Our academic coaches and editors offer impeccable editing skills, a meticulous eye for detail, and a caring and supportive approach to their work with students, faculty, and academic and career professionals. Learn more about our team!


Alan Acosta, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Alan Acosta is a higher education professional with 14 years of experience as an associate dean of students, assistant director for residence life, and residence coordinator, all roles he held at Florida State University. While at Florida State, he earned his PhD in higher education administration part time while working full time. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management and master’s degree in student personnel in higher education from the University of Florida.

Alan was a co-editor of the ACUHO-I and ASCA book focused on student conduct in the on-campus residential setting and has published articles in refereed and non-refereed journals on a variety of higher education topics. He has served as a reviewer for the Journal of College and Character and has an ongoing column in the NASPA Connexions Newsletter called “Fostering Moral Development,” which focuses on giving practical advice to higher education professionals about moral and ethical issues facing the field. Alan has also been an active member of ACPA – College Student Educators International and the Association for Student Conduct Administration, serving in various leadership roles and facilitating informative presentations with both organizations. During his personal time, Alan spends time with his partner Danielle, their cats, Ninja and Buster, and dog, Stella. He also enjoys reading, writing, traveling, watching sports, and watching pro wrestling.


Alexis Jones, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Alexis Jones is an assistant professor of teacher education at Eastern Illinois University. She is a former elementary teacher who strongly believes that humanity and relationships in classrooms are just as important as academic instruction. She earned all three of her degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is now teaching at Eastern Illinois University. She teaches a research methods course for graduate students, most of whom are actively teaching in K-12 classrooms. In this class, she gets to teach effective research methods, as well as academic writing and APA style.

Alexis has published in a number of journals, such as Teachers College Record, Issues in Teacher Education, and the Journal of Culture and Values in Education. She is also a collaborator on a book chapter in the recently released text, Preparing the Next Generation of Teacher Educators for Clinically Intensive Teacher Preparation. When not focused on teaching, learning, and publishing, Alexis enjoys running on the flat roads of central Illinois and listening to comedy radio.


Ally Hartzell, PhD
Director of Academic Writing Coaching and Editing

Dr. Ally Hartzell earned all of her degrees at The University of Texas at Austin. She earned her bachelor’s degree in human ecology while competing as an All-American collegiate diver, graduated with honors, and received an award for having the highest cumulative GPA of any graduating student-athlete. After being recruited into her first graduate program because of her writing ability, she earned her master’s degree in human development and family sciences. During that time, her research focused on marital relationships, and she wrote her thesis on sexuality in relation to the emotional climate of marriage, using longitudinal data and quantitative methods. She eventually went back to school to pursue her interdisciplinary PhD in sport management, women’s and gender studies, and educational psychology/counseling while working full time for the athletics department of her alma mater. For her dissertation research, she conducted a qualitative study examining women’s careers in intercollegiate athletics administration using the life course perspective. She has since published journal articles pertaining to women’s experiences and challenges participating and working in sport and earned a credential as a Global Career Development Facilitator. In addition, she has served as an invited reviewer for various journals in the sport management field and is an adjunct instructor at New York University’s School of Professional studies, facilitating undergraduate internship courses in the Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport.

Ally spent the majority of her career (11.5 years) working with Longhorn student-athletes as an academic mentor, tutor, academic counselor, academic coordinator, and senior academic coordinator prior to joining Heartful Editor. She was also heavily involved with the Texas Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Council, serving as cochair of the Gender Equity Committee. She is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and she feels fulfilled when she is helping others grow, develop, and work toward their goals.

After living in Texas for her entire life until Summer 2020, Ally now resides in Colorado Springs with her husband, Tommy; daughter, Alyvia; and two dogs, Nellie and Luna.


Ashley Staples, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Ashley Staples is a U.S. Fulbright Scholar at Durham University in England with a concurrent visiting faculty post at The Ohio State University for the 2021-2022 academic year. She completed her doctorate in educational studies with a focus in higher education and student affairs at Ohio State and transitioned into a postdoctoral scholar position first with the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Study (IDEALS) and then the Interfaith, Spiritual, Religious, and Secular Campus Climate Index (INSPIRES Index) project. Dr. Staples’s dissertation used critical sense making to examine how students at public universities processed their experiences with religious diversity on campus and personal encounters across belief systems, and her research interests center around organizational innovations of practice and policy to support college students, specifically those holding underrepresented social identities. Ashley received her master’s in higher education from North Carolina State University and earned bachelor’s degrees in logistics and international business from the University of Maryland – College Park.


Briseida Elenes, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Briseida I. Elenes completed her PhD in leadership studies with a concentration in higher education from the University of San Diego. Her dissertation explored how Latina community college administrators developed conocimiento leadership (situated critical consciousness) by drawing upon cultural and community knowledge along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. The study found conocimiento in Latinas’ community college leadership served to advance educational equity by replacing deficit narratives in educational policies and practices with culturally relevant, asset-based perspectives. These findings provide exciting implications for equity-focused educational leadership approaches in a period of massive student demographic shifts.

Briseida completed her MEd in postsecondary administration and student affairs from the University of Southern California and her BS in psychology from the University of California, San Diego. She has worked professionally in student affairs on equity-driven programs serving first-generation students and students of color, and has taught numerous courses at the undergraduate level. Her service work includes having served on NASPA’s Advisory Board and as a reviewer for the Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education. Her work is largely centered on holistic, experiential approaches to learning, personal development, and leadership. Briseida is a first-generation college student and is also the first (but not the last) in her family to obtain a doctorate degree. She applies her passions in student development, educational equity, and democratizing the knowledge production process by facilitating student’s acclimation to academia and academic writing.

Her hobbies include running, hiking, pretending to be an urban farmer, and spending quality time with friends and family, which includes two dogs, Parker and Flor.


Caleb Keith, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Caleb J. Keith (he/him/his) serves as director of institutional improvement at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He works in the Office of Planning and Institutional Improvement, directing the Program Review process, supporting IUPUI’s Program Review and Assessment Committee, providing internal consulting services to support change management processes, analyzing trends and producing periodic reports, collaborating with the Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and other campus leaders on strategic projects, representing the Office to various campus and external constituencies, and making intellectual contributions through professional venues. Prior to IUPUI, he served in positions at Millikin University, the Qatar Foundation/Hamad bin Khalifa University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), University of Georgia, and University of the Ozarks.

Caleb’s research and writing interests include faculty issues, student success initiatives, academic and student affairs partnerships, technology in higher education, assessment practice, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and learner-centered pedagogical practices. He earned a Bachelor of Music in commercial music and music business and a BA in communication from Millikin University. He received an MEd in college student affairs administration from the University of Georgia and a PhD in higher education from the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia.


Cassie Kao, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Cassie Kao (pronounced K-C K-O) has worked in public higher education for over 10 years with experience from working with the president and supporting the board of trustees to advocating and furthering the work of student affairs. Prior to that, she worked in the real estate development and management sector. Her interests include exercising and being active, watching movies, helping people find and live out their purpose, and cheering for the local champions—New England Patriots! Dr. Kao has been active in several professional organizations—Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE), Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), and the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA). Furthermore, she was certified as a rape aggression defense (RAD) instructor in 2018.

Cassie’s research centered around Asian American student engagement on college campuses. As a first-generation, Christian, Asian American professional woman, Cassie has used her identities to advocate on behalf of students and educate colleagues at national and local conferences and workshops. She completed her EdD in higher education administration at New England College, her MS in criminal justice at Salem State University, and her BS in business administration at Babson College.


Damon Sloan, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Damon Sloan is executive director of community standards and student advocacy at Governors State University in Illinois. He earned his Doctor of Education degree at the University of St. Francis, while serving as Vice President of Student & Alumni Affairs and Dean of Students. Dr. Sloan also holds a Master of Science degree in student counseling from Kansas State University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre/speech communication from Siena Heights University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Ball State University.

Dr. Sloan examined cocurricular predictors of long-term career success of 20-year alumni for his dissertation. In addition to a 25-year student affairs career in residence life, student conduct, advising, and orientation, he has also served as an adjunct faculty member at three institutions, teaching classes in speech communication, first-year experience, and leadership in higher education.

Damon enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, especially excursions into Chicago. He also has active interests in theatre, the Chicago White Sox, politics, playing cornhole, and reading nonfiction history. He has a lifelong interest to see all 37 Shakespeare plays performed live and to attend a major league baseball game in every city with a team. He jokes that the Venn diagram for a person with both these goals is a single dot where the circles intersect.


Darbi Leigh Roberts, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Darbi Leigh Roberts has spent 15 years at the intersection of the student affairs and international education fields. Her focus has been on serving international student populations and supporting the internationalization efforts of institutions such as Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, and Southern New Hampshire University.

Although her personality is decidedly Midwestern, Darbi could call Texas, Virginia, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Qatar, New York City, Chicago, New Hampshire, or South Carolina her home. Spending time in all of these places has critically shaped her understanding of people, cultures, and communities. She combines her training in international higher education, her travels, and her personal and professional experiences in navigating cultural difference to support others through intercultural learning and transition. Darbi loves spending her free time with her family (i.e., her partner, toddler, dog, and 2 cats), hiking in the mountains or cooking in the kitchen. She is also a retired professional triathlete, coach, and life-long sports enthusiast.

She has been involved in several professional associations’ international work for over a decade, including presenting and writing for national and regional conferences and publications through ACPA, NASPA, NAFSA, AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators), and IASAS (International Association of Student Affairs and Services). Her research and professional interests have focused on comprehensive and integrative international student support, intercultural learning through physical and virtual student exchange, comparative higher education, higher education practice and policy transfer, comparative student affairs, educational partnerships, and international student and scholar mobility. Darbi holds an M.A. and Ed.D. in international & comparative education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and a B.S. in psychology and european studies from Carnegie Mellon University.


David “Schmiddy” Schmid, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. David Schmid, better known as Schmiddy to his colleagues and students, is an associate professor and program coordinator at the University of Northern Iowa in the postsecondary education: student affairs program. In this role, he teaches numerous classes in the masters and doctoral programs, in addition to serving as dissertation and thesis chair and committee member. Prior to his full-time faculty position, he worked for over 20 years in residence life and 10 years as an adjunct faculty member. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in human resources management from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a Master of Arts degree in counseling and student personnel from Oklahoma State University, and a Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership: postsecondary education from the University of Northern Iowa.

Schmiddy has focused his research on the practical skills that both student affairs professionals and faculty members use in their positions. He completed two self-studies to look at his own work and is working on a future study to examine the skills used by former practitioners in their faculty roles in student affairs. In his spare time, he appreciates time with friends, and an occasional gambling trip, with Las Vegas being his favorite destination.


DeAris Hoard, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. DeAris Vontae Hoard is a lecturer of criminal justice at Eastern New Mexico University, an adjunct in the public safety department at Franklin University, and a contributing faculty member at Walden University. He also serves as a police training officer with the Louisville Metro Police Department, and an affiliated research scientist with the Integrative Behavioral Health Research Institute. He earned his BS in criminal justice from the University of Louisville, his MS in criminal justice from Xavier University, and his PhD in criminal justice from Walden University. His dissertation focused on the impact of wearable video system implementation on the presence and experience of police misconduct in law enforcement.

Dr. Hoard’s research interests include race, class, and crime; criminal justice policy and administration; policing; and marginalized groups in the criminal justice system. He holds professional memberships in the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, the Southern Criminal Justice Association, the American Criminal Justice Association, and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

DeAris is the first in his family to obtain any education beyond community college. He is dedicated to excellence in education, and takes great pride in helping other students make their academic goals become realities. When he is not working, DeAris enjoys hiking, hanging with friends, and escaping to the Caribbean to relax on the beaches.


Dennis Sheridan, EdD, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Dennis Sheridan is professor emeritus of higher education leadership at Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California where he taught for more than 25 years. His leadership roles at APU included program director of the MEd program in college counseling and student development and the EdD program in higher education leadership.  Dennis joined the faculty of APU after a 15-year career as a student affairs professional, first in the residential living program at Texas Christian University and then as vice president for student affairs at California Baptist University. His first career was as a high school teacher of English and social studies in his home state of Louisiana.

Dennis holds degrees from Louisiana Tech University (BA), Louisiana State University (MEd), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MRE and EdD), and the University of California, Los Angeles (PhD). He has also completed a certificate in Anglican Studies at the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont (CA) and is an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church.

His areas of expertise include college student development, leadership theory, theology and spirituality, survey research design, statistical analysis, and action research. His personal research in recent years has focused on the development of compassion in leaders who serve in higher education institutions. He has extensive experience in serving on and chairing dissertation committees.

Following retirement from his formal role in the academy, Dennis enjoys the important work of supporting graduate students as they complete their dissertations, theses, and culminating projects.


Emily Guetzoian, EdD
Director of Academic Writing Coaching and Editing

Dr. Emily Guetzoian is a proud first-generation college graduate. She holds a BA in sociology and a BA in communication from California State University Channel Islands, an MS in counseling and guidance (college student personnel) from California Lutheran University, and an EdD in higher education leadership from Fresno State University. Her dissertation was a mixed-methods, multi-institutional study examining the academic success, feelings of belonging, and commitment to service of first-generation sorority members.

Emily has experience in a variety of higher education areas at public and private institutions, including housing and residential life, summer conferencing, academic advising, academic coaching, writing centers, tutoring services, student employment and development, capstone/field studies projects, clubs and organizations, and new student orientation. She enjoys staying actively involved in professional organizations, particularly in the learning center community, to continually discover new ideas and strategies to support students.

Outside of her professional life, Emily enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with her two pitbulls, exercising and strength training, and playing the piano and violin.


Erika Pichardo, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Erika Pichardo works in higher education within student affairs. The college is located in New York and serves a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students. In her role, she focuses on prevention, education, and awareness on sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. She coordinates various workshops and events related to these topics while also training student leaders, faculty, and staff. Her goal is to improve the education and awareness around these issues to normalize the topics of consent and healthy relationships and to disrupt gender stereotypes. As such, she takes an informative but exciting approach when discussing these issues with her campus community and those around her. When she is not educating students on these topics, Erika is teaching undergraduates writing and research skills. As an adjunct instructor, Erika works with students on developing their writing skills and defining their research and data collection skills. Regardless of what role she is in, her focus is always on the student and ensuring they are paving their way to success.

Erika earned her BA in sociology and English from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, her MA in criminology and justice from St. John’s University, and her PhD in criminal justice with a specialization in law and public policy from Walden University. Her dissertation focused on understanding community members’ perceptions of opioid abuse treatment programs for women in Westchester County. Her research interests include criminal justice policy and administration, SDDVS policies and education, the intersection of gender and criminal justice, and drug abuse through a social labeling lens. Erika is a proud member of Alpha Phi Sigma Phi Nu and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She is also a notary public in the state of New York.

In her free time, Erika enjoys reading psychological thrillers, dancing Zumba, and writing poems. She enjoys traveling, collecting coffee mugs from each place she visits, and traveling at least three times a year.


Geneva Sarcedo, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Not to be confused with her identical twin sister Genice Sarcedo-Magruder, EdD, Dr. Geneva Sarcedo (she/her/hers) is an academic advisor in the School of Education and Human Development at University of Colorado Denver, where she also teaches in the First-Year Experience program and Ethnic Studies department. She earned her PhD in education and human development from CU Denver in 2020, MA in educational organization and leadership with an emphasis in higher education from University of San Francisco, and BS in human development and minor in education from University of California, Davis.

Prior to coming to Colorado, Geneva worked as an advisor for University of California, Davis and Berkeley, serving first-generation and low-income college students in the Educational Opportunity Program and Student Support Services. As a first-generation college graduate from a low-income background, her personal and professional experiences influence her research interests in student affairs, campus climate, undergraduate retention, critical race theory and whiteness in academic advising, and best and promising practices for working with first-generation and low-income college students of color.

Outside of work, Geneva is a proud mother–scholar of a spunky grade-schooler, avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and self-proclaimed APA Style nerd. She even has a tattoo of the APA Style logo on her left wrist, which she got after finishing her PhD to represent the constant, yet evolving, support she received throughout her education and career.


Gillian Foss, PhD
Director of Academic Writing Coaching and Editing

Dr. Gillian Foss is a recent graduate of the PhD program in educational leadership and research at Louisiana State University, where she specialized in higher education administration. Her major research interests include higher education law, finance, and policy, and her dissertation explored how those systems intersect and operationalize on a modern university campus. While at LSU, Gillian worked as the graduate assistant for assessment in Residential Life and as a graduate research assistant for the School of Education. In her spare time, Gillian also served as both a writing coach for the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition and an advocacy advisor for students at LSU who needed assistance navigating the campus disciplinary process.

Although her doctoral studies brought her to the Deep South—and, with it, an enduring love for Mardi Gras and crawfish—most of Gillian’s life was spent in a small town on the coast of Maine before moving to New York to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree from Marist College. As an undergrad in Marist’s Honors Program, Gillian studied journalism and public relations while also competing as a collegiate rugby player and studying abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy. She later received her Master of Arts degree in public relations from Iona College, during which she held a transformative internship at The Fresh Air Fund that steered her irrevocably toward using empirical research and continued service to advocate for the betterment of our nation’s educational systems.

Gillian’s journey has now landed her in the beautiful state of Colorado, where she spends countless hours hiking with her partner, reading in the sun, and attempting to convert her baked goods recipes into ones suitable for high altitude.


Ginny Boss, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Ginny Boss is an assistant professor of college student affairs administration and leadership at the University of Georgia. She completed her graduate degrees in college student affairs (PhD) and mental health counseling (MA) as well as an undergraduate degree in communication studies (BA). She has been working professionally in higher education since 2007, and she has been a faculty member since 2014. She is currently teaching across two doctoral programs and a master’s program. Her research and practice are aimed at amplifying the ways scholars of color, particularly women and students, are interfacing with and transforming higher education through their active engagement on their campuses.

Ginny specializes in the areas of teaching and learning; theory-to-practice; and equity, diversity, and inclusion in student affairs and higher education. She has published in a number of journals, such as the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of the Professoriate, Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and Urban Review.


Gretchen D. Fricke, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Gretchen D. Fricke completed her EdD in educational leadership with a focus in higher education student services from the University of Missouri St. Louis. Her dissertation explored the constructs of thriving in student affairs professionals to address the concern of staff retention. Gretchen holds degrees from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (MSEd, instructional technology), North Park University (MBA), and Wheaton College, Illinois (BA, sociology). She has a long career in higher education leading teams focused on student retention and success through advising.

Outside of work, Gretchen enjoys spending time with her family and three dogs, being outdoors, and traveling to new places.


Jason Chan, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Jason Chan has been a scholar-practitioner in the field of higher education for over 15 years. He earned his BA in psychology and biological basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania, his MEd in college student personnel from the University of Maryland-College Park, and his PhD in higher education and organizational change from UCLA.

Jason’s research interests center around the impact of geographic, environmental, and contextual influences on college students’ identity development. His dissertation, which won three Dissertation of the Year awards, explored how the distinct social, cultural, and political context of the U.S. Midwest region influence the ways in which Asian American college students make meaning of race and racial identity. Jason’s past work has been published in a number of academic journals and monographs, and he previously served as managing editor for the Journal of Higher Education.
Much of Jason’s professional background has been grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion work, specifically around efforts to promote the success of students of color, first-generation students, and low-income students. Currently, he is the Director of Fellowships & Associate Director for Assessment and Advising at Haverford College’s Center for Career and Professional Advising. When not working, Jason enjoys travel, photography, bouldering, playing pub trivia, and discovering new craft beers and breweries.


Jason Fitzer, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Jason Fitzer spent more than a decade as a student affairs educator focused on helping students become involved and engaged with their institution and college experience. Jason gained experience supporting student organizations, fraternities and sororities, student government, student conduct, new student orientation, and facilitating student leadership experiences.

Jason has also volunteered with various Greek-letter organizations, including Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, Alpha Delta Pi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Phi Gamma Delta. Additionally, Jason previously volunteered with NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education), where he served in leadership roles with the Sustainability Knowledge Community, Gender and Sexuality (formerly GLBT) Knowledge Community, Region III Advisory Board, and the Undergraduate Student Conference Planning Committee.

Jason graduated with a BS in business administration from California State University, Chico, as well as an MEd in college student affairs and a PhD in counseling and student personnel services, both from the University of Georgia. In his qualitative dissertation, he used narrative inquiry to understand the experiences of student affairs professionals of color and how they navigated working with and supporting students of color.


Jennifer Perkins, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Jennifer Perkins is an adjunct professor in the School Leadership program at the University of North Florida. She is an educator with more than 20 years of experience working in all levels of education. Jennifer began her career as a secondary English teacher before transitioning to higher education administration, where she focused on academic-student affairs partnerships, outreach and engagement, and assessment. Her work has been published in the Journal of College and University Student Housing and in ACPA’s Assessment in Practice: A Companion Guide to the ASK Standards monograph.

Jennifer earned her doctorate at the University of North Florida, where she was recognized with the Thomas Mulkeen Award for the dissertation that best exemplified practice-centered inquiry. She holds a master’s degree in student services administration from Baylor University, and a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she majored in English. Jennifer enjoys spending time at sporting events, the beach, and theme parks. She will also gladly swap stories about white water rafting and skydiving.


Karina Viaud, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Karina Viaud is the associate director for the Engaged Teaching Hub with Teaching + Learning Commons at the University of California, San Diego. In this role, she provides teaching development to faculty and graduate teaching students. She has over 15 years of experience in higher education, working at private and public campuses within student affairs, enrollment management, and university relations. In these roles, she has worked with diverse groups of students and their families. She has also served as an instructor for both undergraduate and graduate students. Karina is active with NASPA and supports graduate students in a variety of ways.

Karina’s dissertation involved the educational experiences of first-generation doctoral students of color. Demonstrated by the narrative approach in this study, she believes in the power of voices and stories that bring deep insight to the everyday lived experiences of marginalized and underrepresented persons in dominant cultures and systems. Karina also believes educators contribute to the shaping of students’ experiences through everyday behaviors. Because of her research on doctoral students, she has a deep understanding of the doctoral experience for women, working professionals, first-generation students, and other students pursuing terminal degrees. Karina advocates for the success of and communicates challenges experienced by doctoral students.

As an academic coach and editor, Karina’s goals are to support students, listen to and meet students’ goals, and create a space for students to grow and learn. Each student’s work represents their voice on a topic that is important to them and therefore is a part of Karina’s journey as a team member of Heartful Editor.

Outside of work, Karina enjoys finding a new place to eat and Yelping about it. She really enjoys coming home from work to decompress while listening to Bossa Nova music. She is also becoming a regular practitioner of meditation.


Katie Sorokas, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Katie Sorokas has spent her career empowering students and professionals to feel strong and resilient in their pursuits. Katie holds a BA in women’s studies and Master of Public Health degree from The Ohio State University. She earned her PhD in health education from Kent State University, where she researched the effects of sexual violence on the academic success of college women. Katie’s background in women’s healthcare, residence life, and research grounds her strength as a professional and a social justice educator and advocate. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Katie lives on her mini homestead in Ohio raising chickens, bees, and her two little boys. She is an active volunteer and activist in her community as well as a freelance writer.


Kim Burdett, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Burdett is an academic editor with over three decades of experience in higher education. Kim earned her bachelor’s degree in social ecology with an emphasis in psychology and social behavior from the University of California, Irvine; an MS in counseling with a specialization in student development in higher education from California State University, Long Beach; and a PhD in educational leadership in higher education from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She has held administrative positions at Chapman University and the University of California, Irvine in visitor services, student housing, academic integrity, and student conduct. Her dissertation focused on how students choose colleges.

Kim is an advocate for all students, with years of experience working with college students of all ages, graduate students, and high school students as they explore and apply to colleges. As an educator who has worked with all levels of students, students who are excelling, and students who encounter bumps along their educational path, she is committed to helping all students reach their potential.

Kim loves to travel, and particularly enjoys being somewhere in the mountains or on a boat in the ocean.


Kyle Ashlee, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Kyle Ashlee (he/him/they) is an educator, consultant, writer, and yoga teacher who lives Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and daughter. Kyle attended the University of Michigan as a first-generation college student, where he graduated with degrees in philosophy and political science. In 2009, he earned a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Colorado State University. After several years of professional experience supporting college students at institutions around the world, Kyle earned a PhD in educational leadership in 2019 from Miami University. He currently teaches in the College Counseling and Student Development program at St. Cloud State University and has published articles, chapters, and books on topics such as social justice, men and masculinities, critical whiteness studies, and critical pedagogy in higher education.


Laura Maldonado, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Laura Maldonado has been a scholar–practitioner for over 15 years. Her higher education experience includes work at research universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges. She has worked at a community college leadership and research center and spent more than a decade working in career services reporting under student affairs, academic affairs, and advancement units. Laura earned a PhD in educational leadership, policy, and human development from North Carolina State University, a MEd in counselor education from Clemson University, and a BA in economics from Muhlenberg College. She is a national certified counselor committed to career development, career and technical education, and community colleges. She is also passionate about supporting graduate students as they showcase their writing projects to multiple outlets. Outside of work, Laura can be found organizing closets, walking in her neighborhood, and practicing yoga. She resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband and son.


Leah Tompkins, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Leah Tompkins grew up in central Kansas and received her undergraduate degree in Health Promotion from Emporia State University. She went on to earn a Master of Science in Health Education from Texas A&M University and a Master of Education in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education from UNC-Greensboro. Leah completed her Doctorate of Education in Student Affairs Leadership at the University of Georgia in 2020. While pursuing her graduate education, Leah worked full-time as a student affairs administrator at UNC-Greensboro (2008-2014 & 2018-2021) and at Emory University (2015-2018). Leah accepted a new role at The University of Alabama in 2021 to join the Department of Health Science as an Assistant Professor to coordinate two master’s degree programs and to guide students through their culminating experience requirements as a faculty member. Leah is an avid traveler and loves going on road trips with her golden girl senior dog, Sadie Rose. Leah is planning to return to international travel in 2022 with plans to visit Greece and Portugal.


Leann Zink, MA
Project Coordinator

Leann Zink holds an MA in higher education with a student affairs concentration and a BA in human development and family science, both from Messiah College (now Messiah University). While completing her MA degree, she worked as a graduate assistant in the Career and Professional Development Center on campus where she coached over 200 undergraduate students on such topics as resume and cover letter writing, major and minor selection, interviewing and networking strategies, the internship and job search process, and professional development skills. Her work there also entailed facilitating career and professional development events such as a career and graduate school expo attended by 600 students and 140 employers, providing constructive mock interview feedback for students, and advising students enrolled in a full-semester, credit-bearing internship course.

When Leann was not working or studying, she served as an advisor for Messiah College’s student-led service trips, encouraging students as they grew in their leadership, self-understanding, sense of purpose, and relationships with others. Additionally, she provided support to international students at Gettysburg College, listening to their stories of challenge and success both one-on-one and through the creation of a focus group.

Now, as a member of the Heartful Editor team, Leann continues to walk alongside college students as they reach their personal, professional, and educational goals. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, learning new languages (currently, it is Hebrew), spending time in coffee shops, exploring new places and foods, and laughing with friends.


Leslie Webb, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Leslie Webb has more than 25 years of experience as a practitioner in higher education. Leslie holds a BA from Central Washington University in theatre arts, a MS from Western Illinois University in college student personnel, and a PhD from Colorado State University. Leslie is an active contributor to the field, mentoring current and future student affairs leaders. She serves on the James E. Scott Academy Board, was a member of the inaugural Equity in Leadership Academy, and was the Regional Director for NASPA Region V.

Her dedication to improving student success and reduce equity gaps is evidenced in university and divisional level changes she led, including restructuring the executive enrollment committee and establishing an action-oriented student success and retention committee. Several research projects led to a deeper understanding of the student experience and informed numerous interventions and investments focused on the underserved. Her research interests have focused on the experiences of underrepresented students including first generation and rural students.

Leslie was previously the vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Boise State University where she served in multiple roles during her 12-year tenure. She joined the University of Montana campus in August 2022 and serves as vice provost focusing on student success and retention and supporting a vibrant campus life. She loves the outdoors, is an avid trail runner, and a mom to two college attending humans and one Boxer named Tater. She and her partner recently relocated to beautiful Missoula, Montana.


Lindsey Dippold, PhD
Executive Administrator

Prior to joining Heartful Editor full time as an academic coach and editor, Dr. Lindsey Katherine Dippold was a clinical assistant professor in higher and postsecondary education at Arizona State University. Dr. Dippold became passionate about student success in higher education while still an undergraduate student studying psychology at James Madison University. Her MS in counseling and college student development provided a solid framework for early positions in orientation and career services at University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She served as a career counselor and administrator as well as a career development course instructor for 7 years at Florida State University, where she also completed her PhD in higher education and leadership studies.

Lindsey has also served as an AmeriCorps college counselor, a dissertation chair for online students, a private academic editor, and an adjunct faculty member at her local community college, and she is dedicated to helping students attain their educational goals. Her research interests and work include topics related to generational differences, adjunct faculty concerns, community colleges, international higher education, and leadership theory.

When she’s not teaching or editing, Lindsey enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and running around the great outdoors.


Mary Smith, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Mary Smith is a higher education professional with over 15 years of experience in a variety of higher education areas including law admissions, multicultural affairs, college access, career services, fraternity and sorority life, and alumni affairs. She currently serves as associate director for employer programs and development at Old Dominion University.

Mary is a proud first-generation college graduate and holds a BA from Clemson University in mathematical sciences, a MS from Florida State University in higher education, and a PhD from North Carolina State University in educational research and policy analysis. For her dissertation research, she conducted a quantitative study examining the impact of a summer bridge program on the academic success of 1st-year college students. Mary has since published articles in the Journal of Latinos and Education and the Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

Outside of her professional life, Mary enjoys spending time with her husband and 1-year-old daughter. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.


Matthew Van Jura, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Matthew Van Jura is a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in political science and history and a PhD in educational studies. Dr. Van Jura earned an MEd from the University of Vermont in higher education and student affairs administration. He has over 12 years of professional experience in higher education and student affairs, including work in the college union, leadership and service programs, and student affairs assessment. Matt’s dissertation leveraged critical perspectives to describe how midlevel professionals navigate the personal, professional, educational, and political tensions associated with campus free speech events. His broader research interests include democratic engagement, leadership development, service learning, and student success. Matt’s work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and as policy briefs. Matt is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Office of Academic Enrichment at The Ohio State University.

Matt lives in North Carolina with his family, where he enjoys running, hiking, community organizing, and sampling local craft beers.


Megan Bell, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Megan Bell has over 20 years of experience leading teams and change in higher education. Megan currently oversees assessment and evaluation for the Division of Student Affairs at Cal State Northridge. Prior to that role, she was a senior-level administrator in student affairs at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Throughout her career, Megan has facilitated learning for teams and organizations on the topics of social justice, leadership development, appreciative inquiry, assessment and evaluation, communication, and team engagement. She believes in the power of using individual and organizational strengths to build teams, identify opportunities for growth, and effect change. She has extensive experience with supervision, as well as overseeing financial and capital resources.

Megan earned a PhD in higher education leadership from Colorado State University. She also has served as an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She has taught and developed in-person and virtual courses in organizational leadership, diversity and inclusiveness, higher education administration, assessment, and educational policy and governance. Using a critical intersectional lens, her research interests include college student development, identity, and mentoring. Her mixed methods dissertation focused on 1st-year college students who identify as multiracial and their preferences within a mentoring relationship.

Megan currently resides in Culver City, California with her daughter, husband, and two high-maintenance cats. She enjoys traveling, reading, and dancing, but, more than anything, loves conversation with interesting people while eating good food.


Megan Segoshi, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Megan Segoshi is the Manager of Faculty Diversity Initiatives at Boston University. She holds a BA in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, an MSW from the University of Georgia, and a PhD in higher education from Loyola University Chicago. Megan’s research has focused on Asian American racial identity consciousness and engagement in racial justice work, as well as college access and affirmative action policy. Her research and professional journey are guided by her strong passion for social justice and racial equity. She continues to serve as a reviewer for several academic journals, and in the past has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs. Megan also has experience working as a student affairs administrator in multicultural affairs and in the education technology sector.

In her free time, Megan enjoys spending time with friends and family, baking, and playing video games. She resides in Boston, Massachusetts, with her two cats, Nova and Fiona.


Michael Bliss, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Michael B. Bliss, Jr. completed his EdD in higher education administration at New England College. Mike’s dissertation explored student affairs providing student learning evidence. The study found that the assessment culture of the unit and lack of funding/expertise in assessment is directly related to the ability to provide evidence of learning. Mike completed his MA in higher education from Boston College and his BA in sociology from New York University.

Mike has worked in student affairs primarily in residence life and housing, first at Tufts University and now for over a decade at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He currently serves as the associate director of housing logistics at UML. Mike has taught several first-year/transfer seminars at UML and serves as the NASPA AOD knowledge community national co-chair. Mike comes from a family of educators, and his wife Caitlyn also works in higher education at Boston College. They live in New Hampshire with their dogs Miller and Charlie.


Misti Jeffers, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Misti Jeffers is a postdoctoral research fellow in the PRiME Center at Saint Louis University, where her research broadly focuses on college access and success in Missouri. Misti is passionate about conducting applied research with the objective to identify policies and programs that increase equitable advancement along education and career pathways. Her dissertation, a case study of the McNair Program, explores the institutional factors at play in educational experiences of first-generation students at rural colleges.

Misti earned her PhD in social policy from Brandeis University, MA in child study and human development from Tufts University, and BS in psychology and human services from East Tennessee State University, where she was a McNair Scholar. Misti has presented at numerous national conferences on rural, first-generation college student experiences, career pathways research methodology, Appalachian identity, and equity in juvenile justice reform initiatives. Before her doctoral studies, she worked in program evaluation at Jumpstart for Young Children and in direct care at a trauma-based youth behavioral health facility. Outside of academia, Misti loves walking dogs and reading YA dystopian fiction.


Natalie Oliner, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Natalie Oliner is a higher education and student affairs professional, currently working at the University of Louisville in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering’s Office of Student Success. Her specialties include academic counseling; retention; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and student success programming.

Natalie is also a higher education scholar. Having studied sociology, religious studies, and philosophy at Indiana University; student access and success in higher education at the University of Michigan; and college student personnel at the University of Louisville, Natalie has a wide range of interests and loves learning! She published journal articles in the Journal of College Student Development and New Directions for Student Leadership as well as book chapters in Advising Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer College Students. Her research interests include identity negotiation, LGBTQ+ oppression, sense of belonging, retention, and experiences of underrepresented populations in STEM majors. She is also an active member of several committees and coalitions in the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).

Beyond work and research, Natalie enjoys playing various instruments, listening to music, reading, playing games, doing puzzles and escape rooms, biking, traveling, and hiking with friends and family. She also enjoys restful weekends with her wife, dog, and their orange tabby cats.


Pamela Cohen, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Pamela Cohen has more than two decades of experience in the field of career development and currently serves as the Associate Director of STEM Career Advising at Princeton University, guiding science and engineering students through the exploration of a broad range of professional and academic career paths. Throughout her career, she has focused on meeting the needs of specialized populations, including international students, nontraditional learners, and first-generation college students.

A humanities fan at heart, Pamela earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies education and a master’s degree in counseling from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In 2018, she earned her doctorate in educational leadership at Rowan University where she completed her dissertation titled, What Career Development Practitioners Share With First-Generation College Students: A Grounded Theory Study of Self-Disclosure in Career Counseling.She has published her findings in the NACE Journaland has presented on the topic to several audiences.

When she manages to tear herself away from her trusted APA manual, this born-and-bred Jersey Girl can be found either “down the shore” or traveling the world with her husband.


Sabrena O’Keefe, PhD
Executive Director

Dr. Sabrena O’Keefe is driven by a passion to help students become the best version of themselves. After holding various administrative positions in student affairs, she transitioned to full time with Heartful Editor as director of academic coaching and editing in 2020, then executive director in 2021. Sabrena was also formerly an adjunct instructor for the First-Year Experience course and an Exploring Leadership course for public administration. She earned an AAS in computer networking and a BS in human resource management from the Pennsylvania College of Technology, an MEd in student affairs and higher education from the University of South Carolina, and a graduate certificate in conflict resolution and consensus building and a PhD in higher education administration from Florida International University. Her dissertation was titled, The Development and Initial Validation of a Self-Assessment for Global Leadership Competencies. She is also a certified practitioner of the MBTI Step I & II instruments by the Center for Applications of Psychological Type and Strengths-Based Education by Gallup.

Sabrena’s research interests include leadership competencies, student learning outcomes, global leadership, quantitative survey development, and quantifying student learning in cocurricular involvement. She has a few publications and has presented nationally several times on these topics. Outside of work, Sabrena enjoys rollerblading, paddle boarding, country music, being on a pirate krewe, and spending time with her little sister from Big Brothers and Big Sisters.


Shelley Price-Williams, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Shelley Price-Williams is assistant professor of postsecondary education at the University of Northern Iowa. She holds 2 decades of experience in student and academic affairs spanning program development and management as well as academic advising, career counseling, and assessment. Dr. Price-Williams serves on several editorial boards to include the NACADA Journal and the Journal for Student Affairs Research and Practice. She also serves as senior co-editor for the text series Identity & Practice in Higher Education-Student Affairs by Information Age Publishing. Dr. Price-Williams’s research interests center on noncognitive factors of college student development and persistence, inclusion of nondominant groups in the college environment, and multicultural organizational development. She teaches courses on leading and advising, the American community college, legal aspects of administration, administration and finance, research design, and assessment.


Staci Weber, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Staci Weber completed her doctorate in postsecondary education administration at Syracuse University in New York, where her dissertation focused on first-generation college students who used college access and support programs throughout their college-going journey. Dr. Weber’s dissertation received accolades from NASPA and Syracuse University. She received her MEd in student affairs practice in higher education from the University of Delaware and her BA in psychology from Franklin & Marshall College. Weber has worked as the special assistant to the president and dean of student affairs at Pine Manor College. Before that, she worked in student activities, academic services, and enrollment management. Staci is passionate about strategic planning, college access, and retention with a focus on first-generation, low-income college students. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her partner and foster dog.


Stacy Holguin, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Stacy Holguin (she/her) is the founder of Presidio Group Education Planning. Through 3 decades of working closely with teens and young adults, Stacy developed a passion for helping students create post high school plans to set them on the path toward a successful, self-sustaining life. Her focus is on bringing the joy to the exploration process and finding the right-fit college, program, or career options for each student. In addition to her 30-year career as a university administrator, Stacy has served as an adjunct professor at two universities, and an academic coach and editor for doctoral students.

As a first-generation college student from the Los Angeles area, Stacy graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in political science. She returned to school to earn an MS in counseling with an emphasis in higher education from California State University, East Bay, and an EdD in educational administration and leadership from the University of the Pacific. Most recently, Stacy earned a certificate in independent educational consulting from UC Irvine.

When Stacy is not helping put the joy in the college planning process or coaching students through the writing process, she spends time with her family and friends, traveling, cooking, swimming, working out, playing with her dog, and scrapbooking all the photos she’s gathered while enjoying life.


Susan Lantz, PhD
Director of Academic Writing Coaching and Editing

Dr. Susan Lantz is a faculty member in Penn State University’s graduate program in higher education and student affairs. In addition to her teaching role, Susan is a student affairs professional with 30 years of administrative experience. Most recently, Susan served as vice president of student life at Susquehanna University, a small private liberal arts institution in central Pennsylvania.  Her earlier administrative experience includes 4 years as Bucknell University’s dean of students and 15 years as associate dean of students at Lehigh University. She has a strong interest in student retention and persistence. She also served as a sexual assault advocate for 20 years and earned three awards from student groups for her work supporting underrepresented students on campus.

Susan received her bachelor’s degree in English from Dickinson College, her master’s in higher education and student affairs from Bowling Green State University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Delaware. Her dissertation studied strategies to create parent interactions on college campuses that assist with the development of resilience and independent problem solving in undergraduate students.

Susan is a proud mother of two adult sons. She and her luthier husband are renovating an 1885 farmhouse in Lewisburg, PA.


Suzanne Baker, EdD
Director of Academic Writing Coaching and Editing

Dr. Suzanne Baker has worked in higher education administration and student affairs since 2008 in a variety of functional areas, including residence life, international education, study abroad, admissions, academic advising, university conduct, and leadership development.

Suzanne studied at California State University, Chico, where she earned a BA in human geography and a BA in German. She continued on to complete her MA in postsecondary educational leadership with an emphasis in student affairs from San Diego State University. In 2019, she completed her EdD in educational leadership from Northeastern University, with a focus on higher education administration and leadership development. Her dissertation focused on understanding how undergraduate students returning from study abroad make meaning of their experiences to facilitate transformative learning experiences. In addition to her research interests in international education and adult learning, she also enjoys exploring leadership development theory in an effort to create social change within our communities, both locally and abroad.

Suzanne also enjoys getting outdoors to explore all the world has to offer (hiking trails, skiing mountains, and photographing sunsets), as well as adding to the never-ending pile of books on her bookshelf with the hope of reading them all someday!


Tamara E. Jones, EdD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Tamara E. Jones recently earned her EdD in educational leadership with an advanced certificate in program evaluation at the University of Rochester. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a Master of Science in elementary education from Nazareth College. She also earned both School Administrator and Supervisor and School District Administrator in School Administration and Education Leadership at the University of Rochester. Tamara has over 27 years of experience in education. For 11 of those years, she has served as an elementary and high school teacher. For the past 16 years (and still counting), Tamara has worked for the Wayne-Finger Lakes Board of Cooperative Educational Services. She has served as a regional staff development trainer, coordinator of assessment and accountability, coordinator of K-12 instructional support and training, and a Gemini English professor associated with Finger Lakes Community College. Currently, she is the Assistant Principal at the Experiential School at W-FL BOCES PTECH.

Tamara’s passion is centered on curriculum and instruction, program evaluation, data-informed instruction, and assessment design. As a private consultant, she has shared her leadership skills and strong knowledge base in assessment design and data-informed instruction in training regional and statewide stakeholders as well as 100+ Illinois ASCD national participants, including superintendents, directors, administrators, and teachers in the Data Wise Improvement Process.


Vivienne Felix, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Vivienne Felix is a higher education administrator with experience in high school-to-college transitions, strategic planning, and experiential education. Additionally, she has taught English to speakers of other languages in both nonprofit and academic settings. Passionate about empowering students to define their own vision for success and set goals accordingly, her research interests include policies and practices related to postsecondary access and completion, diversity, and inclusion, with special attention applied to the experiences of immigrant, undocumented immigrant, refugee, and Indigenous students.

Vivienne holds a BA in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MA in education from the University of Connecticut. She earned her PhD in higher education administration with a specialization in comparative and international education from Bowling Green State University. Vivienne is an active member of the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA). In her free time, Vivienne enjoys crochet, amateur photography, and gardening.


Zach Hooten, PhD
Academic Writing Coach and Editor

Dr. Zach Hooten is a graduate of the PhD program in higher education and student affairs at Ohio State University. During his time at Ohio State, Zach worked as the codirector of research for the Assessment of Collegiate Residential Environments and Outcomes (ACREO) and a research associate for the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Zach currently works for the Office of Academic Enrichment at Ohio State, supporting the Office of Service Learning and the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry.

Dr. Hooten’s true passions are learning design, teaching, and student support. He has taught courses related to college environments, core issues in higher education, organizational leadership, and service learning and social justice.

Outside of work, Zach enjoys sports, officiating college football, running, traveling, and watching the West Wing for the (approximately) 50th time.


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