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  • Murillo Soranso

    Murillo Soranso is the Director of First Year Experience and works with LAS 101, LAS 102, the LAS Interns, who facilitate the orientation courses, and LAS Liftoff. He received a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from Ithaca College and a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University. He joined LAS in May 2016 after an 8-year stint in University Housing at Illinois, first as the Resident Director for PAR and then Area Coordinator for Urbana South (PAR and FAR). He enjoys traveling with his husband, exploring trails with his dog, Luke, gardening, and streaming movies/tv shows.

  • Brian Neighbors

    Brian Neighbors is the Director of Career Development for the College of LAS.  He holds a BA in History from Blackburn College, one of only six “work” colleges in the country.  He also has a MS in College Student Affairs from EIU, and is currently pursuing a PhD here at Illinois.  When not at work or in class Brian and his wife spend time at a ball court/field watching one of their three children in sports, or at home playing with their dog, Rupp.

  • Kate Krueger

    Kate Krueger is a Minnesotan who received her PhD from the University of Iowa. She spent over a decade working as an English professor before becoming the Director of Honors for LAS. She spends most of her free time playing with her partner and her son Theo, and the rest of it curled up with a good book.

  • Maureen Burch

    Although Maureen Burch is new to the Life+Career Design Lab, she has spent all of her adult life in the Champaign area.  She received her bachelor’s in Music Education and taught Dance and Drama as part of an Elementary Fine Arts Team in the Urbana School District. Maureen has spent her career working with students from birth to age 99 in academia, public schools, and in various non-profit settings. In her free time, she has designed and created sets and props for numerous local theater performances. Her last design challenge was making a life-size 3D cow that was lightweight enough to carry and could flat pack in the back of her trunk.  Her name was “Nellie” (of course!) and she is currently out to pasture.

  • Tabbey Cochran

    Tabbey Cochran is an office support specialist who works directly with the AROs and Dean Steltman. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, she earned her B.A. in Russian Studies, International Studies, and Political Science at Macalester College and spent the next five years working with churches in Ann Arbor, Chicagoland, and Odessa, Ukraine, before coming to settle here in Champaign. Her interests include creativity (music, art, food, literature…you name it), cats (of which she has two), and connecting with family and friends.

  • Steven Cox

    Steven Cox joined the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in September 2017 as an academic advisor, specifically working with the secondary education minor. Before moving to LAS, he worked in college athletics as academic counselor at Illinois, previously at the University of Wyoming and University of Mississippi. Originally from rural Kentucky and/or Mississippi, he earned his BA in History and MA in Higher Education from the University of Mississippi (Harvard of the South), and is currently pursuing his doctorate in higher education on our campus. Hobbies include being a parent, a student, and any physical or social activity. He resides in Urbana with his wife, two sons, and two dogs.

  • Ashley Poppy

    Ashley Poppy is a transfer advisor in the College of LAS. She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Western Illinois University. Ashley has worked in an academic advising setting for the past 10 years. She commutes from Bloomington/Normal where she lives with her husband, two kids, and a dog named Ted.

  • Brian Schumacher

    Brian Schumacher is an Admissions and Records Representative in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He majored in History and Philosophy at Elmhurst College before moving to the Champaign-Urbana area. He enjoys using that degree to analyze the philosophy of films and television series.

  • Doreen Turner

    Doreen Turner is an academic advisor for the Access and Achievement Program in the College of LAS. She completed both her bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree here at Illinois. Although she loves helping animals, she also has a passion for working with students. Before joining the College of LAS, she was a program director for a veterinary technician program in southern Illinois, where she worked extensively with veterinary nursing students. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting amusement parks, being active in professional veterinary organizations, and spending time with her dog, Stefani, and her cat, Princess Lady Marmalade.

  • Tenaya Reifsteck

    Tenaya Reifsteck is the academic advisor for dual degrees and Individual Plans of Study for the College of LAS. She completed her bachelor's degree (human development and family studies) and two master’s degrees (elementary education and higher education) here at Illinois. She has a passion for education and enjoys working with people of all ages. She grew up in a small town not too far from campus, and is proud to be an Illini! She currently lives in the same small town where she grew up, along with her husband, daughter, and dog. She loves spending time with her family, attending her daughter's sporting events, reading, watching movies, and shopping.

  • Jonathan Elugbadebo

    Jonathan Elugbadebo is an associate director on the Recruitment and Admissions team. He works closely with transfer recruitment and admissions, including the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. He joined LAS after working seven years in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, where he reviewed applications, recruited high school students across the globe, and planned successful programs that have contributed to the diversity and excellence of this campus. Jonathan was born and raised in southern Illinois, but relocated to central Illinois during his junior year of high school. He is an alumnus of the University of Illinois, completing a BA in Communication with a minor in Business. He also completed a master’s degree in education policy, organization and leadership at Illinois.

  • Allison Perry

    Allison Perry, a Champaign native, earned her associates degree from Parkland College and her BS from the College of Applied Health Sciences at Illinois. She joined LAS in 2010 and is committed to supporting undergraduate students and making their time here a great and memorable experience. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, kids and pets. When not working or taking her kids to their extracurricular activities, she enjoys traveling and attending Illini athletic events. Go Illini! 

  • Kristy Valentin

    Kristy Valentin is the academic advisor for transfer and re-entry students in LAS.  She completed her bachelor’s degree at Illinois and has a master’s in academic advising from Kansas State University. She has served as an academic advisor in multiple capacities at a variety of different institutions, so you can bet that she enjoys working with students. She is involved in several professional associations within academic advising and enjoys professional networking. She originally hails from Chicago and still has plenty of family in the Chicagoland area. She currently resides in Urbana with her partner, twins, and two dogs.

  • Jeanine Meyer

    Jeanine Meyer joined the LAS as an admissions and records officer in January 2015. Before joining LAS, she worked as an office support associate at the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center and as the assistant scene shop supervisor at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. She has a BA in theatre from The Ohio State University and enjoys singing in the University of Illinois Black Chorus. In her free time she plays video games, dabbles in low-carb cooking and baking, and puts up with her adorable but evil cat, Lily.

  • Gretchen Pein

    Gretchen Pein is director of student service operations. She earned her bachelor’s in rhetoric and a master’s in education, both from Illinois. She and her husband stay busy with their five kids, four dogs, and various home remodeling projects. Gretchen serves as the PTSA president at Edison Middle School, treasurer and committee chair of Boy Scouts Troop 107, and president of her sorority’s local alumnae chapter. Her philanthropic interests include American Cancer Society and Make-a-Wish Foundation.

  • Bob Steltman

    Bob Steltman, an alum of DePaul University and Illinois, has worked in the Student Academic Affairs Office since FA11, overseeing college-level advising and assisting students who are close to graduation. When he’s not in the office, and he’s here a lot, he spends time with his three sisters and tending his garden. A lifelong music buff, Bob owns over 12,000 CDs and LPs of all types, although most are of the rock and roll variety, one of the great American cultural adventures of the 20th Century.

  • Allison Branson

    Allison Branson has supported the LAS student academic affairs office and its students for nearly 10 years. She began as front desk receptionist but has spent most of her time working with LAS James Scholars. She recently took on the role of support staff for our executive assistant dean, Robert Steltman. When not busy at work, you can find Allison with a camera in her hand photographing everything she sees.


  • Mary Davis

    Working with students in historical Lincoln Hall since 2003 is a plus for antique loving Mary Davis. A product of The Land of Lincoln, Mary enjoys her admissions/records officer duties and frontline LAS student interactions. When not on campus she lives the rural life with her husband, training and showing their numerous retrievers or judging at dog performance events around the country. Mary works hard so her dogs (and cats) can enjoy a better life!

  • Joe Murphy

    Joe Murphy is nearing his tenth year as an admissions and records officer in LAS. He earned his BA at Western Illinois University in elementary education. He spends his time away from work transporting his kids (ages 14 and 10) around the Midwest to watch his son play hockey and baseball. His daughter does dance and soccer. He and his wife, Kim--also an Illinois employee--live in Champaign. They have two dogs, an Australian Shepherd and a Samoyed.

  • Barbara Hancin-Bhatt

    Barbara Hancin-Bhatt is associate dean for LAS Student Academic Affairs. Barbara has dedicated 30 years of her professional life to higher education, mostly undergraduate studies. Her research/teaching specialization is in the cognitive bases of second-language learning, and she’s a former director of global studies here at Illinois.  Her passions include travel, yoga and hiking, especially in western U.S. park lands.