Faculty & Guest Speakers

Dr. Beth Sondel

Dr. Beth Sondel is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Instruction and Learning and the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Formerly a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, Beth now teaches and conducts research on teaching for social justice and critical citizenship. She has her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin, her MEd in Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her BA in cultural anthropology. Beth grew up going to summer camp in Northern Wisconsin and her favorite job to date were the three years she spent as a Camp Director of an arts and science camp in Oakland, CA.

When she is not teaching, researching, or writing Beth loves to dance samba, engage the community in Theater of the Oppressed workshops, run, and go on adventures with her partner Jamie and their toddler, Hazel. Beth is very excited to be a part of this first-year launch of the GirlGov Leadership Summer Academy!

Heather Arnet

At WGF, Arnet spearheads our efforts to develop the female leaders of tomorrow, while investing in better public policy today. Heather joined WGF as its first CEO in 2004. Prior to joining WGF, Heather worked in marketing, business development, and government affairs in the private and non-profit sectors. She is passionately committed to social justice and gender equity. While working for women’s rights is her work at WGF, it is also her life’s work.


Arnet has been identified as one of Pittsburgh’s “Top 40 under 40” by Pittsburgh Magazine, as one of the “Top Twelve Noteworthy Business Leaders” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and received the Diamond Award, for “Outstanding CEO Leadership” by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Arnet has her B.A. degree from Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to her work with the Foundation, Arnet serves as a Board Member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and on the Advisory Boards of WQED Multimedia and The Forbes Funds.

Dr. Audrey Murrell

Audrey J. Murrell  is an Associate Dean at the College of Business Administration at the Katz Graduate School of Business at University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Murrell conducts research, teaches, and works with organizations on strategies to enhance overall effectiveness by utilizing their most valuable assets–their human and social capital. This includes topics such as mentoring, breaking the “glass ceiling”, diversity, and workplace discrimination.


She is the author (along with Crosby and Ely) of the book titled Mentoring Dilemmas: Developmental Relationships within Multicultural Organizations and the author (with Forte-Trammell and Bing) of the recent book Intelligent Mentoring: How IBM Creates Value through People, Knowledge and Relationships. Dr. Murrell received her BS from Howard University, magna cum laud in 1983 and a MS in 1985, and a PhD in 1987 from the University of Delaware.


She serves as a consultant in the areas of mentoring, organizational effectiveness, teamwork, diversity, and leadership development. Audrey’s community service activities include serving as the board chair North Side Christian Health Center.

Rosamaria Cristello

Rosamaria Cristello is the Executive Director and Founder of the Latino Community Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The Latino Center supports the growing Latino community through Youth Development and Enrichment opportunities, advocacy, leadership, and education.

She is the Co-Chair for the Immigrants & Internationals Advisory Council for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, which was created to advance the Department’s vision of an accessible, culturally competent, human services system. She also serves on the board of the Office of Child Development under the University of Pittsburgh and on the Mayor’s Welcoming Pittsburgh Steering Committee.


Rosamaria was named one of Pittsburgh’s 40 Under 40 in 2016 and was the first recipient of the Barbara McNeese Spirit of Athena Award which provides free tuition to the CMU Women’s Leadership and Negotiation Academy. Originally from Guatemala, Rosamaria grew up in Arlington, Virginia and now resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Regional Planning and Geographic Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in Public Administration through the Graduate School of Public & Internationals Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Nikkilia Lu

Nikkilia Lu, otherwise known as Nikki Lu, is the Pensylvania Director for the State Innovation Exchange and serves as a senior strategist, guiding the organization's work in the state of Pennsylvania.

She was previously the Western PA Political Director for the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ (32BJ SEIU). At 32BJ SEIU, Lu consults on electoral politics, maintains legislative affairs, and builds coalitions with key stakeholders inside and outside of government. In 2014, PoliticsPA named Lu as one of Pennsylvania’s 2014 Rising [Political] Stars: 30 Under 30. 


In 2013, Lu ran victorious back-to-back electoral campaigns for first time candidates, now Pittsburgh City Councilmembers, Dan Gilman and Deborah Gross. Lu is a graduate of the Women in Leadership program at Coro Pittsburgh. Lu is also a graduate of the EMERGE America program as part of the EMERGE PA inaugural class. Lu received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Washington & Jefferson College in 2011 and her Master of Public and International Affairs degree from The University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs in 2013.

Andréa Stanford

Andréa Stanford joined Allegheny County as Assistant County Manager in January 2018. Her professional knowledge of digital marketing, public relations and community engagement spans the non-profit, health care, and financial services industries. Prior to her transition into the public sector, Andréa was a Digital Experience Product Manager at PNC.

Andréa dedicates her time to engage and volunteer with several nonprofits in the Pittsburgh community. She is a past president of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Young Leaders Board, a former Partner in the Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh network, and is currently on the board of directors for the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Andréa also volunteers with Strong Women, Strong Girls and recently received the 2017 Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Young Professional Award, which recognizes an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence in their profession, contributes to their community, and helps other women succeed through mentorship. Andréa graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently resides in the City of Pittsburgh’s East End.

Erin Wilson

Erin Wilson currently serves as a Congressional Staffer within the United States Senate.  Erin returned to the Senate in 2017, after serving as Pennsylvania Deputy State Director for Hillary for America and Northeast Political Director for the Democratic National Committee. In her previous roles within the Senate, Erin served as Deputy State Director and senior staff member to Senator Bob Casey Jr. Erin previously worked for Senator Casey on his 2006 campaign and throughout his first term in the Senate. She has previously worked for several senate, congressional and civic engagement campaigns within Pennsylvania. Erin is a Philadelphia native and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.  


Enroll to save a spot today!

More questions?

GirlGov Summer Leadership Academy

GirlGov & GirlGov Summer Leadership Academy are programs of the Women and Girls Foundation. 


Phone: 412-434-4883

Email: girlgov@wgfpa.org

GirlGov is a registered trademark of the Women and Girls Foundation.

The Women and Girls Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh, PA engaged in statewide programming and policy work.