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The Future Governor: Kanani Espinoza

The president of the grad student association and UNLV employee added another Rebel degree to her credentials.

People  |  May 9, 2018  |  By UNLV News Center
woman outside

Kanani Espinoza, ’16 BS Hospitality Administration and ’18 MPA

Editor's Note: 

Kanani Espinoza is one of the students we're featuring as we celebrate spring 2018 commencement. Join us in congratulating our newest alumni in social media with #UNLVGrad. Full ceremony details on the commencement website.


The Las Vegas community inspired me to get my MPA because the resources and knowledge I learned in the program will help change our community. I hope to create positive change for our society using effective public policy.

Biggest Challenge

The timing of classes. My job has many functions and events at night. Being able to juggle the class schedule while being a full time employee has been rewarding and challenging. [Along with serving as president of the Graduate & Professional Student Association, she worked in the UNLV Foundation as a development officer for annual giving.]


When I got to introduce Joe Biden — he was Vice President Joe Biden at the time — for the It’s On Us sexual assault (awareness) campaign. He was so comforting. It was just an awe-inspiring moment.

Big Goal

I’d like to get involved in local politics and eventually be the governor of Nevada. One of the main issues I’d like to see changed is organ donations and having an opt-out policy rather than an opt-in. With my public administration degree, what I’ve learned is how to detect public policy issues and the strategic ways to analyze and develop data to solve a problem.

Thank You to…

I was recently awarded the Pat Goodall scholarship and, because of that award, I’m going to go for my doctorate degree. I can’t thank our donors enough for an opportunity like that. His commitment to the university, even after his death, is impactful to students like me - who will utilize this for my program in the future. [Goodall was UNLV’s fourth president and a professor of public administration. He helped establish the UNLV Foundation.]