ceo Leadership

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!

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Antonio Junior-Robins

GEAR UP Program Manager

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.

Awura holds an Associate of Arts in Human Services from Washtenaw Community College.

Awura Ampene

Administrative Assistant

AWURA'S EXPERTISE

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.

Catalina Concha-Ormsby

Associate Director

CATALINA'S EXPERTISE

Catalina Concha-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.

Da Jaunteyé Hawkins

GEAR UP Program Manager

Da Jaunteyé'S EXPERTISE

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.

 

DJ comes from Girl Scouts of Western Ohio where she worked with K-12 low income and under-served girls to deliver programming on Conflict Resolution, Self Esteem, STEM, and more during and after school. She has over 10 years of experience working with low income and under-served 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. 

 

DJ 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.

Dyrel Johnson

Program Manager

Dyrel'S EXPERTISE

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

Director

KIM'S EXPERTISE

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

GEAR UP Program Director

LAURA'S EXPERTISE

Laura Saavedra has served as a higher education professional for the past eleven years working at multiple post-secondary institutions in several functional areas across Ohio and Michigan. Currently, she serves as a Program Manager for the Center for Educational Outreach (CEO), housed within the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In this role, she leads our custom campus visit experiences, works to strengthen CEO’s support to student organizations that engage in K-12 educational outreach, and manages the Watson A. Young Scholarship program which promotes academic excellence and college aspiration among K-12 youth with financial need. 

Laura Saavedra 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 development, curriculum development, budget management, and program evaluation. Most notably, she is thrilled to have led efforts with the design and execution of the inaugural Michigan Ross All-Access Weekend, an outreach fly-in weekend experience for high school juniors and their parents/guardians. Throughout her career, she has been committed to ensuring equitable pathways of opportunity through advocating for and empowering underrepresented, first-generation, and marginalized student groups.

Laura is a proud Latina, 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.

Marissa Taylor, MSI

Assistant Director for Technology and Communication

MARISSA'S EXPERTISE

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 Ahlquist

Data Strategy and Business Program Manager

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

Associate Director of K-12 Partnerships

MICHAEL'S EXPERTISE

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.

Patrick Mullen-Coyoy

Program Manager

PATRICK'S EXPERTISE

Patrick Mullen-Coyoy serves as the Program Manager for the Michigan College Advising Corps, supporting a cohort of 14 advisers spread across Michigan. A former adviser at Ypsilanti Community High School, he continues to nurture his passion for college access and mentorship through coaching advisers, developing trainings, and piloting student-facing technologies. Through this work, he ensures that MCAC advances its goal to inform, engage, and inspire low-income, first-generation, and historically underrepresented Michigan high school students to get to and through college.

Patrick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Honors Latina/o Studies, History, and Spanish from the University of Michigan.

Sheri Samaha

Senior Program Manager

SHERI'S EXPERTISE

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.

Previously, Sheri served as the assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at U-M. She utilizes her admissions background to support students in under-resourced high school pursuing higher education and works to demystify the college experience.

With over 20 years of experience, Sheri leads CEO’s Wolverine Express program that coordinates large groups of diverse U-M faculty and staff to travel to high schools across the state of Michigan promoting college access, readiness and success.

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.