Skip to main content
Women of FHSS Profiles

Alicia Seeley

Alicia Seeley, former Geography student at BYU, is a current Master in Urban Planning Candidate at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is passionate about the role of data visualization in shaping the future of our cities and helping to find solutions related to sustainable transportation, affordable housing, and inclusive design. She has also served in the US Army for over 10 years as a Mandarin linguist and geospatial analyst. There are few things Alicia loves more than designing beautiful and thought provoking maps. Outside of school, Alicia is passionate about sports. During her undergraduate studies, she played ultimate frisbee for BYU and professionally, and is an avid volleyball player and rock climber. She is married to David Shum, whom she met in Melbourne, Australia, where they both served missions. They live in South Boston, Massachusetts, with their dogs, Ernest and Geoffrey.

Alissa Packer

Alissa Packer graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in history in 2001. She completed medical school at the University of Utah and a pediatric residency at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City Utah. She currently practices as a pediatrician in West Jordan at Wasatch Pediatrics: Southpoint. She is the mother of three girls and lives with her husband in Alpine Utah.

Anna Murphy

Anna Murphy, (BA in Political Science), is an Associate of Business & Program Development at the Milken Institute (MI). In this role, she focuses on securing and stewarding support for MI’s Centers. She assists in building out pathways for engagement for the Institute’s supporters as well as supporting the grants and foundation portfolio at the Institute. She is passionate about improving the lives of those in her community and committed to social good. Anna lives on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. with her husband and dog, Cooper.

Ashley Mendoza

Ashley currently works as a Pre-Health Advisor at the Preprofessional Advisement Center at BYU, and loves empowering and supporting students, specifically on how to achieve their goals and dreams. Ashley grew up in Independence, Missouri. Her parents are immigrants to the United States and they are from the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. Ashley is 1 of 4 children in her family. She is a proud Cougar through and through. She completed her undergraduate education in Human Development and then worked at the United Way of Utah County helping to run their education initiative. She then continued her education and received her Master’s Degree in Social Work at BYU.

Barbara Mecham

Barbara Mecham is a 49 year-old wife, mother, teacher in-training, habitual organizer, furniture refinisher, sewer, caterer, delightfully feisty, gospel-loving woman. She and her husband have been married for 21 years. They are the parents of 14 year-old triplet girls, whom they adore and a dog named Moose whom they tolerate.

Before becoming a non-traditional student at BYU, Barbara worked in various positions in the design, accounting, real estate and legal fields. After a 25 year hiatus, Barbara returned to school with a desire to strengthen families through teaching Family and Consumer Sciences Education (FCS) content, a passion that has blessed her life.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany, is an intern for the Historic Sites Division in the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bethany graduated with a BA in History and a minor in Family Studies from BYU. She has an emphasis in US History and focused her studies and writings on early events in Church history as well as topics relating to religious freedom in the United States. Currently, she is completing a graduate certificate program through George Mason University in Digital Public Humanities while living in Provo with her husband as he finishes his undergraduate through BYU. She plans to continue her graduate education and further her study of religion in the United States. She also volunteers for the Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation. When she is not swamped with work and school she loves to read, watch movies with her husband, bake, and spend time outdoors.

Brooke Robinson

Brooke graduated from BYU in political science in 2010. She participated in the Washington Seminar Program (Fall 2008), during that time she interned for Sen. Harry Reid in the Senate Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee. She also attended the BYU Jerusalem Center in 2010. Brooke graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School and was admitted to the Utah State Bar in 2014. After law school, Brooke worked as a law fellow with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office and as the Pro Bono Director at Utah Legal Services where she also practiced family law.

Currently, Brooke is the Director of Programs for Timpanogos Legal Center, and she works primarily on family law and domestic violence cases. Brooke is a member of the statewide Pro Bono Commission, focused on improving access to justice in Utah. Brooke is also a certified Utah Victim Advocate. Brooke lives in Ogden, UT with her husband Chase, two (wild) sons, and dog named Charlie.

Catherine Otto

Catherine Otto graduated from BYU in Economics in 2002 and also received her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from BYU. Catherine worked as Associate General Counsel for HealthEquity, Operations Specialist for the CIA, Project Manager for Zane Prep, Inc., Director of Operations for the Fusion Education Group, and is currently the Chief Operating Officer at DSST Public Schools where she leads operations, technology and strategy departments for a 16-school higher performing charter network. Catherine is the mother of two and talks about how she has balanced ambition with parenting.

Christine Carruth Frandsen

Christine Frandsen is a product marketing manager who specializes in healthcare communication technology. She currently serves as the Director of Communications for BikeWalk Provo, a non-profit that advocates for safe streets that make it easy and fun for all people to get around by bike or on foot. Christine graduated from BYU in 2009 with a BA in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations, and was a member of the BYU Women's lacrosse team. In her free time, Christine loves to spend time outside: hiking, skiing, biking, bug catching, or just laying in a hammock in the backyard. She shares a life with her husband Paul, and their two animal-obsessed children.

Christy Taylor

Christy, (BA in Fashion Design), is a Senior Technical Developer at Nike. So far, her resume has included assistant designer, theater costumes, patternmaker, grader, retail, freelance, bridal, tailoring, technical designer, and product development. She owned her own freelance studio, worked at small companies, and then 15 years ago, was hired at Nike. She has worked on men’s, women’s, kids, maternity, outwear, base layer, seamless, bridal, alteration, knitwear, and sport (athlete and retail, including BYU!). She feels extremely fortunate to be able to see her product on the athletes and on the fans. She has been married for almost 25 years to her husband, Matt, who she met at BYU. They have 4 kids, 1 son-in-law, and 2 cats.

Claudia Soto

Claudia Soto is currently Master of Sociology student at BYU. Claudia started her college experience taking courses in public relations and marketing, but changed her trajectory after participating in Model UN. She was the President for Students for International Development club, participated in a randomized control trial with the Circles program, worked and is working with college mentors on immigration issues, worked her way from a mentor to the Associate Director with Teens Act, a non-profit organization helping children graduate high school and seek higher education, interned for United Way of Salt Lake and will graduate soon.

Deidre Henderson

Deidre M. Henderson became Utah’s ninth Lieutenant Governor in January of 2021. Prior to her election as the second highest official of the State, she served for eight years in the Utah State Senate representing South Utah County. During her years in the Utah Senate, Lt. Governor

Henderson gained a reputation as a strong conservative, a champion for government transparency, and a vocal advocate for women and families. She served as chair of the Senate Rules Committee, the Revenue and Taxation Committee, and the Education Committee. Her efforts gained recognition by numerous civic groups including Legislator of the Year by the Fraternal Order of Police and Taxpayer Advocate of the Year by the Utah Taxpayers Association. In 2020 she was named a Libertas Institute Defender of Liberty.

Lt. Governor Henderson and her husband Gabe are longtime residents of Spanish Fork. They have five children, three sons-in-law, and are expecting two grandsons this Fall.

Daneka Souberbielle

Daneka Souberbielle is an inclusion strategist and facilitator who specializes in student diversity initiatives and inclusive competency acquisition in higher education. She is currently the Associate Provost of Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at Southern Utah University. Originally from southwest Michigan, Daneka received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Science in Sociology from BYU. Daneka has worked in higher education for the last 15 years and has overseen inclusion and equity programs for 3,000+ first-generation, multicultural, international, LGBTQ+ and veteran students.

In her free time, Daneka loves to spend time with her husband of almost 16 years and their three children watching movies, dancing and playing pickleball.

Ellie Randall

Ellie Randall graduated from BYU as a Family Studies major in 2016, later earning a master's degree in Family and Human Development from Arizona Student University. She has worked in several social service fields including Head Start education and therapeutic foster care, and now works as an adjunct faculty member at a community college. She currently resides in Rochester, Minnesota with her husband and two kids.

Emily White

Emily White started her bachelor’s degree in 2002 at BYU-Idaho, graduating with her Associate Degree in General Studies and serving a mission in Berlin, Germany. She was later married and transferred to BYU, withdrawing from college to give birth to their first child and moving to Austin, Texas so her husband could continue his education. Emily always planned on graduating, and intentionally chose to be at home with their children, returning 12 years later to complete her education. Emily is a non-traditional returning student, graduating in April 2021, and planning on doing her Masters of Applied Positive Psychology at University of Pennsylvania.

Farina King

Farina King, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, is Assistant Professor of History and affiliated faculty of Cherokee and Indigenous Studies at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She is also the Director of the NSU Center for Indigenous Community Engagement. She received her Ph.D. at Arizona State University in U.S. History. King specializes in twentieth-century Native American Studies. She is the author of The Earth Memory Compass: Diné Landscapes and Education in the Twentieth Century. Learn more about her at

Glenna Nielsen-Grimm

Glenna graduated from BYU in Social Anthropology/Archaeology in 1974, graduated with her MA in Prehistoric Archaeology in 1978, and received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Utah in 1990. She is currently the Collections Manager with the Natural History Museum at the University of Utah.

Gwyn Yukon

Gwyn Yukon (BS in Sociology from BYU), is currently an Education and Training Coordinator and Domestic Violence Legal Advocate at Womenspace, Inc., a non-profit agency that serves survivors of intimate partner violence. In this role, she focuses on training new advocates on how to best support clients. Additionally, she helps educate the community on domestic violence and healthy relationships. Gwyn enjoys facilitating positive change in individuals and organizations. She currently enjoys living with her husband in Lane County Oregon as she hunts for waterfalls and the perfect hammock spot.

Hayley Pierce

Hayley Pierce is an assistant professor in the sociology department here at BYU. She did her undergraduate and master’s degrees in sociology at BYU and got her PhD in demography at University of California Berkeley. Her research focuses on the wellbeing of women and children, grounded in the idea that child birth, marriage, and family are universal experiences but drastically differ based on location, community characteristics, social norms, policy, and the status of women. Thanks to her own life experiences as a mother of young children and her observations of mothers and children around the world, she feels dedicated to serving these populations in her research.

Jaclyn Day

As a professional fundraiser with fourteen years of fundraising experience, Jaclyn Pingel Day found her love for fundraising as a student caller at the BYU Telefund. Currently she is the Annual Giving Manager at UNC School of the Arts, managing large scale fundraising initiatives like UNCSA’s twenty-four hour giving day, print and electronic solicitations, volunteer management, and more. Working for UNCSA has blended her love for the arts and passion for higher education.

During her time at BYU, she participated in the Cougar Marching Band for four years, conducted research with J. Dee Higley in the Psychology department, and married her research partner the day after graduation. Jaclyn obtained her B.S. in Psychology from Brigham Young University and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path University. Currently she lives in Winston-Salem with her husband, two kids, and more pets than she cares to admit.

Johanna Esplin

Johanna Esplin Hoffart is from South Jordan, Utah and now lives in Provo. She graduated in April 2022 with a BS in Sociology and a minor in Global Women's Studies. She is passionate about women's issues and education on such issues. After graduation, she started her current position as a growth partner for Northwestern Mutual where she gets to meet new people and help them further their careers and support them as they grow their businesses. Additionally, she is able to participate in their diversity and inclusion efforts, specifically with increasing the number of women in finance.

Julianne Gray

Julianne Gray currently works as Director of Product Marketing for BGZ brands, a consumer products company in the consumer electronics accessories industry. Part of her role involves translating technical features into language and benefits customers will understand and find value in. She also works on packaging, advertising messaging, copywriting, marketing and product strategy, and so much more.

She received her BA from Southern Utah University, and MBA from BYU. She has previously worked in various marketing roles for the Walt Disney Company, Walmart, and Deseret Book. She is married to Rex, and they spend most of the time chasing their very busy 4-year-old son. They also enjoy watching movies, taking their truck off-roading in Moab, and traveling.

Kari Rasmussen

Kari Rasmussen is a graduate of BYU, having majored in Geography with the Environment Studies emphasis. Kari started on the environmental studies path long before she was a student when she saw a flyer for the Student Conservation Association where she ended up interning with the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge doing educational programs. This internship was where she really found a love for environmental education. During her time as a BYU Geography student, she was busy working full time at the Sundance Nature Center and Tracy Aviary, and has a vibrant work history teaching marine science to students on a sailing vessel in the Pacific Ocean to creating culturally relevant curriculum with teachers and students in the Native Alaskan villages in the Arctic. She is currently a Certified National Trainer with the Center for Teacher Effectiveness and runs her own business, ECOTeaching, where she consults with school district teachers and admins to create meaningful student engagement opportunities, both inside the traditional classroom and in outdoor classroom learning experiences.

Karissa Lemme

Karissa Lemme, B.S. in Special Education Teaching at BYU, joined the Youth Law Center as a Community Voice Advocacy Coordinator in September 2020 and she works to ensure that QPI sites are participating and are encouraged to engage in the work of coparenting. She has a background in teaching special education and offering behavioral therapy to children with special needs. She believes that the role of a resource (foster) parent encompasses caring and supporting the whole family, not just the child in care. As a member of the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership (BFPP), she networks with birth parents and caregivers to brainstorm ways to improve these coparenting relationships. Karissa also works as a foster parent mentor in her home state of California. As a current resource parent, Karissa is able to bring a unique perspective of real-life experience to the table. She works to bring the viewpoint of a caregiver while also encouraging the importance of fostering close relationships with birth parents. Karissa resides in Southern California with her husband and children. She and her family enjoy long days at the beach, bike rides, camping and hiking. Her dream is to one day be out of a job as a resource parent as the system transforms to understand the impact and importance of preventative measures and supporting family togetherness.

Katie Fonnesbeck

Katie is an academic advisor at College of Eastern Idaho, wife to an Idaho native and banker, and mother of two young girls. She holds a Master of Family & Consumer Sciences from Iowa State University and B.S. in Sociology from BYU-Idaho. She became passionate about adolescents and young adults during her undergraduate studies. She completed an internship with a local juvenile probation department where she learned about a variety of backgrounds and adolescent experiences. She also spent several months working for a non-profit organization specializing in a non-traditional form of sexual education for adolescents.

Her current role in higher education entails working directly with traditional and non-traditional students in navigating the many aspects of college. Each day she has the opportunity to assist students figure out a unique and individualized academic plan, work to better the virtual opportunities available to students, and discuss various aspects of their development/background that might impact their education. It’s a very rewarding position, allowing her to feel immense gratitude for the educational opportunities she had during the course of her life.

Leslie Hadfield

Leslie Hadfield is currently an associate professor of history and the coordinator of Africana Studies at BYU. She enjoys teaching and constructing history, especially when it involves oral history. She has published two books: Liberation and Development: Black Consciousness Community Programs in South Africa (2016) and A Bold Profession: African Nurses in Rural Apartheid South Africa (2021). She is currently working on a third book project on the history of Kilimanjaro porters and guides with two Tanzanian colleagues. Hadfield cares deeply about equity and belonging, being an engaged and informed citizen, and celebrating different cultures. She also enjoys the outdoors and spending time with family. She holds degrees from Michigan State University (PhD), Ohio University (MA), and Utah State University (BA).

Lisa Roberts

Lisa, is a real estate entrepreneur, investor and realtor in Austin, TX. She graduated from BYU with a BS in Marriage, Family & Human Development, with a minor in music. Lisa enjoys the autonomy of self-employment and the challenge of finding creative solutions for her clients to find success in real estate. Currently, she just launched her first short term rental property in the city. Her greatest fulfillment in her work has been making connections in real estate to help change the futures of her clients. She also enjoys the financial freedom real estate provides for her family. Looking forward, she plans to continue building her portfolio of investment properties with her husband and enjoying time with her family. With her husband and their 3 kids, they like to explore the live music scene in Austin, try out new restaurants around town and travel whenever they can.

Maggie Mecham

Maggie graduated in April 2021 from the School of Family Life, has been married for 17 years and has a 14-year-old son. Maggie started her journey at BYU, in 2005, after graduating from UVU with her associate’s in Behavioral Health. After moving a couple of times and after the birth of their son, they moved back to Utah where both her and her son were diagnosed with severe medical conditions, postponing her education until her son was older.

With his autism diagnosis, Maggie decided to come back and finish her degree. “I wanted to show him that regardless of your disability, you can become anything you want. I see disabilities as a different ability and may have a non-conventional journey, but you can reach your dreams.”

Maggie is passionate about mental health and being an advocate of having the proper care and treatment, is involved with NAMI-UT, facilitating two support groups and giving presentations regarding mental health. Her goal is to become a mental health counselor specializing in trauma recovery. “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever” - a quote by Walt Disney that Maggie lives by.

Marie Fuhriman

Marie Fuhriman is a homemaker and mother of 6 rambunctious and wonderful children. She graduated with an associate's degree in home economics from BYU-Idaho and a bachelor’s in history from BYU. She had a hard time narrowing down her interests to one focus of study because she enjoyed so many subjects. She loves learning, and she is always soaking in information and seeking ways to improve.

Marie-Luise Smith

Marie-Luise Smith is a recent graduate of the BYU Family History degree. She is the mother of 5 children and 21 grandchildren and came back to school at 66 years old after having worked in the travel industry for 35 years.

Meilanie "Lani" Higgins

Lani is currently a non-traditional student (students age 30+) senior working on her BA in Family History with a minor in Anthropology. Before college, Lani supported her husband while he attended school, and had many significant job roles. She worked in entry-level and influential positions in large and successful companies, including: 97th Floor Marketing as office manager, Air Medical Resource Group as human resource assistant, the University of Phoenix as Utah region financial analyst, and as project manager/community manager. Her support system is her husband of 26 years, Michael, two sons, daughter-in-law, a beautiful grandson, and her parents.

Phoebe Kung

Phoebe Kung (Roberts) was born in Hong Kong and raised in Laie, Hawaii. She obtained an undergraduate in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work from Brigham Young University. She now works as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for Development Counseling Services at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She provides counseling for low-income individuals and families in overcoming barriers to self-reliance. She is also a supervisor for graduate social work students. Phoebe is married to an amazing husband studying for law school. They are parents to four beautiful kitties.

Raeni Sroufe

Raeni, (BA in Political Science), and is currently the Manager of Global Business Solutions at Women for Women International (WfWI), an INGO serving women survivors of war in conflict regions around the globe. She has been with the organization for four years in various capacities including IT project management, strategic planning, and fundraising. Before her time at WfWI, Raeni spent 3 months helping to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 as a field organizer in Pennsylvania. Raeni is originally from Northern California and now lives and quarantines in Arlington, VA with her husband and their (dying) houseplants.

Rhea Maynes

Rhea Maynes, BS ’13, was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. Rhea graduated from BYU with a degree in Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. While at BYU, she worked as a RA in Wyview and dedicated part of her summer to providing medical assistance to the Andean people outside of Cuzco, Peru. Following graduation with an interest in behavioral finance, Rhea began a career in wealth management at a top tier firm. She currently provides guidance and advice on a contract basis while raising her son. In addition, she serves as the Editor-in-Chief of “Time to Blossom,” the social media arm of a young women’s non-profit organization, and as a Director for the BYU Black Alumni Society. Aside from her day-to-day work, Rhea has raised funds for and awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and has been involved in recruiting and retaining professional female and Black talent by chairing a diversity committee, organizing groups and events, and representing organizations on campus and throughout communities nationwide. Rhea and her husband have a son and are expecting their second in summer 2021.

Sara Gordon

Sara, (BS in Psychology), started working at Qualtrics in a sales position. After a year she transferred to an operational role that was better suited to her talents and interests. This year she joined a newly formed team of three as a solution architect for our research services department and she loves it! She partners with the sales teams to understand a client’s custom requirements for their research, whether it’s a technical need or a research need, and works with the engineering teams and research experts to provide solutions. She and her husband are looking forward to the birth of their first daughter in March and she’s grateful to work at a company that has been so supportive.

Shelby McNeill

Shelby McNeill enrolled at BYU not knowing what major she wanted to pursue. She signed up for an introductory sociology class because the course description looked interesting and found that sociology combined her interests in education inequality with her passion for data and numbers. While completing a bachelor's and master's degree in sociology from BYU, she had the opportunity to conduct research with two female professors who had an immense influence on her life—academically, professionally, and spiritually. To women pursuing a college degree, a career, or other forms of aspiring, she echoes their advice: “Don’t be afraid to live your life outside the box of typical expectations.” Shelby is currently pursuing a PhD in data analysis & education policy at Vanderbilt University. Upon graduation, she plans to continue conducting education-related research for a research firm or policy center.

Sydney Mogotsi

Sydney (BA in Anthropology) is an aspiring international development and public health practitioner. She currently works with the refugee resettlement portfolio at Latter-day Saint Charities. She has been working with refugees over ten years, with the International Rescue Committee and as a Peace Corps Volunteer (’10-’12) in Botswana. Sydney has a MA in Migration and Displacement from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Health from the University of South Florida. Sydney lives in Salt Lake City with her three small children and husband.

Tania Barr

Tania was born and raised in Mexico. She served a mission in Chicago, Illinois. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies in 2015 at BYU, and a Master of Clinical Social Work in 2020. Tania has worked for Development Counseling Services for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since September 2019.

Tanan Yesunmunkh

Tanan, (BA in Sociology), was born in Ulaanbaator, Mongolia and immigrated to the United States at the age of 6. In high school she branched out in her interests by doing extracurricular activities such as rowing, NHS, orchestra, and other activities. She did door-to-door sales all throughout college, launching her career into sales. She worked as a Sales Representative for General Mills for 3.5 years and is currently an Account Executive for Qualtrics.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection= overrideCardHideByline= overrideCardHideDescription= overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=