Ross Zimmerman

Ross Zimmerman
President & Chief Science Officer
Retired

Ross Zimmerman

President & Chief Science Officer
Retired

Ross Zimmerman was born in Indiana, but moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico when he was 8.  His mom was an elementary school teacher, his father was and is a practicing entomologist, a taxonomist.  Ross stayed there until he graduated from New Mexico State University with a B.S. in Biology.  He wandered around to different graduate schools, picking up an M.A. in Zoology from Indiana University in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Arizona in 1983.  He started running again in Bloomington, Indiana (IU) and to his surprise was good at it.  He did my first marathon in 1978, the Marathon Marathon in Terre Haute, past the Clabber Girl Bakin Soda factory (very smelly).  He had in mind running in the mountains around Tucson when he moved here in 1978 so he could go to grad school.  He had also been interested in computers since a Fortran class in high school.  He did his first 100 mile run in 1982, got a bit burned out on running for awhile, and noticed computers had gotten more interesting.  They got one that he taught himself how to use and did the charts and graphs for his Ph.D. dissertation on a termite native to the Sonoran Desert.  He was staying home taking care of Gabe and his younger brother Ben at the time. The boyhood buddy of running friend Wally Shiel (the first person to run across the Grand Canyon 4 times in one run) had a business machines place and wanted to start a computer division.  He asked Ross to join him 2 days a week for child care costs.  There tuned into a 33-year career building computer networks for organizations like the Pima County Attorney’s Office, Tucson Medical Center, and Pima Community College.  

On another track, Ross has been involved with the Tucson Trail Runners since 1979, leading the group from about 1990 until 2018. He paced a Tarahumara runner in the Leadville 100 in 1993 (http://www.nutritionequation.org/sources/born-to-run/).  He has run into and across the Grand Canyon many times.  He started riding bikes in 2003 when the effects of an infant operation that puts stress on his back was really inhibiting his running.  Ross has done various long bike rides, most notably El Tour and the Death Ride (https://deathride.com).  He retired from Pima Community College in 2017.  Lately Ross has been a Designated Campus Colleague in the UArizona’s College of Education, President of the Beyond Foundation, and Race Director of the Colossal Vail 50/50 (https://runazt.org/colossal-vail-50-50/). And a grandparent, the best part…

On a different track, Beyond was created as a response to the shooting in which Gabe was killed, along with 5 others. Thirteen people, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, were wounded. Gabe was Gabrielle’s Outreach and Constituent Services Director. Beyond grew out of conversations convened by Ross’ wife (Gabe’s stepmom), Pam Golden’s cousin Steve Golden, who was high up in the National Park Service. Michelle applied when they decided they needed a project manager. Turned out she was Gabe’s counterpart in Raul Grijalva’s office and a friend.  She’s done all the heavy lifting ever since.  Circa 2014, she and Ross started talking about doing things year-round, then maybe turning Beyond into a foundation, which they did in 2016, with the blessing of Julia Strange, who had taken Beyond under their wing for several years.  Gabe’s brother Ben lives in Watertown MA lately. He’s been working for a company where he was in charge of building big upscale apartment complexes (~250 units). Gabe and Ben were both good soccer players and all around athletes.  Ross was only good at persistence motion activities. Gabe ran across the Canyon with Ross on two occasions.

Bruce Johnson

Bruce Johnson
Secretary
Dean, College of Education, University of Arizona

Bruce Johnson

Secretary
Dean, College of Education, University of Arizona

Bruce Johnson is Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Environmental Learning and Science Education at the University of Arizona. He was previously an elementary and middle school teacher in Arizona and New Mexico and director of outdoor schools in New Mexico and Australia. He also serves as Director of the Earth Education Research and Evaluation Team, which conducts research on children’s ecological understandings, environmental values/attitudes, and environmental actions and has provided evaluation services to centers and schools in several countries. As International Program Coordinator for The Institute for Earth Education (IEE), Dr. Johnson oversees the development and implementation of earth education programs and leads sessions on earth education around the world. IEE is an international, not-for-profit, educational organization that develops and disseminates earth education programs that are designed to help people live more harmoniously and joyously with the natural world.

Patty Valera

Patty Valera
Treasurer
Social Worker, Department of Veteran Affairs

Patty Valera

Treasurer
Social Worker, Department of Veteran Affairs

Patty Valera moved to Tucson Arizona from Mexico 22 years ago with the goal to complete a technical degree at Fred G. Acosta Job Corps. Not only did she achieve this goal, she eventually became the first generation in her family to complete a master’s degree. She holds her Master’s in Social work and is working on completing her LCSW.

Patty fell in love with Tucson and is honored to be part of the community. She shows her dedication by volunteering, attending local events and supporting local businesses. She has a diverse background working with Veterans, people who have been diagnosed as Severe Mentally Ill, and those who struggle with addictions. With over 15 years of experience in the Social Work field, she highly values the integration of holistic health that correlates with BEYOND’s 5 pillars.

Damion Alexander

Damion Alexander
Director

Real Estate Agent, Long Realty

Damion Alexander

Director

Real Estate Agent, Long Realty

Kendra Johnson Alvarez

Kendra Johnson Alvarez
Director
Arizona State Director, All On the Line

Kendra Johnson Alvarez

Director
Arizona State Director, All On the Line

Kendra Alvarez, a Tucson native, is currently working as the Arizona State Director for the All On the Line campaign, working to ensure a transparent and fair redistricting process in Arizona following the 2020 census. This role continues a career of public service in federal government and non-profit work, most recently as a Congressional aide in Southern Arizona.

Kendra brings years of experience as a community advocate, caseworker, and organizer to her role on the Beyond board. She is the daughter of two public school teachers in the Tucson area and has grown up with a love of hiking, running and enjoying the Arizona outdoors.

Julia Strange

Julia Strange
Director
Vice President of Community Benefit, Tucson Medical Center

Julia Strange

Director
Vice President of Community Benefit, Tucson Medical Center

Julia Strange holds leadership positions that focus on building coalitions to address critical community health needs, strengthening the nonprofit regional health system and advocating for policy to support access to care. She is chief executive officer of Benson Hospital and vice president of Community Benefit for TMC HealthCare. Julia is a member of the board of directors for the Southern Arizona Hospital Alliance and the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. She serves on numerous community boards including the Copper Queen Hospital Foundation, Tucson Festival of Books, the Beyond Foundation, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, HealthOn Tucson and Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee. Formerly, she served on the Pima County Workforce Investment Board, Science of Sport, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, Mobile Meals of Tucson, the Tucson Healthcare Federal Credit Union and the Employers Health Alliance of Arizona. In 2016, Strange was awarded the Grassroots Advocate Award for Arizona from the American Hospital Association. In 2018, she was a finalist for the Tucson Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award.

Prior to joining TMC HealthCare in 1996, Julia was a reporter/writer for University of Southern California, Inside Tucson Business and the Indianapolis Business Journal. She is a 1988 graduate of the Indiana University School of Journalism. Strange received a Master’s in Jurisprudence from Seton Hall School of Law in 2017.

Marylyn Valencia

Marylyn Valencia
Director
Program Director for Changemaker and Educator for Mexicayotl Academy

Marylyn Valencia

Director
Program Director for Changemaker and Educator for Mexicayotl Academy

Marylyn Valencia Rivera, Ph.D. is a proud daughter of Sonoran parents who always-instilled high expectations and hopeful dreams. She was born and raised in South Texas and is a three-time alumnus from the University of Arizona. She has successfully attained her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology through the Department of Education, in 2018 and a Master’s of Science through the College of Mexican American Studies, in Latino Health, in 2006. Her research interests focus on improving college knowledge of parents of aspiring first-generation college students providing both parents and students with the tools necessary to plan for realistic future goals. She has over 15 years of experience working with children and youth of all ages in various settings, including college advising and guidance.

Laurence Ehiri

Laurence Ehiri
Intern

Laurence Ehiri

Intern

My name is Laurence Ehiri, and I am a senior at the University of Arizona. I am dedicated to improving the health and well-being of myself and my community. By being a Beyond intern, my goal is to engage community members in exploring nature, having good nutrition, and engaging in physical movement. I am a resident of Tucson and spend my free time outdoors playing sports and going on walks in different community settings. This allows me to make connections with people from different backgrounds. As a Beyond intern it is my goal to improve, encourage, and provide support to my community members so that they can improve their overall health and well-being.

Danielle Costa

Danielle Costa
Intern

Danielle Costa

Intern

My name is Danielle Costa and I’m a Senior at the University of Arizona studying Public Health with an emphasis in Global Health. I am passionate about staying active and spending time with people who uplift me. My years in college studying nursing, public health, and psychology have motivated me to pursue a career where I can help others live healthier and happier lives.

A few fun facts about me, I have lived in Arizona my entire life, I have a French bulldog who can skateboard, and I love doing things that scare me (like rollercoasters).

Isabella Kenny

Isabella Kenny
Public Health Community Engagement Coordinator

Isabella Kenny

Public Health Community Engagement Coordinator

I am originally from Oregon, so I love the outdoors and exploring. I really enjoy meeting new people (along with their furry friends). I am currently working towards my Master of Public Health, and it has taught me to always be excited to try new things!

Diego Martinez Barrera

Diego Martinez Barrera
Community Outreach Coordinator

Diego Martinez Barrera

Community Outreach Coordinator

My name is Diego Martinez Barrera and I have been a part of the BEYOND Team since 2017 as the Community Outreach Coordinator. In addition to assisting at various community health and wellness events, I’ve also had opportunity to support the Tucson community in pursuit of their health goals. BEYOND is supporting me in a health and wellness certification program through Pima Community College. Through this I hope to acquire more skill sets and establish relationships with other people that will better allow me to help them in achieving a healthier lifestyle and connecting them with partner organizations that tie into the four core pillars of BEYOND: Move🏃💃, Explore⛺, Nourish🍲, and Connect🌎.

From taking low SES youth to outings with Cam Juarez from Saguaro National Park and engaging in educational dialogues about the importance of the preservation of nature and immersing oneself in it. To collaborating with Deanna Lewis, DrPH from the U of A to help cultivate relationships and promote inclusive and diverse health opportunities such as our Mercado Weekly Walks that is now a collaboration between the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and Mission Garden Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace.

As I like to think, the opportunities are infinite, and I encourage folks from all walks of life to reach out, engage with their community and seek their passions in going BEYOND their own limitations!

Lilly Morales

Lilly Morales
Program Manager

Lilly Morales

Program Manager

Lilly has extensive experience working as a health educator in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). During her tenure with TUSD she developed and implemented courses designed to increase student participation in physical activity. She also used this opportunity to promote health and wellness to young minds and dispel myths that create barriers to new experiences.

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