The CEO team is here to support and collaborate with you and your team on everything K-12 related!
We are passionate about college readiness, success, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the K-12 space.
Have a question? Reach out to us today!
Antonio Junior-Robins serves as the Program Manager for the GEAR UP Program. His role is to partner with K-12 schools to deliver transformative educational services to students and families with the goal of increasing postsecondary access and success through graduation. Antonio is responsible for designing informative programs, fostering collaborative partnerships, and engaging experiences that prepare youth for life beyond high school. Antonio is excited to be on the CEO Team, working to inform, engage, and inspire the next generation of diverse leaders as they embark on the higher education journey.
Antonio holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Michigan.
Catalina Concha-Ormsby has served as a higher education professional occupying various administrative and leadership roles at the University of Michigan for almost 20 years. 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. 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.
Da Jaunteyé (DJ) Hawkins serves as the Program Manager for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). Her role is focused on increasing the number of Michigan students from low-income communities who are prepared to not only enter but succeed in postsecondary education. In addition to specializing in supporting student’s college access and success, DJ specializes in STEM educational experiences. She provides school based educational programs, training resources, and assistance through workshops, information sessions, and distribution of materials. In addition, DJ also manages programs and activities including campus visits.
Da Jaunteye’ holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Social Thought (Pre-Law Concentration) from the University of Toledo.
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 Campus Visit program, the training and funding of U-M student organizations outreach initiatives through Project Inspire, and CEO’s CASA team.
Dyrel comes to CEO with a wealth of knowledge as a non-profit professional with over thirteen 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
Kim Lijana, PhD, leads the University of Michigan’s Center for Educational Outreach. She is responsible for supporting and advancing U-Ms commitment to pre-college learners and under-served schools in the state of Michigan. Dr. Lijana 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 63% 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 John Hopkins University, and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Michian. She also co-authored two books, Left Behind: Urban High Schools and the Failure of Market Reform and Using Action Inquiry in Engaged Research: An Ongoing Guide.
Laura Saavedra has served as a higher education professional for over thirteen years working at multiple post-secondary institutions in several functional areas across Ohio and Michigan. Currently, she serves as the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, GEAR UP Program Director for the Center for Educational Outreach (CEO), housed within the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In this role and alongside her talented team, she is excited to lead an evidence-based, data-informed organizational framework and program design that will support CEO’s strategic plan to significantly increase college access and success outcomes across the State of Michigan.
Throughout her career, she has been committed to ensuring equitable pathways of opportunity through advocating for and empowering underrepresented, first generation, and historically marginalized student groups. In addition to being a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Laura is a proud second generation Mexican-American, first-generation college graduate, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University.
Marchelle serves as CEO’s Administrative Coordinator at CEO. She handles all the administrative needs for the Center and works closely with every team within CEO. She is a knowledgeable administrator with over 10 years of experience in a variety of roles. She has supported students and multiple constituencies across campus for over 6 years at units such as Medicine and CEW+. Marchelle has served as a DEI Lead, she is passionate about finding ways to support non-traditional students and promoting educational outreach to different underserved populations. She loves music and spending time with her family. Her hobbies are dancing, singing and writing. Marchelle was a non-traditional student herself during her college journey.
Marchelle holds a Bachelor’s from Eastern Michigan University in Criminology and Criminal Justice!
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 data analysis, marketing, and design thinking, Marissa combines her knowledge and experience to bring engaging and innovative ideas to the CEO team and campus community. She also manages the development and engagement of the CEO website, CEO data projects, and Youth Hub, the University of Michigan’s online hub for K-12 pre-college programs. As a proud Latinx-Italian college graduate, Marissa joined CEO to share her experience as a first-generation student and a female minority professional within the STEM/IT world.
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.
Megan Alquist serves as the Data Strategy and Business Program Manager. In this role, she supports the GEAR UP and MCAC programs through program evaluation and continuous improvement efforts. Megan believes strongly in the power of storytelling and the impact of data on the stories we tell. As a former middle school English teacher, she is passionate about improving educational opportunities for all students.
Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English for Secondary Education from Hope College and a Master of Arts in Educational Studies – Program Evaluation and Improvement Research from the University of Michigan.
Michael Turner serves as the Associate Director of K-12 Partnerships for the Center for Educational Outreach. 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.
Sheri Samaha is a Senior Program Manager who implements and manages CEO outreach initiatives that include guiding and collaborating with U-M students and faculty interested in advancing their educational outreach activities.
Sheri is deeply invested in U-M DEI initiatives and serves on CEO’s Outreach Consulting Team. She has developed expertise in providing resources that support faculty led efforts with K-12 students and educators to broaden their impact and inspire them to make educational outreach a core component of their role as U-M Faculty.
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.