Our Young Emerging Leaders Advisory Council (YELAC) provides a unique opportunity for young people from diverse backgrounds across the state to participate in our mission and work and is one of our premier leadership development programs. We select young people statewide to contribute to and assist us in further developing our programs and services while acting as ambassadors and leaders for in their communities and at their schools.
The YELAC is a group of community leaders recognized for their dedication to youth leadership, service-learning, diversity, and above all, the elimination of sexual violence in our community. The YELAC brings valuable youth perspectives to our work and is a source of strength for our organization. YELAC works in communities and schools across the state demonstrating that young people are the key to preventing and eliminating sexual violence in our communities.
Carlie Knudsen - Chair
Carlie Hawkes Knudsen is excited for the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Young Emerging Leaders Advisory Council (YELAC). Educating the community on prevention, and ultimately elimination, of sexual assault from the state of Utah is a cause that is near and dear to her heart, being a survivor of sexual assault herself.
Carlie earned a Bachelor of Professional Sales degree from Weber State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree. During her time at Weber State University, she served as President of the WSU Collegiate DECA Chapter, as well as the elected WSUSA Student Senator for the College of Applied Science and Technology (COAST).
In her free time, she loves to read, binge-watch TV, and spend time in nature with her husband and two dogs.
Tinesha Zandamela - Vice Chair
Tinesha Zandamela serves on the Young Emerging Leaders Advisory Council for the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She was appointed August 2017. She is deeply passionate about sexual assault prevention, education, and victim services.
Tinesha is an Honors student and senior at Brigham Young University studying Sociology and French, and she plans to attend law school in the future. Her academic interests focus on a variety of domestic and global issues about marginalized groups. Her current work for her Honors thesis addresses questions related to racial identity formation of multiracial Black women in the U.S. Her work has been published a few times, including in the BYU Prelaw Review and on Amazon Kindle online.
Tinesha works to supplement her academic studies with active civic engagement. She has worked as a victim advocate intern at the Utah County Attorney’s Office, as a microfinance compliance intern at a Salt Lake City-based group to assist organizations in French-speaking countries in West Africa, and as a development intern in Paris working with low-income residents. She also founded and directed a pedestrian advocacy organization in Provo. She has also volunteered with the Center for Women and Children in Crisis. She was the recipient of the “Outstanding Student Award” from BYU’s Office of Civic Engagement Leadership in 2017.
Aleksandra Petrovic - Secretary
Aleksandra Petrovic serves as both the Prevention Education Coordinator and Staff Wellness and Retention Trainer for Safe Harbor Crisis Center. She teaches violence prevention in schools and coordinates the prevention-focused Community Allied Resources to End Sexual Violence (CARES) Coalition. As Staff Wellness and Retention, she implements continuing Education Program to encourage self-care practices, mitigate the effects of vicarious trauma, and ensure team members have access to an array of educational opportunities.
Aleksandra moved to Utah from Serbia at age 12 and now considers Utah to be her home. She has two German Shepherds, and an Australian/Pyranose mix. She enjoys reading about Astrology and Metaphysics. In the future, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Philosophy in Ethics.
20 years old with a lot of soul to give, Tyler is a man of passion. Striving to give a voice to the oppressed and hope to the broken, he understands the importance of both personal connection and good public policy in tackling the big issues. Motivated by many loved ones in his life who have dealt with the consequences of sexual assault and domestic violence, Tyler is excited to join the YELAC. As part of the council, Tyler hopes to motivate high school and college-aged men to take action against this societal cancer.
Tyler believes that by proactively emphasizing prevention and awareness we can begin to turn the tide by targeting the root causes of sexual and domestic violence in Utah. Armed with a warm smile and a practical, problem-solving persona - Tyler hopes to achieve what the Greeks wrote about so long ago: "To tame the savageness of man, and to make gentle, the harsh things of this world."
On a personal note, Tyler is the son of Police Chief Matthew J. Clancy and Lisa Clancy, an educator. His brother Connor is currently serving a mission for the LDS church in Cusco, Peru. Tyler is a returned missionary himself from Colorado Springs, Colorado and is an Eagle Scout. In his free time, he enjoys good books and romantic comedies. He currently attends Brigham Young University where he is pursuing a degree in Family Life and plays on the lacrosse team.
A native Utahn, Jackie holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Utah. She conducted research in Havana as part of her degree, studying the relationship between Cuban art and politics. She also met and worked with local NGOs on issues from gender inequality to environmental protection.
Since completing her education, she has narrowed her scope to a focus on local issues, believing that local policy often lays the groundwork for more widespread change. As full-time staff in Utah’s legislature, Jackie conducts research and coordinates between citizens, public employees, and interest groups to best help residents throughout the state. Besides her involvement in public policy, Jackie is experienced in campaign management, community relations, and graphic design.
Jackie is keenly aware of the importance of community involvement. Born and raised in Murray, she has volunteered with many local and statewide organizations. She first became involved with UCASA through the 40-hour victim advocate training and is a current volunteer victim advocate for the Rape Recovery Center. Jackie is also the Boards and Commissions Committee Co-Chair for Emerging Leaders Initiative, a statewide organization increasing accessibility and opportunity for young leaders to serve in the public sector. When not working or volunteering, Jackie spends her time at the yoga studio or her home in Memory Grove.
“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” - Michelle Obama
Utah has been my home since 2014, and a significant cultural change from my hometown of Las Vegas. It’s certainly not been my first taste of adversity, but our former First Lady was correct when she said that it’s important for us to face and overcome the adversity in our lives. I’ve grown to love Utah, especially exploring its great outdoors with my little daughter.
When we’re not off on an adventure in the mountains, we’re in school, I’m at work, or I’m volunteering with the UFA Green Team or UCASA. I’ve also spent time volunteering with the Atheists of Utah, Planned Parenthood, and Continue Mission. I’m a Psychology major at Utah Valley University, with a minor in Criminal Justice. I hope to one day work as a victim’s advocate for sexual assault survivors within the justice system. I look forward to working with my fellow volunteers on the Young Emerging Leaders Advisory Council to facilitate a better understanding of today’s youth’s problems and how to communicate those needs to the rest of the world.
Alondra Diaz is an emerging advocate, aspiring lawyer and dedicated community volunteer. Alondra has worked with various organizations that serve vulnerable populations such as refugees, low-income students, and undocumented immigrants. She has been an Outreach Coordinator for several of University of Utah’s Clubs and volunteers at various organizations such as the Rape Recovery Center and the Humane Society. While pursuing her aspirations, Alondra works as an Administrative Assistant at Granite Peaks and as a Psychiatric Technician at the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI). She works with adult learners and patients by educating, guiding and assisting them to address opportunities and obstacles.
Alondra gears her professional and personal experiences towards enhancing her skill set and learning new skills which she believes will enable her to be a successful liaison for victims of sexual violence in national public policy. Alondra is devoted to educating, creating awareness and changing the systematic criminal and civil procedures and policies that impact the behavior of sexual violence in society. She believes her experiences and a legal education will enable her to understand and effectively address sexual violence and policy. Alondra graduated from the University of Utah in May 2017; she received a B.A. degree in Linguistics and International Relations emphasizing in Foreign Relations and Security. Additionally, she is certified in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). In her free time, she loves to read, paint, do archery, hike and write poetry.
Annie Fuller began her advocate career as an Outreach Coordinator for St. George’s DOVE Center, counseling, advocacy, and shelter center for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Since moving to Salt Lake City in early 2016, she has worked in Financial Crime Compliance at Goldman Sachs. She and her husband, Alessandro, currently volunteer at Salt Lake City’s Rape Recovery Center.
Annie believes that young professionals have an opportunity and obligation to contribute their skills to the community. She hopes to bring greater awareness of UCASA’s work to her sphere of influence and use her talents to leave a lasting impact in the movement to end sexual violence in Utah.
Annie graduated from Brigham Young University in 2014 with a BA in Economics.
As a child growing up, Brittney Bailey enjoyed drawing and creating art whenever possible. Whenever she wasn’t drawing, she was probably either playing the piano, sewing or playing with friends. Later in her teenage years, Brittney began creating graphic designs and art that others could purchase on products like t-shirts, mugs, etc. She also discovered a love for creating cosplay to wear at Salt Lake Comic Con’s events, which she attended with her friends.
Brittney is currently a sophomore at Weber State University. She initially chose to major in graphic design because of her love for art but switched when she found her true passion for criminal justice. Brittney has always had a sincere desire to help others, and follow her moral compass, so criminal justice was a perfect fit for her. After she graduates with her Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, with a minor in legal studies, she looks forward to pursuing a career as a victim advocate.
Rachael Fresh is a Senior at Utah State University who will be graduating this upcoming spring with a degree in Communication Studies and minors in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. Saying that she has been involved on USU’s campus is an understatement, serving in a dozen different positions during her four years.
While serving her peers, she quickly became familiar with the shocking problem that sexual assault on college campuses across the country is. Rachael is proud to say she was a part of the first student organization on campus to bring this problem to the forefront and start an initiative of awareness on Utah State’s campus. It is because of her experiences advocating for this cause that Rachael knew she could not stop by helping just one campus, but decided that she wanted to find a way to help the state that she loves.
One question Rachael will be hearing plenty these next few months will be “what do you plan to do after you graduate?” Even though the real world looks like a daunting place, she is excited to explain that she hopes to one-day to take her passion and work for a nonprofit like UCASA to make the world a better and safer place for others.
Becky Rice is a passionate community organizer, advocate, and relationship manager. She has lived on the East Coast, in the Southeast, and is thrilled to now call the Western United States Home.
Becky started volunteering with UCASA in March 2017. She has used her background in marketing and event management with many other organizations over the years, including The American Red Cross, The Alzheimer's Association, Equality Utah, and League of Women Voters, as well as several political campaigns. Becky is currently serving as Membership Co-Chair for The Junior League of Ogden and was the 2017 recipient of Junior League of Ogden's Grindstone Award.
In her free time, Becky can often be found traveling. Recently she set a goal to visit all fifty states in the U.S. and only has fourteen left to see! A love for hearing the stories of others and an appreciation for how all of our unique experiences make us who we are is a large part of what led her to advocacy.
Jasmine Despain works tirelessly to make Utah State University a safer place for sexual assault survivors. Her passion, conviction, and vulnerability make her an incredible leader and advocate. I can't think of anyone who deserves the honor of this award more than her. Jasmine Despain is the founding president of USUSA Students for Choice as well as the President of the USUSA I Am That Girl club for the second year in a row. The purpose of I Am That Girl is to empower women while creating a safe place to discuss important issues. Previous discussion topics included sex and shame, campus sexual assault, and healthy relationships. In February 2017 Jasmine operated as an Assistant Director to The Vagina Monologues and helped raise over $2,000 for Utah State's Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information (USU SAAVI) office. Jasmine also organized Take Back the Night for the third year in a row, an event where students march against sexual assault in all forms.
In February 2017 Jasmine operated as an Assistant Director of The Vagina Monologues and helped raise over $2,000 for Utah State's Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information (USU SAAVI) office. Jasmine also organized Take Back the Night for the third year in a row, an event where students march against sexual assault in all forms.