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Abbey Wolfman
Northern Illinois University
Committee Chair

Graduated from: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (undergrad) & Western Illinois University (graduate)

Attended her first annual conference in: 2005 - Miami, Florida

Although she had a brief experience as a hall director at Elmhurst College, Abbey has spent the majority of her career working with orientation programs at Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Starting as an assistant director, seven years later she is Director of Orientation and Family Connections.

“I went to my first Region V Conference as an undergraduate student. It was a life-changing experience. Now, 18 years later, I am still a part of the organization that inspired me to work in higher education. I enjoy being a member because of the opportunity to give back, connect with colleagues, and the knowledge I gain.”

Adam White
Kankakee Community College
Technology & Social Media

Graduated from: Northern Illinois University (undergrad) & Miami University (graduate)

Attended his first annual conference in: 2014 - Orlando, Florida

Adam considers himself fortunate because he began his career in the same office that sparked his interest in student affairs as a student. “I have been consistently challenged by new projects each year and feel that I have had a unique opportunity to work within areas of OTR that not many new professionals get to spend much time exploring.” 

“I knew that I wanted to become a part of a network that would allow me to constantly develop my skills while challenging me to be better in all aspects of my work. Naturally, my favorite part has absolutely been the friends I’ve made and the connections I’ve built. I never would have gotten the chance to meet some of the incredible people I have throughout the past few years if it wasn’t for NODA. It sounds cliché, I know – but it’s 100% true.”

Amber Hoefer
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Educational Programs & Events

Graduated from: University of West Florida (undergrad) & Oregon State University (graduate)

Attended her first annual conference in: 2009 - Anaheim, CA

Amber has had numerous, wonderful experiences that have led to her current role as the Assistant Director for New Student and Family Services at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. She serves students through new student orientation, week of welcome and other new student initiatives. For the first three years after graduate school, she served as the Coordinator for Orientation Programs at Colorado State University (CSU), working with all CSU orientation programs but specifically with specialized orientation programs including online orientation, extended orientation, transfer orientation, and international student orientation. Prior to CSU, she completed her graduate work at Oregon State University, working in the College of Engineering serving Women and Minorities in Engineering as well as interning with New Student Programs and Family Outreach. Her entire career began serving as a crew member for the extended orientation program at her undergraduate institution (University of West Florida). 

I first became a member of NODA in 2009 as an undergraduate student pursuing a career in the OTR fields. I wanted to expand my network and learn from professionals in the field. Since I have not only expanded my network both regionally and nationally, but I have learned how I can also contribute to the field and Association as a whole. I enjoy being a member for the opportunity to professionally develop through leadership, collaborate with colleagues across the nation and strategize innovative ways to continue serving students at my institution.”


Brittany Acosta
University of Delaware
Volunteer & Grad Interns

Graduated from: Nova Southeastern University (undergrad) & University of Tennessee, Knoxville (graduate)

Attended her first annual conference in: 2013 - San Antonio, Texas

During her time in graduate school, Brittany served as the graduate assistant for the office of New Student & Family Programs. From there, she accepted a full time position at the University of Delaware as the New Student Orientation Program Coordinator, where she has been for two years now.

“NODA has given me so much early in my career, and I hope to be able to continue to volunteer and give back in as many ways as possible! I also like to show new professionals that you can jump right in and get involved."

Cimmeron O'Connor
Ohio University
Celebration Coordinator

Graduated from: Wright State University

Attended her first annual conference in: 2010 - St. Louis, MO

Cimmeron began her career at Ohio University as the Assistant Director for Undergraduate Orientation Programs. She transitioned to the Director a few years later and continues to oversee transition programs for first year, transfer, and English Language Improvement students.

“Being from a one person orientation office, NODA has helped me find my people! I appreciate the network, support, and collaboration that happens at conferences and throughout the year. I know that I have colleagues who care about my success and who can listen to my complaints. NODA has really helped me to expand my professional network.”

Emily Wheeler
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Education Programs & Evaluation

Graduated from: Iowa State University

Attended her first annual conference in: 2013 - San Antonio, Texas

Emily is the Director of New Student & Family Services at UNC Charlotte, where her office runs orientation, family programs, and Week of Welcome. Previously, she worked in first-year experience programs at the University of Central Florida and was a NODA Intern at San Jose State University

“I love the opportunities for connections and collaboration that NODA provides. I have gained such valuable information and resources from colleagues through the association, but more importantly I have gained lasting personal and professional connections that have challenged and encouraged me to grow in my career.”

Keaton West
University of West Florida
Local Arrangement & Side Trips

Graduated from: Texas Tech University

Attended her first annual conference in: 2013 - San Antonio, Texas

Keaton joined the professional world of OTR in Student Transition Programs at the University of West Florida. Throughout her time in Student Transition Programs, she oversaw freshman, transfer, and family orientation, extended orientation, housing living and learning communities, commuter student programming, and parent and family programs. Keaton currently serves as the Assistant Director for Student Involvement at UWF and loves working with student organizations, homecoming, and campus wide programming.

“My journey with NODA started with a NODA Internship at the University of West Florida which led to my first professional position there. I love NODA because of the opportunities that it provides for all members to learn, share, and grow. NODA has given me a number of valuable experiences that I will take with me throughout my entire career in higher education and student affairs.”

Leslie Heller
Providence College
On-Site Registration

Graduated from: Providence College (undergrad) & Penn State University (graduate)

Attended her first annual conference in: 2008 - Boston, Massachusetts

Since finishing grad school, Leslie has been back at her alma mater (Providence College). She started with a stint in student activities, which led to her role in transition and leadership programming. She describes it as a whirlwind of move-in weekends, carnivals, staff trainings, concerts, award ceremonies, and working with amazing student leaders and colleagues. “A decade in student affairs also means that I have a fully stocked t-shirt drawer, and some fun stories to tell…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

“I joined NODA initially to get some ideas when we revamped our orientation program at Providence College. I've been lucky to become involved on both the regional and national levels. I've learned a lot professionally and personally through this involvement, have made some great friends, and have had a lot of fun too!

Loni Yost
University of Louisville
Conference Speakers & Special Initiatives

Graduated from: University of Louisville (undergrad and graduate)

Attended her first annual conference in: 2004 - Chicago, Illinois

Loni was involved in OTR work as an undergrad and graduate student. As a professional staff member, she has spent the past 12 years in the fields of orientation, new student programs, and first year experience. She loves working with students and helping them as they navigate their way through college. 

“I joined NODA through the guidance of my boss and mentor at the time and have been a proud NODA member for the past 14 years. My favorite part about being a NODA member is the amazing friendships that I have made and finding people that support me both professionally and personally. I have so many great memories from my time in NODA, and I’m excited to continue to make more!”


Rand Kazanji
University of Michigan - Dearborn
Volunteer & Grad Interns

Graduated from: University of Michigan-Dearborn

Attended her first annual conference in: 2014 - Orlando, Florida

Rand has been in the higher education profession for about seven years. She began as an admissions counselor for three years, and then moved into Alumni Relations. She currently oversees undergraduate orientation and LOVES it!

“I joined NODA because I knew it would give me direct and relevant information about orientation but also the ability to get perspective in what we currently do at our institution. I love being part of NODA because it provides me with an invaluable network and encourages me to enhance our programming.” 


Rick Gray 
George Mason University
Celebration Coordinator

Graduated from: Radford University (undergrad) & Ball State University (graduate)

Attended his first annual conference in: 2013 - San Antonio, Texas 

Rick is currently the Associate Director for Orientation & Family Programs and Services at George Mason University, overseeing new student orientation and first-year programs.  Previously, Rick served with the Center for Leadership and Service at the University of Georgia, working with Dawg Camp, LeaderShape, and community engagement programs. He is passionate about infusing civic engagement, leadership development, and social justice into the first-year experience. 

I joined NODA to get more involved in the arena of OTR and to share best practices on a national scope. NODA always feels like home and it's a great chance to reconnect with colleagues and friends.”


Stephani Womack
Dalton State College
Conference Speakers & Special Initiatives

Graduated from: Central Michigan University

Attended her first annual conference in: 2014 - Orlando, Florida

Stephani started her career in Orientation & Commuter Services at Nova Southeastern University. She then became the Coordinator for Orientation & Leadership Development at Dalton State College. Throughout her time at DSC, she was involved in a variety of offices in Student Affairs. Stephani recently took a new position as the Assistant Director for Career & Professional Development at DSC, and she’s excited to see where the journey takes her!

“I joined NODA because at my institution. I had no one to turn to as a mentor in the field of OTR. I was looking to meet other professionals that I could ask questions and learn from, professionally. This association has given me more than I could imagine! I have made lifelong friends and have met an incredible group of people who I know can help me throughout my career.”


Ashley Carter
Virginia Tech
Graduate Intern - Associate Members

Graduated from: George Mason University

Her first annual conference will be: 2017 - Louisville, Kentucky

Ashley decided to pursue a career in student affairs after her first summer as an orientation leader. As an undergrad, she worked as an orientation leader, student programs coordinator for orientation, and a special events assistant for University Life (Division of Student Affairs at GMU). She currently attends Virginia Tech and holds an assistantship with the Black Student Alliance, one of VT’s programming boards. 

“I initially joined NODA because it was a requirement of being a student programs coordinator. I stayed actively involved because all of the unique opportunities that my membership provides me. I get to travel to conferences, meet other professionals, network my future colleagues and have opportunities to present my research to other professionals around the country.”


Tori Tanner
University of Georgia 
Graduate Intern - Celebration Intern

Graduated from: 2nd Year Graduate Student at the University of Georgia

Attended her first annual conference in: 2016 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Tori currently serves as the Graduate Assistant for New Student Orientation at UGA. She falls more in love with orientation everyday and is excited to begin her second year. 

“My supervisors at UGA helped me begin my involvement in NODA and after attending my first NODAC in 2016, I can now see why! I love meeting other people who are just as passionate about OTR as I am and can't wait to continue learning from experienced professionals!”


Jammal Cooks
University of Tennessee
Graduate Intern - Office Managers

Graduated from: University of Central Florida

Attended his first annual conference in: 2014 - Orlando, Florida

Jammal is currently a graduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He works in housing but his heart lies in orientation which is why he became a NODA Intern for the University of Memphis. 

“Orientation is what made me fall in love with student affairs. I am just happy that I can give back to the organization that led me to the field in which I work.”


Lyndsey Savard
Ohio University
Graduate Intern - Office Managers

Graduated from: Otterbein University

Attended her first annual conference in: 2016 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Lyndsey completed her first year in Ohio University's College of Student Personnel Master's Program as the Undergraduate Orientation Program's GA. As part of this program, she has co-taught a freshman seminar course, served as an academic advisor, and assisted in revamping orientation sessions.

"I joined NODA because, as a first-generation college student, orientation, transition, and retention are all areas that interest me personally and professionally. I was always one to get really involved as an undergrad, and being a part of NODA feels like a great way to get involved as a professional. I enjoy the connections I have made and the opportunity to always learn something new." 


Michael Payne
Western Illinois University
Graduate Intern - Technology

Graduated from: Northern Illinois University (undergrad) & Western Illinois University (graduate)

His first annual conference will be: 2017 - Louisville, Kentucky

Michael got involved in orientation programs during his undergrad experience.  It allowed him to have three amazing summers and led to his graduate school decision. Michael is currently a graduate assistant at Western Illinois University, working with the orientation programs.

“I was excited to join NODA and participate in the internship search program. I knew that NODA would allow me the opportunity to connect with staff from throughout the field, and I wanted to gain those connections.”


Nieesha Birdine
University of North Texas
Graduate Intern - Social Media

Graduated from: University of North Texas

Her first annual conference will be: 2017 - Louisville, Kentucky

Nieesha is currently a graduate student at the University of North Texas receiving her Master’s in Higher Education. She is the Graduate Assistant for Parent & Family Programs for Orientation. She hopes to be the Director of Orientation or First-Year Experience some day. 

“I joined NODA because I absolutely love the passion, dedication, and enthusiasm of the Association and how much it cares about the development of its members. Having the opportunity to be around other professionals who love orientation, transition, and retention programming as much as you do is also very rewarding!”


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