Meet the Nina Scholars Staff


 Maricopa Scholarship Coordinator: 
Leona Morales (480) 731-8460

  IUPUI Program Director: 
Charles Johnson (317) 278-7878

 Ivy Tech Program Manager: 
Andrea Thomas (317) 921-4617

Jo Ann Martinez

Program Director
(480) 965-6495 | (602) 496-1771 |

Jo Ann López Martínez grew up in Parker, AZ.  She attended Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Chicana/o Studies followed by a Master of Education degree in Higher Education.  Her first professional experience led her to work as a Program Advisor at Mesa Community College where she also briefly taught Introduction to Chicano Studies and Sociology of the Chicano Community.  Later, she returned to ASU and led the Barrett Summer Scholars program,  a summer residential camp for gifted Arizona middle school students, then as a liaison for ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix, a charter school in partnership with ASU, and followed by serving as the Program Director of the Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program. Currently, she supports students of the ASU Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program.  She looks forward to making an impact on future first generation college students, their families, and their communities, and on continuing my crusade in promoting higher education!  She is married and has two children.  She recently completed a Doctor of Education degree in Leadership and Innovation from ASU.

Kelly Ready

Graduate Student Worker 
(480) 727-6561 (602) 496-2646 | 

Kelly Ready grew up in Falls Church, VA. She graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in International Studies and Economics and a minor in Environmental Policy and Culture. Her passion for working with and empowering others led her to apply to ASU’s Master of Social Work program. She will graduate with her MSW in May of 2023.

Kelly has worked in many capacities alongside students, including those that face barriers to completing higher education. She is passionate about helping students reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Apart from working in education, Kelly is excited about working in the mental health and environmental justice spaces. She is completing an internship this year at A New Leaf’s Dorothy B. Mitchell Counseling Center, a community-based behavioral health center in Mesa. She also supports a School of Social Work professor with research related to environmental issues & indigenous communities. Kelly is honored to be a part of the Nina Scholars program and excited to support scholars in their academic, personal, and professional journeys.

Sarah Barkach

Graduate Student Worker 
(480) 727-6561 | 

Sarah Barkach grew up in the surrounding suburbs of Chicago, and moved to Arizona the summer of May 2021. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Business Management with a focus in Human Resources from Iowa State University in the Spring of 2021. She is now currently working on her Master's in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Arizona State University. Her professional experiences gained at Iowa State shaped her passion for community, leadership and campus life, which inspired her to pursue a career and Master's Degree in Higher Education. She sees herself living alongside and working within colleges for the extent of her career.

Sarah is also a lifelong creator of art, and recently opened her own online shop, where she sells her original artworks consisting of acrylic and oil paintings, digital artwork, crocheted pieces, needlework, and any medium she can get her hands on. She believes one day she will open up her own physical store and gallery to be able to provide her own artistic experience to the world.


Tiffany Thornhill

Nina Scholars Course Instructor 

Tiffany Thornhill was born and raised in Portland Oregon, moving to Arizona in July of 2011. She received an Associate’s Degree from Glendale Community College, and her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from Arizona State University. Tiffany has a strong passion for policy, advocacy, racial injustice, behavioral health, mental illness, substance abuse, and those living with dual diagnoses. As an undergraduate intern, she provided case management and supportive services for the City of Phoenix housing department. While there she gained valuable knowledge and experience about working 1 on 1 and in group settings with clients. She ran a mindfulness and progressive relaxation group for senior citizens in the Senior Housing Village. The goal of the group was to equip them with meditation skills to foster, cultivate, and maintain their inner peace.

During Tiffany’s undergraduate journey she was both a Maricopa Nina Scholar (Cohort 15) and an ASU Nina Scholar (Cohort 17). She is now working as a Graduate Assistant for the ASU Nina Scholars Program. Tiffany is currently in the Master of Social Work Advanced Standing Adult Direct Practice Program, as well as, the Master of Public Administration Program at Arizona State University, and is set to graduate in May of 2021. Tiffany will be completing 2 internships during her graduate degree program at ASU. She is interning with a local human trafficking agency, assisting African survivors of human and sex trafficking. As well as, interning with Native American Connections - Patina Wellness Center, working with clients overcoming mental illness and substance use.

Tiffany is passionate about being a voice for anyone being oppressed, especially those experiencing oppression for the way they were born, and those living with mental illness. It is Tiffany’s belief that no one should have to suffer behind choices they did not make for themselves. Tiffany is determined to: BE THE SOLUTION!

Lucy Hoop

Community Engagement Assistant 
(480) 608-2355 | 

Lucy Hoop was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and moved in 2019 to attend Arizona State University. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Entrepreneurship and a certificate in Cross-Sector Leadership. Lucy values working with diverse groups to face complex challenges such as education and poverty.

She is heavily involved in the Next Generation Service Corps (NGSC), a 4 year leadership program that emphasizes change through collaboration among sectors and value-driven leadership. She has had the privilege of joining the NGSC Education Mission Team and serves as a Stepping Stones Mentor to provide guidance, motivation and role modeling for local high school seniors. As part of her motivation to serve underprivileged youth, she held the position of Fundraising and Development Intern at ONETrack International, a nonprofit organization based out of Boston, MA that promotes alternative orphan-care solutions around the world. She is expected to graduate in May of 2023 and looks forward to a life of spreading positivity and serving others.