Board of Trustees

We are dedicated to making Cache Valley welcoming to all.

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Nelda Ault-Dyslin, Board President

Nelda was raised in the shadow of Old Main, she graduated from USU with a BA in American Studies, spent a summer in El Salvador with HELP International, and then struck out for the rolling hills of Kentucky. While studying at Western Kentucky University, she volunteered at the Bowling Green International Center, a small resettlement center originally founded in the 1990s to serve the Bosnian refugee community. After graduating with a MA in Folk Studies, she returned to her homeland and eventually became acquainted with the refugee communities that had grown in the time she’d been gone. She currently works as the Community Service Coordinator in the Val R. Christensen Service Center at USU. You can find her a couple times a week at CRIC’s walk-in hours, humming along to music while waiting on hold and practicing counting to ten in Karen or Tigrinya.

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Randy Williams,Vice President

Randy is Fife Folklore Archives Curator and Oral History Specialist at Utah State University Library’s Special Collections & Archives and affiliated faculty with USU’s Folklore Program. Along with managing the world-renowned Fife Folklore Archives, she directs USU’s community-based fieldwork projects, bringing the voices of diverse people from the Intermountain West, many historically excluded, into the Archives. Recent projects include Voices from Drug Court, Election Reflections, and the Cache Valley Refugee Oral History Project. She is currently completing work on the Great Salt Lake Wetlands Project. Along with Elisaida Méndez, she received a Human Ties award for their work on the Latino/a Voices Project. With Professor Lisa Gabbert, she directed the 2015 and 2017 Library of Congress/USU Ethnographic Field School for Cultural Documentation. Williams is on the Board Directors of Utah Humanities, the Folklore Society of Utah, and the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection.

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Lorien Belton, Treasurer

Lorien’s roles at CRIC focus on finance, governance, and management. She also conducted a Utah-wide refugee needs assessment through USU, completed in 2015. Lorien is a collaborative group facilitator with the Community-Based Conservation Program at Utah State University in Logan. She has a bachelor’s in Earth Systems from Stanford University and a master's in Sociology of Natural Resources from USU. She facilitates five sage-grouse local working groups in Utah. In addition to natural resources work, Lorien works with a variety of USU departments on communication and strategic planning efforts.

Originally from Wyoming, she has lived in Utah since 2008. Prior to coming to Utah, she worked for Rare, an international nonprofit conservation organization in Arlington, Virginia, which focuses on making conservation efforts economically and socially viable for communities around the world. Lorien is also Treasurer for Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists.

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Jessica Lucero, Secretary

Secretary Associate Professor of Social Work at USU, board secretary of Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection, and director of a community-engaged teaching and research initiative – has a background in community organizing and conducts research that examines how housing type, location, and access influences the life chances of vulnerable children and families. Jess and her partner, Steve, have 3 daughters and enjoy skiing, watching USU Women’s sports, and swimming as a family.

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Eduardo Ortiz

Eduardo Ortiz Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scientist at the Research and Training Division of the Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) at the College of Education of Utah State University (USU). Eduardo is also professor at Casagrande University of Ecuador, adjunct assistant professor at the Dept. of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology at USU, and Core Faculty of the Utah Regional Leadership Educational in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities URLEND program. He has been working more than 15 years on research, evaluation and training projects and programs at the CPD – USU in many different positions including Principal and Co-principal Investigator of many different projects and programs working with diverse multicultural populations at the national and international levels. As a Latino person, he has been very sensitive to include culturally and linguistically competent approaches for all minority diverse populations he had the opportunity and privilege to work with.

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Amanda Barrandey

Amanda received both her bachelors and masters degree in social work from Utah State University. She has been happily practicing as a social worker for 12+ years now serving individuals of all ages and diversities both in English and Spanish. After graduating with her masters in 2016, she has happily been practicing both as a therapist in the SAAVI office at Utah State University and as a medical/clinical social worker at Intermountain Homecare and Hospice . She very much enjoys serving others and looks forward to expanding her interest, knowledge, and experience in order to serve best. She is a proud and passionate advocate of social justice and equality. Because of this passion is why she is dedicated to serve at CRIC and is inspired and motivated by those individuals who have made her service a possibility at CRIC. Her most cherished role is being a mother of 3.

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Halima Ali

Halima is from Somalia, East Africa. She came to the United States in 1989, and has lived in Cache Valley ever since. Her husband is the director of the Logan City Environmental Department. Together they have five sons. Halima was a stay at home mom, and worked to raise her children while they were in the home. She attended USU for two years where she studied accounting and completed nursing aid courses at Bridgerland Technical College. Since 2014 she has been assisting refugees from Somalia settle in Cache County. She is very excited for the opportunity to serve on the CRIC board.

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Teri Painter

Teri is a retired Counselor from Mount Logan Middle School. She graduated from Utah State University with a BS in Special Education, and taught at Mt Logan for 20 years as a Special Educator. As the population in the Logan City School District became more diverse, she decided to become more involved with the more diverse students. She obtained her certification in English as a Second Language from California State University, Chico. She then decided to move into the area of counseling and obtained her MA in Counseling through USU. She continues to work with students in the Logan City School District through her affiliation with CRIC

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Chad Pemberton

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CRIC Staff

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Julie Taquin, Programs and Partnerships Director

A dual citizen of France, and a Northern California native, Julie develops and manages the many programs and partnerships affiliated with CRIC. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a dual-degree in International Relations and French Language, Julie moved to Lille, France, where she worked as a volunteer translator for refugees and asylees through her local Red Cross. Her time spent with such diverse communities in Europe inspired her to search for similar work back in the United States, leading her to CRIC upon her arrival in Utah in 2016. She has worked for CRIC ever since. Outside of work, Julie enjoys drawing, playing violin, and cooking.

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Melissa Brimhall, Volunteer Coordinator

Melissa Brimhall works hard to coordinate and work with all of our amazing volunteers. She also makes sure our programs are sufficiently staffed, holds volunteer trainings, and is always happy to help answer any questions while supporting our volunteers. She graduated from Utah State University with her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. In her spare time, Melissa can most likely be found up the canyon either hiking, reading in her hammock, or snowboarding.


Mackenzie Bowcutt, Community Outreach AmeriCorps VISTA

Mackenzie Bowcutt is CRIC’s current full-time AmeriCorps VISTA. After serving a mission in the Philippines, she decided to earn a degree in International Studies from Utah State University. During her undergraduate degree, Mackenzie interned with the U.S. State Department at the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines. This is where she became passionate about immigration issues. Away from work, Kenzie enjoys being outside, playing/watching sports, sewing, or just spending time with family and friends.