Jim Looney, MSW Intern, Learning Center (2012- present)*
College Success for Student Veterans Instructor
M.S.W., Portland State University, Spring 2014 (expected)
B.S., Criminology & Criminal Justice, Portland State University, 2012
While attending PSU, I have had the opportunity to be a peer mentor. As a peer mentor I have mentor both Freshman Inquiry and Sophomore Inquiry student during their course of studies. In addition to peer mentoring I was a founding member of MAPS, which stands for Mentors Advocating and Promoting Success. As a member of MAPS, I worked with freshmen student who were at risk of dropping out of college due to a number of reasons. I am also involved with the veteran community. Being a veteran myself I have a deep passion for this specific population of students. During the 2011-2012 Academic Year, I served as the Executive Vice President of the Viking Vets. Upon graduating in 2012 with a BA in criminal justice, I was accepted to PSU School of Social Work, where I am a first year pursuing a Master in Social Work degree. As part of my social work education I am interning with the Learning Center, focusing on several areas. One of these areas is as an academic coaching. Another area of focus is the establishment of a peer coaching program in the new Veteran Resource Center. As of winter term I will be facilitating a College Success and Career Success course specifically tailored for the veteran population at PSU. When I am not at PSU, I spend my time with my wife, two children and three dogs. Although I have a strong passion for the work I do, my first passion in my life is my family.
Cathlene E. McGraw, M.S., Coordinator, Queer Resource Center (2010-present)
College Success for LGBTIQQA Students Instructor
M.S. College Student Services Administration, Oregon State University, 2006
B.A. Journalism: Newspaper-Editorial, University of Oregon, 2003
Cat has worked at and attended every major Oregon university along the I-5 corridor and now serves the Portland State University campus as the Coordinator of the Queer Resource Center. Alongside 10 student coordinators, Cat and the QRC provide advocacy, retention support, leadership development, events, and academic success programs to Queer students and their allies on campus. Cat fell in love with Queer communities on college campuses as a student leader at the University of Oregon's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Alliance (LGBTQA). Not until the end of her journalism degree at the University of Oregon did she learn from a mentor that there is a career available for people who love working with college students: Student Affairs! She studied College Student Services at Oregon State University specializing in Social Justice and Organizational Change. Since then she's worked at Portland State, University of Oregon, and Oregon State in Student Conduct, Non-traditional Student Programs, Conflict Resolution, LGBT Education and Support Services, The Pride Center, Academic Advising, and Oregon State's Difference, Power and Discrimination program. Currently, Cat has two main areas of focus at the Queer Resource Center: Academic Success and Social Justice & Inclusion. She and the QRC team are figuring out how to increase graduation and completion rates for Queer students and their allies. Toward that end the QRC is offering classes, coaching and programs with the goal of connecting Queer students to campus resources and increasing academic skills. In addition, QRC staff are exploring ways to effectively be in solidarity with marginalized communities across identities throughout campus. When she is not on campus, Cat is developing curriculum and facilitating courses on Human Relations at Oregon State. She might also be found hanging out with her attractive and lovely wife adventuring all over the Pacific Northwest hiking, biking, swimming and camping.
Liane Kehaulani O'Banion, M.S., Assistant Director, Learning Center (1999-present)
Roads to Success, College Success Instructor
M.S. Postsecondary, Adult & Continuing Education, Portland State University, 2000
B.S. Psychology, Minor: Special Education, University of Oregon, 1997
Liane began working at PSU in 1999 as Graduate Assistant in Undergraduate Advising & Support Center (UASC), working with the Academic Support Program (ASP). In 2010, she was appointed Assistant Director of the Learning Center where she is responsible for coordinating the campus-wide peer tutoring program, College Success courses, co-creation of the academic coaching program, and many campus leadership positions. She came to PSU after working at the University of Oregon for two years. Liane's interests include assisting under-prepared and struggling students in achieving their goals of a baccalaurette degree and in managing the various barriers that can occur along the way. She created the College Success curriculum in 2002 when she saw a need that wasn't being fulfilled by the University and felt that it was our job to TEACH students HOW to be students. She has attended numerous national and international conferences on teaching and curriculum development and the result is that today there are several sections of the course taught by different advisers via the Academic Support Program. In 2007, she presented at the International Conference on the First-Year Experience about the success the ASP has had in increasing retention and graduation of this at-risk population of students. In 2012, she was invited back to the International FYE Conference to present on the Learning Center's newly formed academic coaching program along with the coaching program from University Housing and Residence Life and the positive impact peer coaching can have on students transitioning to higher education. Liane gets her energy from students and loves to help solve complex problems. Her favorite time of year is Commencement, when she gets to personally witness the culmination of a students' hard work when they walk across the stage to receive their degree. Being a small part of that accomplishment in students lives is truly an honor. When she is not at the office, Liane is busy at home with her two young sons, Connor and Beckett or playing with her kitty, Bella. You'll see Liane at as many football and basketball games as possible as she is a die-hard sports fan. Go Viks (and Ducks, too)!
Courtney Sandler, M. Ed., Academic Success & Retention Coordinator- UHRL (2010-present)
Roads to Success Instructor
M. Ed., College Student Personnel, Western Carolina University, 2006
B. S., Communications, Western Carolina University, 2004
B.S., Marketing, Western Carolina University, 2004
Courtney started her journey at Portland State in Fall 2010. She came to PSU from North Carolina where she was born, raised and educated. Courtney has worked full-time in higher education for almost seven years focusing on a wide array or areas including residence life, student activities, Greek life, multicultural affairs, academic coaching, academic success and retention. Currently Courtney is the Academic Success and Retention Coordinator for University Housing and Residence Life. She works directly with University Success, an in-all academic support center, Academic Coaching, as well as academic support and retention initiatives. Courtney’s passion is to help students achieve success inside and outside the classroom. She also loves to help students seek their own passions and ways in life so they can reach their ultimate goals and happiness. When Courtney is away from the office she spends her time outdoors, camping, biking, hiking, hanging out with her dog and gardening. Being new to the area she loves to venture around and find new places in Portland. You may catch Courtney at PSU’s Saturday Market because she is a vegan/gluten free foodie!
Gena Senarighi, M.S., M.A., Assistant Dean of Student Life (2011-present)
College Success, College Success for LGBTIQQA Students Instructor
M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Saybrook University, San Francisco, CA, 2010
M.S. in Student Affairs Administration, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 2004
B.A. in Women's Studies, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI, 2002
B.S.E. in Secondary Education, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI, 2002
B.S. in Social Studies: Geography, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI, 2002
Gina Senarighi currently is the Assistant Dean of Student Life and CARE Team Case Manager in the Dean of Student Life Office. Gina provides professional, clinical and ethical consultation, guidance, and coordination of resources and services for students experiencing barriers that are preventing them from thriving and succeeding at PSU. She also works with P.S.U. staff, faculty and community members to create a campus atmosphere that promotes help-seeking behavior and fosters an ethos of care in our educational community. Gina also works in private practice as a Couples Counselor and Individual Psychotherapist in northwest Portland. Her background as a professional Mediator, certified Life Coach, Nonviolent Communication Trainer, Leadership Development Consultant and Myers Briggs Type Indicator Facilitator influence her work in therapy and in the classroom. She spent years as a Sexuality Educator and Social Justice Trainer and continues to work with LGBTQ community organizations in the Pacific Northwest (Bent Writing Institute and Camp Ten Trees) as a Board Member and leader when she is away from campus. Gina joined our community in the spring of 2011. Though her true home is in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin she lived the last seven years in Seattle, Washington. Gina has previously held leadership positions in Student Affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle University, University of Puget Sound, Indiana University, Oxford University, and as part of the Semester at Sea program. She has traveled to over 50 other countries, but no mater where she finds herself she always makes time to watch Green Bay Packers play!
Stephen Tokarski, Graduate Assistant, (2011- present)
College Success Instructor
M.S. Public Administration, Portland State University, Spring 2013 (estimated)
B.A. Political Science & History, University of Montana, 2008
Stephen is a licensed High School Social Studies teacher, with a passion for American Government and History. After getting his Bachelor's degree in 2008, he moved from Montana to Portland to substitute teach, and held jobs in varying subjects - most notably as a Math teacher. The next year, he moved to Astoria to work as a Guidance Counselor and Math Tutor for Upward Bound at Clatsop Community College. He returned to Portland in September 2011 to pursue his Master's degree. Stephen's interests include running, hiking, and traveling on the cheap. He also pays an unhealthy amount of attention to news and politics. He enjoys living in the Alberta Arts district with three roommates, two dogs, and his friendly six-toed cat, Gorda.
Shoshana Zeisman, Ed.D., Coordinator of Services for Probationary Students, (2005- present)
Roads to Success, College Success Instructor
Ed.D. Postsecondary, Adult & Continuing Education, Portland State University, 2012
M.A. Organizational Management, University of Phoenix, 2005
B.B.A. Finance, University of Texas, 1998
Shoshana began working at PSU in 2005 as Graduate Assistant in the Academic Support Program and then was hired in March 2007 as a permanent full-time Academic Adviser. She teaches College Success courses that focus on helping at risk students with study, time management and other skills that will lead to their success at PSU. Shoshana also works closely with students on academic warning and academic probation. Shoshana has a total of eight years of experience working in higher education including, experience working in Financial Aid and Career Services. She is currently working on completing an Ed.D. in post-secondary, adult and continuing education from PSU. In her spare time Shoshana enjoys playing with her dog, seeing live music, exploring Portland and the surrounding area, and watching college football. Of course she loves the Vikings, but the top spot in her football heart will always be reserved for her alma mater, the Texas Longhorns.
Gabriel Feit (2010-present), Roads to Success
Major: Social Science, Minor: Creative Writing
Gabe graduated with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont in 2007. He enrolled at PSU in 2011 with the goal of getting his Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Science with a minor in Creative Writing. His interest include social anthropology, philosophy, language and communication. He has taught cooking classes to grade and high schoolers and written for a national culinary magazine. Gabe has a plethora of outlets for energy. Originally from Boston, Ma., he is an avid ice hockey fan and still plays when he finds the time. Go Bruins! When he's not on the ice, Gabe enjoys rock climbing, and biking, and of course, getting creative in the kitchen. "It's one of the best ways to unwind."
*( ) Indicates tenure at PSU, not necessarily in current job title.