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KU announces 2017-18 student orientation assistants

Monday, April 17, 2017

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Office of First-Year Experience has announced the selection of 24 orientation assistants for the 2017-2018 year.

Orientation assistants (OA) are student leaders, selected to support incoming students’ transition to KU. OAs guide first-year students, families and guests through their orientation experience, offer their personal experience and support throughout the summer, Hawk Week and students’ first year at KU. This year, OAs will also be assigned to support the first-year learning communities as a peer mentor.

Orientation assistants:

Gabrielle Ale-Ebrahim is a junior from Lawrence studying global and international studies. She is the daughter of Boback and Jennifer Ale-Ebrahim and a graduate of Andover Central High School.

Giselle Almodovar is a freshman from Shawnee studying journalism. She is the daughter of Velia Lorena and Duvaldo Almodovar and a graduate of Shawnee Mission North High School.

Paola Alor is a junior from Lawrence studying journalism and sociology. She is the daughter of Genaro and Margarita Alor and a graduate of Lawrence High School.

Leslie Alva is a junior from Kansas City studying business with a Spanish minor. She is the daughter of Juan Manuel Alva and Silvia Alva Pecina and a graduate of Sumner Academy of Arts and Science.

Alia Anees is a junior from Wichita studying accounting and visual arts. She is the daughter of Christie and Tariq and a graduate of Maize High School.

Julia Blank is a sophomore from Lodi, California, studying architectural engineering. She is the daughter of Randall Blank and Beatrice Santoyo Blank and a graduate of Lodi High School.

Zachary Brenner is a sophomore from Castle Rock, Colorado, studying supply chain management and business analytics. He is the son of Bruce and Liz Brenner and a graduate of Douglas County High School.

Collin Cox is a junior from Alliance, Nebraska, studying public administration and global and international studies. He is the son of J.D. and Tonya Cox and a graduate of Alliance High School.

Shelby Deist is a freshman from Great Bend studying social welfare. She is the daughter of Eric Deist and Kelley Johnson and a graduate of Great Bend High School.

Katharine Doerksen is a sophomore from Derby studying philosophy. She is the daughter of Kevin and Mona Doerksen and a graduate of Derby High School.

Meredith Emshoff is a junior from Exeter, Nebraska, studying journalism. She is the daughter of Alan and Amy Emshoff and a graduate of Exeter-Milligan High School.

Kimberly Francis is a junior from Liberal studying psychology and social welfare. She is the daughter of Carol and Shannon Francis and a graduate of Liberal High School.

Natalie Gibson is a freshman from St. Louis studying strategic communication and international business. She is the daughter of Christopher and Julie Gibson and a graduate of Lindbergh High School.

Aleeya Hubbard is a sophomore from Wichita studying architecture. She is the daughter of Michael Kinard and Connie Mayes and a graduate of Wichita North High School. 

Danielle London is a junior from Leawood studying global & international studies and peace & conflict studies. She is the daughter of Robert and Nanci London and a graduate of Blue Valley North High School.

Miriam Mechache is a senior from Minneapolis, Minnesota, studying environmental studies and atmospheric science. She is the daughter of Meyer and Susan Mechache and a graduate of Hopkins High School.

Schyler Merrills is a junior from Wichita studying film & media studies. He is the son of Tracy Tucker and a graduate of Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School.

Michael Miller is a freshman from Pleasant Hill, Missouri, studying biotechnology. He is the son of Douglas and Emily Miller and a graduate of Pleasant Hill High School.

Kenny Nguyen is a sophomore from Dodge City studying community health. He is the son of Trinh Nguyen and a graduate of Dodge City High School.

Emily Nielsen is a sophomore from Omaha, Nebraska, studying finance and classical antiquity. She is the daughter of Brad and Laura Nielsen and a graduate of Millard North High School.

Eleanor Sis is a sophomore from Mukilteo, Washington, studying clinical laboratory sciences. She is the daughter of Phillip and Lisa Sis and a graduate of Kamiak High School.

Rachel Tan is a junior from Penang, Malaysia, studying political science and global and international studies. She is the daughter of Richard Hun Chin Tan and Jasmine Hooi Koon Ooi and a graduate of St. George’s Girls’ School.

Adrien Valmont is a sophomore from Wichita studying supply chain management and marketing. She is the daughter of Ignatius and Hannah Valmont and a graduate of Wichita Independent School.

Reagan Walsh is a freshman from Shawnee studying business administration. He is the son of Rick and Lisa Walsh and a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.

Students starting at KU in the fall 2017 semester will attend orientation and enroll in classes starting in April for transfer students and June for freshmen. Orientation programs take place throughout the summer months. OAs will serve more than 10,000 students, parents and guests as part of the orientation program.

The Office of First-Year Experience works in partnership with new students to create environments that help them discover, engage and belong at KU. 

Established in 2012, First-Year Experience houses transition programs, such as Orientation and Hawk Week, as well as academic programs, including KU Common Book, University 101, First-Year Seminars and Learning Communities. These programs contribute to KU’s goal to increase first-year retention to 90 percent and the six-year graduation rate to 70 percent. First-Year Experience provides resources to help both freshmen and transfer students have a successful start at KU and support their degree attainment.


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