Meet The Advisors & Staff of the University Advising and Academic Services Center
Michelle Yager, Director
Responsibilities – In addition to directing the University Advising and Academic Services Center (UAASC), Michelle serves as the Chair of the University-wide Council of Academic Advisors.
Biography – Michelle earned her B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation, completed an Elementary Teacher License program and earned her M.A in Human Growth and Development with an emphasis in School Guidance Counseling, all from the University of Iowa.
University Advising and Academic Services Center
Bryan Barker, Advisor
Responsibilities – In addition to advising UA and TAP students, Bryan serves as the University Advising Program Coordinator.
Biography – Bryan received his B.A. in film from Columbia and his M.A. in Cinema Studies from Chapman and has taught frequently within the discipline.
Jane Coplan, Advisor
Responsibilities – In addition to advising UA, OAS and TAP students, Jane coordinates the Early College Credit Program, supervises the graduate assistants, and organizes professional development for academic advisors. Jane also teaches University 100, "Personal Growth in Higher Education" which is designed to assist students with: study skills, time management, test-taking strategies and note-taking.
Biography – Jane graduated from Western Illinois University with a B.A. from the Board of Trustees program and a M.S. in College Student Personnel.
Julie O’Brien, Advisor
Responsibilities – In addition to her work with UA and TAP students, Julie produces UAC publications, such as the UA Newsletter, UA Handbook and the General Education Handbook. Julie also maintains the UAASC website.
Biography – Julie received a B.A. in Communication, a M.S. in Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration and a M.S. in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Higher Education from Illinois State University.
Linda Thomas, Advisor
Responsibilities – In addition to advising UA and TAP students, Linda coordinates the Transitional Advising Program for Business.
Biography – Linda holds a B.S. in Business Education, a Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling, and a Ph.D in Health Administration.
Office of Academic Services
Dianne Fullenwilder-Bracey, Advisor
Responsibilities – In addition to advising students in the Academic Services Program, Diane coordinates New Student Registration for students in the OAS Program. She also teaches a freshmen success seminar course.
Biography – Dianne is a WIU alumna with a B.S. in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration and a M.S. in Counseling.
Niall Hartnett, Advisor
Biography – Niall was born in Ireland. He came to the USA after receiving a B.A. in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. He earned a M.S. in Educational Psychology from Indiana University.
Check out Niall's Facebook page for advising help at facebook.com/adviseguys.
Tim Johnson, Advisor
Biography – Tim earned his B.A. in Social Work from Augustana College, South Dakota and his M.S. in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University.
Kelly Morris, Advisor
Responsibilities – Kelly advises students in the Academic Services Program and teaches University 100, "Personal Growth in Higher Education" which is designed to assist students with: study skills, time management, test-taking strategies and note-taking. She particularly enjoys working with her students as they are learning to navigate their educational careers. "It is particularly gratifying to walk alongside (and sometimes guide) students as they are experiencing the 'Aha' moments" says Kelly.
Biography – Kelly earned her B.A. in Elementary Education and her M.A. in Math Education from the University of Northern Iowa.
Estelle Plewa, Advisor
Responsibilities – Besides advising students in the Academic Services Program, Estelle coordinates the Educational Assistance Program that provides extensive tutoring in lower division courses for all University students.
Biography – Estelle has a B.A. in History and her M.A. in American History from Loyola. She took advanced courses in Higher Education Administration (ABD) from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
Renee Simpson, Advisor/Student Success Coordinator
Responsibilities – Renee advises students in the Academic Services Program and teaches the University 100, Personal Growth in Higher Education, a life skills transitional course for incoming freshmen. In addition, Renee is committed to exploring and researching new retention initiatives strategies for the University.
Biography – Renee received a B.S. in Sociology from the University of Wyoming and earned her M.S. in Liberal Arts from Western Illinois University.
Debbie Carithers, Office Manager
Responsibilities – Debbie serves as an assistant to the UAASC Director by providing clerical support for the activities that involve the Center and the academic advising community.
Biography – Debbie has a B.S. in Photography/Media and a M.S. in Instruction Design and Technology from Western Illinois University.
Cheryl Rossio, Staff Clerk
Responsibilities – Cheryl serves as the processor for all freshman applications to the University that are referred to the Academic Services program, creating and maintaining all admission records for the Academic Services Program as well as corresponding with student applicants, parents and high school personnel.
Biography – Cheryl is working on her Bachelor of General Studies degree with a minor in Sociology from Western Illinois University.
Responsibilities – Working with OAS students.
Biography – Tessa received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Telecommunications, Sales and Promotion and a minor in Psychological Sciences from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is currently a first year graduate student in the M.S. College Student Personnel program at Western Illinois University.
Responsibilities – Working with University Advising students.
Biography – Heather has an Associate of Arts degree from Kankakee Community College. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in History and a minor in Psychology from Illinois State University. Heather is currently a first year graduate student in the College Student Personnel Program at Western.
Responsibilities – Working with University Advising students.