Kim Lijana, PhD


Kim Lijana is responsible for empowering and developing staff to reach their goals and advancing CEO’s mission while building an outreach community of practice among faculty at U-M. She is passionate about providing life-changing opportunities for students and has developed a strong track record for increasing post-secondary education access and success for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. As a college counselor in Washington DC, 100% of her seniors applied to college and submitted their FAFSA, 90% enrolled immediately following high school graduation, and 65% graduated in four years in a community where only 8% of residents hold college degrees and in a school where all students were eligible for free and reduced school lunch. Dr. Lijana also built strong relationships with educators in Detroit to improve academic achievement as the managing director for school support with the Achievement Network (ANet); ANet partner schools outpaced the state by 5 percentile points and Wayne County by 10.

Dr. Lijana holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Miami University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from The Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Michigan.
(734) 647-1402

Catalina Ormsby

Associate Director

Catalina Ormsby has served as a higher education professional occupying various administrative and leadership roles at the University of Michigan for 17 years. Currently, she serves as the Associate Director for the Center for Educational Outreach (CEO), housed at the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Her areas of responsibility include building faculty, staff and student capacity in educational outreach efforts, leading faculty initiatives to support and strengthen educational outreach, and advancing CEO’s ongoing partnerships and new collaborations across campus and beyond. Most recently, she served as the Managing Director of the National Forum on Higher Education focusing on research activities related to access to higher education for undocumented students and co-directing the New Leadership Academy. She also serves as a lecturer at the School of Social Work where she teaches a graduate course on intergroup dialogue, diversity and social justice. As a native Colombian and first-generation student, she is passionate about serving underrepresented students and providing them with tools and resources to maximize their potential while learning skills necessary for navigating their academic and social environments. She is a founder and chair of the Professional Latinx at U-M Alliance (PLUMA) and serves as the advisor for the Latinx student organization La Casa. She received a master’s degree from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and completed her bachelor’s degree with honors at Eastern Michigan University’s Business School.


Michael Turner

MCAC Program Director

Michael Turner serves as the Program Director for the Michigan College Advising Corps for the Center for Educational Outreach. The MCAC program provides college counselors to high schools throughout Southeast Michigan as a part of the national College Advising Corps which served over 848,000 students in high schools across America. Throughout the past nine years, he has worked for CEO serving in multiple capacities leading external partnerships and field programs, managing k-12 outreach initiative and currently consults U-M faculty, staff and department leads regarding best practices when exposing, engaging, and inspiring K-12 populations to post-secondary education. He is excited about streamlining and leveraging resources to create equitable space for all students to thrive. Over the last 12 years, Michael has developed expertise in community development, knowledge of U-M, K-12 and parent/guardian outreach and engagement, and working with at-risk youth.

Michael holds a Bachelors of Fine and Performing Arts with an emphasis on Theater from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Social Work from Eastern Michigan University.
(734) 763-2310


Sheri Samaha

Senior Program Manager

Sheri Samaha is a Senior Program Manager who develops, implements and manages CEO outreach initiatives that include guiding and partnering with U-M students and faculty. She is passionate about being an advocate for students in under-resourced high schools and inspiring them to further their education and explore the new possibilities higher education offers. With over 20 years of experience, Sheri has developed expertise in coordinating opportunities that combine knowledge and resources to reduce barriers to higher education and ensure college access and readiness for students. Through CEO’s Wolverine Express program, Sheri has coordinated and led over 40 diverse U-M faculty and staff from 26 different units and departments to high schools across the state of Michigan, reaching over 1600 students with presentations about the importance of college, college access, and college readiness. Previously, Sheri served as the assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at U-M and actively worked to demystify the college experience for students. She is looking forward to working with all U-M communities that engage in educational outreach and providing a best-practice, service-oriented approach to promoting college access and readiness. 

Sheri holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Western Michigan University and a Master of Guidance and Counseling with a focus on Higher Education from Eastern Michigan University.
(734) 763-6848

Marissa Taylor

Program Manager of Communication and Technology

Marissa Taylor cultivates and manages the brand of CEO within the university and across the state of Michigan to advocate for college access and college readiness. Trained in rhetoric communication, creative writing, and design thinking, Marissa combines her knowledge with her experience as an editing publisher and business analyst to bring engaging ideas and designs to the CEO Communication marketing strategy. She also manages the development and engagement of the CEO website and Youth Hub, the University of Michigan’s online hub for K-12 pre-college programs.

As a proud Latina-Italian first-generation college and masters graduate, Marissa came to CEO to share her experience and passion with the team and to influence future projects. As a female minority within the STEM world, she understands the need for strong representation within marketing materials and the power of shared stories. Also, knowing how transformative a college education has on one’s life and the life of their family, she advocates for future first-generation students both within her work at CEO and out in the Michigan community.

Marissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric Communication and English-Creative Writing from Wheaton College, IL, and a Master of Science in Information (Library Science and Design Thinking) from the University of Michigan School of Information.
(734) 764-1424

Laura Saavedra

Program Manager

Laura Saavedra serves as a program manager and leads our custom campus visit experiences, works to strengthen CEO’s support to student organizations that engage in educational outreach, and manages the Watson A. Young Scholarship program which promotes academic excellence and college aspiration among K-12 students with financial need. Laura comes to us from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business where she served as the Assistant Director for Outreach Initiatives in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In this role, she provided strategic vision and leadership for all outreach initiatives including goals/objectives development, curriculum development, budget management, and program evaluation. Laura is a proud first-generation college student who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University. Throughout her career, she has been involved in several programs and initiatives that advocate for and empowers underrepresented, first-generation, and marginalized student groups.

(734) 764-6738

Awura Ampene

Administrative Assistant

Awura Ampene works to strengthen U-M outreach by supporting CEO staff in ensuring that everyone has what they need in order to do their work well. She is passionate about supporting outreach from the human resources and customer service lens. Over the past 8 years, Awura has developed expertise in quality customer service, human resources, knowledge of U-M, and working with diverse populations. Her accomplishments include developing an administrative task job aid and streamlining the hiring processes for temporary employees. Awura looks forward to working with and assisting staff, students, and guests in CEO and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a whole.

Awura holds an Associate of Arts in Human Services from Washtenaw Community College.
(734) 647-1402

Da Jaunteye’ Hawkins

Program Manager

Da Jaunteye’ Hawkins serves as the Program Manager for College Day. Her role will be to create a three day and two night experience for rising ninth-graders. Da Jaunteye’ comes from Girl Scouts of Western Ohio where she worked with K-12 low income and underserved girls to deliver programming on Conflict Resolution, Self Esteem, STEM, and more during and after school. She has 10 years of experience working with low income and underserved students in various roles. She loves meeting new people, connecting with them, and seeing their full potential. Her passion for helping the K-12 population truly shows in all the work she does. Da Jaunteye’ is very excited to be a part of the CEO team to help support and advance the University of Michigan’s commitment to educational outreach and academic excellence.

Da Jaunteye’ holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Social Thought (Pre-Law Concentration) from the University of Toledo.
(734) 631-1861

Dyrel Johnson

Program Manager

Dyrel Johnson serves as Program Manager for the Center Educational Outreach. In his role, Dyrel is responsible for the development and management of the CEO College Day Program, developing engaging programs, collaborative partnerships and inspiring experiences that motivate high school students to pursue postsecondary education. Dyrel comes to CEO with a wealth of knowledge as a Non-Profit Professional, with over twelve years of experience supporting K-12 academic, mentoring and service-learning programs in the City of Detroit and surrounding communities. As a proud product of Detroit and its school system, Dyrel is passionate about providing access to equitable opportunities that promote academic achievement to underserved students. Dyrel is excited to join the CEO team to help inform, engage and inspire a diverse community of scholars to reach higher.

Dyrel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Eastern Michigan University.
(734) 631-1861

Amanda Hudeck

Public Engagement Coordinator

Amanda Hudeck creates, maintains, and distributes the brand of CEO within the university and across the state of Michigan. Trained in graphic design, marketing, and communications, Amanda uses her creativity and skills to develop promotional materials for CEO across a variety of platforms – including printed items, social media posts, communications and digital marketing for services and programs offered by CEO.  She also serves as the manager of the CEO resource library and manages the day-to-day upkeep of Youth Hub, the University of Michigan’s online hub for K-12 pre-college programs. Amanda holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Saginaw Valley State University.
(734) 763-7192

Keiran Miller

CEO Graduate Intern

Keiran Miler is the CEO Graduate Intern a first year masters student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Post Secondary Education (CSHPE). Within CEO, Keiran provides support to all program managers, most notably on the Campus Visits and Project Inspire. Additionally, he supervises 10 College Access and Success Ambassadors (CASA) who provide support to those two programs.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York he worked for two years as a high school college adviser in Southeastern Pennsylvania and then one year internationally in Greece also serving as a college adviser.

Keiran graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a B.A. in English-Creative Writing.
(734) 647-1402

Barton Linderman

MCAC Graduate Intern

Barton Linderman is currently a 2nd-year masters student in Higher Education and Public Policy at UM with concentrations in student access & success and public policy analysis. Barton served as a 2013 Teach For America corps member in Houston TX where he taught 11th-grade physics and 10th-grade Pre-AP & Pre-IB chemistry at Heights High School in Houston ISD for 5 years. While teaching he volunteered with a local non-profit called The Woods Project which provides low-income students with outdoor education and recreation experiences, as well as coached boy’s soccer. He is originally from Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Bart is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, with a BA in chemistry and a minor in applied mathematics.
(734) 647-1402

Aimee Kim

Doctoral Candidate – CEO Graduate Intern

Aimee Kim is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Post Secondary Education (CSHPE). She comes from a secondary teaching background with Teach For America in Baltimore, MD. Aimee is broadly interested in increasing college access for marginalized students. She is particularly interested in the role of college-related information in increasing college going through college counseling. Aimee holds a B.A. in economics and a minor in Chinese from the University of California, Los Angeles, an M.S. in educational studies (secondary math education) from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.A. in higher education from the University of Michigan.

Lesley Rivas 

CEO Undergraduate Intern

Lesley Rivas is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Michigan double majoring in Latina/o Studies and Spanish. Born and raised in Chicago, Lesley is deeply passionate about changing the educational opportunities for underserved youth through her research, volunteerism, and professional and academic pursuits. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in education policy to continue learning about and practicing this work. 

Within CEO, she supports the work of the program managers, specifically around Wolverine Express and the development of campus visit toolkits which will support the outreach efforts of offices at the University.