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Center for Students Success & First-Year Experience Staff

CSSFYE is made up of six units all working towards student success. Through academic advising, academic support services, first-year initiatives, military and veteran support and all things student success the CSSFYE is here to ensure a quality collegiate experience for our diverse student population.

Find out more about our staff in each area below.


ADMINISTRATIVE

Kyle Ellis

Dr. Kyle Ellis

Director

Dr. Ellis serves as the Director of the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. In addition to his responsibilities as Director, he chairs the University’s Retention Advisory Board and holds the faculty title of Instructional Assistant Professor of Higher Education. He received his B.S. in Health and Human Performance and M.S. in Education from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education in 2011 from the University of Mississippi. His dissertation focused on academic advising experiences of first-year students who were undecided in their major.

Dr. Ellis is involved in several higher education professional associations. He has held many leadership positions within the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), including a three-year term on the Board of Directors. Additionally, through publishing, presenting, and attending conferences, he is active in the Consortium for Student Retention and Data Exchange (CSRDE), National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Dr. Ellis’ book, It Takes A Campus: 15 Initiatives To Improve Retention, was released in March 2017. Through publications, presentations, and speaking engagements, Dr. Ellis is committed to growth and professional development, in order to ensure student success, satisfaction, and persistence.

 

Susan Parker Ray

Senior Administrative Secretary

Susan Parker Ray is the Senior Administrative Secretary in the CSSFYE. Susie attended Western Kentucky University from 1988-1991 and moved to Oxford in 2008.  She has 2 children, a son, Jacob, who is a graduate student at Ole Miss and a daughter, Katie, who is a freshman at Ole Miss. She enjoys attending sporting events and watching her daughter cheer and play softball.

ADVISING

Travis Hitchcock

Dr. Travis Hitchcock

Assistant Director for Advising

Dr. Travis Hitchcock is the Assistant Director for Advising and an academic advisor for freshmen in the School of Engineering. He also teaches EDHE 105: Freshman Year Experience and EDLD 201: Career Decision-Making.

Born and raised in Oxford, Travis attended the University of Mississippi and earned a B.S. in Human Development, an M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education. Travis’ area of expertise and research interests lie within the field of career development and its impact on student retention. He is also a member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and of the National Career Development Association (NCDA).

 

Dr. Jennifer Fos

Assistant Director for Retention

Jennifer Fos is the Assistant Director for Retention and an academic advisor serving students majoring in Accounting in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. Dr. Fos earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Business Administration (2003) and her M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel (2007) from the University of Mississippi. She also completed the Paralegal Studies certificate program in 2004. She completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education in the spring of 2019.

She has worked for the University for more than twenty years. She is an active member of the Center for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE), teaches a section of the Freshman Year Experience course for freshmen each fall, and coordinates summer orientation advising campus wide. She was the 2015-16 winner of the Outstanding Staff Member for Professional Non-Faculty and the 2016 Excellence in Advising winner among campus staff.

 

Katie Franklin

Academic Advisor

Katie Franklin is an academic advisor serving business students with last names L-Z. She is originally from Oklahoma and earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Education in School Counseling from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Before moving to Oxford, Katie lived in South Korea and taught conversational English for five years. She started her career at Ole Miss in 2017 and worked in the Office of Financial Aid before joining the team in the CSSFYE. She is dedicated to helping students successfully transition into college and achieve their educational goals.

 

Molly Coleman

Academic Advisor

Molly Coleman is an academic advisor serving Freshman Studies (undeclared) and CME students. She received her B.A. from The Ohio State University in International Relations, during which she studied abroad in Warsaw, Poland. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she taught conversational English at a primary school in Nyirbator, Hungary. She graduated in December 2014 with an M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel from The University of Mississippi. Prior to joining CSSFYE Molly worked as an international student advisor for the Study Abroad Office. Originally from Decatur, Illinois she now calls Oxford home where she resides with her family.

Molly enjoys guiding students to figure out what they excel in and are passionate about to be able to declare a major. She teaches a Freshman Studies section of EDHE 105 – Freshman Year Experience and EDLD 201 – Career Decision Making. The puzzle of helping students choose courses that count towards as much as possible is her favorite part of her job.

 

Victoria McCord

Academic Advisor

Victoria McCord is an academic advisor serving Applied Sciences majors. She earned a B.A. in Psychology (2014) and a M.A. in Higher Education and Student Personnel (2017) from the University of Mississippi.

Victoria has worked in Higher Education for four years, with experience in Student Housing and Diversity and Community Engagement. She is passionate about helping students identify their goals and motivating them to overcome obstacles and exceed expectations.

 

Michael Smith

Academic Advisor

Michael Smith is an academic advisor serving Freshman Studies (undeclared) and CME students. Originally from Mobile, AL, he completed his B.A. in International Studies at the University of South Alabama in 2009.  He completed his M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel at the University of Mississippi in 2011.

Michael is returning to Ole Miss after serving students at LSU for over four years.  He is passionate about helping students discover their strengths and identify opportunities to connect those strengths to potential academic majors and career fields. He also coordinates our StudentsFIRST program designed to assist first-generation students with the transition to college.

 

Jordan Johnson

Academic Advisor

Jordan is an academic advisor serving business students with last names A-K. She is a Texas native who moved to Oxford in 2014.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studies minoring in Education, History, and Psychology as well as a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education, both from the University of Mississippi.

Jordan strives to make sure each student feels confident and secure in their future as well as making sure they have an easy and smooth transition into college.

 

Nyterica Edget

Academic Advisor

Nyterica Edget is an academic advisor serving students in the School of Journalism and New Media. She is originally from Grenada, MS but she calls Oxford, MS home. Nyterica graduated with a B.S. in Exercise Science in 2018 and a M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel in 2021 both from the University of Mississippi.

Nyterica also teaches a section of EDHE 105 – Freshman Year Experience. She has an immense passion for helping students reach their goals to set them on their desired career path. The opportunity to build unique bonds with each student is the most rewarding part of her role.

 

Matthew Weaver

Academic Advisor

Matthew Weaver is an academic advisor serving freshman in the College of Liberal Arts. He is from Belleville, IL, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated with his B.S. in Exercise Science in 2014. After graduating, Matthew spent 3 months living in Italy while teaching English to two children before returning to Ole Miss to complete his M.A. in Modern Languages with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language. He then went on to complete his MBA at Ole Miss in 2017. While completing his graduate programs, Matthew taught Intensive English and EDHE on campus at Ole Miss. He has a passion for connecting students to resources that help contribute to their academic and career goals.

 

Dion Sanford

Academic Advisor

Dion Sanford is an academic advisor serving students in the College of Liberal Arts with the last names A-K. He is from Courtland, MS. Dion graduated with a Bachelor’s in Accountancy in 2014 and a M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel in 2018, both from the University of Mississippi. He has a higher education background having worked in Procurement Services and the Office of Financial Aid on campus. He has a passion for helping all students succeed and start off on the right path.

 

Graduate Assistants

Savannah McCutchan is a graduate assistant for CSSFYE. She is in her Master’s program for Communication Science and Disorders. Originally from Santa Claus, Indiana, Savannah moved to Oxford this summer. She graduated with a BS in CSD from Western Kentucky University. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, painting, and hanging out with family and friends. After graduation, Savannah wants to become a speech language pathologist and work with individuals with special needs.

 

 

 

Weston Tidwell is a Grad Assistant working on his masters in Higher Ed. He graduated from Ole Miss in 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Admin. Majoring in Banking & Finance and Managerial Finance. Before coming back to school, he worked in accounting at Enterprise. In his free time he enjoys hunting, fishing, hanging out with friends, and watching soccer.  When he is done with his degree, he hopes to get into advising and make a difference in students lives!

 

 

 

STUDENT PERSISTENCE

Dr. Jennifer Fos

Assistant Director for Retention

Jennifer Fos is the Assistant Director for Retention and an academic advisor serving students majoring in Accounting in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. Dr. Fos earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Business Administration (2003) and her M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel (2007) from the University of Mississippi. She also completed the Paralegal Studies certificate program in 2004. She completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education in the spring of 2019.

She has worked for the University for more than twenty years. She is an active member of the Center for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE), teaches a section of the Freshman Year Experience course for freshmen each fall, and coordinates summer orientation advising campus wide. She was the 2015-16 winner of the Outstanding Staff Member for Professional Non-Faculty and the 2016 Excellence in Advising winner among campus staff.

FIRST-YEAR EXPERIENCE

Rachael DurhamRachael Durham

Assistant Director for FYE

Rachael Durham is the Assistant Director for First-Year Experience. She also serves as an instructor for EDHE 105 – Freshman Year Experience. She is originally from Memphis, TN, but now calls Oxford home. Rachael completed her B.A. degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations from the University of Mississippi in 2008 and her M.A. in Higher Education/Student Personnel in 2012.

 

 

Graduate Assistant

Dalton Gibson is currently pursuing his Master’s of Accountancy from The Patterson School of Accountancy. He graduated in May 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Accountancy from The University of Mississippi. Dalton is originally from Mendenhall, MS. He is a member of The Pride of the South Marching Band, where he currently serves as one of the Drum Majors. In his free time, Dalton enjoys adventuring, music, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

 

 

VETERAN & MILITARY SERVICES

Andrew Newby

Assistant Director for Veteran & Military Services

Andrew Newby is the Assistant Director for Veteran and Military Services at the University of Mississippi, where he serves active duty, veteran, guard, and reserve students. He works to solve the complex issues for military-connected students in higher education. His focus for the University of Mississippi is to ensure student veterans have a meaningful experience during their time at Ole Miss. He is passionate about implementing programs and works to ensure veterans have success after graduation. He is an eight-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, holds his B.A. in English, and a Master of Education in Adult Education from Auburn University. An Alabama native, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, reading and writing, and flying airplanes.

 

Stelenna Lloyd

Operations Coordinator – VMS

Stelenna Lloyd is the Operations Coordinator for Veteran and Military Services at the University of Mississippi, where she serves active duty, veteran, guard, reserve, and dependent students. She runs the day to day operations of the VMS office as well as ensures the VA pays students in a timely manner. She is passionate about ensuring veterans and students are successful in all aspects of life. She is a veteran of the United States Army and she holds an Associates of Applied Science in Computer Information Processing from Northwest MS Community College (1996) and also receiv

ed her B.B.A. (MIS) in Business Administration from The University of Mississippi (2004).  She is originally from Pope, Mississippi and a graduate of South Panola High School in Batesville, MS.  She enjoys traveling and spending time with family.

Will Mobley

Operations Coordinator – VMS

After graduating from Spring Hill College in 2012 with a BS in political science, will deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan with the 1-167th Infantry in the Alabama National Guard. He studied Spanish in Chile and is currently a part time Spanish student at Ole Miss. Immediately prior to joining the VMS team, he was a veteran service officer working in the VMS office for the MS VA. He writes and jogs for fun.

 

Graduate Assistant

 

SUCCESS COACHING

 Anna Lauren Heavener

Success Coach – School of Applied Sciences

Anna Lauren Heavener works as a Success Coach in the Center for Student Success and First Year Experience, serving students in the School of Applied SciencesShe meets with parents and students to discuss retention programming and opportunities available to students in order to be successful at the university. She is originally from Walnut, Mississippi but has called Oxford home since 2013 when she transferred to Ole Miss from Northeast Mississippi Community College and began working as a student worker on campus. Anna Lauren completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at The University of Mississippi in 2015 and Master’s degree in Higher Education/Student Personnel in 2020. She has worked at the university for a total of eight years, beginning her professional career as a Transfer Admissions Counselor before joining the CSSFYE team. She is a Certified Hospitality Professional, and teaches freshman and transfer sections of the First Year Experience course. Anna Lauren values her ability to create strong and genuine connections with her students and is passionate about providing equal access and opportunities to this beautiful and diverse campus. 

 

Stephen Willhauck

Success Coach – School of Business

Stephen Willhauck is a Success Coach serving the school of business. He is originally from Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Science in sports management from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Before moving to Oxford, Stephen lived in Rochester, New York and served as an academic counselor while completing his Masters in Higher Education. Stephen is an avid sports fan and loves coaching rugby. In his free time, he loves spending time with his wife and kids camping, hiking and fishing. Stephen is excited about joining Ole Miss and is passionate about serving students and helping students achieve their goals.

 

Hope Tulchinsky

Success Coach – College of Liberal Arts

Hope Tulchinsky is the Success Coach for the College of Liberal Arts. She received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Elon University and her Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from the University of Mississippi. She enjoys running and spending time with her husband and their three children. She is originally from Virginia, but now calls Oxford home.

 

 

Veronica Crawford

Success Coach – Office of General Studies

Veronica Crawford is a Success Coach for General Studies students. She has worked in higher education for seven years as an Education Administrator at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry and over two-years as a graduate assistant at the University of Mississippi School of Education Department of Higher Education. Veronica received her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a master’s degree from Troy University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate of education with an emphasis in Higher Education at the University of Mississippi. Her research interest focuses on technological advancements in teaching practices and their impact on student learning outcomes. Veronica is passionate about helping students succeed academically and professionally.

 

ACADEMIC SUPPORT PROGRAMS

 

Dr. Rebekah Reysen

Assistant Director for Academic Support Programs

Dr. Rebekah Reysen is the Assistant Director for Academic Support Programs for the CSSFYE. She coordinates programs for the academically at-risk students at UM: EDHE 101 – Academic Skills for College, EDHE 202 – Fundamentals of Active Learning, the Contractual Readmission Program, and the Peer Leadership program. Rebekah also teaches EDHE 105 – Freshman Year Experience, EDHE 101, and conducts academic consultations.

Originally from Napa, CA, Rebekah went to Purdue University and received degrees in psychology and theater. She received both her master’s and Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Mississippi. Rebekah is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and Distance Certified Counselor (DCC). She has been published in a variety of counseling journals and on topics related to student motivation, career development, attachment, group therapy, and workaholism tendencies.

 

Jeremy Roberts

Learning Specialist

Jeremy Roberts is the Learning Specialist for Academic Support Programs in the CSSFYE.  He oversees the daily operations of the at-risk programs; scheduling of presentations and workshops; marketing the ASP services to the University; and meets with parents and students to discuss EDHE 101, 202, and 303, academic coaching and consulting opportunities, and study skills/techniques.  Jeremy has taught for CSSFYE since the Fall of 2012 – teaching EDHE 101, 105, 202, 303, and 305 with multiple sections each semester.  He is originally from Terry, MS, but has called Oxford home since his freshman year in 2002. Jeremy has degrees in English and Hospitality Management from the University of Mississippi, a masters in Health and Sports Science from the University of Memphis, and an MBA from Delta State University.  He is also an event planner with 20 years of experience.  He is a Notary Public, Certified Web-Enhanced Instructor, Certified Hospitality Professional, and has been awarded Instructor of the Year Spring 2017 for his work in EDHE 101: Academic Skills for College.  Jeremy is passionate about marketing, all things event management, and learning each day from the students he interacts with here on campus.

Graduate Assistants

Robert (Rob) Dunnam is obtaining a Master of Science in Health Promotion and is originally from Ripley, Mississippi. Rob has worked for several educational institutions during his career including Hinds Community College, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in North Carolina, and Reinhardt University in Georgia. Rob is glad to be back home and working with students to help them write their own stories and find their path to success in college and beyond.

 

 

Sarah Holmes is originally from Strayhorn, MS and is pursuing her Master’s in Counselor Education with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She graduated in May 2020 from the University of Mississippi with her Bachelor’s in both psychology and sociology. She currently works as a Graduate Assistant with the Center for Student Success and First Year Experience where she serves as a Student Success Coach and Academic Mentor. Aside from work and her studies, Sarah enjoys reading, visiting her local coffee shop, and spending time with family and friends.

 

 

Lynley-Love Jones is from Oxford, MS, and is pursuing her Master’s in Counselor Education. She also has a Master of Science in Health Promotion and hopes to be able to combine these two degrees to help people make physical and mental improvements to their health. When she’s not working or studying, you’ll likely find her in the kitchen as she loves to put a healthy spin on all kinds of foods. She enjoys being active, spending time with friends and family, traveling to new places, watching feel-good tv shows, and trying out local coffee shops and bakeries.

 

 

Jabrea Turner is originally from Clarksdale, MS and is pursuing a Masters in Higher Education/Student Personnel. She earned her Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from Coahoma Community College and recently received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Mississippi in May 2021. Jabrea loves being from the Delta and aspires to be an astounding product of her community.

 

 

 

Chesney Rose Mardis, originally from Grenada MS, grew up in Orlando FL. Chesney was a competitive swimmer, which led her to attend Delta State University on an athletic scholarship. While at DSU, Chesney was heavily involved in her Health, Physical Education and Recreation program, as well as Greek life, and was Miss Delta State University 2019. Upon graduating  with her Master’s of Science in 2019, she spent 2020 teaching physical education classes and working in Admissions. Chesney is now pursuing her PhD in Health and Kinesiology with hopes to one day open her own Human Performance Center and be professor here at Ole Miss.

 

Xakylan Johnson serves as a Success Coach for the “Center for Student Success and First Year Experience. As a native of Oxford, MS, he decided to continue his education at the University of Mississippi to earn a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. In pursuit of a higher education, Xakylan is pursuing his Master of Social Work at the University of Mississippi. Xakylan enjoys spending time with family, serving his local church and community, and furthering his musical career. He has been privileged to engage in various roles and has accomplished goals such as becoming a published author, youth pastor, and recording artist.

 

Rachel Harper is originally from Tuscaloosa, AL, and is pursuing her Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Alabama with her Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders. She aspires to one day be a Speech-Language Pathologist. Outside of her studies, Rachel enjoys cooking, running, traveling to new places, and spending time with her family and friends.