Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success 

Carina Beck

Dr. Carina N. Beck

 Vice Provost - Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success

& Director, Hilleman Scholars

   177 Strand Union Building 
   [email protected]

AYCSS Central

Lori Oakley, M.S.

Lori Oakley, M.S.

Systems Management Program Manager 

As a graduate of a land grant university and family of educators, I knew I wanted to continue the legacy and mission. Montana State University has allowed me to provide services to the students at MSU through supporting the Allen Yarnell Center staff and offices.  I support Student Success with targeted interventions tested in data analytics, metrics, budgeting, the ChampChange program, scholarship support via the CatScholarship system, computer systems and hiring and supporting staff that exemplify the servant leadership.  As a team member that supports all offices within the Allen Yarnell Center, I see my co-workers exhibit the common thread of service on behalf of students, in advocating for action, providing services, understand circumstances, and celebrating successes. 

    177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Photo of John Hunter

John Hunter

 Program Manager, Champ Change

From the red side of Manchester, England. Graduated from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. John worked extensively in IT systems support and management in several European countries before moving to the US. A Montana resident for five years, John joined the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success in 2018 and is program manager for Cattracks and the ChampChange program. He can be found on KGLT playing obscure soul music, organizing the local cribbage club, and watching the world’s greatest football team, Manchester United.

   177 Strand Union Building
    [email protected] 
Wendy Soeweno

Wendy Soeweno, M.S.

Assistant Director for AYCSS Communication 

Wendy joined the Allen Yarnell of Student Success in January 2020.  As an Assistant Director for communication, Wendy’s role is to ensure that MSU students find the resources they need to achieve academic success. She is leading the communication team in AYCSS to develop strategies across platforms to reach students, faculty and employers. Using her skills from her previous work in the corporate world of media agency and consumer products, she has been implementing brand strategy and digital communication to increase retention and graduation rate in MSU. 

    177 Strand Union Building
    [email protected] 
Rebekah Lacroix

Rebekah LaCroix, B.S.

Assistant to the Vice Provost and Front Desk Operations Manager

Inspired by the positive influence faculty and staff had on her during her own time in college, Rebekah eagerly joined the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success team in July of 2022 as Front Desk Operations Manager and Assistant to the Vice Provost. Rebekah works supporting the different departments within the AYCSS, ensuring MSU students have access to the variety of resources the department offers them. Rebekah received her B.S. in Business Administration and International Development at Point Loma Nazarene University, and has experience in administration support, nonprofits, and working with students. Outside of work, she enjoys spending lots of time outside and exploring new hobbies, food, and places.  

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]

Career, Internship & Student Employment Services

Joan Ghassemi

Joan Ghassemi, J.D.

Career Education Coach

Joan joined the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success in 2022. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Akron and a Juris Doctorate from Ohio Northern University. Joan practiced in the areas of Criminal Defense and Bankruptcy Debtor work for 18 years in Tampa Bay, Florida. She founded and served as the managing partner of her own law firm and had the pleasure of hiring and mentoring law clerks, attorneys, and support staff. Joan served in leadership roles in several non-profits including: Business and Professional Women of St. Pete/Pinellas, Humane Society of Pinellas and is currently on the Advisory Council for the Bozeman Library Foundation. She is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and the Middle District of Florida: United States District Court. Joan loves encouraging others to follow their dreams and passions. A licensed Pilates instructor, Joan also enjoys painting, reading, bike riding, and hiking with her husband, Reza, and their French Bulldog, Roshi.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Lynn Kinnaman

Lynn Kinnaman 

Career Education Coach

Lynn is a Career Education Coach at MSU's Career, Internship & Student Employment Services. She has been an instructor at Montana State University since 2017 and as a Career Coach. She helps students identify their interests through self-assessments, discover career possibilities with experiential learning, and prepare for a successful job or internship position by reviewing resumes and cover letters and conducting mock interviews. Lynn has been in Bozeman since 1982 and had been active in the community as a volunteer and a small business owner. She has a B.A. in English and is a published author. Lynn believes that finding a meaningful career path results in future job satisfaction and increased accomplishments, an essential foundation for today’s students who will be tomorrow’s leaders and our much-needed problem-solvers. In her off time, Lynn enjoys exploring Montana with her dog, Trixie, writing, and cooking up interesting dining experiences for family and friends. She’s an avid reader, a minor techie, and a life-long learner.  As part of her coaching practice, Lynn wants students to be aware of and fully utilize the excellent resources MSU offers to support their educational journey and eventual career success.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]

Office of Financial Education

Keith Hamburg

Keith Hamburg, B.A.

Senior Financial Coach

Keith serves as the Senior Financial Coach in the Office of Financial Education at Montana State University and has done so since August of 2013. Keith’s goal is to help his student clients pay for school while taking on as little debt as possible, allowing them to “Live like a college student today, so they don’t have to tomorrow.” He has the privilege to work with students, assisting them to engage and take control of their finances with budgeting, scholarship searching, credit, and more. Keith has been in Bozeman since 1994, and before coming to MSU, he owned his own business and also worked for MetLife Financial Services.  

Keith’s belief is to always meet a client where they are at on their financial journey. He is a first-generation college student with a degree in Communications (1990). 

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Jennifer White-Dobbs

Jennifer White-Dobbs, M.A.

Financial Coach

Jennifer joined AYCSS in 2019.  She enjoys working with students to learn strategies for successful budgeting, find creative ways to pay for school, and develop their future financial goals. Engaging with students through coaching as well as offering clinics and teaching class sessions are her favorite parts of the job. Feeling confident about finances is a challenge and a valuable life skill to learn in college. With a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Maine, Orono and a M.A. in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, Jennifer’s previous work experience is in museum education and collections. She moved to Bozeman with her family to enjoy the beautiful outdoor lifestyle.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, horseback riding, and exploring.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]

Office of Student Success

Amy Lincoln

Dr. Amy Lincoln

Director, Office of Student Success

Amy joined the Allen Yarnell Office of Student Success in the summer of 2017.  She received her B.S. and M.S. in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Washington.  Amy’s clinical background included working with a diversity of clients struggling with speech, language and developmental disabilities in a private practice setting. Her clinical specialty in Speech Language Pathology was working with school-aged students with language based learning disabilities including reading, writing and executive processing challenges.  Amy’s love of research lead her to pursue her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, focusing on reading, memory and learning, at the University of California, Davis. Throughout her career paths as a clinician, researcher and advisor, Amy is driven with a passion for supporting the success of struggling and underserved students. Amy and her family moved to Bozeman in 2008.  In addition to a love for travel, which took the family overseas for several years, she enjoys summer hiking and winter skiing here in Montana with her husband, sons and golden retriever.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Amy Roach

Amy Roach, B.A.

Assistant Director - Student Learning Management

Amy grew up in eastern Montana and earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Pomona College in Claremont, California.  She was a music publicist in Aspen and a museum curator in Billings.  She got her start in journalism as the host of an interview program on Yellowstone Public Radio.  In 1997 she moved to Washington, DC, where she worked for National Public Radio, National Geographic, and C-SPAN.  She  enjoys reading, movies, and travel.  (To date she has visited 23 countries, 4 continents, and 49 states.)  Since her return to the Big Sky in 2017, she has celebrated Montana’s extraordinary beauty by hiking, biking, and attempting to stay upright on skis. 

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
wyatt mitchell

Wyatt Mitchell, M.A.

Second Wind Program Manager

Wyatt has been involved at multiple universities for almost a decade in either an instructor and staff capacity. Here at MSU, Wyatt reaches students individually through his Success Advising role. He is passionate about navigating the university experience to help students reach their goals and move toward the future they design. Wyatt is thankful to influence students at a group level through the Second Wind Program. This program aligns with his passion to help those who could benefit the most from increased support and guidance. Outside of the university setting, Wyatt is an avid outdoorsman who loves whitewater rafting, backpacking, and playing with his dog.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Janet Barkow

Janet Barkow, M.A.

Student Success Advisor

Janet received a B.S. in Psychology from Colorado State University and a M.A. in Education from The University of Colorado. She taught Elementary Education for 14 years in Broomfield, Colorado. In 2003, Janet and her family reconnected with their Montana roots and moved to Bozeman. In Bozeman, Janet has worked at REI, taught Nordic Ski Clinics and been a K-12 Substitute School Teacher. In 2012, Janet joined AYCSS as a Success Advisor. She loves the idea that you learn better when you go wide, consequently sharing the many resources available to students at MSU. Her passion for education keeps her enthusiastically involved in working with students, supporting their academic experience through efficient, effective learning strategies.

   177 Strand Union Building
    [email protected]
Maggie

Maggie Richardson, M.A.

Student Success Advisor

Maggie joined the Office of Student Success in the summer of 2021.  Having earned a BA in English from Dartmouth College, and MA in Teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University and an Advanced Certificate in School Leadership from the City College of New York, Maggie holds teaching and school leadership credentials in Montana and New York State, where she spent 19 years teaching high school English and serving as an Assistant Principal in the New York City public school system.  She is the District Clerk for rural Springhill School and a developmental writing instructor at Gallatin College.  Maggie is excited about continuing her work supporting students as a Success Advisor.  Relocating to Montana with her Bobcat alum husband, Maggie enjoys these varied opportunities to serve the students of Montana while exploring her new state on the hiking trails, cultivating a garden, and reveling in the sunshine and big sky.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
William Kuba

William Kuba, Ed.D

Student Success Advisor

Bill has over 30 years of student affairs, enrollment management, and academic experience at all levels in education, in both the proprietary and non-profit environments. Before going into semi-retirement he was an Asst. Professor and Department Head of Physical Education at a small Iowa University and a member of the State of Iowa’s K-12 Physical Education curriculum redesign team. Currently, he holds an IRB / Jeanne Cleary Act Compliance Certification and Montana Teaching Credentials for K-12 Health Enhancement. He has an Ed.D. from Montana State University – Bozeman, MA in Teaching from Whitworth College, and a BA from Tabor College.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Sonja Chandler

Sonja Chandler, B.S.

Student Success Advisor

Whether teaching math and science at public schools on the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington, instructing mathematics at Gallatin College or even teaching preschoolers their letters and numbers, Sonja relishes the joy of students understanding something new. She joined the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success in the fall of 2021. After growing up in California, Sonja began her Montana adventure, earning her Bachelor of Science degree at Rocky Mountain College (emphasis in Mathematics and a Minor in Art) and her teaching certificate from MSU Billings. Sonja moved to Bozeman after meeting and marrying her husband, Doug, and perhaps most of her experience advising and teaching is with her own four children, who attended Bozeman Public Schools, the University of Montana, and the University of Utah.  These combined experiences have cemented her passion for helping students succeed and knowing that the factors for success are widely varied.  In her spare time, Sonja loves to travel, hike, work on a building project or two and spend time visiting with family and friends.  She is energetic and optimistic that all students can be successful and education is a beneficial element toward that goal.
   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]

Hilleman Scholars Program

Carina Beck

Dr. Carina N. Beck

Vice Provost - Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success

& Director, Hilleman Scholars

 

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
jenna hicks

Jenna Hicks, B.S.

MSU Hilleman Scholars Program Logistics Program Manager

Jenna joined the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success in December 2020 and is from the Hi-Line of Montana. She earned her B.S. in Agriculture Education with a focus on communication from MSU in Fall 2020. Jenna is an alumnus of the MSU Hilleman Scholars Program and was in the 2017 cohort of students. She served as both a scholar mentor in 2018 and a lead mentor for the program in 2019. Jenna is passionate about the MSU Hilleman Scholars Program as it helped her achieve her dream of an education and she is excited to help build and support the program. When she’s not at work, Jenna enjoys spending time with her dogs and her husband.

 

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Kristin Kawashima

Kristin Kawashima, B.A.

Kristin serves as the Scholar Success Program Manager for the Hilleman Scholars Program. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has spent the last decade working with youth in a variety of settings. Kristin was drawn to the Hilleman Scholars Program’s mission to support scholars on their paths to becoming the world’s future problem solvers and leaders. She is passionate about encouraging students to discover their full potential through a combination of leadership development, peer mentoring, and mindset coaching. Kristin strives to create a caring and supportive environment to help guide Hilleman Scholars as they explore their purpose and ways to transform their communities for the better. Outside of the office, Kristin enjoys trail running, traveling, and going on adventures with her pup.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Photo of Kenny Blies

Kenny Bies, M.Ed.

MSU Hilleman Scholars Success Advisor

Kenny is honored to have served as a Hilleman Scholar Success Advisor since the summer of 2019. He is a proud alumnus of Montana State University, with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Physical Education from MSU-Bozeman (Go Bobcats!) and a Master's degree in Guidance Counseling from MSU-Northern. These degrees were earned a long time ago, but they have helped create a solid foundation for his current life. The Hilleman Program is everything that he was seeking, years ago, when he came to college: encouragement, support, community, understanding and most importantly, hope! Hope creates opportunities for us to grow, shine and pay it forward. The Hilleman Program is entrenched in hope! Stealing a line shared by two incredible people (Duane Morris-current MSU Director of Event Services and Walt Disney-former Creator of cool parks around the world!), "We are in the business of making dreams come true!".and Kenny gets to participate in that magical business every day!

    177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Elizabeth Dickensheets

Ann Dickensheets, B.A.

MSU Hilleman Scholars Success Advisor

Ann joined the Office of Student Success in the fall of 2021. She received her BA in biology and secondary education from the University of Colorado, in her hometown of Boulder. For the next ten years,  she taught middle and high school science, math and physical education and couched track and cross country. In 1997, Ann and her husband moved to Bozeman where they raised their two sons and daughter. Since then, she has spent 22 years coordinating the youth and college ministries and leading music at the Methodist church, and has led dozens of domestic and international service weeks. In her spare time, Ann enjoys singing, traveling, hiking with her dog and skiing the beautiful trails around Bozeman.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected] 
StephanieSharpe

Stephanie Sharpe, B.A. 

MSU Hilleman Scholars Success Advisor 

Stephanie’s work as a Student Success Advisor with the Hilleman Scholars Program coincides with her career-long goal of making learning accessible to all students.   A former middle and high school English teacher with an English Literature/Secondary Education degree, Stephanie spent nearly 20 years in the classroom where she devoted herself to helping students succeed through strategies, resources, and engagement. Her work with College Board as a curriculum writer and teacher trainer reinforced her belief that complex concepts can be accessed when we provide the tools that connect a student with their learning objectives.  For the past few years Stephanie has worked one-on-one with students who need assistance with executive functioning, a critical component of student success.  She is eager to use her experience to further the development of Hilleman scholars.   

Stephanie’s passions beyond education are exploring the Montana outdoors, reading, writing, and hanging out with her rambunctious boxers.  She and her husband are the parents of three children, one of whom is a proud Montana State Bobcat.  

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]

Return-to-Learn

Stearns

Jacqueline Hagerman, B.S.

Assistant Director for Return-to-Learn 

As an alumnus of Montana State and the Return-to-Learn Scholarship Program, Jacquie is honored to serve as the Assistant Director of Return to Learn. Similar to the returning students and adult learners she works with, Jacquie’s educational journey wasn’t on a straight path. She graduated with a B.S. in Economics and Business Administration after taking a three-year break, which provides her with unique insights into some of the extrinsic and intrinsic challenges faced by adult learners. Jacquie uses her experiences as a returning adult learner to design and manage programs intended to support the unique needs of adult learners. She is passionate about addressing the challenge of broadening educational access and support for non-traditional age college students. 

Jacquie considers herself to be a lifelong learner, who is currently pursuing her master’s degree and takes every opportunity to participate in professional development. Outside of work, she likes to spend time with her husband, daughter, and their three dogs. 

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]
Jennifer White-Dobbs

Jennifer White-Dobbs, M.A.

Program Manager

Jennifer joined AYCSS in 2019 and Return-to-Learn in 2021.  Working with returning students is a fantastic opportunity and it is always exciting to learn someone’s story and find out their goals as they work to complete their degree. She enjoys helping students navigate campus resources, build a plan for a successful school/life combination, and develop the college experience they desire. With a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Maine, Orono and a M.A. in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, Jennifer’s previous work experience is in museum education and collections. She moved to Bozeman with her family to enjoy the beautiful outdoor lifestyle.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, horseback riding, and exploring.

   177 Strand Union Building
   [email protected]

Montana's Own

Deborah Albin

Deborah Albin, M.S.

Montana’s Own & 1893 Scholarship Program Manager

MSU students are the problem solvers and leaders of tomorrow, and it is Deb Albin’s privilege to help prepare them for these roles. Having previously spent over a decade working as an educator for the MSU Extension Service, being a native Montanan, and a proud two-time alum of MSU (Sociology ’09 and Public Relations ’16), Deb knows first-hand the importance of investing time and resources in Montanans and supporting students from communities throughout the state. 

As the manager of the Montana’s Own and 1893 scholarship programs, Deb identifies promising MSU juniors and seniors and works with them to shape their life and career goals and complete their undergraduate studies feeling strong and confident. Utilizing one-on-one meetings, group workshops, networking events, and personalized action plans, scholars in these two programs spend their final semesters examining their personal interests, strengths, and skills and combining them with their academic knowledge to embark on lives and careers of meaning and purpose. 

   177 Strand Union Building 
   406-994-2981
   [email protected]