Our first ever Virtual Leadership Conference would be impossible without the time and dedication of VIH alumni who have volentueered to help make this event successful. Our steering committee is made up of Viras who serve as liasons for each VIH Instutution and oversee adversitising and communication with these institutions.
Conference Steering Committee
GodisPerfect Eadric (Arcadia, 2019)
GodisPerfect Eadric was born in Houston Texas and is of Nigerian descent. She has an older sister and younger brother. Some of her hobbies include reading novels, singing, playing the guitar, acting, dancing, and learning about new cultures. She is passionate about helping others and furthering the cause to save the earth. She is currently a 3rd year student majoring in environmental engineering. With her education and passions she wishes to help develop renewable energy, implement sustainable irrigation systems and improve air and water quality in all areas of the world.
GodisPerfect has a BA in chemistry with minors in math, Spanish, and physics from Arcadia University. In my time there she engaged in various clubs, such as the university step team, the math and actuarial science club, the dance club, and the Christian fellowship. She was also a resident assistant, class officer, and student government senator. At Arcadia, she was fortunate enough to be a part of the VIH Women in Global Leadership 2019 cohort. She had her first ever international experience in Alicante Spain for an 8-week Intensive Spanish Language program. Through profound conversations with members of her host family, daily interaction with locals, and invaluable cultural experiences, her global perspective was broadened and her appreciation for diversity heightened.
Laura Gooding (Pitt Oakland, 2018)
Representing: Pitt Oakland, Chatham
Laura Gooding was a member of the 2018 Cohort and studied abroad in Toulouse, France where she was able to explore the history and evolution of French art and architechture. Laura is now a second-year Master of Public and International Affairs student with a concentration in Security and Intelligence at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She currently holds a Graduate Assistantship with the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadershipーa scholarship and leadership development program that sends women abroad every year with the goal of growing intercultural competency and civic engagement while empowering them to be global citizens. In addition, she serves on the student leadership team for Pitt's chapter of Women in International Security, an international organization dedicated to increasing the presence and leadership of women in the international security arena.
She has worked as an editor for graduate journals at both The University of Pittsburgh and Princeton University, and has participated in a graduate research group that focused on the issue of human trafficking in global supply chains. She holds a BA in Anthropology and a Certificate in Transatlantic Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
Tamara Jones (Lincoln, 2015)
Tamara Jones is a former Lincoln VIH awardee from the 2015 cohort where she studied abroad in Ecuador. While abroad, Tamara had the opportunity to study Spanish and medicine. She currently resides in Chicago where she is a medical scribe and volunteer for the Will-Grundy Medical Clinic in Joliet, IL. She is also a writer, and authored the poetry collections My Worries, My Woes, and My Peace as well as The Poetic Adoration.
Brianna Billingsley (W&J, 2019)
Brianna Billingsley (she/her) is a graduate of the 2019 VIH cohort through which she studied Mandarin Chinese in Shanghai, China and looked at the difference in educational standards between the US and China. Brianna is a senior at Washington & Jefferson College pursuing a Bachelor's degree in physics with two minors in Chinese and mathematics. After graduation she plans on attending graduate school for a PhD in physics.
She is currently working on a remote research project with the University of California, Davis where she uses Monte Carlo coding methods to calculate physical properties of geometrically different crystal lattices at varying temperatures. On her campus, she is the president of Society of Physics Students and the Chief Learning Officer of her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. Outside of class, she enjoys painting and playing music.
Amanda Fitzpatrick (W&J, 2019)
Amanda Fitzpatrick (she/her) is a graduate of the 2019 VIH Cohort through which she studied the opioid epidemic cross-culturally as well as Roman art and history in Rome, Italy. Since graduating from the VIH program, Amanda is entering her senior year at Washington & Jefferson College where she will earn a Bachelor degree in both Biology and Psychology as well as a minor in History. She hopes to continue her education and eventually go to medical school to become a psychiatrist.
Amanda is currently working remotely this summer with Dr. Janjic’s laboratory at the School of Pharmacy at Duquesne University to write a review of published research in neuroinflammation and nerve injury as it relates to neuropathic pain. Additionally, she is volunteering with Literacy Pittsburgh as an ESL and Citizenship tutor. In her free time, Amanda enjoys drawing, going on walks with her dogs, learning how to bake, and creating new ideas for her school newspaper where she is the World Section Editor.
Carina Stopensk (Chatham, 2017)
Carina Stopenski is a part of the 2017 VIH Cohort from Chatham University, where they received their BFA in Creative Writing, a minor in Gender Studies, and a certificate in Women’s Leadership. They hold a Master’s of Science in Library Science with a graduate certification in Reference and User Services from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where their thesis focused on misrepresentations of transgender resources in subject headings.
Carina is an advocate for the prioritization of transgender voices in literature, academia, and library catalogs, and their paper “Transfeminism in Imogen Binnie’s Nevada” placed first in American Literary Criticism at the 2019 Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society Conference. Their fiction writing is aimed at young adults and highlights transhumanism, cultural critique, and rejection of gender roles and binaries. Carina currently works as an access services librarian and an educator in the fields of creative writing, critical theory, and information literacy for teens and tweens. In their free time, they enjoy tabletop gaming, cooking, and writing their fiction manuscripts.
Maranda Kotchman (Waynesburg, 2016)
Maranda graduated from Waynesburg University in 2017 with a Bachelors in history with secondary education. She was part of the 2016 VIH cohort and completed her experience in Saint Petersburg, Russia. While abroad, she studied the Russian language and culture at Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University. Her host parents, Dymitri and Olga, made sure she experienced the most of Russia by helping with learning the Russian language and cooking different traditional Russian cuisine. She was able to accomplish her goals and action plans, which were to learn and use Russian in the city and learn about the role of women during the Soviet Union and in present day Russia. After learning Russia’s common saying “If he hits you, he loves you”, she knew she needed to spread awareness about domestic violence in Russia and within the community.
Since graduating, Maranda has worked in short term and long term positions teaching AP United States History, Psychology, and middle school Social Studies. Maranda currently works for Intermediate Unit One as and English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for students in K-12.
Kaite Flanigan (Waynesburg, 2013)
Katie Flanigan is a member of the Waynesburg University 2013 VIH cohort. She had the pleasure of travelling across New Zealand as the Stage Manager at Taki Rua Productions, a Maori theatre company that educates youth about Maori culture. After her international experience, she pursued Higher Education Management and received her Master of Education from the University of Pittsburgh.
She is currently a Career Advisor and First-Year Experience course instructor at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland. She is also on the leadership team of the Ohio Career Development Association, presenting last year at their annual conference on the topic of Gen Z college students and the barriers in their pursuit of career development. Outside of Baldwin Wallace, Katie continues her love of theatre through serving as Board Secretary for Cassidy Theatre and acting in local productions.
Madison Bredice (UPG, 2017)
Madison Bredice is from Delmont, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Greensburg Salem High School in 2015. Madison has always had a passion for the Spanish language, which is what made her continue it on the collegiate level. Madison then graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in 2019 Magna Cum Laude. Madison majored in Spanish, minored in Criminal Justice and Sociology as well as a certificate in Latin American Studies. Currently she is working as a Bilingual Customer Service Representative at a health insurance company in Columbus, OH helping Spanish and English speakers navigate the American health care system. Madison is now studying to go to law school for the fall 2021 semester to further her dream of becoming a Senator.
Bethany Giombetti (RMU, 2018)
Bethany Giombetti is a recent graduate of Duquesne University where she received a Master's degree in mathematics education. She recently accepted a position with Pittsburgh Public Schools as a high school math teacher for this upcoming school year. Staying involved with the Vira I. Heinz Program is an important aspect of her life. She knows she will always have a connection to the women she has met through the program. The idea of having a network of people to help throughout her career is strengthening, and she wants to be that strength for others as well.
Antonell Robinson (UPB, 2018)
Antonell Robinson lives in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, and she earned her B.S in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford campus in December 2019. When a student at Pitt-Bradford she was a resident advisor and apart of student government association. She is a 2018 VIH awardee, she studied abroad in Copenhagen Denmark, in 2018 for six weeks with a five day study tour to Berlin Germany. Currently, she is two weeks away from starting her master’s program in mental health counseling at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Kelly Wall (Duquesne, 2018)
Kelly is a member of the 2018 VIH cohort year and traveled to the Czech Republic, where she studied the development of Central Europe, Totalitarianism, and the Central European Jewish experience in the 20th Century. She graduated from Duquesne University in May 2019 with degrees in Secondary Education as well as History. In Summer 2019, she was a selected intern for the Smithsonian Institution's Women's History initiative: Because of Her Story, where her work focused on curriculum development for museum exhibitions. She is currently a high school Social Studies teacher, a student in the Masters of Public History program through Duquesne's McAnulty School of Liberal Arts, and hopes to travel more in the future.
Pamela Jackson (Temple, 2019)
Pamela Jackson is a member of the 2019 Cohort. During the summer of 2019 she traveled to Accra, Ghana where she studied history and social services. She had the opportunity to meet new people and experience different aspects of the Ghanain culture firsthand. Pamela currently works for the U.S. Department of State as a Passport Specialist. She is eager to have to opportunity to give back to the Vira Community.
Lydia Brewer (Temple, 2019)
Lydia Brewer is a recent graduate from Temple University, where she studied Africology and African American Studies and Spanish. She is part of the 2019 VIH Cohort, through which she had the opportunity to study culture in Havana, Cuba for a month. Currently, Lydia is enjoying post-grad life and spends her time reading, baking and practicing yoga. In the near future, she hopes to work in nonprofit groups, relating specifically to immigrant rights, prison reform or youth development.