Meet the Team

Jenny Steiner, Ph.D

Jenny Steiner

SASS Coordinator, Instructor, and Academic Coach
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Jenny is the Coordinator for Student Academic Success Services, overseeing the LASK course curriculum, academic skills coaching services, and the SASS instructor team. Jenny is passionate about the work in SASS and is excited to help students identify effective and efficient systems and strategies for reaching heightened levels of academic success.  Originally from Michigan, Jenny has spent some time living in Ohio, Wisconsin, and now Minnesota and affectionately refers to her life as the "Tour de Midwest." Jenny loves anything musical theater, running, reading, and spending time with loved ones.

Nisma Elias, M.A.

Nisma Elias, M.A.

Nisma Elias, M.A.

Graduate Instructor and Academic Coach
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Nisma is a doctoral student in Comparative International Development Education program in the Organizational Leadership & Policy Development Department. Before moving to Minnesota, Nisma had been living and working in Zanzibar, Tanzania where she was engaged as an economist for the Ministry for Education. Previous to that she worked for the Education Group at the World Bank in Washington D.C. Having worked on global education issues for a number of years, she is excited to to work with students through SASS on an individual level to help them navigate the social and academic expectations of college, and to a healthy and successful career after. 

Andrew Fiegen, M.A.

Andrew Fiegen, M.A.

Andrew FiegenGraduate Instructor and Academic Coach

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Andrew is a Ph.D. student in the Second Language Education program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to SASS, Andrew taught multilingual students at public schools in the U.S. and abroad in international schools, as well as practicing teachers in an EAL teacher endorsement program. As an educator, he embodies culturally-responsive pedagogy and asset-based assessment, and integrates these philosophies into his roles as Graduate Instructor and Academic Skills Coach on the SASS Team. Andrew is originally from South Dakota, and before moving to Minnesota, he lived in Sicily, Thailand, and New York. In his free time, Andrew enjoys reading, traveling, playing video games, and cooking.

Liz Hwang, M.S.

Liz Hwang, M.S.

Liz Hwang, M.S.Academic Coach for PharmD Students
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Liz is a Ph.D. student from South Korea in Comparative and International Development Education in the Organizational Leadership and Policy Development Department. Before starting her journey as a Ph.D. student, Liz graduated from College Counseling and Student Development program and served in different positions in higher education including academic advising, career counseling, and housing and residential life during and after her program. With a background in student affairs, Liz is hoping to create an environment that is inclusive and accessible to all students whether it is in a meeting or in a classroom. Her research interests focus on internationalization of higher education, increasing international students' access to the U.S. higher education, and international students' experiences while studying in the U.S. 

Pilar Itati Olvera

Pilar Itati Olvera

Pilar OlveraAcademic Coach

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Pilar is a Higher Education master’s student in the Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development Department. Previously, Pilar served with an AmeriCorps program called College Possible in her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Passionate about college access and success, she is excited to support students in achieving their academic goals and foster personal growth. In her free time, Pilar enjoys runs outside, cooking new dishes, and spending time with loved ones.

Enet Mukurazita, M.A.

Enet Mukurazita, M.A.

Enet MukurazitaGraduate Instructor and Academic Coach

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Enet is a PhD student in Comparative and International Development Education program in the Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development department. Enet works with SASS as the Graduate Instructor for SASS and Academic Skills Coach. Enet is originally from Zimbabwe where she worked with academically challenged young people to receive an education that led them to a life with dignity and purpose. She moved to the US to pursue graduate studies. Her research examines why education of rural women in Africa is not achieving gender transformation and empowerment. Enet loves to mentor female students from Africa pursuing graduate studies in the US as well as women who operate nonprofits that assist women and girls in the global south.

Julio Vega Cedeno, M.A.

Julio Vega Cedeno, M.A.

Julio Vega Cedeno, M.AGraduate Instructor and Academic Coach

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Julio is a Ph.D student in the Culture and Teaching program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. He works with SASS as the Graduate Instructor and Academic Skills Coach. As a native Puerto Rican his research interest include the critical analysis of diverse manifestations of popular culture. More specifically, latin urban music like reggaeton and latin trap. His work dives into how intersections of identity are represented and how they both resist and perpetuate structures of power. Julio enjoys staying active by weightlifting and doing basic boxing training. In his spare time Julio likes to explore the Twin Cities in order to immerse himself within the Latinx community. He also enjoys dancing, video games, comic books movies, science fiction and reading young adult novels. As an educator, Julio is passionate about the integration of popular culture into his teaching practice.  

Alex Willetts Klapperich, M.A.

Alex Willetts Klapperich, M.A.

Alex Willetts Klapperich

Graduate Instructor and Academic Coach
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Alex is a PhD student in Comparative and International Development Education in the Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development department. Alex works as an Instructor for SASS and OLPD, and as a Research Assistant. Through her teaching, Alex is passionate about supporting students to develop strategies to achieve greater success and meaning in their learning experiences. Alex's research examines taken for granted assumptions regarding the purpose of public education and seeks to highlight the benefits of consulting children regarding educational policy decisions. Alex is originally from Canada but now calls Minnesota home. In her free time, Alex enjoys spending time with her partner, daughter, and two beagles.