Chris Tankersley joined the Office of New Student Orientation as Director in August 2007. Prior to joining the University of Akron, Chris served as Coordinator of First-Year Experience Programs at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and as a Program Advisor at American University in Washington, DC. An Ohio native Chris earned his B.S. in Business Administration, M.A. in Higher Education Administration, and Ph.D. in Education from The University of Akron. As Director, Chris provides overall leadership and direction for the Office of New Student Orientation and collaborates with colleagues accross campus to coordinate comprehensive Orientation and Student Transition programs that enable new students to get connected to everything they need to be successful and prepared for an amazing Akron Experience at The University of Akron.
While earning a degree in Secondary Education Language Arts, Carly McNutt worked as an Orientation Leader for two years and a Team Leader for one in the Office of New Student Orientation. While pursuing a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, she served as a Graduate Assistant in the office. In March 2008, Carly was promoted to the position of Assistant Director for the office, overseeing various aspects of both our Orientation and First-Year Experience programs. Carly recruits, hires, and trains the Orientation Leader staff and coordinates the overall planning of the Orientation programs throughout the year.
Currently Coordinator of New Student Orientation, Judy Valatka began her professional career as a Clerk Typist at The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in 1964 following high school. A native of Ohio, she began working in the Department of International Engineering for the Director and his staff. Shortly thereafter she was promoted to Secretary to the Vice President of the International Company where she remained until 1978 when she left to start her family. She stayed home and raised two children, Scott and Tracy, (both graduates of the UofA) and worked part-time in the Norton School District. Judy came to The University of Akron in 1994 as an Office Aide working for Evelyn Sutton in the Clearinghouse for MRDD which was run by the University of Illinois at Chicago and under the auspices of Harvey L. Sterns, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, here at The University of Akron. Judy began working directly for Dr. Sterns in 1996 as a secretary where she assisted him with his classes and research on the aging population in The Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology. In 1998, Judy began working in the Office of New Student Orientation as an Administrative Assistant. She loves working in this area as she is eager to assist prospective students in their quest to continue their education at a truly fine institution. Judy enjoys reading, cross-stitch, and traveling with her husband. She and her husband and son traveled to Australia when their daughter, Tracy, did a study abroad in 2001 through the UA.
Mary Cassidy joined the New Student Orientation team in March of 2009. Mary graduated from The Ohio State University in June of 1999 with a degree in Communications. Although Mary is a Summit County native, she has lived and worked across the state of Ohio. Most recently she worked for The University of Akron’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The mother of two young children, Mary recognizes the difficulties students face in balancing school and family time.
Nino Colla spent three years working in the Office of New Student Orientation as an Orientation Leader, Team Leader, and the Daily Event Coordinator while earning dual degrees in the field of Communications. While completing his undergraduate degrees, he interned at a local newspaper in Green, Ohio, The Suburbanite, covering local sports. Nino also worked in the Career Center at UA as a Peer Advisor, gaining experience in a professional setting. Now pursuing his master’s degree in Higher Education-Administration, Nino started serving as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of New Student Orientation in May of 2012. He enjoys helping supervise the Orientation Leaders and being a good influence in their work and academic career and is excited to continue serving the office.
Emily Ziesenheim graduated from Mount Union College (now The University of Mount Union) in May of 2008 with a degree in Middle Childhood Education. Upon graduating, she journeyed down south to Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she thoroughly enjoyed teaching 8th grade Language Arts for three years. With a desire to enhance her education and explore other facets of the educational system in the United States, she enrolled as a graduate student at The University of Akron in the fall of 2012 to pursue a master's degree in Higher Education Administration. She joined the Office of New Student Orientation as a graduate assistant in the fall of 2012 and is excited to be involved in the transitional processes for incoming freshman and also contributing to the programs and services involved with orientation.