Meet the LAS 100 Instructors for FA 2021!

Chris Carter, LAS 100-AD

Hello! I am your Instructor Chris Carter; I am from Adrian, MI. I have my Bachelor’s of Social Work. I am currently pursuing my Master’s In Social Work. I am also Academic Coordinator for Student Support Services, where I help provide resources to students such as tutoring, technology resources, and academic advising. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, serving my community, and outdoor activities. I am excited to meet everyone and be a part of your experience at Siena Heights University!

Regina Dunn, LAS 100-AA

My name is Regina Dunn, and I currently teach the First Year Experience class at Siena Heights University. I also serve as a Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Athletics Liaison at the university. I graduated from the Bashkir State Pedagogical University in Russia with a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication. I earned my Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Master of Business Administration at Siena Heights University. Some of my hobbies include reading, traveling, Ashtanga, running, and cycling. Fun fact about me: I worked at the Winter Olympic Games in 2014, Sochi, Russia. I am looking forward to getting to know you!

Michael Blumenauer, LAS 100-AL

Greetings! My name is Michael and when I’m not in the garden or playing with my beautiful puppies, Darwin and Misty, you can catch me at the Croswell taking in a show. On campus, I am an Academic Advisor, as well as FYE Instructor. I look forward to working with you all this coming Fall.

Vanessa Gardner, LAS 100-AH

Hello! My name is Vanessa Gardner and I am the FYE Coordinator here at SHU. I’m also an Academic Advisor and, on occasion, teach an English class or two. I love horror stories, books and movies, and spend my free time writing. I also enjoy my dogs, Zeus and Roxy, when they are not being complete turds. I’m thrilled to meet all of you this Fall! Go Saints!

Stephine Sawicki, LAS 100-AE

Hello! My name is Stephine. I have been at Siena for the past seven years. Fall 2021 will mark my fourth year teaching LAS 100: FYE. I am looking forward to working with the class of 2025!

Dr. Elizabeth LaFray, LAS 100-AN

Dr. Elizabeth LaFray is an Associate Professor of History and the Coordinator of the History and Social Studies Program. She earned her PhD in History at Central Michigan University and specializes in ancient history, classics, intellectual history and ancient concepts of soul and self.  Dr. LaFray teaches a wide variety of courses at SHU including in history, geography, and the liberal arts core. Her most recent publication, “Dangerous bodies Plato’s Laws and the ideology of female inferiority in fourth-century Athens” appears in Women and the Ideology of Political Exclusion: From Classical Antiquity to the Modern Era, 2018.

Melissa Krzyzaniak, LAS 100- AK

Melissa Krzyzaniak is the Assistant Director for Student Support Services, a federally-funded TRIO program. Melissa is also a teacher, life-time learner, lover of nature, and explorer of the great outdoors.

Kate Hamilton, LAS 100-AF

Kate Hamilton has been a staff member at Siena Heights for the past 10 years.  She currently serves as Director of Alumni Relations at Siena where it is her pleasure to keep in touch and engage with our over 26,000 alums.  She and her husband along with two of their three children are also graduates of Siena.  Kate looks forward to teaching FYE each year so she can get to know some of our newest Saints!  In her spare time, Kate loves to look for Petoskey stones (MI state stone) in Northern Michigan.

Dr. Julius Nagy, LAS 100-AJ

Julius Nagy, who goes by Dr. J on campus, is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and has been at Siena Heights for 9 years. I will reveal what I did previously on our first day together; the curious may want to do some Googling! I have taught FYE several times and am looking forward to getting to know all of you, live and in person! I live in Adrian with my wife, Gwen. We have 7 children between us, ranging from 35 to 20, and Gwen’s background is in education…she is my go-to when I need help with teaching! I am looking forward to getting back to in-person classes, especially for FYE because the relationships are so important for the semester and for the rest of your time at Siena, and beyond; just saw one of my first FYE students at a recent Adrian First Friday event!. I have a lot of wisdom to share and promise to share in an entertaining fashion…we will break most of the rules! Enjoy the rest of the summer…see you soon!

Dr. Julieanna Frost, LAS 100H-AA

My name is Dr. Julieanna Frost and I am a Professor of History at Siena Heights University. Additionally, I am the Director of the Honors Program. I have a master’s in Social Science and American Culture, a master’s in Women’s Studies, and a doctorate in Women’s History. I have been teaching since 1998. My research interests focus upon U.S. history, religious studies, and women’s history. I enjoy organic gardening and hiking with my husband and my dog. I look forward to a great semester with you!

Cynthia Sutherland, LAS 100-AI

I have worked at Siena Heights University for 13 years. My passion is helping others achieve their goals. I have worked as an advisor in the online program and currently I work with university partners.

Outside of SHU, I enjoy being active, hanging out with my family and friends and traveling. I look forward to meeting you in LAS 100 and helping you transition to life as a Saint.

Dr. Wendy Crosby, LAS 100-AM

Hi, I’m Dr. Wendy Crosby. This will be 5th year teaching religious studies at Siena Heights. In the summer, I love to go fruit-picking with my husband and 4-year-old son. If you plan your summer right, here in Michigan you can get strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, and apples. Some of my other interests include cooking Indian food, watching elite gymnastics, and reading science fiction. I’m looking forward to meeting you all! 

Angela Heath, LAS 100-AG

I have been at Siena Heights University since 2012 and have been a FYE Instructor since 2015. I am also currently the Mayor of Adrian. In addition to teaching FYE at Siena, I am also the Head Coach of both the Cheer and Dance Teams. I have a degree in education from Purdue University and taught school for 12 years in Wisconsin and Illinois before moving back to my hometown, Adrian, in 2004. I am the mother to 5 children, Ryan (25), Grant (24), Ben (23), Julianne (21) and Caroline (20) and live in Adrian just a few miles from campus with my husband, Larry,  and son, Grant who attends Siena Heights part-time. 

Trevor Willis, LAS 100-AB

Hello, my name is Trevor Willis! I am a two-time Siena Heights graduate, as I received my Bachelors in Science majoring in Biology and a Masters in Organizational Leadership, both from Siena.  I was also a member of the baseball team during my time here at Siena.  I currently work as the McNair Scholars Program Coordinator and am a former McNair Scholar myself as I participated in the McNair Scholars Program while in undergrad. I enjoy doing things outdoors with friends in my free time, such as playing tennis, baseball, or hiking.  I am thrilled to be involved with the First-Year Experience program and help students start their journey at Siena!

Melissa Sissen

Hi everyone,

 My name is Melissa Sissen your FYE instructor.

 So here is just a little trivia pursuit information about me that you might find interesting.

I have been a part of SHU’S history (ancient history) having been a St. Joseph’s Academy girl as well as having graduated from Siena (when it was known as Siena Heights College… yep I am old) with a double major in History & English and a large concentration in French and Art History.

Met my husband through a blind date while we were both going to Siena ( he was from Detroit and I was from Adrian) Got engaged at Old Tiger Stadium. Love the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons of old… not so sure about the new generations of these teams…. And how can anyone root for the Lions!?!

I have 3 grown boys who all played ice hockey ( travel, juniors and minors) So I have heard all the excuses about homework! (you have been warned)  😊

Enjoy listening to the Beatles, Queen, Metallica and Adelle  and I will turn to for more music suggestion for me to listen to.

Love reading ( I had better, since I am a librarian), arts and crafts , I think outside the box in class ( You will experience this, I guarantee!!!)

I truly enjoy working with you the college students, you keep me on my toes, & young (okay younger)

I look forward to playing and learning with you in this class, yes we can have fun and still learn valuable things together. I learn from you and you learn from me!