Austin Smiles Staff

Austin Smiles - Communications Director - Renee Hanson-Malone Photo
Renée Hanson Malone
Executive Director

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Austin Smiles - Communications Director - Ellise Perry Photo

Ellise Perry
Programs & Communications Director

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Austin Smiles - Communications Director - Renee Hanson-Malone Photo
Renée Hanson Malone
Executive Director

Renée Hanson Malone has 15 years of management, resource development, and communications experience, raising millions of dollars and community support for underserved populations in Austin, TX. Her greatest strengths are donor development, communications, corporate giving, special events, grant writing, program development, and public relations.

Renée received her M.A. in Latin American Studies and was employed as a Lecturer by the Latin American Studies and Spanish Departments at the University of Kansas. Much of her work in Austin has been dedicated to strengthening and diversifying funding sources in order to expand services to underserved populations.

Before joining Austin Smiles, Renée served as the Chief Development Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. Before that, she was the Director of Development for the Austin Child Guidance Center, the Grants Development Specialist at Easter Seals Central Texas and the Education Program Director/Grant Writer for Manos de Cristo.

She currently serves as the Board President of LOLA-Local Opera Local Artists. In addition, she is a current Board member for Vela and serves on the Non-Profit Advisory Council forI Live Here I Give Here. Renée was a member of Impact Austin from 2015-2017. She volunteered as the international matching grants coordinator for the Rotary Club of Austin Downtown and is a past board member of Austin Cops for Charities.

Making a difference in the world and inspiring others to support humanity is her life’s work. She has always admired Austin Smiles’ work in the community. She is honored to join the team and be a part of our life-changing work for so many children in need.

Renée Hanson Malone has 15 years of management, resource development, and communications experience, raising millions of dollars and community support for underserved populations in Austin, TX. Her greatest strengths are donor development, communications, corporate giving, special events, grant writing, program development, and public relations.

Renée received her M.A. in Latin American Studies and was employed as a Lecturer by the Latin American Studies and Spanish Departments at the University of Kansas. Much of her work in Austin has been dedicated to strengthening and diversifying funding sources in order to expand services to underserved populations.

Before joining Austin Smiles, Renée served as the Chief Development Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. Before that, she was the Director of Development for the Austin Child Guidance Center, the Grants Development Specialist at Easter Seals Central Texas and the Education Program Director/Grant Writer for Manos de Cristo.

She currently serves as the Board President of LOLA-Local Opera Local Artists. In addition, she is a current Board member for Vela and serves on the Non-Profit Advisory Council for I Live Here I Give Here. Renée was a member of Impact Austin from 2015-2017. She volunteered as the international matching grants coordinator for the Rotary Club of Austin Downtown and is a past board member of Austin Cops for Charities.

Making a difference in the world and inspiring others to support humanity is her life’s work. She has always admired Austin Smiles’ work in the community. She is honored to join the team and be a part of our life-changing work for so many children in need.

Austin Smiles - Communications Director - Ellise Perry Photo

Ellise Perry
Programs & Communications Director

Ellise Perry is a 2018 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She studied and got her BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders with an emphasis in Speech Pathology. During her college career, Ellise found Austin Smiles while searching for a cleft centered organization to get involved within Austin. She, having been born with a cleft lip and palate herself, fell in love with Austin Smiles, attending events like Camp Amigo and the Spring Picnic for local kids.

Ellise currently owns a family and child photography business in Austin, known as Ellise Nicole Photography LLC. She has been on a mission to El Salvador and Guatemala and loves being able to capture the smiles, tears, and love between patients, their families and Austin Smiles volunteers with her camera.

Ellise has a passion for photography, working with children, and volunteering. She is interested in communications, social media marketing, non-profit management, and bettering the lives of children born just like her!

Ellise Perry is a 2018 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She studied and got her BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders with an emphasis in Speech Pathology. During her college career, Ellise found Austin Smiles while searching for a cleft centered organization to get involved within Austin. She, having been born with a cleft lip and palate herself, fell in love with Austin Smiles, attending events like Camp Amigo and the Spring Picnic for local kids.

Ellise currently owns a family and child photography business in Austin, known as Ellise Nicole Photography LLC. She has been on a mission to El Salvador and Guatemala and loves being able to capture the smiles, tears, and love between patients, their families and Austin Smiles volunteers with her camera.

Ellise has a passion for photography, working with children, and volunteering. She is interested in communications, social media marketing, non-profit management, and bettering the lives of children born just like her!

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Giovanna “Gio” Alanis-Vega
Concordia University – Texas
Major: Masters in Public Health

Favorite Quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I am extremely excited to be part of the Austin Smiles team this upcoming semester. The work they do for the cleft lip and palate community locally and globally is amazing. I am truly blessed to learn about their work and make a small contribution to the lifetime impact Austin Smiles has on the lives of children and their families.

Major: Masters in Public Health

Favorite Quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I am extremely excited to be part of the Austin Smiles team this upcoming semester. The work they do for the cleft lip and palate community locally and globally is amazing. I am truly blessed to learn about their work and make a small contribution to the lifetime impact Austin Smiles has on the lives of children and their families.

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Juanita Lizbeth Rocha
Global Public Health Coordinator

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Sofia Jimenez
Global Public Health Work Study

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Juanita Lizbeth Rocha
UTHealth School of Public Health – Austin

Major: Master in Public Health, Epidemiology with Certificates in Health Disparities and Genomics

Favorite Quote: “Your hard work and dedication will ease the troubles of others.”

Public health is not a linear field, it encompasses an array of diverse fields and individuals with health and well-being as an end goal. Austin smiles works endlessly to bring justice to that statement, they bring together doctors, public health professionals, donors, and volunteers to contribute to the lives of the children with oral clefts and their families. Coming from Brownsville, Texas, a border town, and experiencing some of the effects that lack of financial support and resources brings about to the health of your community, I hope to play a part in Austin Smiles’ mission to serve beyond a border and bring my experience to the table. My goal is to contribute to communities that encounter health disparities beyond their control and serve to mend the bridge that equity has created. I know that I will have the team and support at Austin Smiles to continuously push my goal beyond its limits

Major: Master in Public Health, Epidemiology with Certificates in Health Disparities and Genomics

Favorite Quote: “Your hard work and dedication will ease the troubles of others.”

Public health is not a linear field, it encompasses an array of diverse fields and individuals with health and well-being as an end goal. Austin smiles works endlessly to bring justice to that statement, they bring together doctors, public health professionals, donors, and volunteers to contribute to the lives of the children with oral clefts and their families. Coming from Brownsville, Texas, a border town, and experiencing some of the effects that lack of financial support and resources brings about to the health of your community, I hope to play a part in Austin Smiles’ mission to serve beyond a border and bring my experience to the table. My goal is to contribute to communities that encounter health disparities beyond their control and serve to mend the bridge that equity has created. I know that I will have the team and support at Austin Smiles to continuously push my goal beyond its limits

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Sofia Jimenez
UT Work Study

Sofia Jimenez is our Work-Study from the University of Texas at Austin

Major: Public Health

Favorite Quote: The path is long and there are many twists and turns in the forest. They are intentional, you are not lost.” -V Spehar

Hi everyone! I am a third-year Public Health Major with a Minor in Business at UT Austin from El Paso, TX. I plan to pursue a Master’s in Public Health and a Doctor’s degree in Internal Medicine. In my spare time, I enjoy painting, trying new restaurants in Austin, and kayaking. I am very excited to be part of this team, and I look forward to what we can accomplish together.

Sofia Jimenez is our Work-Study from the University of Texas at Austin

Major: Public Health

Favorite Quote: The path is long and there are many twists and turns in the forest. They are intentional, you are not lost.” -V Spehar

Hi everyone! I am a third-year Public Health Major with a Minor in Business at UT Austin from El Paso, TX. I plan to pursue a Master’s in Public Health and a Doctor’s degree in Internal Medicine. In my spare time, I enjoy painting, trying new restaurants in Austin, and kayaking. I am very excited to be part of this team, and I look forward to what we can accomplish together.

austin-smiles-staff-erika-wey-acuna photo

Valentina Salazar
UT Work Study

Valentina Salazar is our Work-Study from the University of Texas at Austin

Major: Public Health

Favorite Quote: What you do makes a difference. And you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. – Jane Goodall

I am a 4th year Public Health student with hopes of becoming a doctor one day. I am very excited to be working at Austin Smiles, as they combine my two passions- medicine and global health equity.  I know I will learn a lot from this incredible team and experience, and I am very blessed to be able to help carry their mission forward. 

Valentina Salazar is our Work-Study from the University of Texas at Austin

Major: Public Health

Favorite Quote: What you do makes a difference. And you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. – Jane Goodall

I am a 4th year Public Health student with hopes of becoming a doctor one day. I am very excited to be working at Austin Smiles, as they combine my two passions- medicine and global health equity.  I know I will learn a lot from this incredible team and experience, and I am very blessed to be able to help carry their mission forward.

Austin Smiles Interns – Summer 2022

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Sarayu Parthasarathy
University of Texas

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Callie McKay
New Mexico State University

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Leah Klein
The University of Texas at Austin

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Varshaa Alexis
Texas A&M University

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Sarayu Parthasarathy
University of Texas

Major: Neuroscience

Favorite Quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

After learning about the Austin Smiles mission, I have grown very excited to spend my time furthering their work to see the immense impact that the nonprofit has not just on a local scale, but internationally. With a significant number of individuals being born with cleft lip and palate throughout the world, there is a high need for prenatal support and cleft lip and palate surgery. As a part of Austin Smiles, I look forward to helping make an impact in this area with accessible care.

Major: Neuroscience

Favorite Quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

After learning about the Austin Smiles mission, I have grown very excited to spend my time furthering their work to see the immense impact that the nonprofit has not just on a local scale, but internationally. With a significant number of individuals being born with cleft lip and palate throughout the world, there is a high need for prenatal support and cleft lip and palate surgery. As a part of Austin Smiles, I look forward to helping make an impact in this area with accessible care.

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Callie McKay
New Mexico State University

Major: Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science and Spanish

Favorite Quote: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” -Babe Ruth

I wanted to become an intern for Austin Smiles because this organization has big dreams and missions that help so many people across the nation and the world, and I want to take part in that. Austin Smiles has a lot of passion and dedication to the people they serve, and it makes me excited to join the organization and do the same.

Major: Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science and Spanish

Favorite Quote: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” -Babe Ruth

I wanted to become an intern for Austin Smiles because this organization has big dreams and missions that help so many people across the nation and the world, and I want to take part in that. Austin Smiles has a lot of passion and dedication to the people they serve, and it makes me excited to join the organization and do the same.

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Leah Klein
The University of Texas at Austin

Major: Public Health with a minor in Business

Favorite Quote: “The best way to predict your future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln

I wanted to work for Austin Smiles because everyone that works there seems so passionate about the organization’s mission. It is incredibly inspiring that this nonprofit is able to make such a big impact in so many children’s lives. I am a third-year Public Health major and hope to be able to use this experience to enhance both my professional skills and my ability to help others.

Major: Public Health with a minor in Business

Favorite Quote: “The best way to predict your future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln

I wanted to work for Austin Smiles because everyone that works there seems so passionate about the organization’s mission. It is incredibly inspiring that this nonprofit is able to make such a big impact in so many children’s lives. I am a third-year Public Health major and hope to be able to use this experience to enhance both my professional skills and my ability to help others.

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Varshaa Alexis
Texas A&M University

Major: Public Health with a minor in Spanish

Favorite Quote: “First say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do” – Epictetus

I wanted to work with Austin Smiles because their mission to wholeheartedly devote themselves to the betterment of these children and their communities are truly amazing. My passion for the improvement of health infrastructure and equal access to healthcare is something I would like to work towards in my career, and Austin Smiles really emulates the kind of nonprofit work I aspire to do.

Major: Public Health with a minor in Spanish

Favorite Quote: “First say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do” – Epictetus

I wanted to work with Austin Smiles because their mission to wholeheartedly devote themselves to the betterment of these children and their communities are truly amazing. My passion for the improvement of health infrastructure and equal access to healthcare is something I would like to work towards in my career, and Austin Smiles really emulates the kind of nonprofit work I aspire to do.

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Andrea Villegas
The University of Texas at Austin

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Cynthia Kiarii
Concordia University

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Andrea Villegas
The University of Texas at Austin
Major: Government and Health & Society with a concentration in Healthcare and the Economy and a minor in Informatics

Favorite Quote:  “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” – Cesar Chavez

I want to spend my summer interning with Austin Smiles because I want to have a part in creating a positive impact for both individuals and their families. I was drawn to the fact that this organization provides support not only to local communities but internationally as well. I strongly admire those who work toward providing care and support to these individuals, and I am grateful that I get to work alongside this team.

Major: Government and Health & Society with a concentration in Healthcare and the Economy and a minor in Informatics

Favorite Quote:  “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” – Cesar Chavez

I want to spend my summer interning with Austin Smiles because I want to have a part in creating a positive impact for both individuals and their families. I was drawn to the fact that this organization provides support not only to local communities but internationally as well. I strongly admire those who work toward providing care and support to these individuals, and I am grateful that I get to work alongside this team.

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Cynthia Kiarii
Concordia University
Major: Masters in Public Health

Favorite Quote: “To build calls for hard work, from the one who looks to tomorrow. To destroy is easy work, for one who wants to return to yesterday, like a grown person wishing to remain a child.” – Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenyan author)

I am excited to work and learn from the team at Austin Smiles this semester. I truly believe in the change they are making in the lives of children and am grateful for the opportunity to be part of it in my own small way.

Major: Masters in Public Health

Favorite Quote: “To build calls for hard work, from the one who looks to tomorrow. To destroy is easy work, for one who wants to return to yesterday, like a grown person wishing to remain a child.” – Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenyan author)

I am excited to work and learn from the team at Austin Smiles this semester. I truly believe in the change they are making in the lives of children and am grateful for the opportunity to be part of it in my own small way.

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Our History

Since 1987 Austin Smiles has changed lives one smile at a time

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Intern with Austin Smiles

Make a difference locally and globally

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Our Supporters

We are grateful for our philanthropic partners