Presidential Interns

UVU’s Presidential Internship Program is a prestigious internship housed in the Office of the President Astrid Tuminez, aiming to provide students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with UVU’s executive leadership team. Each intern will work directly with a member of UVU’s cabinet to create and implement high impact projects on behalf of UVU’s leadership and the university as a whole. Through working alongside cabinet, students will gain a greater knowledge of UVU’s mission, core values, and an inside look at higher education. Students will gain knowledge and skills that will enrich their academic, professional, and personal experiences.

2020 Group Photo of Presidential Interns

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Intern Bios

Candace Damron

Candyce Damron - Lead Intern, Intern to Kara Schneck, Chief of Staff

Lead Intern

Candyce is a senior at Utah Valley University (UVU), pursuing a degree in Behavioral science, with an emphasis in Family Studies and a minor in Human Resource Management. Candyce has held various leadership positions at UVU such as a peer mentor, a lead mentor in the UVU Mentor Program, UVU Mentor Program Liaison for UVU’s student association (UVUSA), as well as UVUSA’s Chief Justice. Candyce had the privilege of creating the “My Voice Matters” initiative here at UVU to promote civic engagement among students.

Candyce also had the opportunity to work as the Legislative Intern for the Utah System of Higher Education in spring 2020, and now has the incredible opportunity to sit as the Student Representative for Academic Education on Utah’s inaugural Board of Higher Education, appointed by Governor Gary Herbert in May 2020. Candyce is thrilled for the privilege to lead this year’s Presidential Intern cohort here at UVU, as the Student Director for this Presidential Internship Program. She is interning with Kara Schneck, Chief of Staff to President Astrid Tuminez.

Candyce has a passion for advocacy and teamwork. She believes every student has a story and that each student has a place here at UVU. Candyce grew up in Montana and Arizona but loves Utah and is grateful to call it home. She loves any sport with a racket, chocolate milk, and spending time with her family. She recently got married and is looking forward to a bright future as she plans on attending graduate school and eventually law school, with the end goal of working in higher education administration.

David Warr

David Warr - Intern to President Astrid S. Tuminez

David is a Senior at UVU majoring in Biology with plans to attend dental school and specialize in either oral surgery or pediatrics.

During his first three years, he served as a Recruitment Ambassador and Project Lead for the Prospective Student Services’ Wolverine Ambassador Program. As a Project Lead, he helped plan and execute the Diversity in Leadership and First-Generation conferences. He also served as a member of the Utah Valley Institute Council from 2018-2019 and received High Distinction in leadership from the UVU LEAD program.

David served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission, where he became fluent in Spanish. He uses his Spanish to volunteer as an interpreter at the Maliheh Free Clinic and the Midvale Community Center, which offer free medical and dental care to underserved populations. David has worked as a caregiver at an assisted living center, a youth mentor at an addiction recovery facility, and started his own window washing company. From each of these experiences, he learned to love different populations of people and developed a strong work ethic.

In July 2019, David married his beautiful wife, Abigail; they are expecting their first child. He loves to spend time with his wife, be with his family, write original music, and play sports with his friends.

Arty Diaz

Arty Diaz - Intern to Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Belinda ‘Otukolo Saltiban

Arty is a UVU honors student, an undergraduate researcher and a former instructional assistant in the department of Communication at Utah Valley University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. As somebody who speaks five languages, his interest in communication stems from the identity intersections of culture and language.

Arty’s strong academic performance was recognized with entrance into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, as well as awarded with over $11,000 in grants to research, travel, and present at conferences including: The National Communication Association Annual Conference, the UVU Symposium on Ethics, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, and the Utah Council on Undergraduate Research. As a queer Xicano, his background as a first-generation U.S. citizen and Khmer medical translator fuels his passion for research and action surrounding social constructs and power disparities, which he situates through the framework of critical health communication, Chicana feminism, and Jotería epistemologies.

Arty’s experience is not limited to academia. Prior to his internship at UVU, he was employed in production management and operations roles with household names including Netflix, HBO, the NRDC, and Sephora. In these roles he tackled event planning, time management, visual marketing and aesthetic staging for 50+ industry leaders and sponsors including Google, The Walt Disney Company, YouTube, Planned Parenthood, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Marc Jacobs among others. While interning at the Sundance Film Festival 2020, Arty was able to work alongside the advocacy group Justice for Migrant Women, the founders of the MeToo movement, and many others to launch the non-profit: The Latinx House. Engaging with Latina/o/x activists, film directors, writers, actors and artists, has inspired his plans to combine his cultural and media studies with community building and action.

Arty plans on completing a PhD and continuing to find ways to bridge art, activism and scholarship in meaningful ways that raise critical consciousness and challenge his peers and administrators alike to be more reflexive about aligning institutional values and practices, and to (re)awaken a thirst for social justice.

Alysha Turner

Alysha Turner - Intern to VP of Student Affairs

Alysha is a senior at Utah Valley University and will graduate Spring 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a Global/Intercultural Distinction. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a Master of Arts in Communication. Alysha is a first-generation student and is passionate about her education.

UVU has become a second home for her as she has been involved with on-campus programs, intramurals, and research teams. One of the first clubs Alysha became involved with was the English Conversation Club where she met with ELL students to practice their English skills and make friends on campus. Alysha was accepted into the UVU Mentor program as a sophomore where she served as a peer mentor and student advocate. During her last year in the Mentor Program, she became a Lead Mentor and continued to be involved in executing UVU’s core values. Alysha spent two semesters as a Research Assistant in the Department of Communication. She is excited to gain new experiences as a Presidential Intern this academic year and enjoy her final semesters as a student Wolverine.

Alysha is passionate about leadership and has been a speaker at the Utah Valley Leadership Conference two years in a row along with several other conferences at UVU. She plans to continue speaking whether that be on TEDx, through her podcast Popping Perfectionism, or other platforms and eventually start her own speaking business. Alysha speaks American Sign Language, Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian, and studied Arabic for six years. Off campus, Alysha loves spending time outside, being with family and friends, playing soccer, and watching her favorite show Survivor.

Brenna Russell

Brenna Russell - Intern to VP of University Relations

Brenna Russell is a junior majoring in communications and minoring in marketing. Since her first semester at UVU she has been involved with several on-campus organizations including the Executive Event Ambassador program, High Impact Internships office, and UVU Clubs. Brenna has also served as president of the service club Royal Heroes: a club dedicated to raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research through princess, superhero, and other character visits to children in hospitals and other such events. Through this, she has planned several large and small events on and off campus including a charity ball with over 300 guests.

Though originally from Las Vegas, Brenna grew to love her new home in Utah County as she became the Assistant Director for the Utah County Fair in 2019. She was a board member on the Fair’s committee, helped obtain sponsorships, and was one of the main representatives during the week of the Fair.

Now, in her role as a Presidential Intern for University Relations at UVU, Brenna works with the marketing, communications, licensing, community, and government relations teams. She was one of six interns that worked with Thatcher+co strategic marketing to complete the school’s social media audit, which helped in the re-evaluation of the school’s social media presence, strategies, and policies. As a lover of writing, she has also been published in the school’s magazine and on the school’s website, worked on the Wolverine Stories campaign, and has even written a few press releases. Brenna is passionate about serving and plans on continuing and expanding her involvement at UVU. Once graduated, she hopes to go out into the world and help make a real change.

Bryce Krieger

Bryce Krieger - Intern to Clark Collings, General Counsel

Bryce Krieger is a senior at Utah Valley University, anticipating graduation in May of 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies. He intends to continue his education beyond UVU with a J.D. and hopes to attend law school in the Washington, D.C. area. In the long term, he desires to utilize his education and internship experience to pursue a career in public service, providing legal counsel to the federal government.

Bryce transferred to UVU in 2018 determined to finish his degree and maximize his undergraduate experience by engaging on campus. Prior to this internship, he committed most of this engagement to the UVU Center for National Security Studies and continues to enjoy participating in its development and expansion, especially with the recent release of his degree, the National Security Studies bachelor’s degree debuting in 2019. Participation with the UVU Center for National Security Studies has brought opportunities for him to interact with practitioners locally and in Washington, D.C. and participate on UVU’s first team to compete in the Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. During his time at UVU, Bryce has also edited and been published in journals, obtained membership in multiple clubs and societies, and received awards recognizing his scholarship and service.

Bryce is supported by his wife, Danica, and his son, with whom he shares a name.

Clayton Rawson

Clayton Rawson - Intern to Kelly Flanagan, VP of Digital Transformation

Clayton Rawson is a junior studying Biology and Chemistry, with minors in Psychology and Physics. At UVU, he is involved in the Center for Social Impact as a Director of the Adopt-A-Grandparent and Blood Drive programs, member of UVUSA as a representative for the Physics and Chemistry Departments, founder of the Microbiology Club, Director of Alumni Relations for the Student Alumni Association, and a Catalyst for the Excellence & Innovation Initiative. In addition, Clayton is a member and Ambassador of the UVU Honors Program, an ICC Ambassador for the UVU Club’s Office, and a member of the UVU LEAD Program.

Clayton is passionate about research, innovations in the medical field, and teaching. He is currently involved in several research teams and is the Lead Lab Research Assistant in Dr. Eddy Cadet’s lab. He is also a TA for several anatomy and chemistry classes, volunteers in the UVU anatomy lab, and works in the UVU microbiology lab as a lab tech and research assistant. After graduating, he would like to do an MD/PhD program with a focus in either microbiology, neuroscience, and/or cancer. In the end, Clayton would like to work at a medical school where he can see patients, conduct research, and teach. In his free time, he likes to read, travel, scuba dive, cook, sing/play music, hunt and fish, and practice archery.

Annie Smith Duffin

Annie Duffin - Intern to Linda Makin, VP of Planning, Budget, and Human Resources

Annie Smith Duffin was born and raised in Orem, Utah. She attended Orem Elementary, Lakeridge Jr. High, and graduated with honors from Mountain View High School in 2016.

Annie has been active in her church where she has served in youth leadership positions and earned a youth recognition award.

Annie had the opportunity to run and win the election in her high school for Activities Chairperson, which awakened a passion in her to promote school spirit. Upon graduation, Annie enrolled at UVU, where she graduated with her Associate in Science with high honors.

Annie is currently studying Hospitality Management with a minor in Event Planning. She will be graduating from Utah Valley University in the Spring of 2021.

She was inspired by both of her older brothers serving on UVU student council and decided that she wanted to get involved. In the last two years, she has served as the Special Events Chair and the Vice President of Activities. Through this experience, she has had the opportunity to participate and present at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), write an article for the association, collaborate with campus organizations, and has received the Legacy Award through UVUSA.

Annie has had a job from the time she was 15, working at food establishments, jewelry businesses, and Provo city events. She now has the opportunity to serve as the Presidential Intern in Planning, Budget, and Human Resources. She works closely with leaders across campus to help create great experiences for all at UVU through surveys, educating students, and updating policies to create a positive environment.

Jenna Searle

Jenna Searle - Intern to Scott Cooksey, VP of Institutional Advancement

Jenna Searle is a senior majoring in Digital Marketing with a minor in Business Management. Upon her arrival at UVU, Jenna has been involved in several on-campus organizations including Residential Community Leader (RCL), Executive Events Ambassador, Recruitment Ambassador, Events Project Lead, and Manager of the Wolverine Ambassador Program. During her time in the program, she has received high distinctions in leadership from the Center of Advancement of Leadership.

In her role with Institutional Advancement, Jenna works alongside Executive Events, Alumni Relations, Donor Relations, and the Communications department. Her position allows her the opportunity to foster a positive relationship with the community, promote and protect the university's image, and share the university's story to diverse audiences.

This year she plans to complete her bachelor’s degree and pursue a career within the digital marketing and event planning industry.

Taylor Johnson

Taylor Johnson - Intern to Dr. Wayne Vaught, VP of Academic Affairs

Taylor Johnson is a senior at UVU studying psychology. Taylor began his studies at UVU in the fall of 2015 after being awarded the Presidential Scholarship. He was also accepted into the Honors Program and received the Honors Housing Scholarship. After taking two years off to serve a religious mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Zimbabwe, Taylor returned to UVU in January 2019 and began seeking ways to become more involved on campus. He joined the Psychology Club at UVU, served as a UVUSA Department Representative for the Behavioral Science Department, and was a Program Director for the Service Bar at the UVU Center for Social Impact.

In his role within the Office of Academic Affairs, Taylor works closely with the Provost and VP of Academics, Dr. Wayne Vaught, and the Assistant Provosts to review academic policies, conduct research regarding students and faculty, and publish the Academic Affairs newsletter. In addition, Taylor collaborates with other interns and the President's Office to tackle larger collaborative projects. He enjoys getting to see the inner workings of the university, particularly because he is interested in becoming a professor in the future.

Taylor is involved in multiple other capacities on campus in addition to his service as a Presidential Intern. He currently serves as the UVUSA Senator of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, where he sits on the General Education and General Education Revision committees and oversees students who volunteer as department representatives within his college. Taylor also serves as an Honors Program Ambassador and Honors Housing Resident Leader for the Honors Program at UVU. He works as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for Psychology 1010 students, where he plans and leads review sessions to help the students review concepts they learn in class. Taylor also serves as a club officer for the Psychology Club at UVU.

In his free time, Taylor enjoys volunteering as an intern at a chiropractic neurology clinic, running, baking, watching movies, and playing video games. His future plans include pursuing a PhD in neuroscience and becoming a professor at a university, where he hopes to have the same kind of positive impact on his students that his professors have had on him.

Mark Driggs

Mark Driggs - Intern to Val Peterson, VP of Finance and Administration

Mark is a Senior majoring in National Security Studies. Upon graduation, Mark plans to work and eventually pursue graduate schooling in national security studies or a related field with the hope of pursuing a career in national security.

During his time at Utah Valley University (UVU), Mark has had the opportunity to publish several undergraduate papers in national security studies and international relations. In addition to publishing, Mark has served as a managing editor for the UVU Journal of National Security. Mark previously spent several years in student club leadership in the Utah International Mountain Forum and the National Security Society. In his most recent leadership position, Mark served as President of the National Security Society during the 2019-2020 academic year. As President, Mark was supported by a strong cadre of student leadership, friends, and professors, and with their help instituted a monthly lecture series and held a large number of events such as small brown bag lunches with guest speakers, and an expert panel discussion on U.S. strategic competition. Over the last two academic years, Mark has received two awards from the UVU Center for National Security Studies including an award for excellence in leadership during his time as club President.

Mark is from Provo, Utah. He enjoys reading, playing tennis, spending time with family and friends, and is an avid fan of Star Wars.