The mission of Center for Academic Success and Transition (CAST) is to engage, empower, and support all students in and out of the classroom. We provide academic and transition coaching, peer mentors, and interactive workshops aimed at increasing retention and graduation rates at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
CAST is on City Campus in Love South Library 110. The goal is to encourage academic success all in collaboration with University Libraries. This unique space offers a conference room, computers for students to check email, and a friendly front desk staff to assist students.
1248 R St.
Love South 110
P.O. Box 884109
Lincoln, NE 68588-4109
What is Coaching?
Our coaches build supportive relationships with students to identify areas for enhancement, learn study and life skills, and create action plans. You can meet with a coach once or throughout a semester. Our coaches will help you to be academically successful throughout your UNL career.
Meet the Team
Lori Romano is a Nebraska native with a rich background in education.
Lori is a first-generation student who earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Concordia College–New York and a Master’s Degree in Secondary English Education from CUNY–Lehman College. She is returning to grad school in Fall 2023 to pursue a Master's in Social Work. Lori has experience teaching middle school, high school, and college English and composition, working in the non-profit sector and as a freelance writer and photographer. Lori is excited to work in a role where she can be who she needed when she was younger. She hopes she is able to provide students at Nebraska with the same sort of guidance and support she received when she was starting her own college journey.
When she’s not at work Lori enjoys reading, writing, hosting found family dinner parties, and spending time with her kids and dogs.
Dan Hutt is a native Nebraskan (originally from Tecumseh) and a graduate of UNL, earning his B.A. in English in 1993. He has traveled extensively and had every job in the world from gas station attendant to trophy engraver to bookseller to record store clerk to tour guide. Professionally, Dan was a Lecturer in Spanish at UNL from 1997-2007 and also taught a variety of Spanish courses for industry in the Lincoln, NE area (including State Farm Insurance, Gallup, NE Dept of Labor) through the Southeast Community College Customized Education Division.
In 2007, Dan went back to grad school and attained his M.A. in English from Kansas State University in 2011, specializing in World Literature and Cultural Studies. From 2009-2013, he taught English and Spanish courses at Southeast Community College in Lincoln and Beatrice, NE before happily landing once more at UNL in 2016 in what is now the Center for Academic Success & Transition.
Dan is a champion of the liberal arts and all things international. He sings like a canary, and his interests include music home recording, the Beach Boys' SMiLE album, reading/writing, spy films, KC Royals baseball, spicy food, and staying home with his cats.
Joining the CAST team, Colleen is fulfilling a life-long ambition to be a part of the University of Nebraska. She is excited to bring her education and experience on board to serve students at UNL. A native Nebraskan and first-generation Husker, Colleen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas with a personal interest in Human Potential Psychology.
She is passionate about empowering students to own their college experience and make the most of their time at UNL. Colleen hopes to encourage students to develop and embrace a love of learning and an attitude of exploration, wonder, and growth.
Colleen finds herself humbled and awed by the grace and beauty in the world around her, and she is committed to living a life filled with learning and gratitude. When she is not working, she enjoys relaxing or sailing with her family, puttering in her garden, and going on dates with her husband. She enjoys coffee shops, reading, movies, and being outdoors—and she is crazy about moss.
Robert Russell has a Bachelor's degree in English Studies (with a specialization in Film Studies) from Michigan State University and a Master's degree in English Studies from Oxford Brookes University. With over ten years of experience in higher ed—including teaching and working with students at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Michigan, Saint Mary’s College, and Indiana University South Bend, among others—Robert is passionate about academic support services and is committed to encouraging and assisting students of all backgrounds to take ownership of their academic careers and realize their fullest potential. In his spare time, Robert likes to write and draw and take strolls through the Haymarket.
Donny Bui is a Nebraska native, born and raised in Lincoln.
Donny is a first-generation student who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife with an emphasis in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Donny intends to pursue a graduate degree in the Education Administration Masters Program.
Donny has a passion for education and learning. He is excited to be part of the Center for Academic Success and Transition team, and to work in a role where he can provide support, motivation, and encouragement to students of all backgrounds to achieve success in and out of the classroom.
Prior to joining the CAST team, Donny worked as an Education Specialist for the Upward Bound Math Science Program in assisting students to strengthen their math and science skills in preparation to pursue post-secondary education in a STEM field.
In his spare time, Donny enjoys going fishing, listening and discovering new music, and spending time with his family and friends.
Jordan Heim, a native South Dakotan, joins us after working with the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services (OASIS) and the Center for Civic Engagement as a graduate assistant.
Jordan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication and Religious Studies from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and a Master's degree in Educational Administration with a specialization in Student Affairs from UNL.
During his undergraduate experience, he was involved in numerous areas like student activities, student government, student media, and various choirs. It was then that he realized all of the possibilities student affairs offered and discovered how his passion for helping people and making a difference came together.
When he's not supporting students, you can find Jordan roaming the aisles of Target, taking care of his houseplants, eating mozzarella sticks and catching up on the latest Netflix Original series.
Joe Atil is a native of the Philippines, born in Manila. At a very early age his family moved to Southern California where he grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and San Bernardino.
Joe is a first-generation student, on a non-traditional track who returned to finish college later in his life. He earned his Bachelor’s in History with an emphasis on American Comics and Graphic Novels and his Masters of English with a specialization on Literary Criticism / Modern American Literature (Author John Steinbeck), emphasis on Working Class studies, Feminist studies, ecocriticism, and multiculturalism from La Sierra University. Joe has taught Composition for five years at La Sierra University and the University of North Dakota. Joe has also worked in a Title I school district, Evergreen Public Schools, where he worked for four years at Evergreen High School with English Language Learners as a Paraeducator which included immigrant students, students whose home language was other than English, and Native American / Alaskan Native students.
Over the years, Joe has been involved in Community Theater and acted, assisted directed, and served on the Board of the Yucaipa Little Theater as well as being involved and acted in the Redlands Shakespeare Festival for two years.
Joe looks forward to continue working with students in an educational setting and hopes to maintain his goal to facilitate student agency and academic success.
In his off hours, Joe enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy novels, follows various content from several Twitch streamers, exploring the local cuisine, binge watching his favorite shows via several streaming services, and going on “Pasyal” (Tagalog for “short trip”) which finds him driving around “the road less traveled” into new neighborhoods for the joy of going places.
Learn more about Mandi
Joining us after earning a Bachelor’s degree in History from Doane University, Mandi is a current Graduate Assistant in CAST and enrolled in the Higher Education Administration Program.
She is a first-generation student, from Colorado and is ecstatic to gain experience in empowering students in their journey through college. Mandi understands that college is not always perfect all the time and wants to help guide students in finding strength within themselves and utilizing the resources that surround them. After being involved in and leading various aspects and organizations of Student Life in undergrad, working in higher education became the clear progression of their passions.
When not working or in class, Mandi spends her time discovering new things, whether that’s music, movies, activities, or her new favorite place to grab a bite. Ideally Mandi would like to be outdoors, taking hikes or lake days are a must, and in winter months a few ski trips are likely to occur.
Learn more about Lynnette
Lynnette brings years of customer service and knowledge of the University to the CAST team. Prior positions include Campus visits, office of Admissions and Nebraska Online. Lynnette is passionate about the University, the students we serve, and ensuring they are successful.
A native Iowan, Lynnette has found a new home in Nebraska. Outside of work Lynnette bakes and enjoys anything that involves her family and being outside. Walking, hiking, biking, and gardening and is a strong defender for our environment.
The Center for Academic Success and Transitions employs a team of students who are dedicated to CAST programs and supporting student success at UNL. Student positions include Peer Mentors for our CAST POWER programs (Emerging Leaders, First Husker, and Transfer Students), Study Stop Learning Consultants, marketing and communications interns, front desk student workers.