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Class Notes

Did you get a promotion, add a family member, or find a new calling? Share your latest news with your fellow alumni. We print Class Notes in UNLV Magazine and list them in the online alumni directory.

Aug. 8, 2018
Melissa Waite
Melissa Waite, '03 BA Psychology, '07 JD and '07 MBA, has joined the Las Vegas office of Dickson Wright. Her practice focuses on licensing, compliance, business transactions, and real estate transactions. It extends to business and private licensing, including those clients from the liquor, gaming, auto dealership, and transportation industries. Most recently, she has become involved with licensing and compliance for medical and retail marijuana establishments in Nevada, and emerging legal issues related to marijuana businesses. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Nevada, the National Cannabis Bar Association, the Clark County Bar Association, and the Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys. She also is a member of the Alumni Leadership Circle and the Dean’s Council of the William S. Boyd School of Law.  

Aug. 8, 2018
Dennis Gradillas
Dennis R. Gradillas, '91 BS Hotel Administration, is vice president of operations for HumanGood, a not-for-profit organization that provides housing, health care, and supportive services to older adults. He and his wife, Tami, and three young children relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015. He spends his spare time competing in Ironman 70.2 events or cycling through the area. He also coaches fast pitch softball for 8 and 9 year-old girls and assists with other youth sports when possible. The family lives in Brentwood.     

Aug. 8, 2018
Christian "Dane" Terry
Christian "Dane" Terry, '12 BS Gaming Management, '16 BSBA - Finance, works for a commercial real estate firm with a focus on retail properties. He represents buyers/sellers, landlords and tenants. His hobbies are golf, real estate, and baseball. He also enjoys trading in the markets, primarily equities and derivatives.

Aug. 8, 2018
George Sovich
George C. Sovich, '11 BS Architecture, is vice president of Friedmutter Group in Las Vegas. In 2013 he earned a master's degree in architecture from USC. Golf and hiking are his hobbies.

Aug. 8, 2018
James Robertson
James Robertson, '08 MBA and '08 JD, a partner at Downey Brand, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine. Attorneys throughout the region participated in the voting, recommending colleagues in more than 50 legal disciplines. Attorneys who received the highest number of votes in each discipline received a Top Lawyer designation and were featured in the August issue of the magazine.    

Aug. 8, 2018
Nadine Edwards
Nadine Edwards, '12 BS Hotel Administration, works for the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. A member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, she is preparing for deployment in November. In the span of three months, she was promoted to the rank of captain in the U.S. Air Force and graduated with her master's degree in instructional design from the University of Massachusetts - Boston. She also completed an internship with Pitney Bowes. She and her husband, Josiah, recently completed a 6,000-mile road trip in their renovated 1997 RV. They visited 25 states and are looking forward to their next long-term, long-distance trip to the Southwest. They live in Alexandria, Virginia.

Aug. 6, 2018
Gregory Smith
Gregory M. Smith, '86 BA and '98 MA Criminal Justice, retired from public service in August, having served 21 years with the Nevada attorney general's office and four years with the Clark County district attorney's office. He is the father of Mark G. Smith, '16 BA Criminal Justice.      

Aug. 6, 2018
Christopher Wicker
Christopher Wicker, '85 BS Geology, teaches Junior ROTC at a high school in Taylor, Michigan, having retired from the U.S. Army after 30 years. He was an ordnance officer in various positions around the world. Highlights included commanding a battalion of 890 soldiers in Iraq in 2003, commanding the garrison of White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico 2009-11, and managing the construction of a large base camp in Northern Afghanistan in 2012. He retired in 2015 as the chief of market intelligence for U.S. Army Recruiting Command. He raised two girls mostly by himself as they lived in 10 different states and in Europe. Physical conditioning, building motorcycles, kendo, and ballroom dancing are among his hobbies. In the 2016 Strongman competition in Kentucky, he won the 175-pound division. He lives in Wyandotte.

Aug. 6, 2018
Michele Villagran
Michele Lucero Villagran, '01 BSBA - International  Business, began work this fall at San Jose (California) State University School of Information as a tenure-track assistant professor. Her position focuses on cultural diversity.

Aug. 6, 2018
Jamie Bichelman
Jamie Bichelman, '13 BA Psychology, is a public information officer and department spokesperson for a government agency in Carson City. He is wrapping up a master’s degree and has learned a new language. He also has become a strong social voice for advocating a vegan and animal cruelty-free lifestyle. Proceeds from his photo shoots go to organizations assisting victims of domestic violence. In his free time he enjoys running and hiking.

Aug. 6, 2018
Ronald Ellis
Ronald Ellis, '89 BS Hotel Administration, is senior vice president of internal audit for Eldorado Resorts. He has been with the Eldorado and affiliated companies since 2010. He also is working on a masters in accountancy degree at UNR. His hobbies are miniature horses, swimming, and watching sports. He and his wife, Frances Pease Ellis, '88 BS Hotel Administration, have two daughters, ages 15 and 13. The family lives in Reno.

Aug. 6, 2018
Marjorie Vielka Landron
Marjorie Vielka Landron, '13 BA Interdisciplinary Studies, is the CEO of the Healing Tree Wellness Center, a behavioral and mental health center; CEO of The Healing Tree - Regenerative Therapies, a stem cell and IV hydration clinic; and CEO of Power Moves, BT, a nonprofit designed to raise funds for people in need of medical advancements that are not covered by insurance. She also is co-partner of Information Opportunities, a consultation firm focused on catering to business needs in insurance, medical, or behavioral necessities. After leaving UNLV, she earned a master's degree in social work with a concentration in mental health. Currently a doctoral student at Arizona State University, she received a Rising Star award in the social work field in 2016 from the National Association of Social Workers and a commendation from U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. She enjoys Reiki, meditation, and playing poker.  

Aug. 6, 2018
Lisa Story
Lisa Griffith Story, '84 BA Communication Studies, is the communication services manager at the Las Vegas Valley Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority. She recently appeared in a documentary about her uncle, Walter Peca (aka Reca), titled D.B. Cooper: The Real Story and is mentioned in a book on the same topic by Carl Laurin, Peca's good friend and a retired pilot. Epee fencing is her hobby. Both her daughters also have attended UNLV. Kaili Story, '11 BA Dance, obtained her MFA in design for stage — lighting and set from Northwestern University earlier this year and now is the lighting supervisor for Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago. Younger daughter Sydney Peca Story is a senior theatre major at UNLV and is the recipient of a Child of Alumni Scholarship.    

Aug. 6, 2018
Constance Burrell-Escobar
Constance Burrell-Escobar, '93 BS Hotel Administration, worked in various hotel/restaurant management positions in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Atlanta for 25 years. She now is starting a seventh school year at a K-8 school in Phoenix, having spent most of that time as school librarian. She also is studying for a master of special education degree at Grand Canyon University. In her spare time, she runs a local Boys and Girls Club kitchen. Writing for competitions and producing art to exhibit at art shows are her hobbies. She has two children, Justin, 13 and Nicole, 11.  

Aug. 6, 2018
Gregory Goussak
Gregory W. Goussak, '84 BS and '94 MS Hotel Administration, has worked as an investigative internal auditor for the Clark County Water Reclamation District, as an adjunct faculty member at Ashford University, and as an adjunct faculty member at The Women's College at Bay Park University in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 2009 he earned a doctor of business administration degree from the University of Phoenix. He lives in Henderson

Aug. 6, 2018
Eric Bradell
Eric Bradell, '02 BS Hotel Administration, retired in July after eight years as the assistant hotel manager with the Air Force Space Coast Inn at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida. He now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Aug. 1, 2018
Tami Belt
Tami Belt, '88 BA Communication Studies, is the founder of Blue Cube Marketing Solutions. She also published Poetic Justice: Lessons of love, life & relationships through Balboa Press. She has told the stories of companies, nonprofits, and individuals for 30 years through her work and considers publishing this book to be a "full-circle moment." She says her hope is to inspire everyone to express themselves, no matter the medium.

Aug. 1, 2018
Marilyn Ming
Marilyn Ming, '92 BA Communication Studies, retired from UNR in 2017 as a marketing & public relations specialist. She had worked there for 17 years. She also worked for a casino as a publicity manager and at a nonprofit as a marketing and development director.    

Aug. 1, 2018
Michelle Hanief Nelson
Michelle Hanief Nelson, '90 Bachelor of Liberal Studies, is an auditor for Costco Wholesale where she has worked for 15 years. She also has taught a variety of classes through Henderson Parks and Recreation. She participates n community theater, both onstage and backstage. She enjoys assisting with youth development and has served on the Henderson Parks and Recreation Board for more than 10 years. A graduate of the Henderson Citizens Police Academy, she also serves on several alumni committees for Chaparral High School. She and her husband, Aaron, have been married for almost 30 years and enjoy volunteering for the Komen Race for the Cure, Three Square, and other worthwhile causes. Crafting, singing, bargain shopping, and spending time with family are among her other hobbies. She is the proud parent of four children, the youngest of whom is a freshman in UNLV's Honors College. She also has one granddaughter. 

Aug. 1, 2018
Mary Leon Vail
Mary Leon Vail, '13 MBA, recently accepted a six-month volunteer assignment with Bankers without Borders to work with a social enterprise, EcoZoom, based in Kenya.

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