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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition


National Advisory Board

As part of our mission to improve student learning and transitions, the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition created an advisory board to bring together a global community of scholars who are dedicated to promoting student success, learning, and development. 

Board members serve in a consultative role for the National Resource Center giving advice and contributing suggestions for publications, marketing and funding strategies, research topics, and conference speakers, as well as authoring articles for Center publications and evaluating nominees and grant proposals for the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award and Paul P. Fidler Research Grant, respectively. Members include leaders and experts in higher education representing a variety of institutional types, professional associations, and research centers.  The board consists of 16 advisors serving terms staggered over a four-year period. The contributions of these individuals have been and continue to be vital to the Center’s work in improving the lives of students.

 

Board Members

Term Ending 2018

Stephanie M. Foote
Stephanie M. Foote

Stephanie M. Foote

John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education
Term Ending 2018

 

Stephanie M. Foote is the Assistant Vice President for Teaching, Learning, and Evidence-Based Practices at the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. Prior to joining the Institute staff in August 2017, Stephanie was the founding director of the Master of Science in First-Year Studies, professor of education in the Department of First-Year and Transition Studies, and faculty fellow for High-Impact Practices at Kennesaw State University (KSU). Before joining the faculty at KSU, Stephanie served as the founding Director of the Academic Success Center and First-Year Experience at the University of South Carolina Aiken, and was the Associate Director for Student Orientation and Family Programs at Stony Brook University. Her scholarship and consultative work span a variety of aspects of student development and transition, including: the role of first-year seminars and experiential pedagogy on student engagement in the early college experience, the community college transfer student transition, self-authorship development, engagement and learning in online environments, faculty development, metacognitive teaching and learning approaches, and high-impact educational practices. Stephanie is a recipient of the McGraw-Hill Excellence in Teaching First-Year Seminars award, and a past recipient of the NODA Outstanding Research Award for her research on the effects of first-year seminar participation on the experience of students in the early college experience.

Ken O'Donnell
Ken O'Donnell

Ken O'Donnell

California State University, Dominguez Hills
Term Ending 2018

Ken O’Donnell is the Associate Vice President of Success Program Integration and Assessment at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

The CSU is the world’s largest public system of four-year universities, enrolling over 400,000 students on 23 campuses around the state. Situated between the open-enrollment community colleges and the selective UC system of research universities, the CSU is the state’s engine of economic growth and upward mobility, making high-quality education affordable and accessible. Many of its students are underrepresented minorities, economically disadvantaged, or the first in their families to attend college. 60% of each graduating class transfers in from somewhere else.

The Dominguez Hills campus is the system’s most diverse, and in recent years has seen dramatic gains in four- and six-year graduation rates, equitably matched across socioeconomic and ethnic groups. In this context Ken works on undergraduate curriculum and student success programming, with a focus on student engagement and success. Ken earlier work at the system level was recognized in the 2013 AAC&U publication Bringing High Impact Practices to Scale, which he co-wrote with George Kuh. Since then the CSU has continued to lead national efforts to define, track, and assess the impact of engaging educational strategies like learning communities, service learning, peer mentoring, supplemental instruction, and undergraduate research, bringing them to more of the students who most stand to benefit.

Ken has addressed numerous conferences and workshops around the country on the intersections between deep learning and student success, the benefits of locating college learning in real-world contexts, and the role of public state systems in educational reform.

For ten years before coming to the CSU Ken was a member of the screenwriting faculty and an assistant dean at the film school at Chapman University. He and his wife Cyndi live in Southern California.

Russell Lowery-Hart
Russell Lowery-Hart

Russell Lowery-Hart

Amarillo College
Term Ending 2018

Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart currently serves as President for Amarillo College, recently named a Leader College for Achieving the Dream. His leadership is focused on improving student success through systemic and cultural change. In his career, he created several institution-wide initiatives targeting a systemic approach to poverty, a common reader program, international travel programs for first year students, curricular reform, instructional improvement, advising and academic orientation expansions, first year seminars, service-learning across the curriculum, and partnership development across campus “silos.”

Dr. Lowery-Hart was selected into the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a rigorous, ten-month executive leadership program for aspiring community college presidents led by the Aspen Institute and the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative. Dr. Lowery-Hart served as the chair for the Executive Committee for the Amarillo “No Limits/No Excuses” Partners for Postsecondary Success Gates grant - a 21 organization collaborative focused on education certificate and degree completion leading to living wage employment. As President and founding member of Panhandle Twenty/20, Dr. Lowery-Hart facilitated a community-wide, yearlong study on education attainment that was the foundation for a profound transformation within the city of Amarillo.

He is a P-16 Regional Advisor for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, where he also served as the chair for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee charged with evaluating and redesigning the state of Texas general education requirements. He currently serves on the LEAP Texas Board of Directors with the goal to build upon the LEAP principles in assessment and instruction state-wide.

Dr. Lowery-Hart previously served as Vice-President of Academic Affairs for Amarillo College. He was named the National Council of Instructional Administrators Academic Leader of the Year for 2014. He received his Ph.D. in Gender and Diversity in Communication from Ohio University in 1996. He received his MA in Communication Studies from Texas Tech in 1993, and his BS in Speech from West Texas State University in 1991.

Victor Sáenz
Victor Sáenz

Victor Sáenz

University of Texas at Austin
Term Ending 2018

 

Victor B. Sáenz, Ph.D. is Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP) in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. He is an Associate Professor in the Program in Higher Education Leadership and a Fellow in the W.K. Kellogg Professorship in Community College Leadership. He also holds courtesy appointments with the UT-Austin Center for Mexican American Studies and the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. Dr. Sáenz has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and recently published two books, including one on Latino males in higher education (Stylus Publishing, 2016). His current research agenda seeks to advance research-informed best practices and policy solutions that improve educational outcomes for underserved students in postsecondary education, with a special emphasis on young men of color.

In 2010 Dr. Sáenz founded an award-winning initiative called Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success), a multi-pronged effort based at UT-Austin that is focused on advancing success strategies for male students of color across the education pipeline. In 2013 the project launched a statewide initiative called the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color. Supported by grants from the Greater Texas Foundation (GTF), TG, and the Kresge Foundation, this statewide collaborative focuses on improving educational outcomes for male students of color across the state of Texas. The Consortium is made up of over 40 institutional partners in K-12 and higher education, and it seeks to align and coordinate existing programs and services that target underrepresented male students across the education continuum. The Consortium is a coordinated response to the growing statewide educational imperative focused on male students of color.

Dr. Sáenz has received several notable accolades in his academic career. In 2009 he was named by Diverse Magazine as "One of 25 to Watch" diversity leaders in American higher education. In fall 2010, he was recognized as one of seven "ING Professors of Excellence" among over 2,000 faculty members at the University of Texas. Over the years, he has been quoted and cited in numerous news stories, policy reports, and scholarly publications, and his research work on Latino males in higher education has received national attention in The Atlantic, PBS NewsHour, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is an active member of several national associations focused on higher education issues, including ASHE, AERA, AIR, AAHHE, and TACHE. He has spoken about his research and programmatic work on Capitol Hill and at conferences across the country. He has also served on the national boards of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, the National Resource Center for The First Year Experience, the Hispanic Scholarship Consortium, and Catch the Next.

Dr. Sáenz earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change in 2005 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he also completed a Master's in Education in 2002. He also earned a Master's degree in Public Affairs (1999, LBJ School of Public Affairs) and a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics (1996, College of Natural Sciences) from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Sáenz is a fourth-generation Texan and a second-generation Texas Longhorn. He was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and currently lives in Austin, where he and his partner Erica live with their son Victor "Augie" Sáenz.


Term Ending 2019

Kimberly Griffin
Kimberly Griffin

Kimberly Griffin

University of Maryland
Term Ending 2019

 

Dr. Kimberly Griffin is an Associate Professor in the Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy Program (Student Affairs Area of Specialization). She also serves as the editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Dr. Griffin earned her doctoral degree in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA, her Master's degree in Education Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, and her Bachelors degree from Stanford University in Psychology. Prior to completing her doctoral work, Dr. Griffin worked in higher education administration, primarily focusing in the areas of diversity recruitment, admissions, and retention in undergraduate and graduate education.

Dr. Griffin's research interests are primarily focused in three areas: diversity in graduate education and the professoriate; diversity within the Black higher education community; and mentoring and career development. These interests have led her to conduct work on a variety of topics, including: career development of Ph.D. completers in science, Black professors and their engagement in student interaction, the experiences of Black immigrant college students, diversity recruitment in graduate education, and campus racial climate. Dr. Griffin is skilled in advanced quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as the integration of these strategies in mixed methods research.

Dr. Griffin is an active scholar and researcher, engaged widely in efforts to promote diversity and equity in higher education. Her research has been funded by the Burroughs Welcome Fund, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation. Her work has been published widely, and has appeared in the Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, and Journal of Negro Education. Dr. Griffin's work also contributes to national conversations on equity and inclusion, and she has collaborated and consulted with the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Academies, American Council on Education, and the Council of Graduate Schools to discuss extant research and new initiatives.

Maria Hesse
Maria Hesse

Maria Hesse

Arizona State University
Term Ending 2019

Maria Hesse serves as Vice Provost for Academic Partnerships at Arizona State University, helping to create and sustain productive relationships with community colleges and other institutions, on behalf of students who wish to complete their baccalaureate degrees. Prior to that, Dr. Hesse served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC), one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Dr. Hesse began her professional career at the Judson School in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she served for seven years as a teacher, dean, and high school principal. She was with the Maricopa Community Colleges for more than 25 years working for Mesa Community College, South Mountain Community College, the District Support Services Center, and CGCC. Her early years in the Maricopa Colleges included positions as Director of Student Activities and Services, Coordinator of the Ford Foundation funded Transfer Opportunities Program, and Manager of Faculty Employment for the Maricopa Colleges.

In 1987, she became the first chief student affairs officer for CGCC. She then served for a decade as a faculty member in the Business and Computer Information Systems division, where she also made leadership contributions as the college accreditation coordinator, co-coordinator of the service learning program, and founding faculty member at the Williams Campus. As chief academic officer for four years, she helped double enrollment, significantly expand workforce development programs, and enhance teaching and learning initiatives in cooperative learning, service learning, learning communities, and instructional technology.

Dr. Hesse holds Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees from Arizona State University. She has Master and Doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and is a graduate of the Harvard Institute for Educational Management. She has served as a consultant to other colleges from Florida to California on service learning, learning communities, technology, and accreditation.

Laura Jimenez
Laura Jimenez

Laura Jimenez

Center for American Progress
Term Ending 2019

Laura Jimenez is the Director of Standards and Accountability at the Center for American Progress. Previously, Jimenez served as the director of the College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), which supports states in implementing their CCRS priorities. Prior to her role at AIR, Jimenez served as a special assistant in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, where she advised on policy for key K-12 education programs and initiatives, including the Title I program, Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility, School Improvement Grants and programs serving American Indian, Alaska Native and homeless children. Jimenez has also overseen large scale college access programs funded by the National Institutes for Health and the Gates Foundation and served as a teacher in the U.S. Peace Corps. 

Jimenez received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a master’s in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.

George Mehaffy
George Mehaffy

George Mehaffy

American Association of State Colleges and Universities
Term Ending 2019

 

George L. Mehaffy serves as the Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in Washington, D.C., a higher education association representing 420 public colleges and universities and their 3.8 million students. His division is responsible for developing and managing programs for member institutions in areas such as organizational change, civic engagement, leadership development, undergraduate education, technology, international education and teacher education.

He works closely with university presidents and chief academic officers on a variety of national initiatives. Each year, his division organizes a number of conferences and meetings, including two national conferences each year for AASCU chief academic officers. He has directed a number of innovative projects, including international programs with China and Liberia; a technology transformation annual conference with EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida; an articulation project with community colleges; and two major national studies of student success. In 2003, he launched the American Democracy Project, a civic engagement initiative with 240 colleges and universities, in partnership with The New York Times. Most recently, he organized a national effort to transform undergraduate education through an initiative entitled the Red Balloon Project. Before coming to AASCU, he had more than twenty years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education in Texas, New Mexico, and California. In addition, he served for 33 years in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, retiring as a Captain (0-6) in 2000.


Term Ending 2020

Gloria Crisp
Gloria Crisp

Gloria Crisp

Oregon State University
Term Ending 2020

 

Dr. Crisp is an Associate Professor at Oregon State University. She also serves as Editor of New Directions for Institutional Research (NDIR). Her scholarship is grounded by her personal and professional experiences at institutions that provide broad access to students. She is a proud alumna of community colleges and 4-year broad access institutions (BAIs) in and around Texas including Kilgore College and The University of Houston-Clear Lake. Gloria has a diversity of professional experiences working with both community colleges and 4-year BAIs as an institutional researcher and faculty member.

Dr. Crisp has published over 40 articles and book chapters. Her work has been cited over 3,000 times. She co-edited a recent issue of New Directions for Community Colleges and lead author of a 2017 ASHE Higher Education Report focused on Mentoring Undergraduate Students. Her survey instrument, The College Student Mentoring Scale (CSMS) is currently being used at institutions around the country and abroad to evaluate the effectiveness of mentoring relationships.

Her research has been published in leading education journals including The American Educational Research Journal, The Journal of Higher Education, Review of Educational Research, Teachers College Record, Research in Higher Education, The Review of Higher Education, and The Journal of College Student Development. Her work has been supported by The National Science Foundation (NSF), The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Darrell Ray
Darrell Ray

Darrell Ray

University of Memphis
Term Ending 2020

Darrell C. Ray serves as the Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Memphis. In this role, Dr. Ray is responsible for the fourteen departments charged with promoting student success and engagement in support of the academic mission. He also serves on the University's Process Improvement Council and the Academic, Research, & Student Success sub-committee to the Board of Trustees. Dr. Ray previously served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Louisiana State University and adjunct faculty in the Higher Education Administration program in the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education. Prior to his work as assistant vice president, Dr. Ray served LSU as Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Student Leadership & Involvement. Previous positions have been held at the Art Institute of Atlanta; Argosy University/Atlanta Campus, and the University of Georgia.

National engagement includes service to NASPA, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. He was recently appointed to the national advisory board for The National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition. Academic service includes serving on the Editorial Board for the College Student Affairs Journal and a reviewer for other journals. His research interest focus on how students transition into college.

Dr. Ray grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. He earned his BA in Criminal Justice and MA in Higher Education Administration both from the University of Alabama. He completed his PhD at the University of Georgia.

Alyssa Rockenbach
Alyssa Rockenbach

Alyssa Rockenbach

North Carolina State University
Term Ending 2020

Alyssa N. Rockenbach is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development at North Carolina State University. Her interdisciplinary research centers on the effects of college environments and experiences on student learning; religious and worldview diversity issues in higher education; intergroup dynamics, cooperation, and attitudes; young adult psychosocial development; and gender and LGBTQ equity issues in education and society. She is co-Principal Investigator of a five-year national study, The Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS), which explores how educational experiences affect college students' capacity to engage and cooperate with people of diverse worldviews.

Dr. Rockenbach has authored or co-authored more than 80 publications, including peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters, reports and monographs, and other scholarly works, and she has delivered more than 100 refereed and invited presentations at national conferences and other professional gatherings. Her work has been featured in media outlets such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and The Conversation. Dr. Rockenbach is co-author of the 2016 book, How College Affects Students: 21st Century Evidence that Higher Education Works, a synthesis of over 1,800 research studies of college impact conducted from 2002 to 2013, and she co-edited the 2012 volume, Spirituality in College Students' Lives: Translating Research Into Practice. She was named an Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor and University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Rockenbach advises master's and doctoral students, and is a student-centered teacher with expertise in teaching quantitative and qualitative research methods; diversity and social justice issues in education and society; and college student outcomes and psychosocial development. She received her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dale Tampke
Dale Tampke

Dale Tampke

Texas Woman's University
Term Ending 2020

Dale R. Tampke is a seasoned higher education administrator with experience in strategic academic planning, coordinating student success units, and effective stewardship of fiscal and human resources in the service of students. In his current position, Associate Vice President for Advancement at Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX), Tampke provides strategic leadership, direction, and operational management for the Division of Advancement. His work includes supporting an integrated planning process with academic leadership to incorporate fund raising into all aspects of institutional strategic planning with a particular focus on student success initiatives.

Dale writes and presents frequently on student success issues at conferences such as the National Symposium on Student Retention, the First Year Experience Conference, ACUHO-I, and NASPA. He has also presented national webinars for Innovative Educators and AudioSoultionZ. In addition, Tampke's research has appeared in the Journal of College Student Retention, the NASPA Journal (now the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice), the Journal of College University Student Housing, and Learning Communities Research and Practice. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of College University Student Housing, the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, and the Journal of The First Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Tampke earned his bachelor's and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His prior positions include Assistant Provost for Student Academic Services at Loyola University Chicago, Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the University of North Texas, Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Retention at Ohio University, Director of Residential Life at Stetson University, and Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Illinois.


Term Ending 2021

Traci Freeman

Traci Freeman

Colorado College
Term Ending 2021

 

Traci Freeman has directed the Colket Center for Academic Excellence at Colorado College since 2012. She received her doctorate in English, with an emphasis in Women, Gender, and Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. As a graduate student at UT, she worked in the Undergraduate Writing Center and developed a passion for writing pedagogy and peer education. She has worked in administrative positions in Writing Centers at UT and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), and taught courses in literature, rhetoric and writing, and first year experience programs at UT, UC Berkeley, and UCCS. Before coming to Colorado College, she was Director of the Writing Center and an Assistant Professor, Attendant in the department of English at UCCS.

At CC, Traci oversees academic support services offered in the Colket Center and supervises the professional directors of the Quantitative Reasoning Center, Writing Center, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Specialist, Thesis Writing Specialist, and two administrative support staff. She assists the Associate Dean of the College on issues related to advising, academic success, student retention and persistence, and she teaches courses in the First Year Experience Program and in Education.

Traci conducts research in the scholarship of teaching and learning, focusing on writing pedagogy and writing program administration, and student success.

Steven Girardot
Steven Girardot

Steven Girardot

Georgia Tech
Term Ending 2021

Dr. Steven Girardot, associate vice provost for undergraduate education at Georgia Tech, has over seventeen years of higher education experience. His education includes a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Chemistry from Georgia Tech, a doctorate in Chemistry and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Epidemiology from Emory University.

In his role as associate vice provost, he manages the operations and administration of the Office of Undergraduate Education, including budget oversight, human resources, communication, strategic planning, assessment, accreditation, and related administrative policies and procedures. Dr. Girardot oversees the co-curricular programs and units within OUE, including the Center for Academic Success (CAS), Center for Career Discovery and Development (C2D2), and Center for Academic Enrichment (CAE), which coordinates Tech's first-year and transfer student seminar courses. He also leads Retention and Complete College Georgia (CCG) and Summer Session Initiatives (SSI). Finally, Dr. Girardot chairs or co-chairs special task forces and committees. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, he finds time to teach Freshman Seminar (GT1000) and General Chemistry, and he developed and taught an honors seminar in Public Health and Epidemiology.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Girardot was the founding director of the center for academic success (CAS) and worked to develop and implement many of Tech's tutoring and academic support programs. He also served as the director of the office of success programs (which included FASET (New Student Orientation), GT1000 First-Year Seminar, Sophomore Programs, Tutoring and Academic Support programs), where he successfully re-launched the first-year common reading program (now Project One) and oversaw significant enhancements to and expansion of GT1000. In addition, he served as the assistant director for TA and graduate student programs at Tech's Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and a program coordinator at Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC), where he managed tutoring programs that linked Tech students to local elementary schools. He regularly presents on topics related to first-year programs and student success and participates on several advisory boards and national organizations.

Jodi Koslow Martin
Jodi Koslow Martin

Jodi Koslow Martin

North Park University
Term Ending 2021

Dr. Jodi Koslow Martin, is the vice president for student engagement at North Park University in Chicago. Since 2013, she has served as the chief student affairs officer providing leadership in creating environments for student success. Previous to her time at North Park University, Koslow Martin served 14 years at Aurora University, Aurora, Ill., in several roles including assistant provost, dean of first-year students, and interim dean of the College of Professional Studies.

Koslow Martin is an active member of the peer review corps for the Higher Learning Commission. She regularly travels to higher education institutions for accreditation visits. She has served on national boards, review committees, and has been a conference presenter on student success and retention.

Koslow Martin earned a bachelor's degree in 1997, with a double major in English and communication, from St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wis. She earned a master of education from Ohio University, Athens, in 1999. In 2010, she earned a doctorate in higher education from Loyola University, Chicago where her dissertation research focused on first-year student expectations.

Scott Peska
Scott Peska

Scott Peska

Waubonsee Community College
Term Ending 2021

Dr. Scott Peska serves as the Dean for Students at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL. In this capacity Dr. Peska is responsible for Athletics, Student Life, Learning Assessment (testing), and Student Conduct. Prior to Waubonsee, Dr. Peska worked at Northern Illinois University in multiple roles within Student Affairs. As Associate Director for Orientation & First-Year Experience, he coordinated more than 90 sections of the First-Year Seminar, UNIV 101/201 courses, a faculty student mentoring program, a peer calling retention initiative, and a first-year success series. After a tragic shooting on NIUs campus in 2008, Scott was asked to lead and establish the Office of Support & Advocacy, a unique unit designed to provide holistic support to those individuals directly impacted by the tragic shooting. As this Office of Support & Advocacy fulfilled its purpose, Peska also established and served as the Director of the Military Student Services department, providing financial benefits, counseling, and social support programming to the more than 800 military students at NIU.

Additionally, Dr. Peska has experience as a full-time Hall Director at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received both his baccalaureate and master's degrees in communication from Illinois State University, and a doctoral degree in higher education administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with his research emphasis on the adjustment of community college transfer students to four-year universities.

Dr. Peska speaks publicly on a variety of topics including how communities can move forward after tragedies, overcoming adversity, strategies for student success, action-oriented motivation, therapeutic benefits of laughter, engaging leadership development, juggling multiple priorities, and facilitating peer-intergroup dialogues on diversity.