spanish & Japanese, learn how to tailor clothing, cook more variety of recipes and Peruvian food, and spend time with family and friends more often.

Farah Hamouda

Violence Prevention

Farah Hamouda

Violence Prevention
Degree: Sociology with a Minor in Political Science
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so? Being an ACES scholar has been the most fulfilling experience! The opportunities ACES has provided me are irreplaceable and the connections I have built with my peers, educators, and the community are something I will not take for granted. ACES has been essential in solidifying my desire to become a professor because I realized how much I love presenting and talking about topics I am passionate about- one of them being violence prevention. I have learned so much about ALL aspects of wellness. This experience has taught me that wellness is not one-size-fits-all and that wellness is something we must all continue to strive for. Most importantly, ACES has provided me friendships that I will carry with me after graduation and for that, I am forever grateful.
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? I plan to take a year off from school and apply to graduate programs! I love school so much I never want to leave, which is why I want to be a professor! I hope to travel, paint, and drink lots of lemonade this summer while also spending time with family, friends, and my two cats!

Indigo Ambrose
Mason

Violence Prevention

Indigo Ambrose
Mason

Violence Prevention
Pronouns: They, them, theirs
Degree: HBS, Health, Society, and Policy; Gender Studies & Minor in Political Science
Hometown: Park City, UT
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so? ACES has provided me with the opportunity to connect with my peers across the virtual divide to discuss topics like sexual wellness and interpersonal violence that can feel isolating and stigmatized to experience alone. I've appreciated how receptive the ACES community has been to actively expand presentations and materials about community care beyond "violence prevention" towards transformative justice practices that keep our communities safe from state intervention. The ACES program advocates for campus wellness in many ways by advocating for fair wages, consistent and safe housing, reliable access to holistic health care, finding connections with others, and connecting people to bodily pleasure. Peer education is community care.
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? I'm going to take a sweet break! I plan on enjoying the remainder of Taurus season soaking up some desert sun with my pod to celebrate completing 16 consecutive years of schooling :)) Once my restoration period ends, I plan on continuing to research trans and gender-expansive (TGE) sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care practices through my internship at Ibis Reproductive Health. Over the summer I will be serving as a teaching assistant for the UofU Family Planning Division's Summer Institute for students (of all levels!) hoping to learn more about SRH and connect with mentors in the field. Additionally, I hope to disseminate my papers about adolescent sexual health programming to conferences, papers, and organizations to improve programmatic practices for this age group. I'm stoked to have the time to backpack, rollerdance, and develop my book art skills. In terms of next steps, I hope to jump back into school once it's safe to learn in person, but also once I feel ready to be a student again. The tentative plan is to apply for an MSPH/MSW program with a sexuality/gender emphasis to fulfill the requirements towards becoming an AASECT-certified sexuality therapist for TGE youth. I'm eager to experience the world as an adult, try new things, love deeply, and find joy wherever I may be.

Leslie
Salamanca

Violence Prevention

Leslie
Salamanca

Violence Prevention
Pronouns: She, her, hers
Degree: BS, Health, Society and Policy and Sociology
Hometown: Heber City, Utah
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so? I loved my time with ACES! I wish I would've been an ACES peer health educator longer during my time at the U. By being an ACES scholar, I was able to interact with my peers and introduce healthy lifestyle presentations and information to each other. I was also able to build my confidence in public speaking and social media by doing presentations regarding CSW content and doing Instagram takeovers. I was able to build connections throughout the university and outside, and have made long-lasting friendships with other ACES scholars. It has informed my career path by allowing me to see what it is that I enjoyed in working alongside my peers in the realm of public health, and understand what is still needed at these higher education institutions to ensure students are able to thrive at the U and beyond.
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? I will be taking a year off of school to work full-time in my field and will be planning on applying to grad school to begin my Master's in Public Health in the Fall of 2022!

CLASS OF 2020


Colton Eusterman

Sexual Wellness

Colton Eusterman

Sexual Wellness
Degree: BS, Strategic Communications
Where are you from? Sandy, UT

Marina Knysheva

Harm Reduction

Marina Knysheva

Harm Reduction
Degree: BS, Health Promotion & Education
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so?:Being an ACES scholar was one of my most memorable experiences in college. Although everyone from the team came from different majors and life experiences, we all connected over our passion for health and prevention. Through the program, I was able to network with many different organizations and people because of the presentations and tabling events. Overall, being involved in ACES has increased my interest in prevention and holistic wellness. For the longest time, I have aspired to become a medical doctor. My involvement in ACES has spurred my interest in primary care, because of the opportunities to educate patients on prevention and wellness from a holistic, values-neutral approach.
How are you spending your time after graduation? I am currently in a gap year working as a lab technician in a research lab and a mentor at a transitional living program for young girls. I plan to begin medical school in the Fall of 2021. In my free time, I love to read and have recently begun embroidering. Most importantly, I am always in search of the best coffee, boba, and dessert places!

Maya Correa

Harm Reduction

Maya Correa

Harm Reduction
Degree: BS, Health, Society, & Policy; Minor: Sociology
Hometown: Caldwell, Idaho
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so? ACES was a totally unique experience in my life! I was surrounded by a team that supports each other so genuinely and this helped me grow a lot professionally and personally. I was able to learn a lot more about harm reduction practices, how harm reduction applies to topic areas besides alcohol and drugs, and I’ve been able to hold conversations with others on what harm reduction is. One of my favorite events I got to help with was the Drug Takeback Event and I hope this event continues next year! Upon reflection, other things I’m taking away from my experience with ACES is the power of peer education, examples of what positive dialogue looks like, and information that will light a fire in my own personal and professional efforts for the future. I can't wait to see how the ACES scholar program continues to grow!
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? Currently, I've been spending a lot of time reading for leisure, participating in a group called Connect2Health, and trying to find more creative outlets (like painting). This past fall, I started working at the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning under Valley Behavioral Health in Salt Lake City. I'm currently a Behavior Specialist Asst. and work with adolescents that have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). The center is one of a kind and we strive to provide comprehensive treatment, education, and other related services for children with autism and their families. In the future, I'm hoping to get my MPH with an emphasis in epidemiology!

Amuia Alford

Violence Prevention

Amuia Alford

Violence Prevention
Major: BS, Economics; Health, Society, & Policy
Where are you from? Destin, FL

Marissa Castillo

Violence Prevention

Marissa Castillo

Violence Prevention
Degree: BS, Health Promotion and Education
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so? I learned how to lead and work as a team. ACES taught me a lot about how to run committees and reach out to other organizations to plan events. This program helped show me how much I love outreach and creating content that helps inform individuals about important health issues, which is something I hope to work more with in the future.
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? I am currently working as a Medical Assistant for the U and at a research lab with the Department of Neurology. I am also taking a couple of classes to apply to medical school and am studying for the MCAT. In my free time, I continue to volunteer with a couple of programs, read, bake, and paint.

Linda Derhak

Sexual Wellness

Linda Derhak

Sexual Wellness
Degree: Health, Society & Policy Hometown: West Jordan, UT

Nene Maruta

Violence Prevention

Nene Maruta

Violence Prevention
Degree: Honors BS, Nursing
Hometown: Portland, OR
Describe your experience with ACES. What did you learn from being an ACES scholar? If it has informed your career path, how so? Being an ACES scholar was one of the best experiences of college. The program allowed me to grow as an individual and as an advocate; to be compassionate and kind, and to value the opportunities presented to teach people about health. As an ACES scholar, I experienced firsthand the gaps in the public education system and the inconsistencies in health education students receive across the U.S. Throughout the program, I was continually humbled by the trust and curiosities peers had about sexual wellness, healthy relationship, and what it means to look at health from a holistic standpoint. I take that learned humility with me every single day to the hospital in my nursing role. I am a stronger nurse, teacher, and advocate for all my patients, thanks to the ACES program!
How are you/will you be spending your time after graduation? Post-gradation, I am working as a full-time nurse at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester in the Float Pool. When I am not working, I spend my time climbing, practicing yoga, dabbling with instruments, exploring Minnesota, and being a full-time mom to my ever-growing collection of plants. I am taking the free time to learn more about myself (and find hobbies) and continue to practice self-care. Currently, I do not have active plans to return to school but will likely pursue an MPH or a DNP degree when I am ready to move on from bedside nursing. Volunteering and community work is currently on hold due to the pandemic, but I would like to serve the community again when it is safe to do so.

VICTIM-SURVIVOR ADVOCACY INTERNS


Sam Zizumbo

2020-2021 MSW Victim-Survivor Advocate

Sam Zizumbo

2020-2021 MSW Victim-Survivor Advocate

Cody Lockyer

2019-2020 MSW Victim-Survivor Advocate

Cody Lockyer

2019-2020 MSW Victim-Survivor Advocate
Degrees: B.S. Psychology; Master of Social Work
Describe your experience as a VSA intern. Working as a VSA intern has allowed me to work with many wonderful clients and gain unique professional experience. The difficulties, challenges, and barriers those impacted by interpersonal violence face can be absolutely paralyzing or feel insurmountable. I learned that these individuals, regardless of all they face, are incredibly resilient. Being a VSA and working with each wonderful person has taught me that there is always hope.
How are you/will you be spending your time after your internship/graduation? I will be spending most of my time working with clients in private practice after graduation. I find that the work brings me a greater meaning within my life by assisting others however I can.

Maureen Meyer

2020-2021 MSW Victim-Survivor Advocate

Maureen Meyer

2020-2021 MSW Victim-Survivor Advocate

Charla Leary

2019-2020 BSW Victim-Survivor Advocate

Charla Leary

2019-2020 BSW Victim-Survivor Advocate
Degrees: Bachelor of Social Work; Master of Social Work
Describe your experience as a VSA intern. In my time as a VSA intern I gained confidence as a social worker as well as a trauma-informed advocate. I was treated as a valued part of the CSW team. My duties included managing a diverse caseload of clients, attending team meetings, co-facilitating Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and a plethora of other exciting opportunities at the U. Through this internship I gained knowledge that prepared me for applying for and landing my MSW Clinical Internship at the Rape Recovery Center the following year.
How are you/will you be spending your time after your internship/graduation? I am currently a Clinical Therapist at the Rape Recovery Center and working back at the Center for Student Wellness as a VSA as well.