Higher Education Attainment

The Higher Education Attainment spoke focuses on increasing participation and completion rates of all women in Utah, including at the certificate, associate, bachelor, and graduate levels. This also includes a specific focus on women from marginalized populations. Although increasing the rates of postsecondary attainment is important for all residents—including men—it is critical to consider future initiatives and initiatives by gender. This spoke will include affiliates and participants across the state with all institutions of higher learning. It will also include additional voices, initiatives, and organizations that focus on increasing rates of women attending immediately after high school (particularly women of color), retaining female students, removing barriers, supporting completion, encouraging reengagement, and increasing aspirations for graduate education among Utah women and girls.

Spoke Leaders

Lais Martinez

Laís Martinez

Assistant Commissioner, USHE
LinkedIn Profile

Laís Martinez is the Assistant Commissioner for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the Utah System of Higher Education. She leads the Utah Board of Higher Education and the Office of the Commissioner in increased EDI awareness and training. 

Utah System of Higher Education

Promise Partnership

Neelam Chand

Neelam Chand

Founder & CEO, Shift SLC
LinkedIn Profile

Neelam Chand, Founder and CEO of Shift SLC, is a co-champion for the Postsecondary Outcomes Network for Promise Partnership Utah. The Promise Partnership unites a variety of entities to transform the educational environment for Utah kids. 

Shawn Newell 

Shawn Newell

Consultant, Waves Consulting LinkedIn Profile

Shawn Newell is a consultant, coach, and trainer of Waves Consulting and a co-champion for the Postsecondary Outcomes Network for Promise Partnership Utah. The Promise Partnership unites a variety of entities to transform the educational environment for Utah kids. 


my 529

Bryn Ramjoue

Bryn Ramjoue

Marketing Director, my529
LinkedIn Profile

Bryn Ramjoue’ Marketing Director for my529, Utah’s college savings plan. She serves on the CSPN Communications Committee. Her own SEM includes Who’s Who, a 40 under 40, a marketing person of the year, and a 30 Women to Watch.

Bold Vision & Goals

To make Utah a place where more girls and women can thrive, the Higher Education Attainment spoke leaders and partners have crafted the vision and goals below. Spoke leadership and UWLP team members are currently working to collect baseline data that will assist in adding numbers to the changes we want to see by 2026 and 2030.

Vision: Boldly increase the participation and completion rates of Utah women at the certificate, associate, bachelor, and graduate levels.


  1. Increase the college-going rate of female high school grads 1.5% by 2026 and 3.0% by 2030. [Metric]
  2. Increase female students’ ability to pay the cost of attendance. [Metric forthcoming]
  3. Increase female student’s timely completion of degrees and awards 1.5% by 2026 and 3.0% by 2030. [Metric]
  4. Increase the completion rate of women in programs aligned with high-wage, high-demand jobs 4% by 2026 and 8% by 2030. [Metric Forthcoming]
  5. Increase Utahn’s perceptions that the value of higher education includes economic opportunity, intellectual growth, personal development, and life-long societal contributions. [Data forthcoming]
  6. Improve Utahn’s attitudes about the importance of inclusion efforts in higher education. [Data forthcoming]
  7. Improve Utahn’s perceptions of the importance of Utah women completing graduate degrees. [Data forthcoming]
  8. Increase Utahn’s level of agreement that women of color student face more barriers when pursuing careers in high wage, high demand fields. [Data forthcoming]


Bridgerland Technical College

Brigham Young University

Davis Technical College

Dixie Technical College

Mountainland Technical College

Ogden-Weber Technical College

Promise Partnership Utah

Salt Lake Community College

Salt Lake Tech

Snow College

Southern Utah University

Southwest Technical College

Tooele Technical College

Uintah Basin Technical College (UBTech)

University of Utah


Utah State University

Utah System of Higher Education

Utah Tech University

Utah Valley University

Weber State University


my 529




Single Mothers Working Group

Women’s Centers Working Group

Get Engaged: Are you and/or your organization interested in being involved in the Higher Education Attainment spoke? If so, contact Laís Martinez (lmartinez@ushe.edu) with details about you/your entity and the current or future efforts you believe are aligned with this work. Other ways to get engaged include contacting Laís Martinez to get connected in a working group or if you’re interested in being a part of strategic discussions to increase success for young girls and women accessing and completing certificates and degrees; and get access to state college attainment data or to learn about statewide initiatives in higher education, visit ushe.edu. Thank you for your interest!