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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 tvalenti@unr.edu

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

Dr. Villanueva

Daniel credits his Honors experience at American University, where he majored 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 was a professor, Honors faculty, and SAGE Academy Director at UNLV prior to joining Honors here. Author of Europe as a Political Project in the CDU as well as articles on German politics and language pedagogy, Daniel has also translated a Holocaust survivor’s memoir, history of the trombone, and guide to the German Parliament. He has studied and interned abroad, worked at the Aspen Institute Berlin and was 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 is also the 2015-2016 Western Regional Honors Council President, and coordinates Academic WorldQuest for the Northern Nevada International Center.

For more information about Dr. Villanueva, please visit his web page. Please also contact him at danielv@unr.edu with any Honors questions!

Kety Luna, Academic Advisor

Kety Luna

Kety graduated from Smith Valley High School where she proudly represented her school for four years on the varsity track and field team. She attended Truckee Meadows Community college where she earned her Associates degree. In 2011 she was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and presented a research project entitled Exploration of the Experiences of Latino/a Students as they Transfer from a Community College to a University at the McNair Research Symposium in Berkeley, California. She received her bachelors in Secondary Education and her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership—Higher Education Administration Emphasis from the University of Nevada, Reno. Kety enjoys running and hiking.

Kety can be contacted at kluna@unr.edu.

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 pagnim@nevada.unr.edu.

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 balel@unr.edu.

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