Committee Bios, 2014-2015

Alexandra BarnesAlexandra Barnes

I am Alexandra Barnes from Richmond, Virginia. I am a Commerce student and I also want to double major in Global Development Studies. I hope to work for the business side of a non-profit organization. I love to run, read, do yoga and I am also a ceramic artist. I never considered myself an artist until high school when I learned how to make pots, and I fell in love with it. I spend time every week in the studio creating, and it is one of my favorite things to do.
I have three older brothers that I am extremely close with. My brothers are some of my best friends and I love spending time with them and my entire family. We love to travel and I have been fortunate enough to go with my family to many countries all around the world. My parents instilled a love of travel in me from an early age and I love to see new places and experience different cultures.
After graduation I would love to spend some time in New York City but ultimately do not see myself living in a big city long term. I love nature and animals, so I could potentially live in a more rural area as I get older.

Sarah DudleySarah Dudley
Sarah Dudley is a fourth year from Gloucester, Va., just north of Williamsburg. She is majoring in Biology and Psychology and is interested in studying medicine in the future. Sarah has been involved in WLDP since her first year and has loved being an active member in this amazing group. Outside of WLDP, Sarah works as a Medical Scribe in the UVA Emergency Department and serves as an Organic Chemistry Lab TA. She hopes to attend medical school and is considering a career in Pediatrics. In her free time, she enjoys piano, tennis, volleyball, painting, and baking.


Elise HuppertElise Huppert
Elise Huppert is a second year Biochemistry Major hoping to pursue a career in medicine or medicinal research. She participated in WLDP her first year and loved the spirit and aim of the program, so she is very excited to experience it from the other side for the first time. On grounds she is also involved in UVA Comedy as a member of La Petite Teet Video and Sketch Comedy and Amuse Bouche Improv Comedy clubs. Two funny names for two funny clubs. She is also a member of Chi Omega sorority and works as a Peer Adviser for students in Chemistry 1410. When she has some free time she enjoys yoga, going to restaurants, reading, and watching some good old fashioned TV. She can't wait to get this WLDP season started and hopes to see you there!

Nishat JabinNishat Jabin
Nishat Jabin is a Master in Commerce student in U.Va's McIntire School of Commerce. She completed her undergraduate degree in Financial Mathematics from UVa. She is from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Nishat was a participant of WLDP her second year, and this is her second year in the committee. Outside of school, she is a Career Peer Educator for the University Career Services and a McIntire Ambassador and is actively involved in student career development. In her spare time, she enjoys fencing, dancing and swimming.

Samantha KarpSamantha Karp
Samantha (Sam) Karp is a fourth year from Connecticut. She is majoring in Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality, with a minor in Bioethics. In addition to WLDP, she is co-President and a mentor for Cavs and Panthers Mentoring organization, an intern at the Women's Center and at the Emily Couric Cancer Center, and is a member of Sigma Delta Tau. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, rooting for the New York Yankees, running, and spending time with friends and family. Please feel free to contact her with any questions at!


Sarah KochSarah Koch
Sarah Koch is a second-year student from Kansas City, Missouri. She is double majoring in biology and Arabic in order to pursue a career in biodefense in the Army following graduation. Sarah is currently very involved in Army ROTC. She is a class representative on the Cadet Association, a Raider Sergeant in Mosby’s Raiders, and a member of both the color guard and the Ranger Challenge team. She is also a part of the Undergraduate Research Network and does biodefense research in the Mann Lab at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Outside school and work, Sarah enjoys backpacking through the wilderness, traveling, painting, drawing, and exploring Charlottesville thrift stores.

Madeline KotoriyMadeline Kotoriy
I am a third year anthropology major from Great Falls, Virginia, but being an army brat, I have lived in several other places around the country including Washington, Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas. I was attracted to UVA by its impressive academic standing, its strong student-led initiative, and beautiful Charlottesville. Around grounds I am involved with HOPE (Hoos Open to Preventing Eating Disorders), the Virginia Anthropology Society, Sigma Alpha Lambda, and, of course, WLDP. Additionally, I like to volunteer at the Haven, the local homeless shelter in downtown Charlottesville. In my free time I really enjoy running, visiting the famer’s market, seeing movies, and cooking.
As a member of the WLDP committee family, I am really excited to be a part of planning this year’s program. The empowering speakers from last year were so inspirational that I am glad to be a part of the wonderful WLDP network that encourages and facilitates young women exploring different means and perspectives of achieving leadership goals. I am looking forward to continuing my accumulation of learning about strengthening our community of women leaders here at UVA.

Samantha MerrittSamantha Merritt
My name is Samantha Merritt, and I'm a second-year intended foreign affairs/public policy major. Growing up, I lived in South Korea, the Philippines, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, but am now enjoying life in Charlottesville. I spent this past summer studying politics and public policy at Oxford University. I speak Korean and hope to study abroad in Seoul in the future. I'm currently involved in Smart Women Securities and VISAS. In my free time, I enjoy swimming and singing and going to yoga, Zumba, and HABIT classes at the AFC.

Patricia O'DonnellPatricia O'Donnell
Tricia O’Donnell is a second-year student from Wisconsin. She hasn’t decided on a major yet, but she is leaning towards a double major in Media Studies and Women and Gender Studies. In addition to WLDP, Tricia is an intern at the Women’s Center, the Vice President of HOPE (Hoos Open to Preventing Eating Disorders), and an active member of University Singers. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, napping, pretending to be Beyoncé, and watching anything on Netflix.

Emily PaulEmily Paul
Emily Paul is a fourth year double major in Urban and Environmental Planning and Spanish. Emily grew up in a Hartville, Ohio, a tiny, rural town in the northeastern part of the state. Emily loves to read, write, be outside, and one day will travel the world! She took her first step this summer by spending five weeks in Spain. During the semester, she works in the Hereford Heritage Garden as manager, located in the residential college where she lives. WLDP is one of Emily’s favorite extracurricular programs because it fosters a community of females and advances dialogue about women’s issues.


Devin RowellDevin Rowell
Devin ( is a third year from Virginia Beach, VA. She is majoring in Environmental Science, with a specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation, and minoring in Global Sustainability. Besides her involvement with WLDP, Devin is the secretary for the Club Field Hockey team, a sustainability advocate, and a site leader for UVa’s Alternative Spring Break program. She has spent time volunteering in Australia and will be going to Costa Rica next spring break to perform conservation work. When Devin isn’t eating oreos or saving the planet, she enjoys running, paddle boarding, snorkeling, traveling, and art. In the future, Devin hopes to attend graduate school for marine science and eventually become a coral reef conservationist. This is her second year with WLDP, and she cannot wait to help this year’s participants discover their inner leader!

Mary Cate SwadbaMary Cate Swadba
Mary Cate is a 4th year in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is majoring in Art History, hoping to travel to England to pursue a Masters degree, and then a career in museums or auction houses. Beyond her involvement in WLDP, Mary Cate volunteers for Madison House’s Adopt-A-Grandparent, and is a member of the Inter-Sorority Council. This year, Mary Cate is the Pi Chi Director for the ISC. She also works at the Special Collections Library as a Manuscript Processing Assistant. After going through a training process, Mary Cate is also a docent at the UVaM The Fralin. She is further involved with the UVaM The Fralin during Final Fridays, when she helps to plan receptions for the Elmaleh Gallery in the Architecture School. In her free time Mary Cate enjoys sleeping, hanging out with friends, and watching the English Premier League.

Julia WengerJulia Wenger
Julia Wenger is a 3rd year student majoring in Human Biology with a minor in East European Studies. After graduation and a backpacking trip through Europe, she eventually plans on attending law school to earn a degree in bioethical law.Her first year on the committee, she is excited to assist motivated first and second year girls reach their leadership potential through the WLDP program. Outside of WLDP, Julia is involved in the ULink peer advising network, ski and snowboard team, University Salsa Dancing club, Madison House, and volunteers at Women's Health Virginia, a non-profit organization in Charlottesville. In between studying, extracurriculars, and Netflix marathons, she also enjoys running, cooking, playing piano, and hanging out with friends.

Caroline WilliamsCaroline Williams
Caroline Williams is a second year with a major in Kinesiology. She was born and raised in Smithfield, Virginia, which is a small town located in southeastern Virginia. Caroline was a participant in WLDP last year, and is now a part of the planning committee. Aside from WLDP, Caroline spends her time working as a server at Basil (a mediterranean bistro on the corner), being a member of Alpha Phi, and volunteering with the therapy center at the UVA hospital. After graduation, Caroline wishes to go on to graduate school to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Caroline enjoys hiking, going to the beach, and traveling with friends and family.

Carol YacoubCarol Yacoub
My name is Carol and I am a fourth-year psychology major. I love people and being involved and extremely busy when I can; being in the company of others gives me energy. When I am not at WLDP, I am involved in Pre-dental Society, Salsa Club, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, a Social Neuroscience Lab, and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.I love service and mission work, which is why I decided to coordinate a medical and dental trip to Costa Rica this upcoming winter break. I am absolutely the girl to have hour long conversations about real-world problems and philosophical issues, because I like understanding the meaning and purpose behind things. I aspire to one day become a dentist and have my own private practice as well as do dental mission work in underprivileged countries. My goal throughout my time at UVA is to make life-long friendships, have more fun than I can imagine, study topics that I enjoy, and learn a great deal about myself and my passions.