Meet the Pre-Health Advisors


Alyssa Dart, M.A.

Pre-health advising areas: Pre-Nursing and Pre-Physician Assistant

Favorite place to eat on or near campus:  Peri Koshari food cart (next to the PSU Library)

Why I chose to become an advisor: While working on my undergraduate degree at Oregon State University, I began working for University Housing & Dining at a Service Center where I helped students access their mail, respond to residence hall needs, and provide general campus information to all. This opportunity opened my eyes to the multitude of jobs and systems in the field of higher education that exist just to make an institution operate on a daily basis. I already knew I loved education and everything about my college experience, and this job was the most engaging work I'd done. Interacting with students and helping others explore their interests/passions inspires my work as an advisor, and I knew that's what I wanted to focus my graduate studies and career around. I earned a graduate degree in Higher Education Administration and have accumulated experience in academic and career advising, worked for various institutions and with multiple majors, and this has allowed me to interact with many students with different interests.  For me, academic advising is all about supporting and guiding students through the college experience as they develop and work toward their academic and professional goals, as well as their personal development. It's a very student-centered career and I enjoy the individuality of it--every student is unique and it's fun to work one-on-one with students to help them achieve their goals and make the most of their time at PSU. 



Ari Douangpanya, M.A.

Pre-Health advising areas: Pre-Dentistry and Pre-Medicine (Allopathic, Osteopathic)

Favorite place to eat on or near campus: Haan Giin at the PSU food cart pod

Why I chose to become an advisor: I learned that I enjoyed working with students during my time as a Program Manager for a Japanese University. In this position, I helped students navigate their lives as international students on and off campus. Following this position (and by a huge stroke of luck), I was offered an advising position in the International Studies Department at PSU where I spent nine years. It was in this position that my interest turned into something more and I completed my Masters in Education. Throughout my own educational path, I discovered the importance of advising. Meeting with my advisors regularly helped keep me on track, stay motivated, and led to me accomplishing my goal of graduating. I hope to instill that same feeling in students. I look forward to meeting new students and guiding them to accomplish their goals. 


Elizabeth Benner

Pre-Health advising areas: Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physical Therapy

Favorite place to eat near campus: Garden Bar

Why I chose to become an advisor:  I have always enjoyed being immersed in an educational environment and interacting with college students.  During my career I have had the opportunity to support students and collaborate with faculty as an educational coach, instructor, and internship coordinator as well as through academic and career advising.  Each advising role has been deeply rewarding and I am consistently inspired by the curiosity, passion, and growth in students I am fortunate to witness through this work. I view advising as understanding the unique individual I’m with and empowering them to attain their educational, personal and career goals by making the most of their particular college experience.



Stephanie Hamington

Pre-Health advising areas: Pre-Medicine (Allopathic and Osteopathic)

Favorite place to eat on campus: Any place with vegan options

Why I chose to become an advisor:  In my first job after my bachelor's in Business Information System I worked with the computer data in a financial aid office. I had the opportunity to work with students and found I enjoyed this more than the computer work I was doing.  So I went back to school and got a Master's in Counseling with an emphasis on working with college students.  I have worked at a variety of institutions in and out of state as an academic advisor and advising administrator. I enjoy working with students as they transition to college as a first year student or transfer student. I was a transfer student and the first one in my family to get a bachelor's degree, so I understand about the variety of questions students may have about college. I look forward to answering students questions and helping them plan and reach their goal of graduation.


Abby Schmidt, M.A.

Pre-Health advising areas: Pre-Chiropractice Medicine, Pre-Medicine (Allopathic, Osteopathic), Pre-Naturopathic Medicine, Pre-Nursing, Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Radiation Therapy, Pre-Medical Laboratory Science

Favorite place to eat on or near campus: Laughing Planet

Why I chose to become an advisor: I first discovered my passion for working with students in higher education while an undergraduate student at Washington State University where I had the opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant for the Women’s Studies department. From there, I went on to earn my Master’s degree at PSU and serve as a Graduate Assistant.  I was able to teach classes, tutor students in the Writing Center, and work with students one on one during office hours. Through these experiences, I found that I really loved working with students one on one, supporting them as they navigated their way through college. As the only one in my immediate family to graduate college, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to figure out the ins and outs of the college experience. I am very happy to be an advisor with the pre-health team and be able to support students in achieving their academic and career goals. 


Liz Shatzer, Ed.M.

Pre-Health advising areas: Pre-Medicine (Allopathic, Osteopathic), Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Physical Therapy, and Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Favorite place to eat on campus: Basha's Mediterranean Food Cart 

Why I chose to become an advisor: I found my way into advising while teaching English in Japan. I worked for a private English language school and many of my high school and college students were interested in study abroad opportunities in English speaking countries. I looked forward to these informal one-on-one sessions where we discussed their goals, interests, and how to apply to programs much more than I looked forward to lesson planning and teaching. Upon my return to the US, I wanted to continue this type of work in higher education, and I am so happy to be at PSU working with our wonderful pre-health students! 


Laura Marsh, M.S.
Allied Health Advising Coordinator

Pre-Health advising areas: Pre-Nursing, Pre-Dental Hygiene, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Optometry and Pre-Pharmacy.

Favorite place to eat on campus: Local Grind Food Cart

Why I chose to become an advisor: While working on my undergraduate degree at PSU, I worked as the Advising Assistant in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. That experience, along with my amazing advisor/mentor, helped me discover my passion for working with students. As a first-generation college student, I understand the challenges that some students might face as they begin to navigate higher education. My advisor helped me to see my potential as I worked toward both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. To me, advising is about building relationships with students and I am so grateful that I get to come to work everyday and help students plan and navigate their educational journey. 


Leena Shrestha, M.A.

Pre-health advising areas: Pre-Chiropractic Medicine, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Medicine (Allopathic and Osteopathic), Pre-Naturopathic Medicine 

Favorite place to eat on or near campus: Cafe Yumm

Why I chose to become an advisor: Early on in my teaching career, I discovered that caring for your students is more important than teaching the subject area. I enjoyed teaching the most when I was able to support students to become their best selves. My experience moving as an adult to the United States from Nepal is in many ways similar to experiences faced by many PSU students coming from a first generation and underrepresented background. I want to guide students to achieve their academic and career goals and support them when they hit roadblocks. When students that I have worked with share news about getting scholarships, acceptance into graduate/professional schools and/or jobs, I am overjoyed for them. I have lived and worked at public and private universities in Texas and Vermont. The last ten years at PSU has been the most rewarding because of students like you and supportive colleagues!


Melissa Yates, Ph.D. 
Pathway Advising Director- Health, Science, and the Earth

Pre-Health advising areas: Pre-Chiropractic Medicine, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Medicine (Allopathic, Osteopathic), and Pre-Naturopathic Medicine

Favorite place to eat on campus: Cafe Yumm

Favorite thing about being a pre-health advisor: I found my way to advising after working in research exploring how hormones and the immune system impact the brain. During my post-doc research, I realized that the work I enjoyed the most wasn't the science itself but the time I spent helping students reach their own long-term goals. It has been many years since I made the change, but I still really enjoy supporting students in finding the path that is right for them. I'm grateful to do work that I find rewarding and allows me to help others find the same for themselves!