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MDS Staff and Faculty

Staff

  • Jon Schneider

    Jon Schneider

    Director

    Jon Schneider received a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia. He has over nine years of teaching and program and curriculum development experience in higher education. Jon has been managing the Bachelor of Applied Science Program since 2013 and is committed to continuing to improve and develop the program into a career-relevant, supportive, and life-enriching interdisciplinary degree-completion option.

    Jon Schneider received a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia. He has over nine years of teaching and program and curriculum development experience in higher education. Jon has been managing the Bachelor of Applied Science Program since 2013 and is committed to continuing to improve and develop the program into a career-relevant, supportive, and life-enriching interdisciplinary degree-completion option.

  • Alexis Kenyon

    Alexis Kenyon

    Associate Director

    Alexis Kenyon earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance from the College of Idaho and her Master of Health Science with an emphasis in Health Promotion from Boise State University. Alexis has a background in college admissions, academic advising, and teaching, and is committed to helping students persist to graduation. When not behind her desk, you can find her hiking the beautiful Boise foothills with her dog, skiing at Bogus Basin, or leading a rocking water aerobics class in a local pool.

    Alexis Kenyon earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance from the College of Idaho and her Master of Health Science with an emphasis in Health Promotion from Boise State University. Alexis has a background in college admissions, academic advising, and teaching, and is committed to helping students persist to graduation. When not behind her desk, you can find her hiking the beautiful Boise foothills with her dog, skiing at Bogus Basin, or leading a rocking water aerobics class in a local pool.

  • Josh Taufalele

    Josh Taufalele

    Student Success Coach

    As a former non-traditional student myself, I understand the challenges of finishing a degree while doing life. I want you to know that the reasons you were not able to finish a bachelor’s degree before do not matter. The most important thing is that you are willing to put forth the effort today. Seeing you accomplish this goal to better your life and your families is my passion. I am excited to go on this journey with you!

    As a former non-traditional student myself, I understand the challenges of finishing a degree while doing life. I want you to know that the reasons you were not able to finish a bachelor’s degree before do not matter. The most important thing is that you are willing to put forth the effort today. Seeing you accomplish this goal to better your life and your families is my passion. I am excited to go on this journey with you!

  • Heather Ropelato portrait

    Heather Ropelato

    Student Success Coach

    I earned a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and am currently working towards a masters degree. As a student with many work and personal commitments, I understand that going back to school can seem like an overwhelming pursuit. I love working with prospective students and discovering together that achieving a quality online degree is doable. Pursuing an education is an important goal and I feel very lucky to work with students to determine if Boise State is the right fit.

    I earned a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and am currently working towards a masters degree. As a student with many work and personal commitments, I understand that going back to school can seem like an overwhelming pursuit. I love working with prospective students and discovering together that achieving a quality online degree is doable. Pursuing an education is an important goal and I feel very lucky to work with students to determine if Boise State is the right fit.

  • Brian Chojnacky

    Brian Chojnacky

    Academic Advisor

    Brian Chojnacky (pronounced “Sha-na-ski”), B.A. in Social Work (Boise State 2002), M.A. in School Counseling (Adams State 2007), has spent the past decade working in higher education with a variety of students ranging from traditional-aged community college students to non-traditional student veterans.  He has a passion for helping students overcome obstacles that impede their obtainment of their personal and educational goals. Brian believes that all who have the courage to start a college education can achieve a degree with the right combination of self-determination, support, and grace. When not assisting students or biking about town, Brian enjoys time spent in the great outdoors;  especially when shared with friends and family.

    Brian Chojnacky (pronounced “Sha-na-ski”), B.A. in Social Work (Boise State 2002), M.A. in School Counseling (Adams State 2007), has spent the past decade working in higher education with a variety of students ranging from traditional-aged community college students to non-traditional student veterans.  He has a passion for helping students overcome obstacles that impede their obtainment of their personal and educational goals. Brian believes that all who have the courage to start a college education can achieve a degree with the right combination of self-determination, support, and grace. When not assisting students or biking about town, Brian enjoys time spent in the great outdoors;  especially when shared with friends and family.

  • Brooke Dolecheck

    Brooke Dolecheck

    Academic Advisor

    Brooke Dolecheck earned a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies with a Certificate of Leadership and Human Relations from Boise State University in 2019. During her time as a Multidisciplinary Studies student, she spent several semesters as an advising intern and later worked on the Boise State X team. As a lifelong non-traditional student herself, Brooke understands how overwhelming it can be to juggle school and life. This, coupled with a passion for learning about students as individuals and helping them achieve their unique goals, is what makes academic advising a natural fit for Brooke. She says she’s humbled every day by the remarkable people she works with.

    Brooke Dolecheck earned a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies with a Certificate of Leadership and Human Relations from Boise State University in 2019. During her time as a Multidisciplinary Studies student, she spent several semesters as an advising intern and later worked on the Boise State X team. As a lifelong non-traditional student herself, Brooke understands how overwhelming it can be to juggle school and life. This, coupled with a passion for learning about students as individuals and helping them achieve their unique goals, is what makes academic advising a natural fit for Brooke. She says she’s humbled every day by the remarkable people she works with.

  • Larissa Monckton

    Larissa Monckton

    Academic Advisor

    I earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Montana and a Master of Science in International and European Politics from the University of Edinburgh. Since graduating, I have worked in admissions at the University of Montana and as a self-reliance specialist for the State of Idaho. I believe in the value of a college education and I look forward to collaborating with you so that you can reach your educational goals. When not behind my desk, you will find me drinking far too much coffee, hiking with my dogs, and hitting the gym.

    I earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Montana and a Master of Science in International and European Politics from the University of Edinburgh. Since graduating, I have worked in admissions at the University of Montana and as a self-reliance specialist for the State of Idaho. I believe in the value of a college education and I look forward to collaborating with you so that you can reach your educational goals. When not behind my desk, you will find me drinking far too much coffee, hiking with my dogs, and hitting the gym.

  • Natalie Newell

    Natalie Newell

    Advising Manager

    Natalie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Masters in Educational Leadership from Boise State University. Before Boise State, Natalie served 4 years in the United States Navy as an AD2(AW) at NAS Whidbey Island, Wa. She has been with Boise State University since 2015 and has a background in advising and financial aid. As a non-traditional student herself (homework on deployment!), she understands how it challenging it can be for a non-traditional student but also how rewarding it can be. Natalie is a firm believer in self-care and enjoys being an advocate for students to help them reach their goals. When not at her desk, you can find her in the foothills with her dogs (Ellie & Cooper) and her partner, Andy.

    Natalie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Masters in Educational Leadership from Boise State University. Before Boise State, Natalie served 4 years in the United States Navy as an AD2(AW) at NAS Whidbey Island, Wa. She has been with Boise State University since 2015 and has a background in advising and financial aid. As a non-traditional student herself (homework on deployment!), she understands how it challenging it can be for a non-traditional student but also how rewarding it can be. Natalie is a firm believer in self-care and enjoys being an advocate for students to help them reach their goals. When not at her desk, you can find her in the foothills with her dogs (Ellie & Cooper) and her partner, Andy.

Faculty

  • Michelle Bennett

    Michelle Bennett

    Clinical Instructor

    Michelle Bennett’s students often describe her as “encouraging”. Bennett teaches undergraduate courses in integrative thinking for the Applied Science and the Multidisciplinary Studies programs as well as communication and public relations courses for the Department of Communication & Media Arts. Dr. Bennett specializes in public speaking and directed the national championship speech and debate team at the College of Western Idaho. As a fifth-generation Idahoan, Bennett is invested in assisting young people find their voice through public speaking and interviewing coaching and volunteers with several Idaho organizations in this pursuit. Bennett has over 20 years of experience in corporate communication and marketing in a variety of western locations. Bennett earned a B.A. and M.A. in Communication at Boise State University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Idaho.

    Michelle Bennett’s students often describe her as “encouraging”. Bennett teaches undergraduate courses in integrative thinking for the Applied Science and the Multidisciplinary Studies programs as well as communication and public relations courses for the Department of Communication & Media Arts. Dr. Bennett specializes in public speaking and directed the national championship speech and debate team at the College of Western Idaho. As a fifth-generation Idahoan, Bennett is invested in assisting young people find their voice through public speaking and interviewing coaching and volunteers with several Idaho organizations in this pursuit. Bennett has over 20 years of experience in corporate communication and marketing in a variety of western locations. Bennett earned a B.A. and M.A. in Communication at Boise State University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Idaho.

  • Michelle Mahoney

    Michelle Mahoney

    Lecturer

    Michelle Mahoney has spent her career putting communication principles into action. After graduating from California State University, Fresno, Michelle began her career in television news. After earning a teaching credential in English and a master’s degree in Communication, Michelle made a career move into education, directing the Forensics and Debate program at her high school alma mater and later as Public Information Officer for a K-12 school district. She has spent the last decade teaching communication, media arts, and public relations at the College of Western Idaho and is now proud to be a Boise State Bronco in the MDS/BAS program. Michelle is excited to help deliver courses that provide enrichment, growth, and career opportunities for students.

    Michelle Mahoney has spent her career putting communication principles into action. After graduating from California State University, Fresno, Michelle began her career in television news. After earning a teaching credential in English and a master’s degree in Communication, Michelle made a career move into education, directing the Forensics and Debate program at her high school alma mater and later as Public Information Officer for a K-12 school district. She has spent the last decade teaching communication, media arts, and public relations at the College of Western Idaho and is now proud to be a Boise State Bronco in the MDS/BAS program. Michelle is excited to help deliver courses that provide enrichment, growth, and career opportunities for students.

  • Margaret Sass

    Margaret Sass

    Lecturer

    Margaret Sass began her academic career earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After graduating, Margaret moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in marketing and public relations in the nonprofit sector. Margaret returned to academia in 2004 by entering and graduating from a southern California law school. After she completed her J.D., she moved to Boise to complete her EdS degree and her Doctorate in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. She began her teaching career in California in 2004 and has continually taught courses in wills and trusts, hospitality law, business law, communication and multidisciplinary studies. Her main interest is implementing and researching service-learning in higher education curriculum.

    Margaret Sass began her academic career earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After graduating, Margaret moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in marketing and public relations in the nonprofit sector. Margaret returned to academia in 2004 by entering and graduating from a southern California law school. After she completed her J.D., she moved to Boise to complete her EdS degree and her Doctorate in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. She began her teaching career in California in 2004 and has continually taught courses in wills and trusts, hospitality law, business law, communication and multidisciplinary studies. Her main interest is implementing and researching service-learning in higher education curriculum.

  • Baker Lawley

    Baker Lawley

    Clinical Instructor of Experiential Learning Opportunities

    Baker Lawley has been teaching in higher education for two decades, with a passion for helping students tell their stories and share their work with the world. He earned his B.A. in English from Millsaps College and his M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Alabama. Prior to joining Boise State, he taught at Gustavus Adolphus College for thirteen years as Associate Professor of English, where he also served as department Co-Chair, directed the Writing Center, and oversaw internships and two student-run literary magazines. In the MDS/BAS program, Baker focuses on experiential learning opportunities, helping students integrate real-world experience with their degree, and translating their experiences into academic credit for specific courses. Experience, past or present, matters, and helping students integrate those experiences with their overall educational life at Boise State will help them better tell their stories and design their futures.

    Baker Lawley has been teaching in higher education for two decades, with a passion for helping students tell their stories and share their work with the world. He earned his B.A. in English from Millsaps College and his M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Alabama. Prior to joining Boise State, he taught at Gustavus Adolphus College for thirteen years as Associate Professor of English, where he also served as department Co-Chair, directed the Writing Center, and oversaw internships and two student-run literary magazines. In the MDS/BAS program, Baker focuses on experiential learning opportunities, helping students integrate real-world experience with their degree, and translating their experiences into academic credit for specific courses. Experience, past or present, matters, and helping students integrate those experiences with their overall educational life at Boise State will help them better tell their stories and design their futures.

  • Amy Davis

    Amy Davis

    Adjunct Instructor MDS 410 Case Studies in Leadership

    Amy Davis, MS, is eCampus Program Development Consultant, for eCampus Center. Davis serves as an information resource as well as a liaison working closely with academic department chairs and faculty moving from conception, through development, to the implementation of fully online programs. Amy teaches MDS 410, Case Studies in Leadership.

    Mail Stop: MS 1121

    Amy Davis, MS, is eCampus Program Development Consultant, for eCampus Center. Davis serves as an information resource as well as a liaison working closely with academic department chairs and faculty moving from conception, through development, to the implementation of fully online programs. Amy teaches MDS 410, Case Studies in Leadership.

  • Konrad Ziesing

    Konrad Ziesing

    Adjunct Instructor MDS 430 Ethics

    Konrad Ziesing, MA, is an adjunct instructor in the Multidisciplinary Studies program. He has 20 plus years of experience as an executive leader and administrator working primarily with non-profit and religious organizations. He earned a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from George Fox University and prior to teaching at Boise State University was an adjunct faculty member at Northwest University teaching a variety of leadership classes. His passion is helping others grow in integrity and confidence.

    Konrad Ziesing, MA, is an adjunct instructor in the Multidisciplinary Studies program. He has 20 plus years of experience as an executive leader and administrator working primarily with non-profit and religious organizations. He earned a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from George Fox University and prior to teaching at Boise State University was an adjunct faculty member at Northwest University teaching a variety of leadership classes. His passion is helping others grow in integrity and confidence.

  • Makenzie Phillips

    Makenzie Phillips

    Adjunct Instructor COMM 341 Nonverbal Communication

    Makenzie Phillips, MA, is a full-time Research Associate for the Center for Health Policy. She earned her graduate degree from San Diego State University with an emphasis in Interpersonal and Nonverbal Communication. Her most recent publications deal with the effects of technology on interpersonal relationships. She is also an adjunct faculty member for both the Multidisciplinary Studies (MDS) and Communications Departments, where she primarily teaches Nonverbal Communication.

    Makenzie Phillips, MA, is a full-time Research Associate for the Center for Health Policy. She earned her graduate degree from San Diego State University with an emphasis in Interpersonal and Nonverbal Communication. Her most recent publications deal with the effects of technology on interpersonal relationships. She is also an adjunct faculty member for both the Multidisciplinary Studies (MDS) and Communications Departments, where she primarily teaches Nonverbal Communication.

  • Michal Yadlin

    Michal Yadlin

    Adjunct Instructor MDS 420 Globalization

    Michal graduated with a Bachelor’s and MAT from the College of Idaho and an M.A. in History from Boise State. She has taught online and face-to-face at the College of Idaho, CWI, TVCC, and now Boise State University in the subjects of Humanities, Western Civ, and US History. She loves traveling and tries to do as much as she can while she’s not teaching. If she has to stay in the area, she enjoys reading, exploring the Farmers Markets and bookstores in downtown Boise.

    Michal graduated with a Bachelor’s and MAT from the College of Idaho and an M.A. in History from Boise State. She has taught online and face-to-face at the College of Idaho, CWI, TVCC, and now Boise State University in the subjects of Humanities, Western Civ, and US History. She loves traveling and tries to do as much as she can while she’s not teaching. If she has to stay in the area, she enjoys reading, exploring the Farmers Markets and bookstores in downtown Boise.

  • Stephen Hill

    Stephen Hill

    Adjunct Instructor MDS 440 Project Management

    Stephen Hill, PMP, is the instructor for MDS 440-Project Management and Design. He earned his MA in Economics from Clemson University and has a BA in Management and Economics from Western Carolina University. He has taught project management principles sessions for local non-profit organizations and has experience teaching statistics and economics.

    Stephen Hill, PMP, is the instructor for MDS 440-Project Management and Design. He earned his MA in Economics from Clemson University and has a BA in Management and Economics from Western Carolina University. He has taught project management principles sessions for local non-profit organizations and has experience teaching statistics and economics.

  • Tricia Burns

    Tricia Burns

    Adjunct Instructor MDS 450 Teamwork and Innovation

    Tricia Burns, MBA, is an adjunct professor with the Multidisciplinary Studies program. She has been with Boise State since, let’s just say, a long time ago. In addition to teaching Teamwork and Innovation, Tricia is an instructor with Boise State’s Center for Professional Development, where she provides leadership development, communication, and other training for business leaders throughout the Northwest.

    Mail Stop: MS 1121

    Tricia Burns, MBA, is an adjunct professor with the Multidisciplinary Studies program. She has been with Boise State since, let’s just say, a long time ago. In addition to teaching Teamwork and Innovation, Tricia is an instructor with Boise State’s Center for Professional Development, where she provides leadership development, communication, and other training for business leaders throughout the Northwest.