Academic Advisement Staff

Department People
Natalie Brown

Natalie Brown, PhD

Academic Advisement Director

Natalie has been advising students for over ten years and particularly enjoys working with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. She currently oversees the Academic Advisement Office and works with the International academic advisors to help students understand degree plans and steps to complete degrees. Prior to her work at TMCC, she was one of the international academic advisors at the University of Utah and traveled to China on various trips to advise students on programs and transfer possibilities as well as developed programming to assist all new international students in the transition to education in the U.S. She obtained her undergraduate and masters degree in Spanish and loves to travel to places where she can keep up that language skill as well as new countries she has never been. Natalie serves as a backup to international student academic advisors.

Grecia Anaya

Grecia Anaya-Arevalo, MA

Academic Advisor

Grecia Anaya-Arevalo was born in Mexico but has lived in the United States most of her life. Her desire to help others started when she became a mentor for the Dean’s Future Scholars (DFS) program at the University of Nevada, Reno. In the program, she had the opportunity to work with students one-on-one and to foster rapport with many individuals. As an undergraduate, she thought she wanted to pursue a career in business, but working with students helped her realize she enjoyed working with students a lot more than working with numbers. She completed a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in the summer of 2014. In her free time, Grecia enjoys reading, staying active and spending time with family and friends. In addition to advising students, Grecia is the liaison to the Technical Sciences and coordinates pre-professional advising and major exploration.

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Rachel Blackburn

Admin Assistant 3

Rachel was born in San Diego, CA and moved to Northern Nevada shortly thereafter.  She graduated from Reed High School and went straight into the Army National Guard where she served a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  During her service, Rachel attended TMCC where she earned an Associate of Arts in Business and an Associate of Science.  Rachel has big dreams of starting a blog, writing a book, and learning the guitar and she loves relaxing at home with her husband and two daughters and trying new restaurants with her best pals.

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Jasmine Clancy

Peer Advisor

Jasmine was born in Australia, but moved to Nevada with her mom and sister when she was two years old. She has worked in customer service since she was old enough to work, and values the connections she makes with people through her jobs. She is currently a student and just recently transferred to UNR to work on her Bachelor's degree in Social Work, and will eventually complete an MA in social work. She was in the Engineering Academy in high school (AACT) and focused on computer-aided drafting, specifically architecture, but decided that she wanted to pursue a career that was more centered around the community and helping people. Jasmine's hobbies outside of school include writing, painting, collecting books that she will most likely never get around to reading, and scrapbooking. She is also very dedicated to the work she does through her church and spending time with her family and loved ones.

Tara Connolly

Tara Connolly, MA

Athletics Academic Advisor

After stumbling in and out of college at multiple schools, Tara decided to give higher education one more try as a student at TMCC in the spring of 2003, when she accepted a peer advisor position in Counseling & Academic Advisement.  As a double-dose first-generation college student, she changed her major seven times searching for the perfect major and career, but it turned out she had already found it as an advisor.  She enjoyed the process of working with fellow college students so much that her educational goals changed to prepare her to become a professional Academic Advisor at TMCC. After completing her Associate of Arts at TMCC, Tara went on to graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2008 with a Bachelor of General Studies and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in 2010.  As an Academic Advisor and MBTI® and Strong Interest Inventory® Certified practitioner, Tara tries to create a welcoming and encouraging environment for all students to explore and pursue their educational goals, especially those dealing with uncertainty who are perhaps taking the scenic route through college as she once did.  Tara is also the Athletics Advising Coordinator, working closely with TMCC’s student-athletes and the Athletics Compliance team.  In 2015, Tara earned the Nevada Regents' Academic Advisor Award.  Tara also serves as the advising liaison to the Science Division.  In her spare time, she enjoys running, long hikes with her dogs, yoga, meditation, and reading while sipping almond milk lattes at locally-owned coffee shops

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, BA

Academic Advisor

Ben is a graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno, having earned his BA in English/Creative Writing in the spring of 2017. Like many college students, Ben went through some rough patches early on in his education. He believes that the academic pitfalls he managed to navigate serve as common ground between himself and the students he assists, and he finds great fulfillment in being able to remind students that there’s always a way to work through whatever issues are thrown their way. In addition to advising full-time, Ben is also the New Student Programming Coordinator for TMCC, a position built around organizing and maintaining TMCC’s orientation and continued academic planning workshops. Ben will be starting his Masters of Fine Arts in English: Creative Writing in the fall of 2019. In his free time, Ben likes to minimize physical exertion, watch TV with his pug, eat pizza, and play music around town.

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Alexis Dueñas

Peer Advisor

Born and raised in Fallon, Nevada, Alexis moved to Reno during the summer of 2017 to continue her higher education at both UNR and TMCC. Alexis is currently studying Elementary Education and Human Development and Family Studies. She enjoys working with students to guide them towards the academic track that fits them best. Being part of the Hispanic community is a valuable thing to Alexis and she encourages students from all backgrounds, especially first-generation students, to utilize the wonderful resources the TMCC advising team has to offer. Keeping a healthy balance between work, school and social life is also very important to her. Her weekends are usually spent exploring the outdoors with her family and friends or trying new recipes at home.

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Brandon Goehring

Academic Advisor

Ever since traveling abroad for a semester in London, England, Brandon is always looking forward to his next adventure across the pond.  As a student, Brandon transferred from Fresno City College to UCLA.  He later completed a Master of Science in Educational Counseling with a PPSC Credential from National University.  Prior to joining the Advising Center at TMCC, Brandon worked as an Academic Advisor at National University and the University of Nevada, Reno.  During his free time, Brandon is often seen hiking with his wife, son and two dogs.  In addition, Brandon is the liaison to the Business and Social Sciences Division.

Courtney Hytinen

Courtney Hytinen, MEd

Academic Advisor

Originally from Michigan, Courtney started working in higher education as a student worker at Northern Michigan University (NMU). She graduated from NMU with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education in 2007. Recognizing the impact that post-secondary education can have on a student's life and having a strong desire to work with students on a college campus, Courtney decided to pursue a Master of Education in Administration of Higher Education at Suffolk University in Boston Massachusetts. After graduating in 2009 with her master degree, she continued to work within the Boston-area at Suffolk University as a student success program coordinator, where she worked with academically at-risk and conditional admitted students. She also worked as an academic advisor at Northeastern University within D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Courtney relocated to the Reno area in 2015 to be closer to family, the mountains and sunshine. She is excited to be able to continue working with students in higher education and continues to believe that earning a college degree can have a significant impact on a student's life professionally and personally. Along with advising students, Courtney is an MBTI Certified Practitioner, evaluates military transcripts for incoming student veterans, is the liaison for Allied-Health Programs, and coordinates Excess Credit Fee Appeals.  Outside of work Courtney enjoys running, yoga, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and walking her puggle.

Sione Lavaka

Sione Lavaka, BA

International Student Academic Advisor

Sione received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2013. After a year as an undergraduate, Sione spent 2 years on LDS mission in Samoa, Apia. Sione had to learn a new language, learn a new culture, and adapt to a new lifestyle for 2 years. Sione is currently a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Reno where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. Sione's passions include binge eating and watching Netflix.

Staci Miller

Staci Miller, MS

Lead Academic Advisor

Staci has been advising for over 22 years because she loves working with students and helping them reach their college goals. As a college student, she attended a California community college and earned an Associate of Arts degree before transferring to a California State University. She was the first person in her family to attend college and the community college allowed her to transition to college from high school with smaller courses, more instructor access and a much lower cost. She successfully transferred as a Junior to the university where she earned her bachelor's degree in Accounting. Her bachelor's degree led to her career in higher education and then to the decision to continue her education. In 2003, Staci earned a Master's Degree in School Counseling. Her transfer experience is why she also coordinates transfer services at TMCC. She want to ensure students truly understand the transfer process so they can have the same great experience she had. No matter what your college goal is, Staci would love the opportunity to work with you!

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Edgar Palacios, MA

Academic Advisor

Edgar received a Bachelors in Anthropology and a Minor in Journalism in spring of 2016.  In the fall of 2018 Edgar received a Master degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Edgar’s passion for working with students began when coaching high school football throughout his undergraduate career.  As a double dose first generation student, Edgar understands the importance of having an on-campus ally.  Edgar believes that all students should feel welcomed and supported through their education and continues to work towards being an advocate for students of all backgrounds. 

Jennifer Pierce

Jennifer Pierce, MA

Academic Advisor

Jennifer started her career in higher education as an adjunct faculty and tutor at Great Basin College. While teaching developmental English, she realized conversations she had with students outside of class had a critical, positive impact on student success, so she began to explore a career in student affairs. She was the Retention Coordinator at GBC for two years before relocating with her family to Reno, where she decided to finally pursue a Master’s degree. She loves being a part of helping students reach their academic and personal goals, and particularly enjoys working with transfer students and students returning to college. In addition to working directly with students, Jennifer serves as the advising liaison to the Liberal Arts Division, and as the Assessment Coordinator and Peer Advisor Supervisor. Jennifer earned a BA in English Literature from Boise State University and an MA in Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is also an MBTI®  and Strong Interest Inventory Certified Practioner. She has lived in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Nevada and cannot imagine living anywhere that does not have mountains where she can camp and hike with her husband and two children. Jennifer loves poetry and the arts, barbecuing with family and friends, and checking things off her to-do list.

Alondra Rivera Photo

Alondra Rivera

Peer Advisor

Alondra was born and raised in Reno NV. She is currently a student at TMCC. She plans to obtain her Radiology Technologist AAS at TMCC. Alondra started her interest in the medical field by being apart of the Health Science Academy program at Hug High School. She immediately gained much interest in this field and decided the medical field was her route. As a first-generation student, Alondra knows it is her goal to work hard and make her parents proud. Alondra is a very fun and outgoing person once you get to know her. She enjoys meeting new people and interacting and helping. On her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and going on hikes.

Rebecca Thomas

Rebecca Thomas

Academic Advisor

Rebecca came to higher education for a career in research and worked for a decade at the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies at UNR while pursuing her Master’s Degree and beginning her PhD program. She has also worked for the Office of Research for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and as a program manager for the UNR Institutional Review Board, assisting researchers in the development of research projects as well as overseeing ethical compliance of human research. Rebecca has also taught a variety of courses including cognitive psychology, social psychology, sociology, culture and identity, gender theory and research, research methodology, women’s studies, and race and ethnicity. She spent over a decade as an advocate in the domestic violence field as the Director of the Temporary Protective Order Office at the Second Judicial District Court in Reno and as a lobbyist and Legal Programs Development director for the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence. She was a founding member of the Attorney General's Committee on Domestic Violence/Batterers Treatment Certification, and a member of various other community and government boards and committees. In addition to academic advising, Rebecca is the GRS Coordinator and an instructor in the Social Sciences Department. When not at work, she spends an inordinate amount of time with her nose in books, writes many words, and hopes to eventually finish her dissertation. Rebecca sees academic advising as a combination of her advocacy work and her education, allowing her to connect with students in the very halls where she began her educational journey—at TMCC.