Meet the Team

The University of Utah Prison Education Project (UPEP) is a volunteer based project. Eighty volunteers have given over 1,200 hours to the project. Volunteers work both inside and outside the prison, devoting their time to teaching, tutoring, organizing fundraisers, reading applications, lecturing, and advocacy work among many other projects. We are grateful to each and everyone one of the volunteers. Meet some of them below:

Leadership

Erin L. Castro, PhD

Co-Director & Co-Founder, Assistant Professor, Higher Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy

Erin L. Castro, PhD

Co-Director & Co-Founder, Assistant Professor, Higher Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
Dr. Erin L. Castro is Director and Co-Founder of UPEP and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on postsecondary educational opportunity during incarceration through university-prison partnerships. She is a Strategic Organizing Member of the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison.

Cindy Fierros, PhD

Co-Director, University of Utah Prison Project (UPEP); Assistant Professor-Lecturer, Gender Studies Division

Cindy Fierros, PhD

Co-Director, University of Utah Prison Project (UPEP); Assistant Professor-Lecturer, Gender Studies Division

Sarah Manley, BA

Program Coordinator

Sarah Manley, BA

Program Coordinator

Interns

Audrey Pozernick

Audrey Pozernick

Volunteers

Ali Wolpern

Major/degree: Health and Kinesiology, PhD(c)
 ali.wolpern@utah.edu

Ali Wolpern

Major/degree: Health and Kinesiology, PhD(c)
 ali.wolpern@utah.edu

Elliot Morris

Major, degrees: University of Utah, English BA, New York University, English & American Literature MA
 elliot.m.morris@hotmail.com

Elliot Morris

Major, degrees: University of Utah, English BA, New York University, English & American Literature MA
 elliot.m.morris@hotmail.com

Patricia Robello

Undergrad : Major zoology minor chemistry Graduate: Masters in education culture and society
 robellopatricia8@gmail.com

Patricia Robello

Undergrad : Major zoology minor chemistry Graduate: Masters in education culture and society
 robellopatricia8@gmail.com

Nicole Dicou

Major: International Studies, BA
 nicoleinutah@gmail.com

Nicole Dicou

Major: International Studies, BA
 nicoleinutah@gmail.com

Calen Smith

B.S. Neuroscience (Westminster College)
 calenjsmith@gmail.com

Calen Smith

B.S. Neuroscience (Westminster College)
 calenjsmith@gmail.com

Uyen Hoang

Honors BS in Environmental and Sustainability Studies with a minor in Business.
 uyenhoangm@gmail.com

Uyen Hoang

Honors BS in Environmental and Sustainability Studies with a minor in Business.
 uyenhoangm@gmail.com

Lindsey Addams

M.Ed, Educational Psychology, University of Utah B.S., Accounting, Weber State University
 lindsey311@hotmail.com

Lindsey Addams

M.Ed, Educational Psychology, University of Utah B.S., Accounting, Weber State University
 lindsey311@hotmail.com

Grayson Hull

Major: Psychology and Health Anthropology with a minor in Integrative Human Biology
 graysonhull@gmail.com

Grayson Hull

Major: Psychology and Health Anthropology with a minor in Integrative Human Biology
 graysonhull@gmail.com

Admissions Team

Maria Alberto

Ph.D. student Department of English, University of Utah

Maria Alberto

Ph.D. student Department of English, University of Utah

Andrea Brunelle

Professor, Geography Department, University of Uta

Andrea Brunelle

Professor, Geography Department, University of Uta

Edén Cortez

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy, University of Utah

Edén Cortez

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy, University of Utah

Lepa Espinoza

Assistant Professor (Lecturer) Department of English, University of Utah

Lepa Espinoza

Assistant Professor (Lecturer) Department of English, University of Utah

Nena Feng

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, University of Utah

Nena Feng

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, University of Utah

Aaron Fischer

Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Utah

Aaron Fischer

Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Utah

Jeremy D. Franklin

Data Manager, United Way of Salt Lake

Jeremy D. Franklin

Data Manager, United Way of Salt Lake

Andrea Garavito Martinez

Community School Facilitator, Canyons School District

Andrea Garavito Martinez

Community School Facilitator, Canyons School District

Cindy Huynh

Professor, Ethnic Studies San Jose City College

Cindy Huynh

Professor, Ethnic Studies San Jose City College

Roberto Martinez

Mental Health Intervention Specialist, University of Utah

Roberto Martinez

Mental Health Intervention Specialist, University of Utah

Christopher Mead

Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Honors College, University of Utah

Christopher Mead

Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Honors College, University of Utah

Sylvia Mendoza

Lecturer, University of Texas at San Antonio

Sylvia Mendoza

Lecturer, University of Texas at San Antonio

Elliot Morris

College Sales Representative and Consultant, W.W. Norton & Company

Elliot Morris

College Sales Representative and Consultant, W.W. Norton & Company

Danielle Olden

Assistant Professor, History, University of Utah

Danielle Olden

Assistant Professor, History, University of Utah

Dustin Williams

Research Associate Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Utah

Dustin Williams

Research Associate Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Utah

David Roh

Associate Professor, English, University of Utah

David Roh

Associate Professor, English, University of Utah

Jorge Rojas

Director of Learning and Engagement, Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Jorge Rojas

Director of Learning and Engagement, Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Irene Yoon

Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy, University of Utah

Irene Yoon

Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy, University of Utah

Judith Simcox

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Judith Simcox

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Christie Toth

Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric Studies, University of Utah

Christie Toth

Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric Studies, University of Utah

Advisory Team

Paula Smith

Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy, University of Utah

“Education is our nation’s prisons is one of the most important initiatives that we can engage in because it represents an attempt to bring humanity into an oft times dehumanizing system. Prison education also engages the students in work that provides them with hope, skills, and the knowledge that their futures can be something different, something better.”

Tyler Brothers

Instructional Technology

 

Andrea Brunelle

Professor & Department Chair, Department of Geography, University of Utah

“Volunteering with UPEP is important to me because the students have inspired me as a teacher and as a life-long student, with their enthusiasm and appreciation for the opportunity to learn.”  

Natalie Pinkney

Democratic Salt Lake County Chair for Black Caucus, Utah

“My family has interacted with the prison system in every way, from incarcerated people to staff to children of incarcerated parents. In the circumstances of incarceration for my grandfathers, my uncles, my brothers and my mother, there was no program or no thought to give them the opportunity of higher education. UPEP is important to me because it gives that opportunity to families like mine to be more than their circumstances.”

 

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Your donations help fund books, supplies, and faculty instruction costs.
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