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 explore your interests and find your passion.

Meet our Academic Advising & Coordinator Staff
Aric Faulkner
Aric Faulkner (he/him/his)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration, Illinois State University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Illinois State University
  • Associate in Arts and Science in Foreign Language, Illinois Central College

Best part of my job:

Having a job that I enjoy waking up to in the morning

Interests:

Spending time with my animals, hanging out with family and friends, traveling, and going to the movies.

Lucy Gay
Lucy Gay (she/her/hers)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Indiana State University
  • Master of Science in Student Affairs and Higher Education, Indiana State University

Best Part of My Job:

  • Helping students define their success and get excited about their academic journey

Interests:

  • Reading, going for walks, catching up on the latest movies/TV shows, baking new recipes, spending time visiting with my family!
Calen Gutwein
Calen Gutwein (she/her/hers)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Arts in the Teaching of English as a Second Language, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Best Part of My Job:

Journeying with students as they find meaning and purpose in their lives while navigating their academic career.

Interests:

Food tours, nature walks, movie marathons, singing along with musicals, and story-telling

Sierra
Sierra Hollenbeck (she/her/hers)
Coordinator for Recruitment and Admissions

Education:

  • Master of Science in College Student Affairs, Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Eastern Illinois University
  • Associate of Arts in Sociology/Social Work, Lake Land College

Best Part of My Job:

Introducing new students to the process exploring majors and being able to assist them through their transition to college.

Interests:

Spending time with my family, walking and playing with my 3 dogs, reading, and exploring new places

Emma Kirby
Emma Kirby (she/her/hers)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Arts in Anthropology, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Master of Arts in Anthropology, Wichita State University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Best Part of My Job:

  • I enjoy helping students figure out what they are interested in for their major! I also really like working with our students because they all have different interests and dreams! It is so cool to see what they want to do at UIUC and beyond!

Interests:

  • I enjoy working out, writing, and hanging out with my dog. I am also a student here at UIUC getting my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction focusing on Science Education
Dionne Lipscomb
Dionne Lipscomb (she/her/hers)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Science in College Student Affairs, Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Women's Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Associate in Arts in English, Danville Area Community College

Best Part of My Job:

  • One of my favorite things about my job is aiding students in realizing their potential and being a means of support as they explore their interests and find their passion. Seeing the growth and change in students, while also encouraging them to make the best choices for their academic career is always so rewarding.

Interests:

  • Spending time with my partner and my fur baby, Chi Chi, visiting my family and friends, reading by the lake, going for walks, spending time with nature, cooking trying new food, travelling, creating content, music, and self-care
Bill Pritchard
Bill Pritchard (he/him/his)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Science, K-12 Educational Administration, Aurora University
  • Master of Science, Athletic Administration, Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Science, Physical Education, Eastern Illinois University

Best Part of My Job:

Helping students find their passion about their major and all of the opportunities that exist on their career path

Interests:

Golfing, gardening, cooking/grilling, attending U of I athletic events, spending time with family and friends

Syliva Puente
Sylvia Puente (she/her/hers)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Arts in Psychology: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: University of Texas at San Antonio

Best Part of my Job:

Working with students to help them transition to college and learn about their interests and goals or to help them uncover them. 

Interests:

BTS; going on road trips & listening to kpop with my daughter, 

as well as binge-watching TV shows together; having dinner with friends; playing with my dog Ella

Dustin Shattuck
Dustin Shattuck (he/him/his)
Academic Advisor

 

Education:

  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, McNeese State University

  • Master of Arts in English Literature, McNeese State University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing/Rhetoric and History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Best Part of My Job:

  • Encouraging students to feel in control of their education and discover meaningful connections in their lives and communities.

Interests: Birding, cooking and finding new recipes, gardening, hiking, reading, teaching, watching old movies and writing short stories

 

Jasmine Singleton
Jasmine Singleton (she/her/hers)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Currently Pursuing a Master of Education in Education, Policy, Organization and Leadership: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

    Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

Best Part of My Job:

  • Witnessing students cultivate meaningful relationships on campus and encouraging them as they navigate the challenges of being a college student 

Interests: Music, reading, painting, and spending time with my amazing friends and family 

Lauren Stengel
Lauren Stengel (she/her/hers)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Arts in English, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Languages, Cultures, and International Studies, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Associate in Arts, Kaskaskia College

Best Part of My Job:

  • The best part of my job is helping students to explore their interests and discover their own path, opening their eyes to all the possibilities available to them, and helping them see that whatever they set their mind to really is possible.

Interests:

  • Reading, writing, teaching, listening to music, singing, playing guitar, hanging out with my lizards, spending time with family
Christy Verhelst
Christy Verhelst (she/her/hers)
Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music, Illinois Wesleyan University

Best Part of My Job:

  • Helping students identify their values and passions as they create a meaningful college experience.

Interests:

  • Experiencing live theatre, songwriting, cooking famous dishes from different world cuisines, understanding disability issues, continuing to improve my Spanish
Nashea Williams
Nashea Williams (she/her/hers)
EEP Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Science in Agricultural Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Bachelor of Science in Plant and Soil Sciences, Concentration – Crop Production, North Carolina State University

Best Part of My Job:

  • Witnessing that lightbulb moment when a student is excited about finally identifying a major and career pathway that is in alignment with their passions.

Interests:

  • Spending time outdoors, watching baking shows and game shows, nail care/nail polish, podcasts, traveling to beach destinations, spending time with loved ones
Meet our Support Staff
Essence
Essence Chatman (she/her/hers)
Office Support Associate

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations: Eastern Illinois University

Best Part of My Job:

Interacting with different students everyday is the best part of my job

Interest:

Traveling, going to concerts, trying new restaurants, cooking and making memories with my friends and family.

Sherry Clayborn
Sherry Clayborn
Office Support Assistant

Education:

  • Interior Design Degree

Best Part of My Job:

Enjoy interacting with students

Interests:

Designing for friends and family, landscaping, videoing with my 4 children including a set of twins, 7 grandchildren, and my 14 year old miniature dachshund.

Meet our Administrators
Jessica Arnold
Jessica Arnold (she/her/hers)
Associate Director for Enrollment Management

Education:

  • Master of Science in College Student Affairs, Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Studies, Community Health Education & Promotion Concentration, Eastern Illinois University

Best Part of My Job:

I love working with undeclared students! Every day is different and I love the variety of career and major interests I get to talk about with students. I'm a first generation college student, so I enjoy helping others find their way as so many did for me. 

Interests:

I love spending time with my family. I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. I also have an English Bulldog. In my free time, I enjoy traveling and cooking new recipes. 

michelle
Michelle Ellis (she/her/hers)
Assistant Director for Access and Enrichment Programs

Education: 

  • Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration, Higher Education concentration, Chicago State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Best Part of My Job:

Being a witness to students’ growth and development as they learn to navigate a new space and explore their own identities

Interests:

Spending time with family, traveling, listening to music, and watching as much television as my eyeballs can handle.

Teri Farr
Teri Farr (she/her/hers)
Associate Director for Academic Advising and Student Success

Education:

  • Master of Science in History, Illinois State University
  • Bachelor of Science in History, Illinois State University

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

Shawn Hale
Shawn Hale (he/him/his)
Senior Assistant Director for Operations, Records, and Data

Education:

  • Master of Arts in History, Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Arts in History, University of Illinois at Springfield

Best Part of My Job:

Working with a great team who are passionate about helping exploring students find their place on campus and beyond.

Interests:

Watching and playing soccer, exploring the parks of Champaign and Urbana, reading and spending time with family

Sarah Smothers
Sarah Reynolds Smothers (she/her/hers)
Assistant Director for First-Year Experience and Honors

Education:

  • Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education, Ball State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences, Eastern Illinois University

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

Sarah Watson
Sarah Watson (she/her/hers)
DGS Director

Education:

  • Master of Science in Community Counseling, Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Eastern Illinois University

Best Part of My Job:

Working with students as they discover and pursue their passions; working as part of an incredible and student-centered team.

Interests:

Spending time with family; cheering for my kids at their sporting events; hiking, biking and all things outdoors; keeping up with my huge family (brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews)

Meet our Partners
Maurice Haney
Maurice Haney
OMSA Student Success Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Science in College Student Personnel: Arkansas State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Life Science: Logan University
  • Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Science (Communication Major, Chemistry Minor): University of Illinois

Best Part of My Job:

  • Using an inclusive, equity-centered, and holistic lens to advocate for and help students overcome challenges/barriers, navigate the University Campus along with its resources, and take advantage of the many opportunities available to enhance their overall ILLINOIS experience and development.

Interests:

  • Spending time with family, nature, life-long learning, service in underrepresented communities, music, cooking, and sports.

 

Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez
OMSA Student Success Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Arts in Higher Education Student Access and Success: University of Michigan 
  • Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Languages and Cultures: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Best Part of My Job:

  • Mentoring students to realize their full potential through the breadth of opportunity available to them at the University of Illinois.
Kelli Canada
Kelli Canada
Embedded Clinical Counselor

Education: 

  • Master of Social Work: Saint Louis University
  • Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology: Park University
  • Associate of Arts in Elementary Education: Polk Community College

Best Part of My Job:

Instilling hope in students that they can overcome obstacles to achieve their goals and assist them on their journey to becoming the best version of themselves.

Interests:

I love spending time with my family, my animals and reading. I am very social and enjoy eating out, music, and anything at the beach.