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Photo of Sandra Rodriguez 

Sandra Rodriguez
Director
Student Engagement

Q: What you do at the University to help students?
A: As an administrator, my primary role is to serve the students as the Director of the ASUN Center for Student Engagement by managing business affairs; developing, communicating and implementing University and NSHE policy; and by ensuring that ASUN and student life abide by city, county, state and federal laws.  This ensures my ability to be an advocate of all campus student initiatives.

As faculty, my primary role is to advise the executive officers of ASUN and create an active student life at the University of Nevada, Reno through a multifaceted student development approach.  Student advocacy is an integral part of what we do therefore it is important to always keep the big picture in mind. Change and innovation are a crucial component of my role.

Q: You have degree(s) in:
A: I earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas, Pan American and a Master of Education with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno.  I am currently working on my doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I still mix tapes....yes, you know the kind I'm talking about....think 1970's!

Q: Favorite place you have traveled?
A: I have traveled all over the United States, Canada and Mexico.  My favorite place is Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.  I think I might retire there!

Q: Favorite cupcake?
A: I don't do cupcakes.  Seriously.  Brownies, that's a whole other story!  Think sea salt!

Q: Favorite quotes?
A: I have this quote taped to the bottom of my computer screen and I read it first thing every morning when I enter my office at the Center for Student Engagement:

"If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed.  I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.  Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas Alva Edison

Favorite quote from a book:

"Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced." Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


Photo of Amy Koeckes

Amy Koeckes
Associate Director
Student Engagement

Q: What you do at the University to help students?
A: I supervise two full time staff members, two graduate assistants and work with over 50 students on a weekly basis. I work with the Student Employee Development program, ASUN scholarships, supervise the marketing area (Inkblot), supervise Sagebrush Advertising, work with data & assessment and often update the ASUN Facebook/Twitter accounts with important information from ASUN.

Q: You have degree(s) in:
A: Bachelor of Art in Fine Arts with a minor in Journalism and Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. Both from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I was born and raised in Fallon, Nevada. Go Greenwave!

Q: Favorite place you have traveled?
A: Outside of the United States: Costa Rica and Rome. Inside the United States: Burning Man

Q: Favorite cupcake?
A: Right now, anything with pumpkin in it.

Q: Favorite quote?
A: "Learn from yesterday, Live for today, Hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning" - Albert Einstein


Photo of James Beattie

James Beattie
Associate Director
Student Engagement

Q: What you do at the University to help students?
A: Advocate, Advise, Mentor, and Educate

Q: You have degree(s) in:
A: Bachelors in Sociology, Masters in Business Administration, Masters in Sociology, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I am a Disney fanatic.

Q: Favorite place you have traveled?
A: Scotland

Q: Favorite cupcake?
A: I don't eat cake. But I love Pecan Pie!

Q: Favorite quote?
A: "The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves." -Steven Spielberg


Photo of Raul Rodriguez

Raul Rodriguez
Coordinator
Student Engagement

Q: What you do at the University to help students?
A: I help Nevada students by managing databases for Clubs and Orgs, ASUN website content, problem solving technology issues, and assisting/training students with any other technology needs.

Q: You have degree(s) in:
A: Information Systems, BS

Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I am the 10th child out of 11 in my family.

Q: Favorite place you have traveled?
A: New York City, New York

Q: Favorite cupcake?
A: Pumpkin

Q: Favorite quote?
A: "Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing." - William Arthur Ward


Photo of Delana Miller

Delana Miller
Assistant Director of Central Station
Student Engagement

Q: What you do at the University to help students?
A: Inform clubs and organizations on how their club and foundation accounts operate.

Q: You have degree(s) in:
A: Public Relation in Communications, Master of Business Administration

Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I have lived in three different states.

Q: Favorite place you have traveled?
A: Japan

Q: Favorite cupcake?
A: Triple Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Chips

Q: Favorite quote?
A: "Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway."


Helena Farrar
Coordinator
Student Engagement

Q: What you do at the University to help students?
A: As Coordinator of Programs and Services, I'm lucky to advise and supervise approximately 70 students who work really hard to provide three services/programs: Campus, Escort, ASUN Sound and Lights, and ASUN Front Desk Services. I also coordinate the Connect Shuttle service, which provides transportation to get the student body involved in the community.

Q: You have degree(s) in:
A: I have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from UPIS Integrated Colleges in Brasilia, Brazil and a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I used to sing in an 80's punk rock band when I lived in Brazil and LOVE karaoke!

Q: Favorite place you have traveled?
A: SPAIN! I studied abroad in Bilbao for 6 months in 2009 and it was the most incredible experience! I got to travel all over the country, meet incredible people and experience amazing things. I'd love to go back and take my husband and son!

Q: Favorite cupcake?
A: I'm more of a cheesecake kind of girl, but my son enjoys baking fun-fetti cupcakes, so I always eat those!

Q: Favorite quote?
A: "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire." - Unknown
 and "I will prepare myself and someday my chance will come." - Abraham Lincoln


Gaby Ortiz Flores

Gaby Ortiz Flores
Coordinator
Democratic Engagement and Special Events

Q: What you do at the University to help students?
A: I don't think I help students as much as I think that I support them on their journeys to self-empowerment. For example, I advise ASUN's Department of Event Programming as well as ASUN's Department of Diversity and Inclusion. As their advisor, I strive to be a soundboard, a source of productive critical feedback, and an advocate for them as they work towards achieving their respective departmental goals. In doing so, I'm supporting and working with two groups of student leaders that do tremendous work for the rest of the campus community. Another example of how I support students is by advancing, developing, and implementing democratic engagement initiatives. What are democratic engagement initiatives? For me, these are initiatives that focus on highlighting or developing skills that are needed in order to be fully involved in our communities. For example, workshops that teach underrepresented students how to run for positions in student government, or voter registration drives at local high schools that help students think about the importance of voting, or programs that focus on talking across difference. Activism is another form of democratic engagement, and I'm currently working on developing ways that we can better celebrate and support student activists on campus.

Q: You have degree(s) in:
A: I have a bachelor's in English literature and a master's in digital media and storytelling.

Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I'm deeply invested in stories-I love writing, creating, and helping others share their stories with the world. As a woman of color, it's important that those of us from minoritized backgrounds share our stories because they help us connect with one another. For example, I'm an immigrant who is a naturalized citizen, but whose family was once undocumented. I think about my privilege as a citizen of the United States all of the time, not just because of the democratic work that I do here on campus, but also because of what my privilege gives me access to-voting, federal financial aid (when I was going to school), traveling abroad, a good job, etc. I think this is why I feel so strongly about the importance of democratic engagement-I saw all the challenges my parents went through to become citizens and it's made me aware of how important it is for me to use my privileges to support others. When I share this with folks, I can sometimes see a light go on in someone's head-it's as if they are starting to understand me and where I'm coming from (figuratively not literally). I find it helps some people feel more comfortable around me. I think if we want to better understand one another, we need to share our stories and to listen to the stories of others.

Q: Favorite place you have traveled?
A: When I was little, I used to love books because each book is its own world, with its own characters and its own landscape. Traveling is like that-each neighborhood, city, town, region, country, forest is its own world and each place has so much to offer and so much to teach us about ourselves, about one another, and about our world. So, this is a hard question to answer-because I really love and appreciate each place I've been lucky to visit.

Q: Favorite cupcake?
A: My favorite cupcake is from this bakery in Chicago called Molly's Cupcakes. They have a crème brûlée cupcake that I think about all the time. I think I also really like that bakery because they donate a portion of their profits to local school and I really like businesses that support their communities.

Q: Favorite quote?
A: I'm a collector of quotes, so this is also hard. Recently I've taken up meditation and one of the quotes that I've been reflecting on a great deal is from social justice activist and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh:
"For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them."