Heide Hulse
Office of First-Year Experience

University announces new orientation assistants, coordinators

Thu, 03/20/2014

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Office of First-Year Experience has announced 17 new orientation assistants and two orientation coordinators for the 2014-2015 year. Orientation assistants are students whose job is to make the transition to KU a positive and engaged experience. These OAs will guide first-year students and their families through their orientation, assist with advising and enrollment, answer questions and offer their perspective on life as a Jayhawk.

Orientation coordinators are former orientation assistants selected to assist the Office of First-Year Experience in helping new students and families through the transition to KU. OCs are selected based on their past contributions to the orientation program, knowledge of the university, and their record of academic success and campus involvement.

Students beginning KU in the fall 2014 semester will attend orientation and enroll in classes starting in April for transfer students and June for freshmen. Orientation programs continue throughout the summer. OAs and OCs will serve more than 10,000 new students, parents and guests as part of the orientation program.

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 like Orientation and Hawk Week, and Hawk Days, as well as academic engagement programs such as the KU Common Book, University 101, First-Year Seminars and Learning Communities. These programs contribute to the KU’s goal to increase year one to year two 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 to have a successful start at the university and to support their process of earning a degree.

The Orientation Assistants are:

  • Shannon Altmeyer is a junior from Colorado Springs, Colo., studying applied behavioral science. She is the daughter of Randy and Ginny Altmeyer.
  • Cornelius Baker is a junior from Wichita studying psychology. He is the son of Bertram and Lisa Baker and a graduate of Wichita High School East.
  • Killian Brown is a sophomore from Virginia Beach, Va., studying classical antiquity and philosophy with a minor in history. He is the son of Shelli and Sean Brown and a graduate of Frank W. Cox High School.
  • McKenna Brown is a junior from Eureka, Mo., studying global and international studies and economics with a minor in French. She is the daughter of Jay and Julie Brown and a graduate of Eureka High School.
  • Stefanie Carnahan is a junior from Beckemeyer, Ill., studying Spanish with a Latin American Studies minor. She is the daughter of Sandra Carnahan and a graduate of Breese Central Community High School.
  • Jordyn Cox is a junior from Wichita studying anthropology and Italian with a minor in theatre. She is the daughter of Cherryl and Gregg Cox and a graduate of Maize High School.
  • Sam Eastes is a sophomore from Pratt studying journalism and global and international studies. He is the son of Bill and Dee Dee Eastes and a graduate of Pratt High School.
  • Dylan Fehl is a senior from Hutchinson studying philosophy and history with a minor in leadership studies. He is the son of Cara Webb and Emery Fehl and a graduate of Buhler High School.
  • Jessica Guilbeaux is a sophomore from Kansas City, Kan., studying computer engineering. She is the daughter of George and Rhonda Guilbeaux and a graduate of Piper High School.
  • Heathyr Johnson is a senior from Olathe studying secondary English education. She is the daughter of Anna and Steven Johnson and a graduate of Olathe East High School.
  • Michael Johnson is a sophomore from Derby studying aerospace engineering. He is the son of Karen Blucher and Kevin Johnson and a graduate of Derby High School.
  • Becca Levine is a junior from St. Louis studying religious studies with a minor in Jewish studies. She is the daughter of Leiba and Ken Levine and a graduate of Parkway North High School.
  • Annie Matheis is a junior from Overland Park studying strategic communication and applied behavioral science. She is the daughter of Nancy and Ric Matheis and a graduate of Blue Valley High School.
  • Kierstin McMichael is junior from Wichita studying English. She is the daughter of Lucretia Raleigh.
  • Maggie Nickl is a sophomore from Arlington Heights, Ill., studying music therapy with a minor in psychology. She is the daughter of Maureen Kerrigan and Fred Nickl and a graduate of Wheeling High School.
  • Jessie Pringle is a junior from Chanute studying history. She is the daughter of Kent and Cathy Pringle and a graduate of Chanute High School.
  • Derek Smith is a senior from Cochranton, Pa., studying ecology and evolutionary biology. He is the son of Raytha and Earl Smith and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

The Orientation coordinators:

  • Ellie Eastes is a senior from Pratt studying applied behavioral science with a minor in sociology. She is the daughter of Bill and Dee Dee Eastes and a graduate of Pratt High School.
  • Hannah Jayne is a recent KU graduate from New Prague, Minn., who studied communication studies with minors in linguistics and women’s studies. She is the daughter of Ann Marie Witt and Clint Jayne and a graduate of New Prague High School.

Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

Class outside… in January. Yes, please. #exploreKU (📷: insta samh131)
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (, associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times