UW Women's Center

Mentor Spotlight


Kristen Marquez-Blacketer

Kristen is a Manufacturing Engineering Manager on the 787 Commercial Airplanes Program at the Boeing Company, where she is responsible for identifying process gaps and requirements, and leading teams to formulate solutions and optimize efficiency. Kristen received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 from Northern Arizona University and a M.S. in Engineering Management from Missouri Science & Technology in 2011. She is married to a wonderful and loving husband and has one dog. Her hobbies include scrapbooking, traveling, hiking, beach volleyball, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Kristen believes mentoring provides students with a look into the working-life of professionals that they will not get anywhere else. She likes being able to answer the questions that students have about her job and life, so that they know what is out there and available to them.

These girls can do anything they set their mind to, and I love spending time with them and helping them realize the possibilities they are capable of.


Megan Stachura

I am a graduate student at UW in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Science. I am investigating environmental influences on the early life stages of marine fish in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. My goal is to help in the incorporation of these variables into management decision for sustainable management of marine resources.

This is my second year as a mentor in the Making Connections program.

It has been a great way for me to get involved with local high school students and encourage them to follow their aspirations in scientific fields. I have been excited to share with the Making Connections students my scientific interests and research.


Jessica Chin

I am a senior at the University of Washington, currently completing  Biology major and Education minor and plan to pursue a career in optometry. This will be my third year serving as a mentor and my second year serving as a tutor for Making Connections. I am thankful for the many opportunities the UW has given me. Aside from tutoring and volunteering in local schools and senior centers, I’ve been involved in academic research and leadership roles in student organizations. My love for finding new experiences is also reflected in my hobbies. When I’m not exploring new areas to take photographs, I enjoy dabbling in all sorts of arts and crafts, ranging from knitting to painting and scrapbooking. Moreover, I love meeting new people and getting to know them on an individual basis, because I believe we all have interesting stories to share.

Mentoring has been an amazing experience for me. I am now more inspired to share my passions with others. My mentees’ drive to pursue higher education has also helped me realize that my college experience is a gift that is not to be taken for granted.

Although I have been striving to empower other young women, my mentees have really empowered me in return. My sense of confidence and pride has grown as I’ve served as a role model for them.  I now remind myself that we are both at a pivotal point in our lives where we really can decide who we want to be and dream big. 


Kathleen Chan

My name is Kathleen Chan. I graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (Accounting concentration), a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, and a Master of Professional Accounting (Taxation). I’ve been working at a public accounting firm for the past two years. I enjoy running, football, musicals, museums, shopping, traveling, etc.

I attended Franklin High School and was also a student participant in the Making Connections program.

I feel that as having gone through similar paths to what most of the girls in this program will go through; I definitely have a passion to share my insights, experiences, and advice on how to succeed in high school and the years after. It can be tough going through these stages and I’d love to help my mentee through the process.

Jennifer Griffiths

I am a Seattle native and I am currently a PhD student at the UW’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.  I first got the science bug in Garfield High School’s marine science and outdoor education programs.  I am an aquatic ecologist and I am studying some of the impacts of climate change on juvenile salmon.  I love getting to spend the summer on lakes and streams in remote Alaska.  I get to explore these wild places and ask questions about how they function.  I also get to work with a wonderful group of people and meet many interesting people in the communities near our field station.  I am also a modern dancer and really love to express myself though movement.  I am an avid reader and cook and enjoy hiking and traveling to new places.  I am excited to learn some alpine climbing skills this winter.
I have really appreciated getting know the young women I have mentored through Making Connections.  I have been really impressed with their breadth of interests and their involvement in their communities.

Their involvement has really encouraged me to think about how I choose to participate in the communities to which I belong.  It has also given me a chance to reflect and share the life decisions I have made and hopefully provided a set of experiences that my mentees can draw upon.


Neala Kendall

I just finished my PhD at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and am now doing postdoctoral work at NOAA’s Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. I study salmon ecology. I grew up in Pullman, WA and attended college in Ohio, where I majored in biology. I grew up swimming competitively and swam through college, and now I swim on master’s team. I also like to jog, garden, hike, sew, and spend time outside. I am married and we hope to adopt a dog soon.

When I was in elementary school, I had my first mentor who took me on horseback rides and taught by about astronomy. She was very encouraging and I still think of her often. I have had other mentors throughout my life and know that they helped me achieve my goals and gain self-confidence. I am very grateful to these mentors as mentoring can be time-consuming and not immediately gratifying, so I hope to give back to others serving as a mentor myself.

I like connecting my mentees to others, helping them define plans and goals, and just hanging out with them!


Adiam Tesfay

I am originally from Eritrea, East Africa (was born in Sudan) and moved to Phoenix, AZ, at the age of 2. After high school I moved to Flagstaff, AZ, to attend Northern Arizona University (NAU). I received both my BA in Speech Pathology & Audiology and my Masters in Education Psychology from NAU, and also worked for SSS there. I moved to Seattle from Arizona almost 2 years ago and I am the Assistant Director of Academic Support Programs at UW. My role involves managing CLUE, the late night study center on campus, and teaching courses. I am enjoying my time at UW and exploring Seattle. I enjoy giving back to my community and want to let all students know I am here for any support I can provide or candy!

I had some amazing mentors along my path academically and personally who empowered me to keep trying and taught me to believe in myself when I was lost. I would not have made it this far without their pushing me to do better than I could even imagine. They encouraged me to do what I love and I could not be happier. That made me want to do the same for others and support them in their dreams, which is why I pursued Higher Education; I had to pay it back.

Mentoring can dramatically alter not only a person’s life but their future as well and hopefully in a positive way.

Check out our previous Mentor Spotlight Recipent

Make a difference, become a Mentor!