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.
Catalina Ormsby is joining CEO’s team as Associate Director. 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. Most recently, she served as the Managing Director of the National Forum 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 mini-course on dialogue, diversity and social justice. During her 17 years of experience at the University of Michigan, she has held leadership roles in various units such as UROP, the NCID, and ISR. As a 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 the co-founder and chair of the Professional Latinx at UM Alliance (PLUMA), and serves as the advisor for the Latinx student organization La Casa. She works closely with first generation and undocumented students on campus and from community colleges. 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.
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.
MCAC Program Director
Michael Turner manages field programs, outreach staff, consults U-M faculty, staff and department leads regarding best practices when exposing, engaging, and inspiring K-14 populations to postsecondary education. He is excited about streamlining and leveraging resources to create an equitable space for 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. While at U-M and through a CEO outreach program, Michael witnessed a student transition from high school to college, supported his transferring to U-M, and stood with him when he received his U.S. citizenship. Michael has also brought parents from the communities that we serve to visit U-M and witnessed the impact of effective community outreach first hand. Michael is looking forward to consulting with past U-M partners and communities, as well as cultivating new relationships throughout the campus community to help make the university more inclusive and navigable.
Michael holds a Bachelors of Fine and Performing Arts with an emphasis on Theater from Southern Methodist University and is currently completing his Master of Social Work from Eastern Michigan University.
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.
Public Engagement Coordinator
Amanda Hudeck trained as a graphic artist/designer at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, MI with a focus in illustration and marketing design. She worked for the Dow Chemical Company for four years before moving to University of Michigan – joining the Information Technology Services group – where she got involved with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. After three years with IT she’s excited to come to CEO and ODEI as a whole, doing what she loves. She loves art, design, and any kind of creative pursuits. As CEO Public Engagement Coordinator, she will be adding her skills to technology and communication initiatives to support and strengthen coordination and collaboration across campus.
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.