Janna Bernstein currently serves as the Assistant Director for Leadership and Scholar Development in the Office of Service Learning and Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and is simultaneously earning her Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with an emphasis in Cultural Studies, International Education, and Multicultural Education. Prior to arriving at UNLV, Janna received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Southern California graduating as a Renaissance Scholar (recognized for achieving academically in two distinct fields of study), Phi Beta Kappa, and Order of Troy. She also just celebrated her 5-year anniversary at UNLV. She began her career as a Residential Life Coordinator (RLC) and received a promotion three years later. In all of her roles, Janna works to create pathways for students to enter UNLV that may not have had such opportunities otherwise. Janna uses her connections with community and campus partners to assist students in their times of need, particularly students experiencing food insecurity, homelessness, and former foster youth, to ensure that these students feel like they belong on campus and can persist to graduation. As the need to support such students increases across the country, Janna and the team at UNLV have been pioneers in Southern Nevada.
Within her role, she oversees and supports the UNLV HOPE Scholars program- a partnership with the Clark County School District Title 1 HOPE Office and the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, which hopes to help end homelessness in Southern Nevada. To help this program succeed, Janna uses existing collaborative relationships and cultivates new ones to support her programs and initiatives. Janna and her community partners also created the first ever “Southern Nevada Higher Education Connections: Supporting Homeless and Foster Youth.” This event was designed to connect higher education institutions in Southern Nevada to stakeholders that support homeless and foster youth and to learn about recent legislation. Janna feels it is so important to try to incorporate community providers into her work as a higher education professional. Janna also envisioned the “HOPE Resources” initiative on campus creating a Basic Needs Closet that includes bedding, hygiene materials, food, etc. and bimonthly pop-up events for students called “Take What You Need.” Additionally, Janna has added the role of “professor” to her list of accomplishments as she has had the wonderful opportunity of teaching BUS 103: First-Year Seminar and courses in the Leadership Certificate program. These experiences have further fueled her love and passion for teaching and mentoring underrepresented and first-generation college students.
Janna also founded the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) at UNLV in Fall 2015, a program that provides mentoring and support to underrepresented minority undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in higher education. By bringing this program to UNLV, she brought a newfound knowledge of professional development through professional organizations to the institution. Janna was instrumental in securing administrative and financial support for multiple programs including NUFP and the first-ever Southern Nevada Drive-in Conference. Now in its fifth year, NUFP has expanded to include five mentee-mentor pairs.
Beyond her immediate work role, Janna serves as a faculty advisor to student organizations. On a regional and national level, she serves on the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Region V Advisory Board representing professionals in the region who administer leadership programs and serves on the NUFP Advisory Board as the Region V NUFP Coordinator. Due to her many involvements, Janna was honored with the NASPA NOW Inaugural Award for Impact in 2018- an award bestowed on only 25 young professionals in the nation by the organization. Janna was also a Finalist for the USC Rossier School of Education Second Century Alumni Award in 2019.
In her spare time, Janna enjoys spending time with family and friends and her two energetic rescue puppies, exploring the hidden treasures of cities and visiting college campuses, attending live concerts and plays, and arts and crafts.
The Jameson Fellowship focuses on leadership and recognizes individuals – of diverse ages, races, backgrounds, sectors, and organizations - for their contributions to southern Nevada. The Fellowship is an investment in relationships and aims to build a solid and connected leadership base across the nonprofit sector.