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-Arevalo, MA
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.
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, 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, BA
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.
Kayla has grown up in Reno, NV her entire life. She is currently working on her associate degree in Community Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health at TMCC. She plans on transferring to UNR to complete the same bachelor’s degree. She is a nationally certified and state licensed EMT Basic. She also attended the Academy of Arts Careers and Technology (AACT) for high school and took part in the Medical Academy. She began her journey in higher education while still in high school through the TMCC Jump Start program. Outside of her higher education career, Kayla enjoys reading, crocheting, painting, watching movies, spending time with her family and growing succulents.
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, MEd
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, 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, 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!
Perla Petry, MA
Perla started her journey in higher education at the University of Nevada, Reno where she completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development and Family Studies, and Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership, and Master of Business Administration. Her passion for working with students started early on as a participant of the Dean’s Future Scholars program (DFS). Her experiences as a student, mentor, and program coordinator for DFS solidified her decision to work in higher education and help students achieve their educational goals. In 2013, she joined the Advisement team at Truckee Meadows Community College. As an academic advisor, she takes pride in assisting students identify, plan, and achieve their academic, personal and professional goals. Currently, she is the advising liaison for the Business Division, the major exploration coordinator for the office, and is an MBTI® and Strong Interest Inventory® Certified practitioner. Perla is in progress of earning a Master’s of Business Administration Degree from UNR. Outside of advising, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, going to concerts, traveling, dining out, watching movies and taking advantage of new opportunities.
Jennifer Pierce, MA
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.
A native Texan, Sarah ended up staying in Reno after joining a roller-coaster pit crew in 2015. After a decade in animal rescue, she finally returned to her first love, mathematics. While working toward an associate degree here at TMCC, she discovered a new interest in the field of computer science and will graduate with a dual degree in the spring of 2019 before making her way to UNR. Peer advising has turned into her happy place and she is excited to help other students navigate the complicated puzzle of academic planning.
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.
Ohanna Turcios-Ramirez, MA
Professional Academic Advisor
Ohanna is happily a Reno native and plans to give back to her community through her journey in higher education. She received her undergraduate degree in Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS) and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership (EL) from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is currently still attending to earn a second master’s degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology for School Counseling. Outside of higher education, she enjoys photography, reading books from her favorite author Paulo Coelho, Naruto, and watching movies with her long haired chihuahua. Se habla español!