Meet the Team
At the Career & Professional Development Center, we are here to support students and alumni by helping them design individualized life plans. Our goal is to help students better understand who they are, what they want to do professionally, and what steps they need to take to get there. Seeing a Career Coach early and often, is the most important step towards achieving this goal and feeling confident in one’s career direction. The best time to come see Career & Professional Development Center is when students first begin classes. Regardless of where you are at in the career & major development process, We’ve got U.
Assistant Director Team
CARMEN GOLD-JOHNSONOutreach & Engagement, Internship Development
Marketing & Outreach
FRANCINE MAHAKGraduate Student Career Development
Undergraduate Career Coaching Team
Campus Partnerships: LGBT Resource Center, Pride Week, Bennion Center, University Scholarship Office
College Liaisons: College of Engineering
Amanda was born and raised in Portland, OR before moving across the country to attend Bryn Mawr College, a small private liberal arts and women’s college, for her undergraduate degree. During her time at Bryn Mawr College, she was highly involved working with the Civic Engagement Office, the Office of Residential Life, the Admissions office, the Teaching and Learning Institute, the Communications Office, and the Wyndham Alumnae House. Additionally, she was on the executive board for the Art Club and managed a student-run art studio and coordinated an art education program at a local elementary school. She also had the opportunity to receive funding to do internships with the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, PA and to travel to Yogyakarta, Indonesia to study the Indonesian language and collaborate on a research project with Indonesian university students. Her leadership and involvement inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI to advocate for student access and success and to pay forward the opportunities and mentorship she received as a student.
Amanda has been with the Career and Professional Development Center since March 2019. Prior, she worked as a Financial Aid Advisor and Specialist at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, OR. She has also worked as the Peer Advising Manager for the University of Oregon Career Center in Eugene, OR, an Assistant Community Director for Michigan State University Residence Education and Housing Services, and has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Philadelphia, PA. She has lived and worked across the U.S, including Oregon, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and now Utah. Outside of work, Amanda enjoys playing video games, engaging in activism, making art, listening to podcasts, cosplaying, spending time with her rescue dog Rusty, traveling, playing tabletop roleplaying games, and cooking.
Hometown: Portland, OR | Hashtag: #SAGamer | Education: MA in Student Affairs Administration, Michigan State University | AB in Psychology, Bryn Mawr College | First Job: Teacher’s Aide at Belmont Academy in Portland, OR. I supervised children from infants to 12 year-olds while I was in high school at the same school my mom taught at.
Campus Partnerships: Veterans Support Center, Fraternities and Sororities, Union Services, The Writing Center, Return to the U
College Liaisons: College of Science, College of Mines & Earth Sciences
Crystal joined the CPDC in June of 2019. Her time as an undergraduate at Purdue University had its highs and lows. The high was her very high involvement with the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, serving in a number of Executive roles, completing large amounts of community service each semester, and most of all finding her campus family. The low was that she felt very directionless after she became disenchanted with engineering and the sciences, something she had prepared her whole life to do (blame organic chemistry). However, an internship at an adult education center helped her to realize how rewarding it is to help people to realize what skills they have and how it applies to the world of work. After realizing she could continue this work as a Career Coach, she began that journey and never looked back.
After moving to Slippery Rock, PA (yes it is a real place) to complete her Masters in Student Affairs in Higher Education, she started to work as a Graduate Assistant in the Career Education and Development office on campus. Through this work, she realized it was her mission to break down the intimidating idea of a job search into more manageable pieces. Approaching career coaching this way, Crystal is able to empower students to reach their goals when they realize it wasn’t as scary as they originally thought. When not at work, Crystal can be found at the latest movie or concert, or at home with her two cats (June and Nova).
Hometown: New Castle, IN | Hashtag: #TheCrysLady | Education: MA in Student Affairs in Higher Education, Slippery Rock University | BS in Human Services, Purdue University | First Job: Swim Coach for the youngest swimmers in swim club. Never a dull moment!
Campus Partnerships: ASUU, Orientation and Transition, Women’s Resource Center
College Liaisons: College of Architecture + Planning, College of Fine Arts
Bio coming soon.
Campus Partnerships: Athletics, Campus Recreation, Student Health/Wellness Committee, Women of Tomorrow, Marriott Library
College Liaisons: College of Health, College of Nursing
Mary has been a member of the Career & Professional Development team since June 2016. Prior to coming to the U, she was attending graduate school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she had Graduate Assistant Positions in Career Services, Study Abroad and New Student and Family Programs. Mary also did a year of service in Madagascar following her undergraduate experience.
Hometown: Virginia, MN | Hashtag: #adventureisoutthere | Education: MEd Educational Policy and Leadership; Marquette University | BA General Studies (Focuses: Business, Psychology and Professional Writing); University of Northern Iowa | First Job: Housekeeper for a hotel – they had cockroaches, but I wasn’t supposed to say anything.
Campus Partnerships: Learning Abroad, Housing and Residential Education (HRE), Major and Career Exploration Living Learning Community (LLC), Academic Advising Center
College Liaisons: College of Humanities, Academic Advising Center
Megan became a member of the Career & Professional Development team in June 2017. Prior to that, Megan served as a Learning Abroad Coordinator at the University of Utah for a year and a half. Before coming to the U, Megan was an on-site intern for a study abroad program in Nicaragua and also taught English to international students in Boston and Tanzania. Since moving to Utah in 2016, Megan has enjoyed getting outside and taking advantage of the Beehive State’s many beautiful hiking trails! She is passionate about travel, language, and culture and enjoys working with and getting to know students from different backgrounds.
Hometown: Starksboro, VT | Hashtag: #reallifeleslieknope | Education: MA in International Education, School for International Training (SIT) Graduate Institute | BA in Sociology, Minors in Anthropology and Women Studies, Skidmore College | First Job: Dishwasher and Catering Setter-Upper at Mary’s Restaurant.
Campus Partnerships: Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, International Student Scholars & Services, Utah Asia Campus (UAC), School of Business, The Refugee Education Initiative Program
College Liaisons: College of Engineering
Olga has been with the Career & Professional Development Center since August 2018. Prior to this, she taught English as a Second Language in a private ESL school in Salt Lake City where she also served as a college admissions advisor helping international students apply for college and pursue higher education in the United States. Olga moved to the United States from Russia where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics. She is bilingual and is passionate about assisting students on their way to academic and professional fulfillment.
Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia (born) /Chelyabinsk, Russia (raised) | Hashtag: #macropatiencemicrospeed | Education: MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages); West Virginia University | BA in Linguistics; Chelyabinsk State University (Russia) | First job: Interpreter at an international taekwondo championship. I had to translate famous athletes in front of dozens of cameras. It was cool but extremely nerve-racking – those interviews were broadcast worldwide.
Campus Partnerships: Pre-Law Advising, CESA, University Student Apartments, Student Success Advocates, LEAP
College Liaisons: College of Social and Behavioral Science, School for Cultural and Social Transformation
Sarah has been with the Career & Professional Development Center since June 2019. After switching her major three times, she found her passion for working with college students while a student at Penn State working for the Office for Summer Session as a mentor and with Union & Student Activities as an intern. It was not until she had those experiences working with students that she knew what she wanted to do when she graduated (something very different from her major!). Upon graduating from Penn State, Sarah moved to Kansas and worked in Residence Life and First-Year Success at Bethel College. More recently, she attended the University of Kansas, where she was a Graduate Assistant at the University Career Center and a Teaching Assistant for a Job Search Strategies course. When not working, you can find Sarah reading or listening to a book, going for a run, or exploring a new place or National Park.
Hometown: Collegeville, PA │ Hashtag: #idontthinkiminkansasanymore │Education: MSE in Higher Education Administration, University of Kansas │ BA History & BA Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Pennsylvania State University │ First Job: Circulation Staff at Lower Providence Public Library
College Liaison: College of Science
Yaneli joined the CPDC team in August of 2020. Her undergraduate experience at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) sparked a passion for supporting and empowering college students. Yaneli supported many students throughout her time at UNC as she held multiple student leader titles such as Resident Assistant, Orientation Leader, and Gender & Sexuality Resource Center Intern. After graduation, Yaneli decided to take a gap year to gain meaningful experience while exploring life outside of her comfortable mountain state. Yaneli moved to Oregon, where she served as an AmeriCorps member at a local community college. During this time, Yaneli decided to continue her education and applied to the University of Utah for graduate school. Yaneli is now a graduate student in the Educational Leadership & Policy program and continues to support students through her work in higher education.
Hometown: Delta, CO | Hashtag: #neverstopexploring | Education: BA in Psychology, University of Northern Colorado | First Job: Cashier and burrito roller at TacoTime!
Graduate Career Coaching Team
Campus Partnerships: The Graduate School
Francine's professional experience has been largely in industry, consulting in technical and business communication, and her academic background is in languages and linguistics. She taught Persian at the University of Utah, then transitioned to the business world (with trepidation, initially) and ended up working with hundreds of engineers and research scientists across a range of industries. She appreciates their practical focus, their willingness to engage and learn, and their sense of humor.
Hometown: Paris, France | Hashtag: #serenefrancine | Education: PhD in Middle East Studies/Persian | MS in Linguistics | BS in Russian | First Job: Pier 1 Cashier, Cambridge, MA. I also did inventory, which was a big challenge back when Pier 1 sold myriad varieties of small brass figurines from exotic countries.
Campus Partnerships: K-UTE
Dan has been with the Career and Professional Development Center since December of 2018.
As an undergrad at Montclair State University in New Jersey, Dan majored in Religion and Political science, minored in Philosophy and Psychology, volunteered as a DJ and mobile events coordinator at 90.3 WMSC, and ran the campus chapter of STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition. As a graduate student in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University, Dan stayed involved on and off campus, planning graduate student symposia and skill-building events, serving on a range of university committees, hosting a Saturday night music show on 88.3FM WAER, volunteering for advocacy groups and electoral campaigns, and hiking in the spectacular landscapes of upstate New York. As he moved through his grad program, Dan realized what he liked most was connecting and collaborating with a wide range of people at the university and in the community. He is excited to do continue doing so as a Graduate Career Coach.
In his spare time, you can find Dan exploring (and photographing) Utah’s incredible landscapes, checking out new places in Salt Lake City, running, biking, making pizza, and playing guitar. As a new Utahn, he plans to get back into archery and ham radio, learn to snowshoe, photograph moose in the canyons, build a vast reserve of SPF-rated clothing, and avoid mountain lions. He owns an undisclosed number of cowboy hats, and plans to acquire more.
Hometown: Bloomfield, NJ | Hashtag: #canonrebelt6 | Education: PhD, MA in Religion, Syracuse University | BA in Religion, Political Science, Montclair State University | First Job: Editorial Intern at CQ Amateur Radio magazine. The world of amateur or “ham” radio is full of fascinating people doing amazing things in science, technology, and public service, like bouncing radio signals off meteorite vapor trails, building custom mobile antennas, and providing the only failsafe emergency communications system. My call-sign is KC2OOM.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
We offer career coaching appointments for both undergraduate
and graduate students, and alumni. Meet with a career coach
based on your availability or your area of study/interests.
Outreach & Engagement Team
PRESTON NIELSONAssociate Director of Outreach & Engagement, Partner Employer Contact
CARMEN GOLD-JOHNSONAssistant Director of Outreach & Engagement, Internship Development
CARMEN GOLD-JOHNSONAssistant Director of Outreach & Engagement, Internship Development