Meet Our Team

Our entire staff is dedicated to helping you succeed in all aspects of your college career. We truly care about helping you find your passion.

DGS Advisors do not conduct academic advising through email.
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Academic Advisors

Caitlin Maire Alvarez

Caitlin Alvarez

Education

Illinois State University, M.A. English Studies, Creative Writing and Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies; Louisiana State University, B.A. English, Creative Writing

Best Part of My Job

Joining a great team and working with students as they explore numerous possibilities.

Interests

Writing, editing, being on the water, and conversing over coffee with family and friends

Email Caitlin Maire
 

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Education

Western Illinois University- Master of Science, College Student Personnel; Illinois State University- Bachelor of Science, History

Best Part of My Job

Supporting students as they navigate college and helping them find their niche.

Interests

Traveling, trying new restaurants, athletics, dystopia fiction, and spending time with family and friends.

Email Heather
 

Jen Heinold

Jen Heinold

Education

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ed.M. in Education, Policy, and Organizational Leadership; Eastern Illinois University, B.A. Economics

Best Part of My Job

Getting to work with students as well as co-workers

Interests

Travel, home renovation, and spending time with family and friends

Email Jen
 

Leslie Lewis

Leslie Lewis

Education

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ed.M. in Education Policy; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Journalism MS; Millikin University, Elementary Education BS

Best Part of My Job

Helping students unfold and develop their unique narratives

Interests

Photography, Music (singing, playing piano, and listening), all topics in social justice and equality, nail polish, watching movies and television, conversing with friends and family

Email Leslie
 

Dr. Michael Myers

Michael Myers

Education

University of Notre Dame, Ph.D. in Medieval History; York (England), M.A. in Medieval Studies; Colorado State, M.A. in Medieval History; University of Arizona, B.A. in History

Best Part of My Job

Spending time with the people I work with

Interests

Masonry, gardening, English sports cars, chainsawing, boating, and keeping up with my teenagers

Awards

Honorable Mention, Undergraduate Advisor, Recognition of Excellence in Advising, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (2005-06)

Email Michael
 
 

Nikki O'Brien

Nikki O'Brien

Education

University of Pennsylvania, MSW Social work, Michigan State University, BA Human Resource Management

Best Part of My Job

Being part of student journeys as they explore & claim their unique voices and authentic selves

Interests

Energy healing, writing, health equity/social justice education, spirituality & faith, cooking, baking and pinterest

Email Nikki
 

Kimberly Powers

Kimberly Powers

Education

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, M. A. in Anthropology and History; University of Louisville, B.A. in History and B.F.A. in 2D Studio Arts

Best Part of My Job

Learning about students’ diverse interests and experiences

Interests

Listening to podcasts about design, history, and politics; playing indoor soccer; international travel; animal rescue

Email Kimberly
 

Katelyn Talbott

Katelyn Talbott

Education

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, M.S. Sport Management; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Recreation, Sport, and Tourism

Best Part of My Job

Helping students discover career paths they might not have known about that reflect their personal interests and pursuits

Interests

Baking and cooking, sport and sustainability, international/domestic travel, taking trips on our Harley-Davidson, and spending time with family, friends, and pets

Email Katelyn
 
 

Assistant Directors

Sarah Gardiner, Honors

Sarah Gardiner

Education

Ball State University, M.A. in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education; Eastern Illinois University, B.S. in Family & Consumer Sciences

Best Part of My Job

Supporting and interacting with some of the most talented and motivated students on campus; it is exciting to see what heights of success they can achieve!

Interests

Spending time with family and friends, listening to music, checking out all the fun places in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Awards

Currently serves as Marketing Chair, Midwest First Year Conference. Awarded the Provost’s Excellence in Academic Advising Award, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2013

Email Sarah
 

Jenni Kotowski, Admissions

Jenni Kotowski

Education

Western Michigan University, M.A. in Student Affairs in Higher Education and B.A. in Telecommunications Management

Best Part of My Job

Helping students find their passion

Interests

Reading, watching TV, making crafts, exercising, and watching movies

Awards

Outstanding New Advisor Certificate of Merit, National Academic Advising Association (2010)

Email Jenni
 

Associate Director

Teri Farr, Academic Advising and Student Success

Teri Farr

Education

Illinois State University, M.S. in History and B.S. in History

Best Part of My Job

Working with students to help them realize their full potential and make decisions based upon experience. My favorite moment with a student is when they make the connection between what they are learning in the classroom to their ultimate career and educational goals.

Interests

Gardening, home improvement and decorating, reading, vacation trips to the beach, and spending time with family and friends

Awards

Currently serves as Chair, Professional Development Committee for the Illinois Academic Advising Association (ILACADA), member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Webinar Advisory Board and the Professional Development Committee. Awarded the outstanding Administrative-Professional of the Year Award in the College of Arts and Sciences, Illinois State University, 2013

Email Teri
 

Director

Dr. Daniel Turner

Dan Turner

Education

Loyola University Chicago, Ph.D. in Higher Education; Northern Illinois University, M.S. Ed. in Instructional Technology and B.S. in Psychology

Best Part of My Job

Helping students explore all the academic opportunities available to them and talking about their personal goals and dreams

Interests

Hiking, biking, travel, live music, visiting Colorado and Chicago, and being outdoors

Awards

Using Humor in Academic Advising Administration “Best of NACADA Region 10 Conference" Presentation (2011), "Best of NACADA National Conference" Presentation (2011)

Email Dr. Turner