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Alumni Association announces inaugural members of Young Alumni Council


October 13, 2009

 The Arizona State University Alumni Association recently announced the members of its newly formed Young Alumni Council. The council was formed to direct and facilitate the development of the association’s Arizona State Young Alumni program, which is aimed at ASU graduates age 35 and younger.

Jennifer Holsman, executive director of operations for the Alumni Association, said the organization had recruited a team consisting of more than two dozen volunteers to help plan and execute the program's events.

“Engaging new graduates with the Alumni Association in the years immediately after graduation greatly impacts whether we keep them connected to the university,” Holsman said. “The Arizona State Young Alumni program will be guided primarily by the Young Alumni Council, who will shape the organization into a powerful connection for keeping Sun Devil graduates embedded in both the ASU and the general community.”

Although the council is only a few months old, Holsman said its members were already establishing a clear direction for the group.

“We've been impressed by the initiative our volunteer leadership team has shown,” she said. “While we have only recently started this program, our volunteers have jumped in and are providing excellent input on social events, traditions and community service projects designed to engage young alumni with the University and to create a network of Sun Devils throughout the Valley.”

­The following ASU graduates will be part of the 2009-10 Young Alumni Council:


Council member biographies

Mahilani Akiona  ’05 B.A. is a corporate recruiter for Republic Services, a company providing waste disposal services for commercial, industrial, municipal and residential customers. Akiona was a founding member of a nonprofit organization called Growth Improvement for Female Teens and actively participates in the community through Junior League.

Jennifer (Boop) Bonney ‘98 B.A. is the pharmacy program director for DestinationRx, a healthcare technology company focused on providing Internet-based tools that help consumers better understand, choose and use their health plans and medications. Prior to joining DestinationRx, Bonney held account management, marketing, and event management positions with Caremark and the National Council for Prescription Drugs Programs. Outside of her day job, she is a group fitness trainer at Fitness Works and teaches dance classes for the city of Chandler Parks and Recreation.

Meghan Dorn ’02 B.I.S. works for the Arizona Office of Tourism as the Community Development Coordinator. Dorn also serves as the assistant to the director for the Arizona Centennial Commission, the organization charged with planning the state’s 100th birthday celebration in 2012. She also serves as a community outreach ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and is president of the Interdisciplinary Studies Alumni Club of the Association.

Patrick Dostal ’02 B.S., ’04 M.Ed. is manager of Global Network Services Partner Servicing at American Express and an active member of the board of directors for the W. P. Carey School of Business Alumni chapter.

Jeffrey Dreyer ‘06 B.I.S. is the founding partner of MJM Capital Group, a commercial finance and advisory firm specializing in structuring debt and equity for small businesses and commercial real estate. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. He is also a principal and a founding member of Opto-Lighting Solutions, a green tech start-up headquartered in Gilbert. Originally from New Jersey and Connecticut, Dreyer enjoys mountain and street biking, reading, investing, traveling and any adventure he can find.

Kendra Ehler ’09 B.S. graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness marketing and is now pursuing a master’s in agribusiness at the university. Ehler was a founding member of the Senior Class Council, a component of the Alumni Association’s Senior Year Experience program for graduating underclassmen.

Maribeth England ’05 B.I.S.  graduated from ASU with a degree in communication.  She works for RJ Reynolds as a territory manager.

Lisette Flores ‘00 B.A, ‘03 J.D. is an assistant city prosecutor for the city of Phoenix. Prior to her work with the city, she served as chief investigator for the Arizona State Board of Education. She is active in the Los Diablos chapter of the ASU Alumni Association and Laveen Village Planning Committee, as well as the City of Phoenix Design Review and Standards Committee.

Julian Galindo ‘08 B.S.E. is a rotator engineer for the Salt River Project. An Arizona native, Galindo was a three-time recipient of the Los Diablos Scholarship. Besides his work with the Young Alumni Council, he volunteers with the Special Olympics and the Los Diablos chapter of the ASU Alumni Association.

Matt Gervin ‘01 B.S. works as a professional liability broker for Travis Pedersen & Associates. He is on the ASU Alumni Association’s National Alumni Council and also serves on the Sigma Phi Epsilon - Arizona Alpha board. 

Brandon Goad ’04 B.A. is a Phoenix native. He works as a quality assurance manager with the government professional services firm MAXIMUS. He has served on the Phoenix Human Relations Commission, co-chaired the Phoenix Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Breakfast subcommittee, and has volunteered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.

Tara Gregory ’08 B.S. is the product marketing and development manager at Global Crossing in Phoenix. During her time as a student, participated in marketing internships with Coca-Cola and GlaxoSmithKline.  She is active in the alumni chapter for the Leadership Scholarship Program at ASU.

Crystal Gustavson ’03 B.S. is owner and managing partner of The Fluent Agency. Prior to founding her company, she worked as an account manager with Terralever and an interactive Project Manager with Riester. Gustavson began her career in politics, where she worked on several successful congressional, gubernatorial and initiative campaigns, including U.S. Sen. John McCain’s re-election campaign.

Raquel Hakel ’05 B.A. is a group sales manager for the Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau. In her spare time she enjoys running, dancing, spending time with friends and brushing up on her Spanish.

Eric Hernandez ‘06 B.S. is a project manager for Chase Bankcard Services. Prior to Chase, he became involved with the Inroads Organization, a nonprofit internship program that exposed him to various corporate opportunities as well as developmental training programs. Hernandez received a full-tuition scholarship through the Los Diablos chapter of the ASU Alumni Association to complete his bachelor’s degree; he now serves as treasurer of the chapter’s board of directors.

Stephanie Kaufman ‘08 B.A. is a realtor in the Phoenix metro area. Her hobbies include golfing, hiking, singing, dance, and reading and writing poetry.

Jayson Matthews ’03 M.P.A. is the assistant director at the Tempe Community Council. He has also 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 is an advocate of human services and has volunteered 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 Board of Directors.

Patrick Maurer ‘02 B.A. is a speaker and educator who runs his own business, PMauer Communication LLC. He is the communication chair for the Leadership Scholarship Program’s alumni chapter. In his spare time, he enjoys theatre, hiking, film, and cheering on his alma mater at sporting events.

Brian McNamara ’04 B.S., ’08 J.D. is an attorney with Beus Gilbert, specializing in commercial litigation.         

Fredrick Nijm ‘04 B.S. is a regional market manager for Insight and the president of Addoway.com, a free site that allows users to create a social media storefront to market themselves and their businesses. Prior to launching Addoway.com, Nijm was president of PriceBeats.com.

Sean J. O'Hara ‘03 B.A. is an associate with the law firm of Snell & Wilmer LLC. His practice focuses on products liability, commercial litigation and medical malpractice defense. Sean and his wife Amy are avid Sun Devil fans who rarely miss an ASU football or baseball game.  

Sophie O’Keefe-Zelman ’05 B.A. is a senior associate at FirstStrategic Communications & Public Affairs, a bipartisan firm focusing on corporate communications strategy, public relations, and government relations. She interned with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Asunción, Paraguay, in the economics and commercial section.  She also serves on the board of the Arizona Refugee Women’s Rights Project, an organization that helps refugee women and their families successfully integrate into their new communities and lives.

Brent Pearlstein ’09 B.S. is an associate with Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate services firm.  Prior to graduation, he completed internships with Bank of America and ING.

Martín J. Quezada ’01 B.S., ’08 J.D. is an attorney living in west Phoenix. He spent five years working as Research Analyst/Policy Advisor to the Democrat Caucus in the Arizona Legislature before being accepted into law school at ASU.  After receiving his law degree, Quezada served a judicial clerkship for Judge Patricia Orozco on the Arizona Court of Appeals. Quezada was named as one of the Univision/AZ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Top 40 Hispanic Leaders Under Age 40 in 2009. 

Nicole Severson ’99 B.S., ’02 J.D. is an attorney practicing primarily in the areas of family law, juvenile law and criminal defense. She practices exclusively in Pinal County and is a member and former president of the Pinal County Bar Association.  She is currently serving her second two-year term as representative of District One for the Young Lawyers Division Executive Council of the State Bar of Arizona.

Drew Seybold ’08 B.S.E. is a project engineer for Huitt-Zollars, beginning his association with the company as a college intern. He specializes in transportation projects and commercial development, particularly airports and solar energy facilities. He enjoys travel, hiking, camping, hanging out with good friends and anything outdoors.

Ashlea Taylor ’08 B.A. is a career services representative at Everest College Phoenix Online. She is the second vice president of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated Beta Mu Sigma Alumni Chapter and the undergraduate advisor of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated Beta Pi Chapter. She enjoys going to the movies, singing, traveling, dancing and trying different foods.

Heather Watkins ’08 B.S. is a community development specialist at Toolbox.com, an Internet knowledge sharing community. She is active in the alumni chapters of Delta Zeta Sorority and Phi Beta Lambda, and will begin mentoring for Florence Crittenton in the fall.  She enjoys traveling, reading, hiking and yoga.

Vernetra Young ’06 B.S. is a business management associate for General Mills. She is the events chair for the ASU Black Alumni chapter. She is also actively involved in local theater, having played roles in productions by the Southwest Shakespeare Company and others.

Additional positions on the council remain open and ASU alumni under age 35 are encouraged to apply by contacting Jennifer Holsman at jholsman@asu.edu or by calling (480) 965-2586.