Guests of The New Professor

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Ben Scragg

Ben serves as the Lead Design Strategist in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. As a member of the Design Initiatives team, Ben partners primarily with K12 school communities to drive human-centered, intrapreneurial innovation through design-based approaches. In non-jargon speak, that means Ben works to build sustaining, energizing partnerships with communities that want to reinvigorate their schools.

A perpetual student and frequent novice, Ben earned master’s degrees in philosophy of education (MA) and business administration (MBA) from The Ohio State University, and is currently a doctoral student in Education Leadership and Innovation (EdD) at ASU. Ben is also a former educator with Chicago Public Schools, where he taught high school social studies. In whatever spare time theoretically exists, Ben enjoys exploring the architecture and geography of new (to him) places, and is most likely to be found eating pizza of some variety.

Nicci Ainuu

Nicci hesitantly began her academic journey in community college with very little faith in her ability to be successful in higher education. Twelve years later, she has earned a BA in Linguistics with a minor in Counseling from San Francisco State University, is currently working on an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northern Arizona University, and plans to pursue a doctorate. She has also worked and volunteered in multiple roles in student affairs for ten years, so it’s safe to say that higher education has worked out well for her!

She credits much of her success to the on-campus work and extra-curricular activities she was engaged in and to the mentors who challenged her to see herself differently and dream bigger. Her experiences have inspired her passion for helping college students develop academically, professionally, and personally. She currently works as the Administrative Services Manager at THINK TANK, where she manages a team of student and professional staff who welcome students and help them connect to academic support services and resources. Nicci values the variety in her work and how she can improve the student experience at THINK TANK from the details of streamlining administrative procedures to the expansive work of creating meaningful professional development opportunities for Desk Assistants.

When she is not working or studying, Nicci enjoys binge watching TV shows that were popular two or more years ago, reading about personality types and introverts, making Instastories about waiting for laundry to dry, and trying to resolve her chronic existential dread.

Caitlin Kerrigan

Caitlin Kerrigan received her M.S. in Student Affairs at Oregon State University and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Caitlin is in her 6th year in the field of Student Affairs and currently is the Coordinator of Faculty Programs at the University of Arizona. Caitlin’s diverse professional experiences range from housing, multicultural affairs, to her role now working with faculty to support students outside of the classroom. Housed in Campus Life, Caitlin works with folks across the university including faculty, staff, administrators, and students. Caitlin sees firsthand the value of relationship building between students and faculty. Caitlin is a member of NASPA and hopes to continue to contribute to the field while supporting young professionals and students find their voice as they enter into student affairs.

Melissa Silva

Melissa Silva was raised Bi-nationally on the border of Douglas, AZ and Agua Prieta, Mexico. She completed her Masters in Leadership Administration from Northern Arizona University and a BS from Northern Arizona University in Hotel and Restaurant. She worked for the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino Resort in multiple operational capacities such as Compensation, Hiring and Orientation, Benefits, and Employee Relations. She managed a medical clinic in which she led inclusion practices for HIV/Aids patients. Her work experience includes other Human Resources related job capacities in which she was a key player for diversity and inclusion initiatives. She has a true passion for helping people and providing excellent customer service. She joined the University of Arizona in April of 2012 and enjoys mentoring and advising students about their degree as well as their career options. Melissa has noteworthy long term relationships with the binational Mexico/US community and has a strong desire to create a culture of education on the border. Co-founder of the Connections Project (Conexiones) that supports family and school relationships, parent engagement workshops, inclusion and educational technology for Naco, Sonora and Naco, Arizona. Host and Co-Producer of the weekly Binational Education Section Show for Manantial Radio to promote a cultural of education in the binational region. She also serves on the executive board for the AZ Community Foundation of Cochise, the Douglas Area Community Fund, Chiricahua Community Health Centers, and the Douglas Education Partnership Council and is the Chair for the Diversity Committee at UA South.

In 2013 she founded the Education Unidos Scholarship Fund at UA South that partners with the Mexican Consulate in Douglas and the University South Foundation to financially lend support to students enrolled in Douglas and in pursuit of a higher education degree. The Education Unidos Scholarship for UA Douglas enrolled students that currently holds 100% retention and graduation of scholarship recipients. Founded and played key role in the development and launch of the Education Unidos Internship Program under the Bilateral Forum of Academic Mobility Initiative between the U.S. and Mexico (FOBESII) that brought Academic Scholars from Mexico to participate in an Action-Research Project for the University of Arizona. Designation from the Secretary of External Relations in Mexico of Education Unidos Internship as a “Best Practice” within the Bilateral Forum of Academic Mobility between the U.S. and Mexico. Selected in the summer of 2018 by the University of Arizona as one of five individuals to participate in the National Inclusive Excellence Academy to help develop an inclusive excellence translation project for UA leadership. She has received numerous recognitions such as 2017 UA Award for Excellence, 2017 Sun Magazine Important Contributor to Education on the Border, 2015 UA South Students Choice Award, 2015 Expect More Arizona Judge’s Spotlight Award, 2015 Mexican Consulate in Douglas International Woman, 2015 UA Outstanding Academic Advisor.

In addition, she is Adjunct Faculty for a Student Success Course at the local community college, where she teaches freshman students topics that include motivation, empowerment, interdependence, overcoming barriers, strategies for bridging the gap between high school and college, cultural diversity and inclusion and many other tools to build the skills for a successful college and professional career.

Nikolas Glazier Hodge

Nikolas has worked in Higher Education for almost 20 years. She was born and raised in Kansas, graduating from Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. After undergrad, she served in the Americorps on a trail crew in Massachusetts. After a few more years in Massachusetts, she decided she’d had enough snow for a lifetime and moved across the U.S. to Tucson, Arizona. Shortly after arriving in the desert, she came to work at the University of Arizona as an Admissions Counselor in Undergraduate Admissions. In her 13 years at the University, she has held a variety of positions, with increasing levels of responsibility; most notably in support of the suite of student applications on campus. She now serves as the Director of the Transfer Student Center where she is in the process of reimagining programming initiatives to help support a healthy and productive transition environment for transfer students the University of Arizona. In her free time she can be found keeping up with her two boys and urban farm, making fun of IPA drinkers, and getting outside whenever a spare minute can be found.

Jessica Kapp, Ph.D

Jess Kapp is a geologist, educator, and writer. She teaches geology at the University of Arizona, where she is an Associate Professor of Practice and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department of geosciences. An accidental scientist, Jess found geology as an English major at Syracuse University, where a required introductory course sparked her curiosity for science. It ultimately took her to Tibet, where several months spent living in a tent at over 15,000 feet taught her a bit about geology and a lot about what she was capable of.

Today, her passions are teaching science to non-science majors, and encouraging more women to take a chance on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). She has written a book about her journey to becoming a woman scientist, which she hopes to publish soon. She will launch her podcast “Plucky Ladies: An exploration of female curiosity, perseverance, and feats of excellence” in October 2018. She hopes that by sharing her story as well as those of other women she might encourage young women to take risks, step out of their comfort zones, and discover who they are meant to be.

In the unlikely event that she gets some free time, you can find her cheering one son at his soccer games, playing ukulele with the other, or watching stand-up comedy specials with her geologist husband.

Angela Gunder

Angela serves as the Director of Instructional Design & Curriculum Development for the Office of Digital Learning at The University of Arizona, managing and mentoring the team that builds the fully-online programs for Arizona Online. Her almost twenty year career as a designer for higher education informs her instructional design practice, where she leverages her expertise in usability, visual communication, programming, and standards-based online learning. Most recently, Angela has helped to form several cross-institutional digital learning projects linking up educators across the globe, including Monomyth Online and the #SquadGoalsNetwork. A voracious culinary nerd, Angela spends her free time composing, cooking and photographing original recipes for her food blog. She lives for metaphors, raw oysters, belly laughs and a well-appointed mixtape.

Luis Carrión

Luis Carrión is an award-winning producer/videographer with an extensive background in developing projects for online audiences. Luis excels in researching and producing high-quality video across multiple platforms, and he understands the importance of engaging the viewer in a crowded online ecosystem.

Luis is the recipient of eight regional Emmy Awards for his video productions, and he considers himself to be first and foremost a storyteller. His work distills complex academic concepts into productions that use audio and video in an aesthetically appealing presentation.

As a longtime member of the University of Arizona community (as both a student and as a dedicated professional), Luis is intimately connected with the culture of his alma mater. Many of his recent video productions have explored research and education topics throughout the University of Arizona, allowing him to develop a deep understanding of the unique virtues of each department.

Luis believes video can help strengthen the communication between educators and learners. “The use of music, lighting, editing, and pacing provide a limitless palette for digital video,” he says. “I love using this palette, and my deep knowledge of video production, to create high quality video that engages students and learners with the online content.”