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.

Heather Younger

August 30, 2019
Heather Younger, '93 BA Political Science, is a best-selling author, international TEDx speaker, podcast host, facilitator, and Forbes Coaches Council coach. Her experiences as a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, attorney, writer, coach, listener, speaker, collaborator and mother all lend themselves to a laser-focused clarity into what makes employees of organizations and companies — large and small — tick. She has facilitated more than 150 workshops. Her motivation and philosophy have reached more than 20,000 attendees at her speaking engagements on large and small stages. Her book The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty hit the Forbes must-read list and is a go-to source for HR professionals seeking insight into their organizations' dynamics. Her writing also can be found on her blog at She runs her own management consultancy. Eating chocolate, going to the movies, and hiking are her hobbies. She, her husband, and their four children live in Aurora, Colorado.  

Monette Cortez

August 29, 2019
Monette Cortez, '18 BA Sociology, is retired and volunteers at the Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic for Brain Health Center. She says she continues working on family history and is committed to learning how to fly the drone she received several years ago. She notes that both can be totally frustrating. Her daughter, Emily Strickler, is a UNLV student pursuing a master's degree in public health

Melinda Durfee

August 29, 2019
Melinda Wong Durfee, '93 BS Hotel Administration, recently changed positions and is the associate director of event services at University of Redlands, home to San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, California. The seminary recently joined with Redlands, expanding offerings both in the Bay Area and at Redlands' main campus in Southern California. She lives in Novato.  

Aaron Manfredi

August 29, 2019
Aaron S. Manfredi, '05 BA Criminal Justice, '14 Master of Public Administration, is  a nonprofit founder/executive board member and actively advocates on a variety of subjects, including human trafficking, autism, veterans, ex-felons, and at risk-youth. A former educator and law enforcement officer, he is the father of a 21-year-old son, Bailey. Mountain biking, acting, and volunteering are his hobbies.     

Tricia Brisendine

August 27, 2019
Tricia Roy Brisendine, '00 BSBA - Marketing, obtained her Montana real estate license in 2013 and her broker's license in 2018. Then she and a partner opened their own brokerage, Lifetime Montana Real Estate, in the Flathead Valley. She and her husband, Rob Brisendine, '00 Hotel Administration, have four children. Her hobbies include boating, camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, snow skiing, running, traveling, and watching her children participate in all their sports. The family lives in Kalispell.

Angela Dows

August 27, 2019
Angela H. Dows, '06 JD, is the mother of two daughters, Josette Lee Jess, born last year, and Evette, born in 2012. Epee fencing and golf are her hobbies.

David Engler

August 27, 2019
David Engler, '02 BA Theatre Arts, recently took the position of assistant general manager at the Hyatt Place Jacksonville in Florida. This was a transfer from Huntsville, Alabama, within his management company, LBA Hospitality.

Adrian Huerta

August 27, 2019
Adrian H. Huerta, '07 BS Human Services Counseling, has begun a tenure-track faculty position at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. He studies boys and men of color, college access and equity, and gang youth. He lives in El Monte.

Mary Vail

August 27, 2019
Mary Vail, '13 MBA, recently completed a nine-month international goodwill assignment with Bankers Without Borders, a Grameen Foundation initiative that harnesses the skills and services of the world’s brightest minds and institutions to accelerate the progress of social entrepreneurs dedicated to connecting the poor to their potential. Vail's volunteer assignment was to work with EcoZoom, a social enterprise based in Kenya. EcoZoom manufactures and distributes improved cookstoves and portable solar lights; two products that are valuable in improving the lives of those who need them, as well as reducing deforestation and carbon dioxide outputs. She was selected for the role of corporate marketer and storyteller to help the business expand globally more quickly by helping create and communicate a comprehensive understanding of progress and impact to investors, end-users, and the wider general public. She says the insight she acquired when she traveled to South Africa in 2013 as part of a cohort during her UNLV studies helped to prepared her for the assignment, specifically with regard to how cultural influence plays a strategic role in international business. During the research trip she visited organizations that benefit from EcoZoom’s cookstoves. There were two major tea plantations Unilever and Finlays (Kenya is the third top tea producer in the world) and Cherry Children’s Educational Centre, a non-profit school in Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum. Her husband, David, accompanied her and assisted with the project.  

Jeff Deason

August 27, 2019
Jeff Deason, '99 BS Engineering - Civil Engineering, recently was hired by PulteGroup’s West Florida Division as vice president of land planning and development. He will play an integral role in land development and entitlements with multiple projects across the division’s geographic area and will be responsible for leading the division’s land development team. He also will be responsible for timely and accurate design and installation of land development improvements, HOA administration, and managing the division’s engineers, consultants, and attorneys. In his previous roles, including a prior stint with PulteGroup’s Del Webb brand in Las Vegas, he held similar responsibilities. Four years ago he moved to Tampa with Taylor Morrison to lead its land department and says he is excited to re-join PulteGroup.  

Maria Maliwat

August 27, 2019
Maria Donnalin Maliwat, '98 BS Hotel Administration, is the mother of Carmella Gabrielle Maliwat Bugay, '17 BS Healthcare Administration, Anthony Emmanuel Maliwat Bugay, a junior studying nursing, and Brandon James Maliwat Bugay, a freshman pre-nursing student. The family lives in Henderson.  

Aeriel Halstead

August 27, 2019
Aeriel Halstead, '15 BA Psychology, '15 BA Communication Studies, has been accepted into the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Brigham Young University. Her research will focus on preventative interventions for intimate partner violence. Teaching dance as a salsa instructor is her hobby.