Staff & Contact Information


Utah Women & Leadership Project
Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Utah State University
3550 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3550

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Dr. Susan Madsen

Susan Madsen

Founder and Director, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Inaugural Karen Haight Huntsman Endowed Professor of Leadership

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Dr. Susan R. Madsen is the Inaugural 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 through increasing college completion rates and helping girls and women find their voices and become leaders. Professor Madsen and her team have written many Utah research and policy briefs, research snapshots, impact 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 six 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 sought-after 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, and NGO sessions at the United Nations. She advises and/or serves on many nonprofit, community, and education boards and committees, including Silicon Slopes, Envision Utah, Better Days 2020, Real Women Run, United Way of Utah County, Utah Financial Empowerment Coalition, Women’s Leadership Institute, and more. 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: LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Kylie Downs

Kylie Downs

Program Assistant, Utah Women & Leadership Project

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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 5 yrs 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.

Karen Joy Turley

Karen Joy Turley

Graduate Research Assistant, Utah Women & Leadership Project


Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Karen Joy Turley is a Graduate Research Assistant for the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University (USU). She previously graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a degree in Business Management before moving to Logan, Utah to obtain her Master of Business Administration from USU. Karen is currently pursuing her second master’s degree in Human Resources at USU.

During her MBA, Karen worked as a research assistant for Dr. Brad Winn, director of the USU Executive MBA program. Her assistantship gave her the opportunity to dive into topics on women in business. From her research, she and Dr. Winn co-authored article for the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) titled “Women in Leadership and the Stewardship of Power”.

In her free time, she enjoys cooking, photography, and learning new languages. She is passionate about researching the advancement of women in business and advocating for the support of women of color in the workplace. She is thrilled to join the Utah Women & Leadership Project and further her research on women in their careers.

Kelsey Emery

Kelsey Emery

Graduate Research Assistant, Utah Women & Leadership Project

Kelsey Emery is a graduate assistant, currently pursuing concurrent master's degrees in human resources and business administration and supporting the Utah Women and Leadership Project as they expand their reach. After spending five years in marketing and events, she is convinced that design and analytics are at the heart of engaging people both inside the business and out. Kelsey is passionate about service-driven leadership and empowering women to lead with authenticity. She is happiest outdoors, exploring the National Parks with her husband. Kelsey holds a B.S. with honors in communications from Utah State University.


Research Team

Robbyn Scribner

Robbyn Scribner

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Women's Career Consultant & Coach

Robbyn Scribner is a Research Fellow for the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University, and she is thrilled to be contributing to projects that strengthen the impact of Utah girls and women. Robbyn has been the team lead for the Utah Women Stats Research Snapshots series, where she co-authored sixteen snapshots on various topics of interest to Utah women, including poverty, labor force participation, domestic violence, and the gender wage gap. During her time with the UWLP she has contributed to dozens of other reports and articles focused on supporting and advancing women and girls. Robbyn is active in community outreach, frequently speaking and presenting on women’s issues in various settings.

Robbyn holds a master’s degree in English with an emphasis in composition and rhetoric from Brigham Young University, and a bachelor’s degree (also from BYU) in European Studies. She has a special interest in researching and writing about women and careers, highlighting the challenges women face in trying to balance work and family responsibilities, while advocating for creative solutions to advance women’s professional wellbeing.

Dr. April Townsend

 April Townsend

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Owner, Townsend Consulting

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. Sara McPhee Lafkas

Sara McPhee Lafkas

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Assistant Professor of Social Work, Utah Valley University


Sara McPhee Lafkas is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Behavioral Science at Utah Valley University. She is also an independently licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). She earned a doctoral degree in human development and psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She previously obtained a master's degree in social work from the University of Washington and an undergraduate degree in psychology from UCLA. In addition, she completed a graduate certificate program in the treatment of traumatic stress at the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA. Her clinical experience includes working as a psychotherapist in private practice, LDS Family Services, and at college counseling and community mental health service centers. In her clinical practice, she has worked mainly with adult and adolescent clients who have varied concerns, including anxiety, depression, trauma, family relationships, self-esteem, spirituality, and professional transitions.

Dr. McPhee Lafkas' dissertation focused on Latter-Saint Women who experienced the divorce of their parents in childhood. She has presented on her dissertation research at numerous conferences and has also presented on other topics related to mental health, including self-compassion practice, depression, and abuse.

Originally from California, Dr. Lafkas started her career by working as an elementary school teacher and later as a child welfare specialist. She has taught multiple undergraduate and graduate level courses in the fields of social work and counseling. In her personal life, she is married and the mother of two active girls, ages 10 and 3. She enjoys traveling, having dinners out, theater, museums, movies, and continuing to learn.

Dr. Wendy Fox Kirk

 Wendy Fox Kirk

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Department Chair & Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Weber State University

Wendy Fox Kirk is an Assistant Professor and Department Chair for Business Administration & Marketing in the Goddard School of Business & Economics. Her leadership research considers gender, power and identity aiming to address issues of disadvantage with a focus on women’s careers and the gendered organization. Her PhD from the University of Birmingham (UK) examined the career journeys of senior women in elite UK universities, and she was selected as the 2019 Outstanding Emerging Scholar by ILA’s Women’s Leadership Affinity Group. Publications include articles in Gender in Management, Human Resources Development International and Advances in Developing Human Resources, and book chapters in Madsen, S. R. (Ed.). (2017). Handbook of research on gender and leadership. (Edward Elgar), and in Storberg Walker, J., & Haber Curran, P. (2017). Theorizing women & leadership: New insights & contributions from multiple perspectives. (IAP.) She is also a consulting editor for the Journal of Education for Business.

Dr. Jessi Hill

Jessi  Hill

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Associate Professor of Psychology, Utah Valley University

Dr. Jessica C. Hill earned a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Florida State University and an M.A. in Visual Cognition and Human Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagin. Her research on perceptions of women in leadership within Utah prompted the creation of the Utah Women's Leadership Exchange (UWLE), which she co-founded with Dr. Nancy Hauck and Dr. Liz Hitch and co-directs with Dr. Hauck and Dr. Julie Hartley. Other research interests include lifespan development of attention and executive control as measured through eye movements; novice instructor preparation and training; and the scholarship of teaching and learning in psychology.

Dr. Hill 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.

Carrie Mayne

Carrie Mayne

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Associate Commissioner for Workforce & Institutional Research, Utah System of Higher Education

Carrie Mayne is the Associate Commissioner for Workforce and Institutional Research. Formerly, Mayne was the Chief Economist and Director of Workforce Research and Analysis at Utah’s Department of Workforce Services, where she was employed for 14 years. She and her staff produced a wide array of tools to aid the public in understanding the state’s workforce. Mayne is a member of the Utah Economic Council and the Governor’s Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Utah and is working toward completing her doctorate in the same field. Her areas of expertise include labor economics, econometrics, and statistics.

Dr. Nancy Hauck

Nancy  Hauck

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Associate Provost for Community and Global Engagement & Associate Professor of Education, Dixie State University

Dr. Nancy Hauck is Associate Provost for Community and Global Engagement and Associate Professor of Education at Dixie State University. She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Utah State University, with an emphasis in Science Education, and M.Ed. in Human Physiological and Cognitive Development from Pacific University. Her research on barriers for women in leadership within Utah prompted the creation of the Utah Women's Leadership Exchange (UWLE), which she co-founded with Dr. Jessica Hill and Dr. Elizabeth Hitch and co-directs with Dr. Hill, Dr. Julie Hartley and Ms. Trina Weller through the Utah System of Higher Education. Other research interests include STEM education, women in STEM and CTE careers, human development across the lifespan, a sense of belonging in higher education, gender equity and aging, and the community’s impact on gender, wellness, and longevity.

Dr. Hauck has published and presented on women in leadership, empowering women in Utah, STEM education, gender equity in technical careers, creating a sense of belonging in higher education, and transforming communities for gender wellness and longevity. Dr. Hauck was recognized for outstanding leadership by being awarded the UWHEN Rock! Award at DSU in 2020 and with the Utah Nonprofit Association’s Distinguished Community Engagement Award in 2017.

Dr. Hailey Haffey

Hailey  Haffey

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Technical Writer, Regulatory and Clinical Affairs, BioFire Diagnostics, LLC

Hailey Haffey, Ph.D. is an award-winning scholar who has presented her research at national and international conferences. Haffey received her doctorate in English at the University of Utah in 2018, and has also studied at the University of Calgary and Montana State University, Bozeman. Her past and present work actively engages literature, gender theory, and religious studies—as well as interdisciplinary topics in science, medicine, and psychology within a humanities paradigm.

Courses she has recently taught in English and Gender Studies at the University of Utah and Salt Lake Community College include: Theories of Culture, Introduction to Writing, Intermediate Writing, Introduction to Critical Literary Forms, Women Writers, Introduction to Feminist Theory, Introduction to Queer Studies, and Gender and Contemporary Issues: Bodies, Traditions, and Technologies.

Haffey has received numerous scholarships, fellowships, and awards for her research and writing. In 2016, she received the University of Utah College of Humanities Graduate Research Award for her peer-reviewed publications that appeared in Joyce Studies Annual and Cultural Critique. She is currently finishing a book manuscript on children, religion, and gender.

In 2019, Dr. Haffey was a post-doctoral research associate in Family Medicine at the University of Utah and part of the Family Medicine Research Core.

Haffey also participates in volunteer work with both regional and international organizations aimed at reducing global disparities in access to healthcare and education, especially those due to gender, race, and class.

Dr. Chloe Bhowmick

Chloe Bhowmick

Research Fellow, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Post Doctoral Fellow, The Partridge Group

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. She is a current post doctoral fellow at The Partridge Group, a police psychology practice, where she conducts a variety of evaluations and psychotherapy services for public safety officers and candidates.

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.

Candice Pierucci

Candice Pierucci

Research Associate, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Representative, Utah House of Representatives

Candice Pierucci is the youngest serving female legislator in the history of Utah and currently the youngest serving legislator. Representative Pierucci serves District 52 (Riverton, Herriman, South Jordan) and replaced Representative Knotwell after his resignation in 2019. After being elected by the delegates in her district, Candice was appointed by Governor Gary R. Herbert to the Utah House of Representatives. Rep. Pierucci currently serves on the following committees: Health and Human Services and Government Operations, and Interim Higher Education Appropriations.

Prior to her legislative service Candice worked as the Development Director for Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank that focuses on faith, family and free-markets. Previous to working at Sutherland, Candice was the Director of Community Relations for Congressman Chris Stewart.

Candice is the Vice President of Professional Republican Woman and over the years has worked on presidential, congressional, and local campaigns. Pierucci is a former board member and flight leader for Utah Honor Flight, a non-profit dedicated to taking veterans to visit their monuments in Washington, DC.

Candice received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with an emphasis in American Government from Utah Valley University and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah. Previously, Candice was a research associate with the Utah Women Leadership Project and co-authored briefs on the status of Utah women in politics, non-profits and business. Candice has since conducted research on women in politics, specifically on republican women serving in state legislatures.

Rebecca West

Rebecca West

Research Associate, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Corporate Communication Specialist & Executive Coach

As a corporate communication specialist, talent developer, and executive coach, Rebecca West is passionate about human potential. She believes strongly that powerful, intentional communication lies at the heart of how we show up in the world and the results we get. It leads to greater impact, influence and leadership.

Her areas of expertise include executive coaching and development, interpersonal leadership, corporate communications, talent development, thought leadership, neurolinguistics, speech-language pathology, content development, and international relations.

Rebecca believes firmly in family first and considers being a mother to two amazing sons her greatest accomplishment. She holds a MS degree in speech-language pathology, BS degrees in both communication and human development, and is currently pursuing a PhD degree at Utah State University in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. Additionally, she is nationally certified as a speech-language pathologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Well-traveled, Rebecca loves exploring all the beauty the world has to offer and living joyously.

Cindy Jenkins

Cindy Jenkins

Research Associate, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Extension Assistant Professor, Utah State University

Cindy is an Extension Assistant Professor with Utah State University in Utah County for the Home & Community area. In her position, she builds programs, classes, and research that enrich the lives of community members, specifically those in Utah County. In previous positions, Cindy has helped build the community outreach program for Mountainland Head Start as well as the Hispanic Outreach program for the American Red Cross. She earned her masters degree in Public Administration and a bachelors degree in Fitness and Wellness from BYU. Cindy is thrilled to help further the work of the Utah Women & Leadership Project. When she takes time away from work, Cindy enjoys time in the great outdoors, especially hiking or kayaking. She also enjoys singing in the Lux community choir and dabbling with water color painting and glass fusing.

Trish Hatch

Trish Hatch

Research Associate, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Administrator, Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation

Trish Hatch is excited for this opportunity to work with Dr. Susan Madsen and the USU Utah Women & Leadership Project community. Dr. Madsen’s work has and continues to influence her attitude and perspective as a Utah woman.

Trish is the administrator for the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation, and formerly with the Women’s Leadership Institute. She is on the board of the non-profit organization, Girls on the Run Utah, serving a term as board chair, she is also working with West Jordan City Family Court and the Guardian Ad Litem’s office as Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and is in her second term as a commissioner on the West Jordan Planning Commission. She received her BA in communications with an emphasis in public speaking from Brigham Young University.

As one of the founding members of the Women’s Leadership Institute, Trish was instrumental in creating curriculum for the Political Development Series, a six-month course designed to teach women how and why they need to run for public office. She also worked closely with leadership to provide resources and research to corporations to build the case on why women in leadership makes a difference and how a diverse executive team benefits the corporation from every vantage.

Trish’s ten years with Girls on the Run has reinforced how instrumental it is to teach young girls’ confidence, inner strength, empathy, and the life skills needed to navigate their future. Their research-based curricula taught over a ten-week program establishes a lifetime of appreciation for others, how to accomplish a difficult goal (running a 5k) and how each girl has the power to achieve.

Trish is fascinated by the perception Utah women have of themselves and their peers; how they see their role in society, with their families, their personal potential, and their leadership capabilities. Trish is impassioned about women understanding their possibilities and the barriers, perceived and real, that prevent advancement.

Trish is a proud Canadian, raised in Calgary, Alberta. She shares her life with her husband, four children and their spouses, ten grandchildren and two labradoodles. She is dedicated to creating a better place for future generations and helping girls thrive and reach their potential.

Marin Christensen

Marin Christensen

Research Associate, Utah Women & Leadership Project | Research Associate, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, University of Utah & Co-founder, UC3 – Utah Child Care Cooperative

Marin is a research associate with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, and co-founder of UC3 – Utah Child Care Cooperative. In the former, she conducts survey and qualitative research for government agencies and local organizations. Past research includes an assessment of how immigrants and refugees are faring in Salt Lake County, focus groups of women throughout the state regarding their experience in Utah’s economy, and a community-wide needs assessment of the most vulnerable Utahns. Through UC3, she focuses on her passion: increasing access to quality child care so women have the choice to stay and thrive in their careers. Marin is also pursing a Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy at the University of Utah, with a focus on feminist economics and public policy.

Brooke Smith

Brooke Smith

Graduate Research Assistant (Volunteer), Utah Women & Leadership Project | Purchasing Agent & Deputy City Recorder, Murray City


Brooke Smith is the Purchasing Agent and Deputy City Recorder for Murray City. Prior to joining Murray City, Brooke has worked for 15 years in local municipal government throughout the State of Utah gaining experience in records management, legal administration, economic development and more.

Brooke graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Curatorial Studies and is currently working towards her master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies emphasizing in Public Administration and Leadership from Southern Utah University.

Last fall, she was invited to the State Capitol as a guest speaker for the Utah Division of Purchasing Procurement Education Seminar (PEP) where she shared her expertise of bringing in additional revenue by selling government surplus property. Recently, she was appointed to the Pipeline and Placement Committee for The National Institute for Public Procurement (NIGP) organization, as well as the Communication Chair for the local Utah Chapter of NIGP.

In her personal life, she is married to a supportive husband and on the weekends, they enjoys going on dirt-road adventures together in their Jeep Wrangler. Brooke is passionate about recruiting more women to serve in local government leadership positions and she is excited to assist Dr. Madsen and her team in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.