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Bios of Utah students at the Oxford and Belfast workshops, June 24-July 6, 2016


Mackenzie Hales

Mackenzie Hales is an MBA student at the David Eccles School of Business, focusing on strategy and entrepreneurship. She is a vice president of the Women in Business Club, VP of Engagement of the MBA Student Association, and is actively involved with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. This past year, she worked on a medical device with anesthesia applications in the developing world, helping raise over $50,000 in seed funding for the project through student competitions. Prior to business school, Mackenzie worked for an NGO in Guatemala, focusing on women’s economic development. She helped organize vocational and financial literacy programs for women in the Guatemalan Highlands. After witnessing the impacts of religion on human rights in Guatemala, where discrimination is prevalent for those who choose to continue to practice aspects of Maya religion, she became passionate about the intersection of religion and human rights. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Environmental Studies from Whitman College, where she focused on geopolitical water conflict.

Alexis Jones

Alexis Jones graduated from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in May 2016. She will begin work as an associate attorney at Kirton McConkie in Salt Lake City, Utah in the fall. She received numerous awards throughout law school, including several top grades and Outstanding Achievement Awards. She also interned in the Smithsonian Institution's legal office during the Fall of 2015. Her primary research interests include human rights and protecting cultural heritage. She is currently researching how to protect cultural heritage in conflict areas where religion is a prime motivator for the destruction of cultural heritage. Prior to law school, Alexis spent a month working on archaeological projects in Petra, Jordan. She has a B.S. in Anthropology and Journalism.

Milena Margaryan

Milena Margaryan found inspiration to serve as a human rights advocate in her early childhood. Witnessing social instability and the inequality of liberties, opportunities, and rights in her home country of Armenia, she felt early on that this was an area in which she could make a difference. During her Sophomore and Junior years at the University of Utah, Milena participated in several local services such as the Catholic Community of Utah, United States National Committee for UN Women (Utah Chapter), and the Asian Association of Utah. Helping immigrants, refugee families, and women from various backgrounds, racial profiles, and personal circumstances has given her a broader perspective on the inequalities across different societies. Milena will be graduating from the University of Utah in August 2017, majoring in Political Science and Finance. She believes that by advocating for social justice and human rights she can help foster stability in her home country of Armenia along with the entire Southern Caucasus region.

Anastasia Najarian

Anastasia Najarian is a champion for children and families challenged with domestic violence, addiction and mental health issues. Currently, she is the Outreach Manager for the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah researching veteran suicide, PTSD and non-suicidal self-injury. She has 20 years experience working with veterans and youth struggling with substance abuse as well as prisoners both in and out of incarceration. As Utah Director for The International Coalition for Drug Awareness she researched addictive and adverse drug effects, provided defense mitigation for prescription drug-related crimes and has testified before the Utah legislature and US Senators. Anastasia is currently finishing a Bachelors degree with a double major in Strategic Communication and Psychology with a Human Factors certificate through the Honors College and holds a certification in Substance Abuse Treatment from the University of Utah. She will continue her education by earning a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Her work has international reach and directly affects change in the areas of poverty, preservation of human dignity of sensitive populations and protection of human rights. Her education and experience gives her the unique ability to provide comfort to those who suffer, create international awareness and direct fundraising efforts to implement and promote social and global justice.

Fatema Binte Ahad

Fatema Binte Ahad will graduate with a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Utah in August 2016. She has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. Both in the UK and in the US, and earlier in Bangladesh, Fatema has had a rich exposure to a diverse group of people, religions, ethnicity, and cultures. During her studies at the University of Utah, she worked as a graduate assistant at the International Student and Scholar Services section under the Office for Global Engagement. She also volunteered for two years at the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office as a volunteer coordinator. Fatema was the adviser and former president of the International Women’s Association, and former president of the Bangladeshi Student Association at the University of Utah. She was the recipient of the Salt Lake County government scholarship for future leaders in 2015. In addition, she was the 1st prize winner of the First Annual Ethical Dilemma Essay Contest by Utah Student Center for the Public Trust. Fatema and her teammate represented the University of Utah at the Policy Solutions Challenge USA 2016 where they secured the 1st position and became the National Champions of 2016. Currently Fatema is interning at the Utah Foundation as a Research Analyst Intern where she is working on education policies, homelessness, poverty and crime-related policy projects. Fatema is passionate about social policies and would seek opportunities to work in such areas as social and gender inequality, social and global justice, and public policies affecting children, women and minority.

Lindsey Vickers

Lindsey Vickers is a senior at the University of Utah. She is studying English and Anthropology and, prior to completing her undergraduate degrees, hopes to intern for National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington D.C. Lindsey’s career goal is to research, write, and produce stories for public radio. As a radio journalist, Lindsey hopes to provide underrepresented individuals with a voice. Her interests range from science and forensics, to human rights and the environment. She enjoys reading, writing, playing scrabble, and expressing herself through painting, drawing, and stenciling. Lindsey plans to attend graduate school after completing her bachelors degrees.

Mira Reynolds

Mira Reynolds is a recent graduate of the University of Utah with an Honors Bachelor of Arts in psychology and French. She is the research manager for the National Center for Veterans Studies and has publications in her field relating to military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. She also volunteers as a family health mentor for the Refugee and Immigrant Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. In spring 2016 she completed an internship with the U.S. State Department in the public diplomacy section of the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mira’s background in psychology sparked an interest in morality and the role it plays in religion, gender roles, culture, and politics. Her interest in the military—which stems from her military family—led her to study how war affects the human psyche and the relationships between morality and conflict. She became especially interested in the war-torn countries in francophone Africa after working with a Congolese refugee family and learning of the bloody history of their country and the Great Lakes region of Africa. Her internship in the D.R.C. helped her better understand international efforts for peace and human rights in countries with conflict. She is now passionate about refugee rights, women’s issues, and humanitarian aid and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in international development.

Dean Collinwood 

Former Fulbright Scholar, Dean Collinwood holds a PhD from the University of Chicago where he studied in both the political science and education departments.  He also holds a M.Sc. in international relations from University College, London, and a B.A. in political science with a minor in Japanese from Brigham Young University.  He was a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, has undertaken legal studies at Hebrew University, and is currently a J.D. candidate at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. As a professor at the University of Utah, he taught courses on the international relations and comparative governments of East Asia, and directed training programs for the U.S. Government (National Security Education Program, and Japan Industry and Technology Management Training Program).  The programs promoted cooperation between scholars and scientists in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., and helped engineers and business leaders from those countries overcome cultural barriers so that they could work more effectively with their counterparts in Japan, Korea, and China.  Prior to that, he conducted research on national identity and social change in the Caribbean, a region continuing to struggle politically and socially after centuries of colonial rule.  In the future, he plans to join with other lawyers to create a public policy law firm that will address issues of social inequality and disparate access to legal services.  Concerned by the rapidly vanishing prospects for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, he also hopes to accelerate cross-cultural dialogue between the contesting parties in the region.  His most recent publication is Japan and the Pacific Rim, 11th rev. ed. (McGraw-Hill, 2013).  Dean has been active in politics, having been a candidate for the U.S. Congress as well as for the Utah Legislature.  He was President of the Salt Lake Committee on Foreign Relations, Director of the Asia Pacific Council, and President of the Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies.

Last Updated: 9/27/16