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 Staff
Caitlin Marie
Caitlin Marie Alvarez
Undeclared Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Arts in English Studies, conc. Creative Writing: Illinois State University
  • Graduate Certificate in Women’s And Gender Studies: Illinois State University
  • Bachelor of Arts in English, conc. Creative Writing: Louisiana State University

Best Part of My Job:

Supporting students as they explore and develop stronger connections to interests they find meaningful.

Interests:

Meeting new people, trying new activities, touring lighthouses, attending concerts, hiking, boating, writing, teaching, playing volleyball, traveling, and enjoying a good cup of coffee with a piece of dark chocolate

Aric Faulker
Aric Faulkner (he/him/his)
Undeclared Academic Advisor

Education: 

  • Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration: Illinois State University
  • Bachelor of Art in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (with a major in Spanish): Illinois State University

Best part of my job:

Working with great students and a supportive team

Interests:

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

Corey Flack
Dr. Corey Flack
PREP Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Italian: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Master of Arts in Italian Cultural Studies: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Bachelor of Science in Physics and Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing: University of Arizona

Best Part of My Job:

Helping students develop their interests and get the most out of the college experience

Interests:

Spending time with my wife and twins, both listening to and playing music, reading, writing, playing board games, hiking

Calen Faulker
Calen Gutwein (she/her/hers)
Undeclared 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

Jessi Kim (she/her/hers)
Jessi Kim
PREP Academic Advisor

Education –

Master of Science in School Counseling: Eastern Illinois University

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

 

Best Part of My Job –

Being a part of a student’s journey in discovering their ambitions in life and witnessing their growth through personal and academic development.

 

Interests –

Listening to music, creating art, exploring new places, eating baked goods at a café, and spending time with friends and family

amanda
Amanda Morley (she/they)
Undeclared Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy: University of Utah
  • Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences: Eastern Illinois University

Best Part of My Job:

Empowering students to explore their interests in an out of the classroom to discover career opportunities and assist in developing their self-efficacy in college.

Interests:

Outdoor activities, home improvement projects, playing music, traveling, volunteering in the community and spending time with my family.

Michael Myers
Dr. Michael Myers
Undeclared Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Medieval History: University of Notre Dame
  • Master of Arts in Medieval Studies: York (England)
  • Bachelor of Arts in History: University of Arizona

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

gabby
Gabby Singh (she/her/hers)
Undeclared Academic Advisor
  • Education
    • Master of Arts in Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs: Virginia Tech
    • Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications: Susquehanna University
  • Best Part of My Job
    • Supporting students as they develop a greater understanding of their strengths and interests and how these can translate to different majors and career paths.
  • Interests
    • Spending time outside, playing with my dog, reading, crafting, and visiting coffee shops
Aaron Walk
Aaron Walk
Undeclared Academic Advisor

Education:

  • Master of Science in College Student Affairs: Eastern Illinois University
  • Master of Arts in History: Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Arts in History: University of Illinois at Springfield

Best Part of My Job:

Being there to provide support and encouragement for students during their college transition and helping them to explore their academic and career goals.

Interests:

Traveling, going to different baseball stadiums, playing music, movies, trivia, and barbequing, spending time with family and trying to figure out parenthood.

Christy Verhelst
Christy Verhelst
Undeclared 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
Meet our Support Staff
Essence
Essence Chatman
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
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)
Senior Assistant Director for Admission and Transition Programs

Education:

  • Master of Science in College Student Affairs: Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Studies, Community Health: Eastern Illinois University

Best Part of My Job:

Interacting with students from their first visit to the university and then working with them when they become an enrolled student. I enjoy seeing students get excited about their passion and interests! 

Interests:

Spending time with my family, cooking and baking, traveling to and exploring new places

Kris Blazek
Kris Blazek
Assistant Director for Records, Operations & Assessment

Education:

  • Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration: Illinois State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education: Illinois State University

Best Part of My Job:

Helping to provide the academic advisors with the information and tools they need to make their jobs more efficient. Providing support to the DGS team and students to that the college academic experience is enjoyable and not stressful.

Interests:

Spending time with my grandkids, baking yummy desserts, camping and riding my Harley.

Teri Farr
Teri Farr
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

Sarah Smothers
Sarah Reynolds Smothers
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
DGS Director

Education:

  • Master of Science, Community Counseling, Eastern Illinois University
  • Bachelor of Arts, 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 my family; cheering for my kids at their sporting events; hanging out with our miniature schnauzer; all things outdoors (hiking, biking, and enjoying nature); board games/card games; keeping up with my huge family (brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews)