First Husker Program

Staff

There’s no time in your life quite like college. You’re starting a brand new adventure, taking that first big step toward independence, and striking out on your own. College is an exciting time, but there will likely be some bumps in the road along the way. The CAST staff have been there and we're here to help!

Meet the team!

Lori Romano

Lori Romano

Director, Center for Academic Success and Transition

Learn more about Lori

College
Concordia College – New York
Degree
B.A. in English with a specialization in Creative Writing
Favorite quote?
"Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good hot black coffee, like this." – Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks
Best piece of advice you ever got?
Let it in, and let it go.
You can invite three famous people (living or dead) to a dinner party. Who would you choose and why?
David Lynch, Carol Burnett, and Ann Wilson. It would be an evening filled with intriguing conversation, lots of laughter, and amazing music—all of my favorite things!
Sasquatch—real or fake?
Real! There’s way too much unexplored wilderness out there to say otherwise.
What were you most afraid of when you started college? How do you feel about it now?
Failure—Those college days were especially hard because I felt like so many people had such high expectations and were counting on me to succeed. That’s a lot to carry! It’s something I still struggle with at times, but now I know that there really is no such thing as failure as long as you learn something from the experience.
Dan Hutt

Dan Hutt

Academic Success Coach

Learn more about Dan

College
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Degree
B.A. in English
Favorite quote
"We are closest to God when we are dying laughing." -Bryan Wilson, 1966
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’ve written a couple good songs.
When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
Coffee and donuts.
If you could time travel, where would you go?
1966 Los Angeles.
Sasquatch—real or fake?
Real.
Favorite spot on campus and why?
Kimball Hall—that’s where the operas are.
Colleen Cameron

Colleen Cameron

Academic Success Coach

Learn more about Colleen

College
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Degree
B.A. in Psychology
Favorite Junk Food?
Tied: Double Stuff Oreos and Pringles
Which animal/reptile/insect would you least like to be locked in a cage with?
Well, any potentially savage animal with teeth and claws. And bot flies are terrifying.
What app do you use most?
My texting app. I love to text. Every text a person sends me is like a little present!
Favorite TV/movie quote?
"Hide the rum!" – Jack Sparrow
Sasquatch – real or fake?
Real
What’s your most vivid memory from college?
I was a first-generation Husker, so my parents weren’t able to help me navigate the process. I remember my mom telling me how proud she was of me, and I remember feeling like it was all up to me.
Robert Russell

Robert Russell

Academic Success Coach

Learn more about Robert

College
Michigan State University
Degree
B.A. in English Studies with a specialization in Film Studies
What app do you use most?
Tied: Twitter and Pokémon Go (and I’m not ashamed at all).
What is one thing you were really glad you brought when you went to college?
No even joking: a toaster. Saved my life my freshman year when I was terrible at time management and couldn’t get to breakfast before class.
What is one thing you wish people knew about you?
I can do a killer English accent.
Sasquatch—real or fake?
Fake, and I’m okay with that: There’s so much wonder in the natural world around us already, how much we still don’t know, that I’d rather put my energy toward trying to understand the birds and squirrels and trees I see every day.
What is your most vivid memory from college?
Orientation, the shock of going from a relatively small suburb to a school of 50,000+ students and realizing, for the first time, how big and beautiful and wonderful the world is.
Donny Bui

Donny Bui

Academic Success Coach

Learn more about Donny

College
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Degree
B.S. in Fisheries & Wildlife with an emphasis in Wildlife Ecology and Management
Favorite quote?
"Would I rather be loved or feared? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me." -Michael Scott, The Office
What superpower do you wish you had?
Instant teleportation.
What is your most vivid memory from college?
Having the opportunity to take a trip to Puerto Rico for my Tropical Ecosystems class. I had the opportunity to experience the rain and dry forests, snorkel on a tropical reef, swim in the bioluminescence bay and explore tropical rivers, underground caves and beaches of Puerto Rico.
What is the most useless talent you have?
Being able to flip my eyelids inside out.
Sasquatch – real or fake?
Do you even have to ask? Of course they are real!
What were you most afraid of when you started college?
Failure—Being a first generation college student, I truly did not know what to expect in college. I just knew that I needed to do my best in order to keep my scholarships, and I did not want to disappoint my family. I learned there are a plethora of resources and people in college that want to assist in your educational success; you just need to seek out and tap into the available resources.
Jordan Heim

Jordan Heim

Academic Success Coach

Learn more about Jordan

College
Morningside College
Degree
B.S. in Mass Communication with a specialization in Corporate Communications
B.A. in Religious Studies
Favorite junk food?
Pringles (Original, obviously).
What is your most vivid memory from college?
Traveling to Spain during my second year with the college choir.
What app do you use most?
Instagram
Sasquatch—real or fake?
As my friend John Mulaney once said, “Who’s to say?”
What were you most afraid of when you started college?
I was afraid that college wasn’t for me.
Joe Atil

Joe Atil

Academic Success Coach

Learn more about Joe

College
La Sierra University
Degrees
BA in History emphasis on American Comics and Graphic Novels
MA in English specialization on Literary Criticism / Modern American Literature (Author John Steinbeck), emphasis on Working Class studies, Feminist studies, ecocriticism, and multiculturalism.
What app do you use the most?
Google Maps. I enjoy navigation by a disembodied Australian voice.
What is one thing you wish people knew about you?
I wish people knew that I am Filipino, because I get misidentified all the time, e.g. Pacific Islander (Hawaiian, Tongan, Chuukese, etc.), Native American, or Mexican, etc. When in doubt please ask. I don’t bite...mostly.
Biggest pet peeve?
When people fail to use the Oxford Comma properly or not at all. #GrammarMatters
Do you ever talk to yourself? When? And what do you say?
Yes. Whenever I feel stressed. Example, “(Expletive)!!! Ok, Joe. Calm down and breathe.”
Sasquatch – real or fake?
Real! Sasquatch, BigFoot, Yeti, Abominable Snowman, etc.
What is one thing you were really glad you brought when you went to college?
Rice Cooker with Steamer Pot attachment = Hot Meals in my dorm room day or night!
What were you most afraid of when you started college?
Getting Left Behind: The primary reason I enrolled in college was because many of my high school friends were going, so I jumped in the car with them when they went for Registration Day. It made for a very long and frustrating experience, especially sitting in the Financial Aid Office. #PlanAhead
Carly Mendoza

Carly Mendoza

Administrative Coordinator

Learn more about Carly

College
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Degree
B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Mathematics
What superpower do you wish you had?
Superhuman speed. That way, when I clean my house it wouldn’t take so long.
What is one thing you were really glad you brought when you went to college?
My phone. It’s not only useful for the obvious reason, but in classes where phones were allowed, I would take pictures of the PowerPoint slides. So instead of scrambling to get everything written down, I could listen to the professor and take everything in.
Favorite TV/movie quote?
“Pivot!” -Friends
Sasquatch—real or fake?
Of course he’s real! He’s in the beef jerky commercials!
What were you most afraid of when you started college?
It seemed like everyone knew what they were doing and where they belonged. I was most afraid of just not having everything figured out.