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Faculty and Staff

Tamara Valentine, Ph.D., Director

Dr. Valentine

Tamara Valentine is the Director of the Honors Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to coming to the West, Valentine directed the Honors Program and taught linguistics at the University of South Carolina Upstate.  She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign studying the relationship between language and gender in South Asia.  A sociolinguist, Valentine has published articles and presented papers on topics related to English as an International Language, South Asian languages and linguistics, discourse analysis, language and gender, and cross-cultural communication.  Her book Language and Prejudice (Longman, 2004) is a collection of works addressing issues related to the power of language.  She has been awarded a number of grants to conduct fieldwork in India, has held a series of lectureships in Lithuania, and has traveled through South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe.

If you have any questions about the Honors Program at the University of Nevada, Reno, contact her at

Daniel C. Villanueva, Ph.D., Assistant Director

Dr. Villanueva

Daniel credits his undergraduate Honors experience at American University, where he was a triple major in International Relations, German, and Western European Studies, with inspiring him to become an educator. He holds a Ph.D. in German Studies from Duke University and for over a decade was a professor, Honors College faculty member and director of the SAGE Academy at UNLV. Author of Europe as a Political Project in the CDU (2009) as well as articles on German politics and culture, Daniel has also translated works including a Holocaust survivor’s memoir, history of the trombone and a forthcoming guide to the German Bundestag (Parliament). He has studied and interned abroad, worked at the Aspen Institute Berlin and was also twice a USAC visiting professor in Germany. He is excited to help students get the most out of Honors, particularly via postgraduate and international scholarships. Daniel enjoys soccer, film and music and when off campus you can probably find him in a coffeehouse.

For more information about Dr. Villanueva's activities at the Honors Program and university-wide, please visit his web page or contact him at

Mason Hayes, Graduate Assistant

Mason Hayes

Mason Hayes was born and raised in Los Angeles. She received her BA in English with an option in Creative Writing and a minor in Philosophy at Oklahoma State University and studied abroad at Roehampton University in England. She is currently a graduate student in the Philosophy Department's Ethics, Law, and Politics program at UNR. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in a number of literary journals, and she enjoyes distance running and traveling in her free time.  

Mason can be contacted at

Matthew Pagni, Graduate Assistant

Matthew Pagni

A fourth-generation Nevadan, I graduated from Bishop Manogue Catholic High School in 2005, where I played baseball and participated in student government. I went on to play baseball at Feather River College in Quincy, CA, where I earned my Associates Degree in 2007. I transferred to UNR and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. After a brief stint in law school in 2012, I moved to Sitka, Alaska where I worked as a paraprofessional in the elementary schools special education department. I am currently in my first year of graduate studies in secondary education at UNR and enjoy traveling with my wife, playing softball, and drawing. 

Matthew can be contacted at

Lee Bale, Administrative Assistant

Lee Bale

Lee has lived in the Reno area for over thirty years.  She received her BA in History with a minor in Political Science from UNR.  Her greatest accomplishment is her long-term marriage and two grown children.  She also has two grandchildren, and is a national bestselling author of inspirational novels for Harper Collins.  When she isn't working or writing, Lee loves spending time out in her garden with her little dog Sophie.

Lee can be contacted at

N.N., Academic Advisor

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