Student Success Coaches

Every student in the Bachelor of Science of Health Sciences (BSHS) and Bachelor of Sciences in Health Professions (BSHP) programs is assigned a student success coach.

student success coaeches

UMR Student Success Coaches

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Grounded in the field of student development and in collaboration with faculty, staff, and community partners, student success coaches provide individualized support and broad student advocacy to help students navigate their college experience. By fostering strong relationships, student success coaches mentor students through academic, career and personal development, supporting them to reach their goals through intentional self-reflection.

Guiding Principles:
Student Success Coaches are guided in their practice to:

  • Embrace a holistic approach
  • Encourage and model an appreciation of diversity
  • Promote engagement
  • Support and promote a proactive mindset
  • Strive for meaningful, authentic relationships

Student Success Coaches Provide:

Meet the Team

Parry TelanderParry Telander
Director of Student Success Coaching

Phone: (507) 258-8023

Please email Parry for appointments

Education: BS in Secondary Education w/ Emphasis in Social Studies Teaching, Minnesota State University, Mankato; MS in Counseling and Student Personnel w/ Emphasis in College of Student Affairs, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Hometown: Chaska, MN

Words that describe UMR: Rigorous, Supportive, Learner-Focused, Welcoming

Advice to college students: Just when you think you have your plans all figured out, they will then change on you--be ready for anything.

Favorite random fact about UMR: It took me two weeks to notice the "UMR Ceiling" of University Square.

When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: Being a dad who is trying to keep up with three boys and then melting in my daughter's smile. You can also find me running outdoors, gardening, and cooking.

Favorite quote: "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." - John Wooden

What brought me to UMR: The idea of what UMR can become and the same vision that is shared among colleagues.

Jenn HookeJenn Hooke
Senior Student Success Coach

Phone: 507-258-8029

Schedule an appointment with Jenn

Education: B.A. in History, B.A. in Secondary Education-Social Studies from University of Maryland, College Park; M.S.ED. in Student Affairs Administration from University of Wisconsin La Crosse

Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN

Words that describe UMR: Innovative, personal, caring, and unique!

Advice to college students: Explore your passions and interests outside of the classroom! Academics are a very important part of college, but students often underestimate the impact of experiences that happen when they volunteer, UAA for a course, do a research experience, take a leadership role in a club, or just generally engage on campus and in the community. These experiences often help you define career interests and find personal growth and passion.

Favorite random fact about UMR: When students chose the UMR mascot, the Raptor, in 2010, some students were disappointed to learn that our new mascot was a bird and not a dinosaur (apparently they had a Velociraptor in mind!).

When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: Spending time with my family (husband Alex and daughters Julia and Margaret), traveling to my family’s cabin in the summer, looking for deals and shopping at Costco and Target, on the yoga mat, or walking my dog Howie.

Favorite quote: "To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun?" ~ Katharine Graham

What brought me to UMR: I moved to Rochester in 2008 with my husband, who started a job at Mayo Clinic. I had previously taught social studies at a high school in the Washington DC area, and after a few months subbing in Rochester, I was glad to find a position in the Admissions Office at UMR. What an adventure - there were both amazing opportunities and challenges recruiting students for our brand new Health Sciences program. I eventually wanted closer relationships with the students I recruited, so I pursued my masters degree and was lucky enough to move into the coaching role in 2012!

​​​​​​​Abdirahman IkarAbdirahman Ikar
Student Success Coach and CORE Coordinator

Phone:  507-258-8077   

Schedule an appointment with Ikar

Education: B.A. in Biology, Society, and Environment (Healthcare Concentration), University of Minnesota-TC; M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, St. Cloud State University.

Hometown: Rochester, MN

When I'm not at UMR you can find me: Enjoying Rochester's beautiful parks with my family, playing basketball at the Y, reading on Kindle, or journaling on Diaro!

What brought me to UMR: Rochester is my hometown and empowering students is my passion. 

Words that describe UMR: innovative, supportive, courageous

Advice to students: Take the time to regularly reflect on what gives you fulfillment in life. Then, pave the road that will get you there through hard work and self-care. It will feel impossible at times, and that's okay. Remember that you can't do better than your best, and failure is often a redirection to success.

Rachel JonesRachel Jones
BSHP Student Success Coordinator

Phone: 507-258-8055

Schedule Appointment with Rachel

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Management: Business Administration and Masters of Arts Education in Postsecondary Education/ Student Affairs from University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Hometown: Lansing, Iowa (Lansing Kee High School)

Words that describe UMR: Engaging, Futuristic, Inclusive

Advice to college students: Take every opportunity to engage, collaborate, and learn so that you can translate your experiences into value propositions for future employers. Make every moment count!

When I'm not at UMR, you can find me: On the beautiful trails around Rochester running, biking, cross-country skiing, and hiking, with my husband. I also enjoy yoga, reading, and going to the movies!

Favorite quote: "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself" - John Dewey

What brought me to UMR: I value the opportunity to collaborate with outstanding professionals and develop close personal relationships with students. The environment at UMR is caring, close-knit, and exciting...a great place to work!

Courtney KnutsonCourtney Knutson
Student Success Coach

Phone: 507-258-8077 

Schedule appointment with Courtney

Education: As a undergraduate, I studied Organizational Management and Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth then earned my Masters in Leadership in Student Affairs from the University of St. Thomas.

Hometown: Rochester, MN

Advice to college students: Take good care of yourself, embrace challenges, and follow your joy.
When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: Reading, writing, teaching a yoga class, or spending time with family.

Favorite quote: “At first glance, it may appear too hard. Look again. Always look again.” -Mary Ann Rodmacher

What brought me to UMR: The chance to do what I love most: guiding folks inward to uncover their unique gifts and purpose.

Grace NelsonGrace Nelson
Student Success Coach

Phone: 507-258-8075

Schedule appointment with Grace

Education: B.S in Psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from University of Wyoming, Laramie

Hometown: Cordova, Illinois

Words that describe UMR: Forward, Unique, Collaborative

Advice to college students: Create your own path. We live in a world that gives titles, labels, and groups people together. Try different avenues to see what works best for you. You will feel more invested in the path that you are on when you decide where to go with it.

Favorite random fact about UMR: We're above a mall... I was lost on my first day.

When I'm not at UMR, you can find me: In the outdoors biking, hiking, camping, kayaking, and walking my dogs with my husband. You can also find me trying new recipes, working out, or lounging.

Favorite quote: "Ask yourself what is really important and then have the wisdom and courage to build your life around your answer."

What brought me to UMR: I was drawn to this campus because of the commitment staff and faculty have towards their students and education as a whole. I get to help students reach their academic, career, and personal goals. The opportunities are endless and it is an amazing experience to be apart of the growing UMR campus.

​​​​​​​Anna RibikawskisAnna Ribikawskis
Senior Student Success Coach

Phone: 507-258-8107

Schedule appointment with Anna

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Minors in Sociology and Leadership Studies) from St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI; Semester Abroad in Florence, Italy at Lorenzo De Medici
Master of Science in Counseling and Student Personnel from Minnesota State University, Mankato

Hometown: Prior Lake, MN (Graduated from Prior Lake High School)

Words that describe UMR: Innovative, Collaborative, Opportunities to succeed

Advice to college students: Take the time to get to know yourself and your strengths. When you are faced with adversity stop and ask yourself, "what can I learn from this experience?"

Favorite random fact about UMR: Just Ask hours are very unique to UMR.

When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: Spending as much time as possible with my family. I have two very young daughters that keep me busy. I enjoy traveling, cooking, watching football and hosting parties.

Favorite quote: "Attitude is everything!"

What brought me to UMR: The position of Student Success Coach is my dream job because it offers me variety, interaction with students, and a team environment.

​​​​​​​Emiko WalkerEmiko Walker
Student Success Coach

Phone: 507-258-8065

Schedule an appointment with Emiko

Education: B.A. in East Asian Studies (minor in Chinese and Japanese language), Kalamazoo College; M.A. in Higher Education (minor in International Education), University of Minnesota.

Hometown: Holland, Michigan

When I'm not at UMR you can find me: Gardening or otherwise enjoying nature (when it's not snowing) or cooking/eating/baking/taking photos of delicious food.

What brought me to UMR: Proximity to family and being a part of the University of Minnesota system. My Master's research focused on access, equity, and cross-cultural competencies in higher education; I also have a strong personal interest in diversity and inclusion, so I am excited to be working with such a diverse and unique student population!

Words that describe UMR: unique, supportive, welcoming, driven

Advice to students: While being successful in class is important, take time to explore and experience! Seek out opportunities and always try. You never know where opportunities may take you, or even introduce you to new passions. Take time to reflect and learn more about yourself. Develop friendships and connect with your community -- someone out there just might introduce you to a life-changing experience. Above all that -- make sure to take time for yourself too! There are so many exciting things out there to experience and learn from, but maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is probably the most important thing to being successful.