Meet the Team

Jenny Steiner, Ph.D

Jenny Steiner

SASS Coordinator
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
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. 

Julio Vega Cedeno, M.A.

Julio Vega Cedeno, M.A.

Graduate Instructor
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Julio Vega Cedeno, M.AJulio 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
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.