The University of Utah’s prestigious Presidential Internship in Higher Education Leadership, housed in the Office of the President, provides undergraduate students from diverse fields and backgrounds the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the president and other university administrators. This unique experience offers an insider’s look into the nuances and complexities of higher education. Through regular seminars and working alongside members of the administration, students learn about and engage in the challenges and opportunities facing the university, as well as American higher education in general. Students gain practical knowledge and skills that enrich their academic and social experiences, while also honing leadership skills and building a professional network. Since its inception in 1992, more than 150 students have participated in the program. For many, the experience was a catalyst to a career in higher education. Others have gone on to leadership and career opportunities in public administration, nonprofit organizations, business, civic and public service.
The interns help to staff senior administrative offices and work on strategic projects designed to help advance the goals of the university, act as student representatives at various university functions and events, and attend weekly higher education leadership seminars hosted by executive leaders from the campus and larger community. In turn, the university administration benefits from student insight, perspective and collaboration in helping shape the exceptional educational experience at the University of Utah.
The cohort selection process involves an application and interview conducted each spring. The program runs in conjunction with the academic year, August to May. It requires a commitment of 10-12 hours per week, including some evening and weekend hours assisting with events, and attending Wednesday leadership seminar meetings from 2-4 p.m. Two lead interns help facilitate and coordinate the presidential interns.
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MEET THE 2022-2023 PRESIDENTIAL INTERNS
Emily Hernandez Alzmora, Lead Intern
Emily is a first-generation college student from Murray, Utah. Before transferring to the U, she attended Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). Motivated by her passion for higher education and inspired by her fellow SLCC students, she sought out leadership opportunities and was heavily involved in student government. She served as a Student Ambassador from 2019 to 2020 and was elected Student Association President for the 2020-21 academic year. She graduated with an Associate of Science in Business degree inAugust 2021 and was recognized as an SLCC Civically Engaged Scholar, along with other honors. She is currently a senior at the University of Utah pursuing a bachelor's degree in Management. She is a member of the Crimson Transfer Honor Society and is an Opportunity Scholar through the David Eccles School of Business. Emily enjoys reading, working out, and trying out new foods. She is excited to co-lead the Presidential Interns and broaden her knowledge of higher education at the U.
Nahum Tadesse, Lead Intern
Nahum is a first-generation college student and a senior double majoring in Political Science and International Studies. Although he was born in Utah and grew up in Davis County, his parents are originally from Ethiopia and Nahum is a volunteer leader and advocate within the local Ethiopian community. During his time at the University of Utah, Nahum has done seven internships, five of which were through the Hinckley Institute of Politics, where he also works as a student staff member helping connectstudents with internship opportunities. Additionally, Nahum works as a Government Relations Liaison for Intermountain Healthcare where he will continue to work post-graduation and before pursuing master's and law degrees. Nahum is excited and grateful forthe opportunity to co-lead this year’s intern cohort. He is ready to serve and continue to learn about the intricacies of higher education through his work in the Office of the President.
Abukar Hassan is a junior double majoring in Finance and Entrepreneurship and has recently completed his Information Systems minor while studying at the Utah Asia campus in Songdo, South Korea. He is a migrant from Egypt and was raised in Salt Lake City. Abukar has a passion for serving his local community, from being the president of a local youth group to interning for the Utah Muslim Civic League and the Salt Lake City Mayor's office. At the U, Abukar serves as Vice President for the Student Alumni Board and a Business Scholar intern. In his free time, Abukar enjoys being with family, trying new restaurants and coffee shops, and watching Shark Tankto fuel his entrepreneurial spirit. Abukar is grateful and excited to broaden his knowledge of higher education and help find ways to advocate for more students through the Presidential Internship in Higher Education.
Gauri is a senior studying Health, Society, and Policy with minors in Chemistry and Pediatric Clinical Research. She was raised in Logan, Utah, and loved moving to Salt Lake City for the best skiing in the world and a bigger city experience. During her time at the U Gauri has been involved in a variety of leadership experiences including working with the Office of Undergraduate Research, as an Honors Peer Mentor, and serving an internship at the National Institute of Health. In her free time, Gauri enjoys being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, traveling, and trying new restaurants. In the future, she hopes to work internationally through the World Health Organization as a physician and is excited for the opportunity to see how a large, diverse institution functions, especially as it relates to a multicultural and international landscape. She believes education is the most powerful tool for solving the most difficultand pertinent issues and hopes to foster and broaden that intellectual spirit during her Presidential Internship.
Maggie is a junior pursuing a major in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Cognitive Science. She was born and raised in Salt Lake City, so attending the U was an easy choice for her. During her time at the U, Maggie has participated in Greek Life, ASUU’s First-Year Council, and has worked at the University Hospital. She is currently involved in research at the Albertine Lab on campus. While her biggest passion is health and medicine, she is excited to get involved in the world of higher education and to learn about what it takes to run such a prestigious institution. After graduation, Maggie hopes to attend medical schoolto become a surgeon. In her free time, she loves spending time in the mountains, cooking, throwing pottery, and playing pickleball with her friends.
Marc Anthony Lopez Resendiz
Marc is a junior studying at the David Eccles School of Business and fulfilling his Pre-Physician’s Assistant requirements. Marc grew up in Utah in a family of 8. His parents immigrated from Mexico to build a better life for him and his siblings. Marc carries those ambitions through his academic and professional endeavors as the first in his family that will graduate college. Marc has applied himself at the University of Utah through programs such as Business Scholars, First Ascent Scholars, Student Alumni Board, and now the Presidential Internship in Higher Education. Through these experiences, he hopes to develop a stronger understanding of the real problems impacting the student population and how he can help. His passions drive him and he has set a goal to run for a leadership position within the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU). As he works toward a future in the healthcare industry, Marc is committed to a life and career where he is involved in local and community government to further help those around him.
Momina is a junior studying Honors Finance. She was born in Lahore, Pakistan and grew up in Sandy, Utah. Momina is interested in advocacy work, having volunteered at the 4th Street Clinic and having served as an ASUU Senator for the College of Humanities. She was also part of the first cohort of SafeU Ambassadors in the University Safety Department and recently completed an internship at Goldman Sachs. Momina is passionate about equal opportunity in higher education and hopes to help create an inclusive andsupportive environment for all students. In her free time, Momina enjoys reading, baking, and going to Costco with her dad. She is excited to serve in this year’s Presidential Internship cohort and learn more about making higher education accessible for all.
Muskan is a third-year student studying Math and Philosophy. She was raised in Utah, growing up in a Punjabi-American home. Her experiences have cultivated a passion and commitment to community building and education. She is elated and grateful to serve as a Presidential Intern and develop her understanding of higher education institutions. Specifically, Muskan is eager to study the role of higher education in society. She is interested in empowering and advocating for students with marginalized identities and pursuing projects that are rooted in community needs. Muskan also cherishes time spent bird watching, gardening, making pottery, and exploring Trader Joe’s.
Nathan is a junior studying Chemical Engineering. Having grown up in North Salt Lake, he is a Utah-man to the core; loving the mountains, skiing, and fry sauce. Nathan has done battery research in Dr. Tao Gao’s electrochemistry lab, energy efficiency assessments at the Intermountain Industrial Assessment Center, and work in the refining industry at Big West Oil. Throughout Nathan’s studies at the U, he has noticed that despite the many resources provided by University leadership, students struggle on a holistic scale because they are unaware of these opportunities. As a Presidential Intern, he hopes to collaborate with faculty and students to address this issue. In his free time, Nathan enjoys cooking, ping pong, and singing in the Institute of Religion Choir.
Shaistah is a senior pursuing a double major in Biology and Health, Society, and Policy. She was born and raised in Salt Lake City and is passionate about the sciences and reforming health policy to better serve patient populations. Shaistah is also interested in higher education leadership and the role it plays in shaping a student’s educational journey. She believes everyone should have a voice at the institution they dedicate themselves towards. She has been involved in other campus leadership opportunities through the Bennion Center, ASUU, and the College of Science. After graduation, Shaistah plans to pursue medical school and work in academia someday. She enjoys watching tennis, hiking, and painting in her spare time.