Alumni Association announces 2012-2013 Young Alumni Council

ASYA Young Alumni Council president Jayson Matthews

 The Arizona State University Alumni Association recently elected its officers and newest members for the 2012-2013 Young Alumni Council.

The council was formed in 2009 to direct and facilitate the development of the association’s Arizona State Young Alumni (ASYA) program for ASU graduates age 35 and younger. As the program enters its fourth year, Jennifer Holsman Tetreault, executive director of operations for the Alumni Association, said members of the council are shaping the program into one that sets the stage for strategic growth.

“The evolution of the Young Alumni Council, like the growth of the Arizona State Young Alumni program itself, has been inspirational to watch,” Holsman Tetreault said.  “The council is shaping ASYA into a powerful tool for keeping Sun Devil graduates embedded in the ASU community.

“We've been impressed by the initiative that our volunteer leadership team has shown,” she continued. “We are thrilled to have such impressive talent on the council to provide leadership and guidance.”

The following ASU alumni will be part of the 2012-13 Young Alumni Council.


President: Jayson Matthews ’03 M.P.A. is the assistant director and chief program officer for the Tempe Community Council. He has worked for the city of Tempe as a management intern for former Tempe City Manager Will Manley, and as an executive assistant for former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano. He has served on the boards of the Tempe Transportation Commission, the City of Phoenix Commission on Housing and Neighborhoods, the City of Phoenix License Appeals Board, and the Tempe Leadership’s board of directors.

Vice President: Sean J. O'Hara ‘03 B.A. is an associate with the law firm of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. His practice focuses on intellectual property litigation.  O’Hara, his wife Amy, and their children, Ellen and Patrick, are all avid Sun Devil fans who rarely miss an ASU football game. 

Secretary: Maja Aurora ’03 B.A. manages public art, art in private development, and arts grants for the city of Tempe. During her time at ASU, she served as the president of Miracles ASU and worked as an adolescent life skills volunteer with Save the Family. Aurora continues to serve the community through her participation in Tempe Leadership with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and by volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona for more than seven years.

New Members

Nicole Almond '04 B.A., '09 MNpS is the manager of marketing, communications and stakeholder relations for ASU's Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. Previously, she worked in alumni relations programs for ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business and the ASU Alumni Association. As a student, she was president of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and was involved with the Leadership Scholarship Program, Devils’ Advocates and the American Marketing Association. Almond is a member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Phoenix and is the faculty advisor for Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. She is a proud gold life member of the ASU Alumni Association and is a passionate supporter of Sun Devil Athletics.

Yesenia Barraza 08 B.A. is a certified public accountant and assists businesses and individuals with their tax, accounting and consulting needs. At ASU, Barraza was part of the Leadership Scholarship Program and served in key roles for various on-campus organizations including the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting and the Hispanic Business Students Association. She shares her knowledge related to financial topics with the community through frequent presentations, and also volunteers for programs that aim to increase the access of underrepresented students to a college education.

Alexander Benezra '03 B.S. is an attorney for the Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton, Ariz., where his practice focuses on criminal defense, juvenile and child custody matters for tribal members.  As an ASU student, Benezra was a resident assistant at Manzanita Hall for two years and active in Hillel. Since graduating from ASU, Benezra earned his law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law in 2007. Outside of work, Benezra volunteers for the Valley of the Sun YMCA Youth and Government program and for the Mountain Region B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, and is a member of the State Bar of Arizona's Technology Committee. Benezra lives in Phoenix with his wife, Allison, who is also an ASU alum.

Alexandra M. De La Paz ’03 B.S. is a Leadership Development Coordinator at Amazon. While a student, De La Paz was active in Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, traveled abroad with the W. P. Carey School of Business as an International Business Seminar Scholar and was the recipient of the ASU Maroon & Gold and Hispanic Business Alumni scholarships.  De La Paz serves as the current vice president of communications for the Alpha Kappa Psi Phoenix alumni chapter, and has served as the organization’s president and treasurer. Her volunteer portfolio includes community service with Junior Achievement of Arizona and St. Vincent de Paul.

Dan Killoren ’06 B.A., ’11 Ph.D. is a research analyst at Salt River Project. While a student at ASU, he helped to launch GlobalResolve, a sustainable entrepreneurship program in the College of Technology and Innovation, and traveled to Ghana three times to work directly on development projects. Killoren also was involved in the Edison Student Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Barrett Summer Scholars program. While living in Ohio, Killoren helped launch a connection group for the ASU Alumni Association and also co-organized the first Pat’s Run “shadow run” in the state.

Alec Esteban Thomson ’11 B.A. is the director of programs and operations for the Arizona-Mexico Commission in the Arizona Office of the Governor.  Thomson recently was appointed by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to serve on the board of directors for Phoenix Sister Cities. He is on the executive board for the Leadership Scholarship Program alumni chapter and is vice president of the LGBT Devils’ Pride alumni chapter.

Billy Watson ’11 B.S., ’11 B.A. is a financial analyst with LMI Solutions. He previously worked as an investment banking intern with Columbia West Capital LLC and an operations/accounting intern for the ASU Alumni Association. While he was earning his degrees in finance and political science at ASU, he served as the president of Sigma Chi fraternity and president of the Intrafraternity Council, and as director of membership for the College Republicans organization. Watson also served as a senator for the Undergraduate Student Senate.  

The new council members and officers join current council members Sara Agne ’04 B.A.; Tim Agne ’04 B.A.; Jessica Aguilar ’10 B.A.; Saif Al-Alawi ’05 B.A.; Teniqua Broughton ’00 B.I.S., ’05 M.Ed.; Alexander Clark ’10 B.A.; Meghan Cox ’07 B.A.; Meghan Dorn ’02 B.I.S.; Matt Gervin ’01 B.S.; Brandon Goad ’04 B.A.; Kurtis Hingston ’09 B.S.; Ashley Irvin ’07 B.A., ’09 M.Ed.; Christopher Lee ’10 B.A.; Arlene Miramon ’06 B.S.; John Mitman ’10 B.S.; Oquendo Perez ’06 B.I.S.; Michelle Pishkur ’04 B.A.; Jessica Taylor White ’05 B.A.;  and Tara Trzinski ’05 B.S.

For additional information on the Arizona State Young Alumni program, visit