Team & Contact Information
Utah Women & Leadership Project
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Utah State University
3550 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3550
FACULTY DIRECTOR & STAFF
Dr. Susan Madsen
Dr. Susan R. Madsen is the Karen Haight Huntsman Endowed Professor of Leadership in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. She is also the Founding Director of the Utah Women & Leadership Project, which focuses on strengthening the impact of Utah girls and women. Professor Madsen and her team have written many Utah research and policy briefs and white papers, research snapshots, partnered reports, newspaper editorials, and other resources. They host 20-30 events each year to support the mission of their work.
Susan is also a well-known global scholar, authoring or editing nine books and publishing hundreds of articles, chapters, and reports. Madsen’s research has been featured in the U.S. News and World Report, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Parenting Magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, and she is a regular contributor to Forbes. She is a well-known speaker in local, national, and international settings. For example, she has presented at the New York Times, Argentina Parliament Palace, House of Commons in England, Lithuania President’s Palace, Costa Rica Parliament, and NGO sessions at the United Nations. She serves on or advises many nonprofit, community, and education boards and committees, including the Utah Governor’s strategic initiatives, Parity.org, Envision Utah, South Davis Communities that Care, Utah Financial Empowerment Coalition, Utah Women’s Health Coalition, and more. Dr. Madsen received a bachelor’s degree from BYU, masters from Portland State, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. She and her husband Greg are the proud parents of four adult children and two grandchildren.
For more detailed information about Dr. Madsen, see her detailed bio and her CV. For more information about her writing and speaking, check out her LinkedIn articles, UWLP "In the News," speaking and consulting website, and her Forbes articles. Also, join her on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Prior to joining the UWLP, Kolene managed a team of researchers, writers, and educators at Saprea, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those impacted by childhood sexual abuse and educating parents how to reduce the risk to their children. She also served as a program director at Utah Valley University where she enjoyed interacting with and mentoring students.
Kolene earned a master’s degree in English/Rhetoric from Northern Arizona University, and a bachelor’s degree from Utah Valley University in English & Literature. She spent many years in the classroom as an adjunct faculty member and received the Alumni Outstanding Educator of the Year award in 2018 from Utah Valley University. She has presented at numerous international conferences and earned a Learning Center Leader Certification from the National College Learning Center Association.
She and her spouse, Robert, live in Draper. Kolene is the mother of six children and is a passionate advocate for making Utah a better place for women and girls so her own children can benefit from her efforts. She loves learning new things, traveling with her husband and kids, eating anything with chocolate (bonus if it also has caramel), and Cherry Coca-Cola.
Melinda is the Utah Women & Leadership Project’s inaugural communications manager. She is responsible for expanding the awareness and impact of the UWLP and the statewide initiative, "A Bolder Way Forward." This includes sharing research, resources, and events with a wider audience and overseeing communications strategy, analytics, social media, and earned news media.
Prior to joining UWLP, Melinda was the Communications Director for Saprea, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating child sexual abuse and its lasting impacts. She has been the public relations/media relations director for Utah Valley University and Weber State.
Melinda earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Journalism. She is a former adjunct faculty member, magazine editor, and reporter. Melinda has won national awards for her writing and digital Newsrooms.
She and her husband, Kim, reside in Draper. They are the parents of two grown sons. Melinda has a passion for women’s issues, Broadway musicals, travel, the Utah Jazz, and Diet Coke.
For more detailed information about Melinda please visit her website.
Prior to coming to the Utah Women & Leadership Project, Stephanie was a senior business development manager with the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. She managed corporate recruitment, retention and expansion projects within the largest and fastest growing segments of Utah’s economy. During her time with EDCUtah, her project management helped generate over 11,000 jobs and over $1.8 billion in capital expenditure. Stephanie built extensive statewide partnerships in the private and public sectors to support Utah’s economic and job growth. Stephanie came to EDCUtah from Qualtrics where she began her career and became a fierce advocate for women in the workplace. Throughout her career, she has been empowering and developing women through working group facilitation, speaking engagements, mentorship and training. Joining the Utah Women & Leadership Project and the electric momentum of the Bolder Way Forward is the kind of cutting-edge movement she has always wanted to contribute to. Stephanie identifies as a generalist and life-long learner with interests in writing, speaking, music and art.
Deborah is passionate about making a difference. Having grown up in Santa Maria, California, and having spent time in Arizona and South Carolina, she now calls Utah home. She has a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Brigham Young University. She was previously a project manager at the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, taught ESL at BYU, SUU, and Dixie Tech, has worked on political campaigns, and has volunteered extensively with public schools, church, and the community. She enjoys traveling and cares deeply about helping people.
Kylie is a Cache Valley native and USU alum. Prior to joining the Utah Women & Leadership Project, she worked at the University of Hawaii as an event coordinator for the William S. Richardson School of Law and spent five years working at USU Event Services, where she coordinated a variety of large-scale conferences and events. Kylie has served in several leadership positions on the Women in Business - Cache Valley board.
Kylie loves to travel, spend time with her family, and the Utah Jazz.
Amy Z. Anderson is the Regional Outreach Coordinator for A Bolder Way Forward, focused on supporting five counties in Northern Utah and the “Health Across the Lifespan” spoke.
With a background in hospital administration, her career includes work with Advocate Health Systems and the American Hospital Association's Institute for Diversity. She has resided in Logan since 2004, serving on multiple non-profit boards and community councils including Cache Community Connections, the Cache Interagency Council, Women in Business, Loaves and Fishes Community Meal, Logan High Community Council and others. Prior to joining UWLP, Amy served at Sunshine Terrace Foundation as Director of Outreach in 2013 and continues to work as a Spiritual Counselor for Sunshine Hospice.
Amy was elected as a Logan City Council member in 2017 and reelected in 2021. Appointed to the Utah Commission on Aging, she advocates for healthy aging throughout the state. Among her civic duties, she is the Chair of the Bear River Local Homeless Council and on the board of the William A. Burnard Warming Center, addressing the needs of the unhoused in the community.
As Regional Outreach Coordinator, Amy will strive to strengthen the impact of girls and women throughout the state with an emphasis on healthy aging across the lifespan. In her spare time, she will squeeze in skiing, hiking, new recipes, friends and time spent with her husband, Allan, and their three adult children.
Dr. Andrea Garfinkel-Castro is the Multicultural Research & Outreach Coordinator for the Utah Women & Leadership Project. She is engaged in furthering UWLP’s research and outreach with a particular focus on issues of diversity for the women and girls of Utah.
After Andrea’s education was cut short, she returned to complete her education, starting in the community college where she earned an Associate’s degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Design Studies and a Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning. Her master’s thesis focused on the Latino cultural landscape and planners’ views of how this community uses space, finding deeply embedded and blatant racism emerging from interviews with planners.
In 2023, she fulfilled a lifetime goal of earning her doctoral degree in Metropolitan Planning, Policy and Design. Her doctoral degree focused on two main threads: planning’s equity talk-walk gap and planning culture as a source of blind spots and bias. She continues to explore cultural processes and the role it plays in sustaining or evolving attitudes about diversity. Justice and equity issues have been and continue to be infused into all of her academic scholarship and current professional practice, from transportation research to social justice and equity for women and girls in Utah.
After several years of teaching at the University of Utah and Salt Lake Community College, Andrea is turning her efforts towards deep dives into research and scholarship. The passion she brings to her work with UWLP is strongly rooted in a lifetime of firsthand gender- and ethnicity/race-based marginalization. With an eye to storytelling and narrative grounded in empirical research, Andrea sees new opportunities for women and girls in Utah to bring their vision, voice and impact to the state of the state.
Andrea lives in a cozy townhouse in South Ogden where she enjoys gardening, baking and the company of friends and family. After a lifetime of not quite ever feeling ‘at home,’ she feels very much a part of her small community and network of friends, and has finally planted roots. She has three adult children and one grandchild who is truly her sweetheart.
Barna Bose is a philanthropist and a graduate student of Economics at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University. She has three years of teaching experience in a public university and a half year of research experience in Urban Economics and urban Informal sector. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Economics from Jahnagirnagar University, Bangladesh. During her study she was involved in various research projects including higher education enhancement program and women livelihood in coastal areas. Barna is passionate about gender roles in the workplace as well as family decisions. While studying, she observes a huge gender pay gap in her country and that motivates her to work further for women in different socio-economic backgrounds.
As a Bangladeshi woman, Barna loves socializing. Her hobbies are cooking, writing, and watching movies. She also loves traveling and enjoying family time.
Dr. April Townsend
Dr. April Townsend is a Research Fellow focusing on research studies, literature reviews and data analysis. She has 30 years of extensive experience working with government organizations, where she has held leadership and top management positions for the last 21 years. Her focus has been on organizational effectiveness, leadership development, strategic leadership and financial accountability. Dr. Townsend has led organizational initiatives and cultural change efforts that increased transparency and transformed operational systems.
April received her doctorate in education with an emphasis on organizational leadership from Northeastern University, where her dissertation research explored the journeys of women in top leadership roles within government organizations. Dr. Townsend is interested in bringing the theoretical aspects of leadership into practical application. She actively mentors and develops the leadership skills of the women and men with whom she works and has shared her broad experience and research through numerous trainings in the public sector on coaching and mentoring, effective leadership through developing strengths, change management, and social and emotional intelligence.
Dr. Townsend is committed to diversifying the ranks of leadership through increasing the presence of women. She directed the development of an Employees' University training program and was recognized as one of Utah's 2016 American Graduate Champions for her mentorship efforts and for founding the Women's Leadership Forum, which provides women in local government an opportunity for leadership skill development.
Dr. Jessi Hill
She has published in Developmental Psychology (H-index 182) and has been invited to publish internationally in Pratiques Psychologiques. She received the first National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant at Utah Valley University and has received recognition for her research from UVU's Office of Sponsored Programs, an award for research from the Biennial International Seminar on the Teaching of Psychological Science, and the Dean's Award for Faculty Excellence in Research from the College of Humanities and Social Science. Dr. Hill has also been recognized for outstanding teaching by being awarded the UVU Faculty Excellence Award and a Best Online Delivery award from UVU’s Office of Teaching and Learning, both in 2020.
Dr. Chloe Bhowmick
Dr. Chloe Bhowmick completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in anthropology and business at San Jose University. She earned her Ph.D. at Palo Alto University in clinical psychology, primarily focusing her clinical work and research in forensic psychology, neuropsychology, and trauma. Her clinical experience during graduate school included working with persons involved in the criminal justice system and veterans. In addition, Dr. Bhowmick has worked in a variety of research settings during her graduate training, most prominently at the National Center of Posttraumatic Stress - Dissemination and Training Division located within the Veteran Affairs (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System. A California native, she moved to Utah to complete her predoctoral internship at the VA Salt Lake Health Care System. Currently she is a licensed clinical and police psychologist at The Partridge Group, a police psychology practice, where she conducts a variety of evaluations for public safety officers and candidates, and psychotherapy services for first responders and their families.
While Dr. Bhowmick was completing her graduate training, she was engaged in various community service efforts. This included participating in a young professionals community service club (Peninsula Young Professionals) for two years, becoming the vice president her last year with this organization. During this time she provided lectures on various mental health topics to the community, including trauma and suicide.
Dr. Bhowmick is excited to incorporate her work with the Utah Women and Leadership Project and their advocacy efforts into the next phase of her career. As a California native, she enjoys exploring her new home (and learning how to be in the outdoors), reading, and (when it was safe to do so) attending live music events.
Dr. Kristy Hodson
Dr. Hodson’s past research focused on emotional intelligence, resilience, mental health, neuroscience, affective learning, communication, gender equality, and leadership. Dr. Hodson is passionate about challenging mental mindsets and empowering individuals and organizations to achieve optimal outcomes. Kristy is also passionate about raising awareness of women’s issues in Utah and empowering all women regardless of their circumstances.
Dr. Maritza Sotomayor
She completed her Ph.D. at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain. Her M.A. is from the Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE) in Mexico City, Mexico, and her B.A. is from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP) in Lima, Peru.
She has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses in different formats, face-to-face, online, hybrid, small, and large sections. She received the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award. She is a Senior Fellow for the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) since 2019.
Her primary research interest is on international trade issues, from the effects of regional integration in developing countries, intra-industry trade measurement, global value chains to comparative studies. She is the co-author of "Global Manufacturing Production: An Analysis and Determinants for Mexico's Trade in Value-Added." (Journal of International Applied Economics, 2020). She completed a report about the Human Development Index (HDI), the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) the Gender Development Index (GDI), and the Gender Inequality Index for Utah and counties for 2014 and 2019.
Dr. Lisa Diamond
Lisa M. Diamond is Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah. For over 25 years, she has studied the development and expression of gender and sexuality across the life course. Her current work focuses on the biobehavioral mechanisms through which social stigma, social stress, and social safety shape the health and well-being of sexually-diverse and gender-diverse individuals at different stages of development. Dr. Diamond is best known for her research on sexual fluidity, which describes the capacity for individuals to experience unexpected shifts in sexual identity and expression over time. Her 2008 book, Sexual Fluidity, published by Harvard University Press, has been awarded the Distinguished Book Award from the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Study of LGBTQ Issues. Dr. Diamond is also co-editor of the first-ever APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, published in 2014, and is a fellow of two divisions of the APA. She has published over 130 articles and book chapters, and has been invited to present her research at nearly 140 national and international Universities and conferences. Dr. Diamond has received awards for her work from the Developmental Psychology and LGBT Psychology Divisions of the APA, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the International Association for Relationship Research, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.
Dr. Greg Madsen
Greg recently completed a Doctorate degree in Global Leadership at Indiana Tech University. His dissertation pertained male allyship. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of Susan’s work and the goal of the UWLP to strengthen the impact of women and girls in the state of Utah. Greg has been engaged in data analysis for the UWLP and was the co-author of the Zion’s Bank commissioned report on Women’s Equality in Utah. Greg is profoundly concerned at the level of animosity currently propagated by both political parties and supporting media, and is an engaged observer of political discourse.
Greg grew up in Southern Montana and loves everything about mountains, especially mountain art, as well as the recreational opportunities afforded by mountains. He hikes or mountain bikes most days, he ski raced in college and still participates in ski competitions. Susan and Greg have four children and two grandchildren. Together they have traveled the globe visiting over 50 countries.
Dr. Robyn Blackburn
Dr. Jared Hansen
Dr. Jared M. Hansen is an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. He was previously an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Belk College of Business at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Dr. Hansen is passionate about engaging in research that advances knowledge related to the psychological empowerment, meaningfulness, decision making, and performance of leaders, employees, and consumers. He also enjoys engaging in research on entrepreneurial competitiveness, firm strategy and marketing, and business and society topics such as ethics and social responsibilities. He is excited by the mission of the UWLP to create and share research that informs, inspires, and ignites growth and change for all Utahns.
He received his PhD at the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, an MBA from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, and a BS degree from the Fulton College of Engineering at Brigham Young University. Jared worked for a few years in the corporate buying office of Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas where he paid close attention to the stories and advice of the business executives of hundreds of different manufacturers and other organizations that he interacted with; he also paid close attention to the observed behaviors of consumers and employees in many stores while traveling around the country visiting different markets. He believes you can learn something precious from anyone if you pay attention. Some of his most cherished memories and research insights have come while traveling abroad as he has taught courses at universities/campuses in Mexico, England, Germany, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. He continues to work with many organizations providing speaking, consultation, analysis, and executive education on a variety of topics.
He and his wife Tracy are the parents of five children. He loves spending time enjoying the amazing diverse landscape of Utah, from skiing to biking to fishing to hiking, and time engaged in wood carving wall art and gardening/landscaping.
Dr. Matthew Meng
Dr. Matthew D. Meng is an Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Originally from Australia, he received his B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Melbourne, his M.Bus. in Marketing from RMIT University, and his Ph.D. in Marketing from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University.
His previous experience working with charities and NGOs steered his research interests towards addressing consumer and societal issues in the areas of sustainability, excessive consumption, identity, and public policy. His research is broadly categorized as Transformative Consumer Research, and aims to “encourage, support, and publicize research that benefits consumer welfare and quality of life for all beings affected by consumption across the world.” He has been published in top journals such as Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, and has had his findings highlighted in media outlets such as The Washington Post and CNN.
Natasha Birchard MPH
Sadie Wilde is a graduate student working on her Master’s in Public Health at Utah State University and a Professional Practice Extension Assistant Professor with the HEART Initiative for Davis and Weber County. She has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and her previous roles include cardiac rehabilitation, supervising the Intermountain Salt Lake Live Well Center, and coordinating care for an outpatient eating disorder treatment team. Sadie has also served as a Project Coordinator for Intermountain Healthcare/Precision Genomics, Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), and the Body Gratitude Project. Sadie will be focusing future research on women’s health and substance use disorder prevention specifically within Utah’s cultural context. Sadie loves backpacking, cycling, and spending time with her two children.
Rachel Denton has a graduate degree from the University of Utah with a Master’s degree in Social Work. She is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a private therapy practice working primarily with women. She is passionate about women’s issues and social justice and is excited to become more involved in research that prioritizes overlooked populations. Rachel has experience in research, therapy and community outreach. She enjoys rock climbing, reading a new book and traveling around the world.
Kristina has always been passionate about service and volunteerism. During her years at Southern Utah University, she served as a Service Leader for the Service and Learning Center (now known as the Community Engagement Center), where she had the opportunity to engage in the community in a variety of ways. Kristina spent her college years completing course work and obtaining bachelor's degrees in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Sociology. Additionally, she holds a master's degree in Public Administration and is certified and licensed in several areas, including social work and emergency management, as well as many more related specifically to aging issues.
Kristina is excited to bring her passion for volunteerism and unique set of experiences and skills to the Utah Women & Leadership Project.
Madison Harmer is a medical student at the University of Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Anthropology and is passionate about applying ethnographic principles to medical care. Madison did fieldwork in France and Thailand studying Hmong shamanism and medical pluralism. She is currently doing research with the U’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology on women’s experiences with gynecologic exams in Utah. She is interested in women’s issues and mental health, and hopes to work with underserved populations in Utah as a physician. Madison enjoys outdoor recreation, travel, and plant-based cooking.
RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT TEAM
Polly Conrad is a Senior Lecturer in the Data Analytics and Information Systems Department in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. She also serves as the Director of Teaching Excellence for the DAIS Department, a Program Mentor for the Huntsman Scholars Program, and Senator for the USU faculty senate.
She earned her Master of Science degree from Truman State University, where she studied biology and ecology. She proceeded to work for university, government agency, industry, and non-profit organizations since 2003. Polly is part biologist, part statistics nerd, and part business analyst. She has utilized various data analytics strategies and communication skills to inform management decisions and effectively manage programs. Polly is an advocate for women in the STEM fields, and she loves teaching and mentoring students.
Passionate about the outdoors, the move to Logan was a natural fit. She and her spouse, Ben, are the proud parents of two children. In her free time, Polly loves to spend time with her family and friends, and she is an avid wildlife conservationist.