New Doctoral Students in the ELHE Program Started this Semester

new EDAD doctoral students

New Doctoral Students in the ELHE Program Started this Semester

29 Oct 2021     By Fabianne Gondim

The Department of Educational Administration is proud to announce our newest group of doctoral students. The students listed below are pursuing either a doctor of education (Ed.D.) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in the Educational Studies - Educational Leadership and Higher Education (ELHE) program. Below is the full list of students.

Alan A. Galvez (he/him/his) completed a B. A. in Communication and an M. Ed. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Galvez is a Specialist for the Thompson Learning Community at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) where he instructs and advises predominantly low-income, first-generation, and minoritized students to provide support and student development. He worked at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Northwest Vista College (NVC) in various time periods between 2018-2020. His work at UTSA consisted of supporting and creating programming for student organizations and Student Activities and interning within multicultural affairs and student conduct programming. His experience also touched upon working within dual credit services at NVC. Connect with Galvez on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Barb Rezac

Barb Rezac (she/her/hers) completed a B. S. in Education from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and an M. A. in Educational Administration from the University of South Dakota. Rezac is the Vice President for Mission and Advancement at Mount Marty University in Yankton, SD. She is responsible for the campus-wide integration of the institution's Catholic and Benedictine identity and serves as the university's chief fundraiser. She has been appointed to the president's cabinet and the leadership team of Mount Marty University and serves on Yankton's economic development executive team. Her research interests involve the current relevancy of the 1500-year-old Rule of St. Benedict and how the IRS Form 990 informs donors and potential donors of organizations. Connect with Barb on Twitter.

Colette Tobias

Colette Tobias (she/her/hers) completed a B. A. in Finance from the University of Central Arkansas and an M. A. in with a concentration in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia. Tobias joined the department in the fall of 2021 as a Graduate Assistant working with Drs. Crystal Garcia and Elvira Abrica. Colette is a student in the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Higher Education program. Her work involves a variety of research, teaching, and/or administrative tasks for the department. Tobias has worked professionally in higher education since 2012. During this time, she served in previous roles in programming and residence life at Arkansas Tech University, the University of Houston, and the University of Georgia. Originally from Arkansas, in her free time, Colette enjoys mentoring, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Deana Tsabak

Deana Tsabak (she/her/hers) completed a B. A. in Linguistics and German Language Lecturing from Kyiv National Linguistic University in Ukraine. Deana later completed a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Nebraska – Omaha and an M.S. in Organizational Leadership from College of Saint Mary. She leads a team of exam developers at Creighton University, supporting the School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, School of Nursing, and School of Law. Before starting that position, she worked extensively with adult learners at Metro Community College in Omaha, specifically with students who spoke English as a Second Language and those seeking high school equivalency. Studying ways to eradicate poverty through education and improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our community is her passion. That was one of the main objectives that motivated her to apply for the Ed.D. program at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Connect with Deana on LinkedIn.

James Hawthrone III

James Hawthrone, III (he/his/him) completed a B. S. in Legal Studies and an M.A. in Public Administration from Bellevue University. Hawthrone presently serves as Director of TRIO Veterans Upward Bound at Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and is passionate about working with students. Prior to accepting his current role with MCC, he established the Office of Military and Veterans Services at Doane University and served as the inaugural director. He is a graduate of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Leadership Omaha (class 42) and presently serves as the Chapter President of the Beta Xi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Connect with Hawthrone on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Jefrey Southall II

Jeffrey Southall II (he/his/him) completed a B.A. in English Literature from Central State University and an M.S. in Counseling with a concentration in Student Affairs Practices in Higher Education, the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. He currently serves as the Associate Director in the Office of Student Life and oversees the Student Service, Leadership, and Innovation Collaborative at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His research interests are centered on the retention and graduation challenges and successes of black men in college. Several of his affiliations include 100 Black Men Omaha Chapter, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the National Association of Mastermind’s & Co-Curricular Advancement (NAMCO), and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Connect with Southall on Instagram.

Jemalyn Griffin

Jemalyn Griffin (she/her/hers) completed a B.A. in Journalism and Media Studies with a specialization in Public Relations from San Diego State University and an M.A. in Integrated Media Communications from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Griffin is an Assistant Professor of Practice in Advertising and Public Relations at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Jacht Agency, which is a full-service advertising student-run agency. Additionally, Griffin oversees the college-wide practicum as the Co-Director of the CoJMC Experience Lab, which provides 1st-3rd year students an opportunity to gain hands-on learning experiences in the media communications industry. Before becoming a faculty member, Griffin served as a Director of Content and Digital Marketing at Harvard University. She also teaches social media management and content marketing workshops at Harvard. Connect with Jemalyn on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Jonathan Acosta

Jonathan Acosta (he/his/him) completed a B. A. in Biology and a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Jonathan also completed an M.A. in Educational Administration with a concentration in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Ball State University. Acosta is the Assistant Director of Academic Advising for the Academic & Career Development Center (ACDC) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). His responsibilities include leading and coordinating academic advising for students in Exploratory Studies. He oversees ACDC’s advising curriculum, advising as coaching programming, and prospective transfer student advising. His professional interests include the influence academic advising has on the retention of college students, career and identity development, increasing access and success for underrepresented student populations, and assessment and evaluation. He serves as the president of the Academic Advising Council at UNO, where he leads campus-wide professional development, assessment, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

Juliet Long

Juliet Long (she/her/hers) completed a B.S. in Computer Science from Southern Oregon University, an M.A. in Education from Concordia University, and a Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Long is the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Rogue Community College. Previously, she served as Dean of Science and Technology after over twenty years as faculty in the Computer Science Department. She serves as the institution’s accreditation liaison officer and chief academic officer. She brings a focus on support for high-quality teaching and learning in her division with an emphasis on effective student engagement strategies and evaluation of learning outcomes to ensure student success. Connect with Long on LinkedIn.

Korrin Fagenstrom

Korrin Fagenstrom (she/her/hers) completed a B.A. in Modern Languages (Spanish) and Cell Biology & Neuroscience and an M.A. in Public Administration, the Montana State University. Fagenstrom currently serves as an Associate Director in University Student Housing at Montana State University. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing student conduct and welfare, staff training and selection, and community development for 10 on-campus communities. She is active in the Association of Intermountain Housing Officers (AIMHO) serving in leadership roles for Women in Housing, professional development, and conference planning. She is passionate about working at a land grant institution and supporting the open-access mission. She serves on a variety of committees including Clery compliance and Behavioral Intervention. Connect with Fagenstrom on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Le Racha Simon

Le Racha Simon (she/her/hers) completed a B. A. in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations and a double minor in advertising and philosophy and an M.S.E, Higher Education and Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Simon is originally from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She is a Residence Life Coordinator for the Maverick Village apartments. As an undergraduate student, Simon competed on the competitive speech team at Whitewater called Forensics and then continued to coach after graduation. During her master’s, she was a graduate assistant for University Housing, in addition to serving as an advisor for first-generation students and students who identify as mixed-race. Simon is also a first-generation student hoping to bring her talents and skills while completing her Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as well as starting her Ph.D. in Higher Education. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, baking sweets, and checking out new forms of the arts. In fact, Lion King is her favorite movie/musical. Connect with Simon on LinkedIn.

Maria Elena Villasante

Maria Elena Villasante (she/her/hers) completed a B. S. in Social Work from Union College. Villasante then completed a B.S. in Psychology and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Federico Villarreal National University in Peru. Villasante also completed an M.A. in Educational Psychology from Women's University of the Sacred Heart (UNIFE) in Peru. Villasante joined the Department of Educational Administration in the fall of 2021 as a Graduate Assistant. Her work involves a variety of research, teaching, and/or administrative tasks for the department. Villasante is originally from Peru; she has worked professionally as Educational Psychologist serving high school and college students; she was an adjunct instructor at the Peruvian Union University. She also served as Education Program Director for ADRA Peru, where she collaborated with international non-profit organizations, such as UNICEF, participating in the revision of the decennial plan on the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the World Bank international work sessions addressing the role of the Education in the fight against poverty in third world countries. In Nebraska, she has worked with urban and rural communities as a Partnership Specialist for the U. S. Census Bureau, and as a Family-School Consultant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has worked extensively in promoting CLAS, Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services standards in mental health services, advocating for vulnerable, and minority communities as a behavioral health practitioner for Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, and as a consultant for various government and non-profit organizations. Connect with Villasante on LinkedIn.

Noah Henry-Darwish

Noah Henry-Darwish (he/his/him) completed a B. A. in Psychology from Whitman College and an M.Ed. in Student Affairs from the University of Maryland. He currently works as a Case Manager in the Office of the Dean of Students at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to his work supporting students in distress, he is also the Associate Editor for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) and recently served on the board and as Chair of the Faculty of the Higher Education Case Managers Association (HECMA). His research interests involve examining non-clinical case management and behavioral intervention work in higher education and understanding how these systems either advance equity or perpetuate disparities among students of concern. Connect with Henry-Darwish on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Ruth Oliver Andrew 1

Ruth Oliver Andrew (she/her/hers) completed a B. A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Educational Administration with a focus on higher education administration from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She is the assistant director of graduate enrollment for diversity and inclusion at the Office of Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her research interests include the lived experiences of racially underrepresented and minoritized populations in higher education, the role of higher education in social justice issues, and understanding how effectively higher education staff and administrators are able to create and sustain institutional change with inclusive excellence as a guiding principle. Connect with Andrew on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Theresa Webster

Theresa Webster (she/her/hers) completed a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an M.A. in Counseling from Doane University. Webster has served as the Dean of Students/Assistant Campus Director - Lincoln Campuses - at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, NE for the past five years. She has oversight for counseling services, the behavioral intervention team, student conduct, and prevention programming. She has received extensive training in Title IX interviewing, threat assessment, and trauma-informed care strategies. Prior to entering the world of higher education, she worked for a non-profit youth and family-serving agency. Throughout the years at this agency, Theresa held a variety of positions including outpatient therapist, street outreach worker, and administrator for foster care, clinical and intensive family preservation programming. She is deeply interested in developing and implementing programs and services that improve the retention and persistence rates of students most at risk of dropping out. She is committed to creating equitable educational environments where students feel welcome, safe, and are treated with compassion and care. She is also a licensed Mental Health Practitioner in the state of Nebraska and a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Racial Justice Alliance and of the Nebraska Violence Risk & Threat Assessment Cadre. Connect with Theresa on LinkedIn.

Therese Nelson

Therese Nelson (she/her/hers) completed a B.S. in Elementary Education with Special Education Endorsement from Creighton University. She also completed an M.S. in Educational Administration and Supervision and an M.S. in Behavior Disorders from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She currently works as an elementary principal at Heritage Elementary, Bennington Public Schools. This is Therese’s tenth year in her current position and eleventh year in the district. Prior to coming to Bennington, Therese served as a K-8 principal in the private sector. She started her career as a teacher in the Omaha Public Schools where she served as an elementary special education resource teacher, first-grade teacher, and CADRE Associate. Connect with Nelson on LinkedIn.

Erin L. Pearson

Erin L. Pearson (she/her/hers) completed a B. F. A. in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and an M.A. in Educational Administration with a focus on higher education administration from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Pearson was recently promoted to Associate Director for Transfer in the Office of Admission at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She develops and implements recruitment and admissions processes for prospective transfer students, including those from 2-year and 4-year institutions, while also assisting adult learners and non-traditional students. Much of her work stems from her skills in transfer articulation, pathway creation, and networking across the state and beyond to facilitate a positive transfer experience for this student group. Pearson is a second-year doctoral student.

Harnoor Singh

Harnoor Singh (he/him/his) completed a B.A. in Exercise Physiology and Sports Medicine from the University of the Pacific, an M.A. in Medical Physiology from Boston University School of Medicine, and an M.S. in Medical Anatomy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Singh is the Director of Student Development for the Walter Scott, Jr. Scott Scholars, STEM-based scholarship program. He is responsible for implementing a high-impact educational architecture that connects curricular to co-curricular learning experiences. Singh is responsible for all aspects of the program including recruitment, retention, community engagement, career and academic planning, and social and emotional skill development. His career and research interests focus on scaling whole-person learning and development initiatives for the entire college and university student populations. He is a second-year doctoral student.

Educational Administration