Board of Directors
Meredith Kupinski, Phd, is an Assistant Research Professor at College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. She is interested in extracting task-relevant information from images for many optical sciences applications. Meredith is also the Principal Investigator of an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates and a Research Experience for Teachers program, through which she is able to express her gratitude and dedication to higher education through service. Meredith joined the 9 Queens board in January of 2011; she enjoys playing chess with her husband Matt.
Lee LaFrese has been involved in chess for over 40 years as an expert level player, tournament director, organizer and youth instructor. He became involved with 9 Queens because he is supportive of their mission and believe’s that chess can be a very powerful force in a young person’s life. Lee worked at IBM for 32 years where he was a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Systems Technology Division. He is currently on leave from IBM and working as a Senior Consultant for IntelliMagic, an IBM business partner. Lee is a past president of the Southern Arizona Chess Association and was chief organizer of the 1997 National Elementary Chess Championships held in Tucson which attracted over 1700 players.
Quinta Peterson is a founding board member of 9 Queens, serving on the board since its inception in 2008. In addition to working as the President of Cele Peterson Fashion Inc, she is also a member of the Advisory board for Ballet Tucson and is a member of the Salpointe Parent Association, where she served as the President for one year. She is a Native Tucsonan and graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts. Quinta learned how to play chess as a child and is the mother of three chess players.
Vicki Lázaro – Chair
Vicki Lázaro became one of 9 Queen’s biggest cheerleaders in 2009 when she attended Chess Fest at the Hotel Congress. Vicki’s initial motivation was to encourage her daughter to play chess by learning how to play together at the free lessons 9 Queens gave at the event. What ended up happening was Vicki was so impressed with the organization, from the logo to the people involved, that she began volunteering. Today she is proudly the President of the Board of Directors. Vicki’s background is in executive sales, networking, merchandising and art. She has a Fine Arts Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and currently creates one-of-a-kind raku fired ceramic sculptures out of the pottery studio at the Tucson Museum of Art. She is a full-time Mom to Max and VargaLuna, both avid chess players and 9 Queens groupies.
Gina Macaluso – Secretary
Gina Macaluso is the Family Literacy Services Manager with the Pima County Public Library. A librarian with the Pima County Public Library for over 24 years, she has held various positions in adult, children’s and young adult services in small, medium and large libraries and was the former manager of the Columbus Branch Library, Golf Links Branch Library and Outreach Services. As member of American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA), she served on the Youth Participation Committee, Organization & Bylaws Committee and the Teen Website Advisory Committee. She is a current member of the Arizona State Library Association’s Membership Committee, Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Young Adult Author Award Committee, and AzLA Awards Committee. Her passion is helping to make our community a better place and is involved with 9 Queens, MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS, Metropolitan Education Commission, and the Tucson Festival of Books.
Ann Price, AIA is a Registered Architect and has been involved in building design and planning work in Tucson since 1993. She is currently completing her MBA at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Ann has enjoyed the game of chess recreationally since childhood, and began volunteering with 9 Queens after attending one of the library tournaments. Chess with 9 Queens is a great way for youth in our community to develop important business skills, like strategic thinking abilities. Ann is proud to serve as a member of the 9 Queens Board of Directors since 2011.
Jacquelyn De Sa
Jacquelyn De Sa is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Bioengineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was previously a student at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, Arizona. She has been a part of the 9 Queens Board of Directors since August 2010 and represents the perspective of the competitive teenage female chess player to the 9 Queens Board. She is currently the Arizona Female High School Scholastic Chess Champion and part of the Catalina Foothills High School Chess Team, one of the ten best high school chess teams in the nation over the past several years. She has also had experience running a small chess club at the River Library in Tucson for the past two years and hopes to bring enthusiasm and excitement for chess to women, children, and adults all over Tucson for years to come.
Yurika Isoe is a junior at University High School. She has played chess since the day she decided to join chess club at Lineweaver Elementary. Playing both scholastic and intramural chess, she has joined 9 Queens in early 2011 after a chess slump. 9 Queens has inspired her through such trough and made her realize the connection between chess and cognitive thinking. She serves on the Board of Directors to give novel insight of programs from a youth that has grown up in the chess community.
9 Queens National Advisory Council