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The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Boise State University is housed under the Division of Extended Studies. To learn more about our division, visit the Extended Studies homepage.

Contact Information

  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

    General Information

    The Osher Institute office and classrooms are located in the Ron & Linda Yanke Family Research Park (220 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise, ID 83706). Our office hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

    The Osher Institute office and classrooms are located in the Ron & Linda Yanke Family Research Park (220 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise, ID 83706). Our office hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Osher Institute Map

Osher Institute Staff

  • Dana Thorp Patterson

    Director

    Dana Thorp Patterson joined the Osher Institute in December 2018 and has more than 22 years of experience in higher education leadership. She is a first-generation college student and graduated with honors at age 19 with Bachelor of Art degrees in Sociology and Criminal Justice from the College of the Ozarks. She earned advanced degrees in Clinical Counseling and Higher Education Administration from Missouri State University and University of Missouri.

    Dana was raised in remote regions of Alaska and is still influenced by the wilderness. She loves nothing better than being outdoors in the woods or on the water. Dana is passionate about lifelong learning and creating programs to meet the needs of curious minds. “Working with Osher members is the highlight of my career in higher education. I am inspired and motivated by our members’ interests, energy, and willingness to engage.”

    Dana Thorp Patterson joined the Osher Institute in December 2018 and has more than 22 years of experience in higher education leadership. She is a first-generation college student and graduated with honors at age 19 with Bachelor of Art degrees in Sociology and Criminal Justice from the College of the Ozarks. She earned advanced degrees in Clinical Counseling and Higher Education Administration from Missouri State University and University of Missouri.

    Dana was raised in remote regions of Alaska and is still influenced by the wilderness. She loves nothing better than being outdoors in the woods or on the water. Dana is passionate about lifelong learning and creating programs to meet the needs of curious minds. “Working with Osher members is the highlight of my career in higher education. I am inspired and motivated by our members’ interests, energy, and willingness to engage.”

  • Laura Mehlhaff

    Senior Program Coordinator

    Laura Mehlhaff, born and raised in Boise, Idaho, worked in film and content creation for over 15 years. Her work includes award-winning films such as Frozen River, which was nominated for two Academy Awards and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Laura’s films have been showcased around the world, including marquee festivals like the Sundance Film Festival, SxSW, Tribeca Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival. Laura has produced work for Showtime, ESPN, Wall Street Journal’s Custom Studios, and more.

    Laura joined the Osher Institute team in August 2020. She can’t wait to meet members, help foster connections within her community, and of course, learn more about the world around her.

    Laura Mehlhaff, born and raised in Boise, Idaho, worked in film and content creation for over 15 years. Her work includes award-winning films such as Frozen River, which was nominated for two Academy Awards and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Laura’s films have been showcased around the world, including marquee festivals like the Sundance Film Festival, SxSW, Tribeca Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival. Laura has produced work for Showtime, ESPN, Wall Street Journal’s Custom Studios, and more.

    Laura joined the Osher Institute team in August 2020. She can’t wait to meet members, help foster connections within her community, and of course, learn more about the world around her.

  • Jill Chmelko

    Communications Specialist

    Jill Chmelko returned to the Osher Institute in October 2020, where she previously served as the Program Assistant for seven years. She was the Advertising Manager at a college textbook publisher in Boston for eight years, and she has over 20 years of experience in proofreading, copyediting, and editorial consulting. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing Arts with a minor in Theatre and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art with a minor in Art History.

    After calling Boise home for 15 years, Jill returned to her native upstate New York in October 2021, where she continues to work remotely for the Institute. She enjoys collaborating with the staff, reconnecting with Osher members, and cultivating their continued engagement, curiosity, and love of learning.

    Jill Chmelko returned to the Osher Institute in October 2020, where she previously served as the Program Assistant for seven years. She was the Advertising Manager at a college textbook publisher in Boston for eight years, and she has over 20 years of experience in proofreading, copyediting, and editorial consulting. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing Arts with a minor in Theatre and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art with a minor in Art History.

    After calling Boise home for 15 years, Jill returned to her native upstate New York in October 2021, where she continues to work remotely for the Institute. She enjoys collaborating with the staff, reconnecting with Osher members, and cultivating their continued engagement, curiosity, and love of learning.

  • Cherie Ellingson

    Administrative Assistant II

    Cherie Ellingson moved to Idaho six years ago by way of Colorado, California, and Maryland, bringing 20 years of public library and community relations experience. Cherie attended college alongside her middle child and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2020 with a Communications and Leadership degree.

    An admitted lifelong learner, Cherie finds the most joy learning about the world around her through travel. Some of her most memorable trips include Japan, Costa Rica, and the Côte d’Azur. When not traveling, Cherie is a self-proclaimed home renovation junkie. Cherie and her spouse live in Meridian with their three dogs and cat that rule the roost.

    Cherie will be joining the Osher team on July 18.

    Cherie Ellingson moved to Idaho six years ago by way of Colorado, California, and Maryland, bringing 20 years of public library and community relations experience. Cherie attended college alongside her middle child and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2020 with a Communications and Leadership degree.

    An admitted lifelong learner, Cherie finds the most joy learning about the world around her through travel. Some of her most memorable trips include Japan, Costa Rica, and the Côte d’Azur. When not traveling, Cherie is a self-proclaimed home renovation junkie. Cherie and her spouse live in Meridian with their three dogs and cat that rule the roost.

    Cherie will be joining the Osher team on July 18.

  • Faith Spaulding

    Student Office Assistant

    Faith Spaulding joined the Osher Institute as its Student Office Assistant in January 2022. Faith is in her second year at Boise State as an Economics major and is highly involved with the Honors College and Women in Business Association. She has previously worked at a local credit union and a few restaurants.

    In her free time, Faith likes to crochet, read, play soccer, and judge high school speech and debate. She is excited to be a part of the Osher team.

    Faith Spaulding joined the Osher Institute as its Student Office Assistant in January 2022. Faith is in her second year at Boise State as an Economics major and is highly involved with the Honors College and Women in Business Association. She has previously worked at a local credit union and a few restaurants.

    In her free time, Faith likes to crochet, read, play soccer, and judge high school speech and debate. She is excited to be a part of the Osher team.