Success Coach with student

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.

UMR Student Success Coaches

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.

Values and 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

Academic Coaching

    • Help students develop an education plan that could align with more than one health science pathway
    • Check in with faculty to gain an overview of student progress
    • Challenge and support students to meet their academic goals
    • Help students navigate through academic policies and program and system-wide graduation requirements

Career Coaching

    • Encourage engagement and reflection of multiple career options within health sciences
    • Help prepare students fro their next steps after graduation
    • Challenge and support students to create multiple career paths

Life Coaching

    • Support students through different transitions of their college career
    • Support students through personal impacts that can happen during a college education and direct students to the appropriate resources

Student Success Coaches

    • Understand and communicate the BSHS curriculum
    • Listen to and respect students
    • Assist students in creating an educational plan that meets their academic and career goals
    • Talk with students about their academic progress in courses and identify strategies for improvement
    • Be available to answer questions and/or meet with students
    • Refer students to resources


    • Check their U of M email and respond in a timely manner
    • Respect that their Coach does not have all the answers
    • Be open and willing to consider other perspectives
    • Review there APAS report
    • Reflect on their academic and career goals and be open to discuss them
    • Reach out to their coach
    • Commit to meeting with their Coach at least once per semester

I truly believe that as student development professionals we get both the responsibility and the privilege to help students reflect on their lives to find meaning and unlock their potential.

-Jenn Hooke

Meet the Team

E Fowziyyah Ali
Student Success Coach


Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ali

Education: Doctor of Health Education, from A.T. Still University; have earned Certified Health Education Specialist (C.H.E.S.)

Hometown: Born in Tallahassee, Florida; most recently moved from Gadsden, Alabama near Birmingham.

Advice to college students: To be an honorable winner in spite of difficulties requires patience, perseverance, resilience and prayers.

When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: reading multicultural mysteries; editing and writing about education; grant writing for an ADA compliant transportation company in Birmingham, Alabama that is a minority, woman-owned business.

Favorite quote: "Start easy, end strong. Try to achieve gradual, persistent growth." - S.Y, McGuire with S. McGuire, Teach Yourself How to Learn, pg. 68

What brought me to UMR: Opportunity to work full-time with pre-health students from diverse, underrepresented backgrounds.

Lainey Brottem
Student Success Coach


Schedule an appointment with Lainey

Education: B.A. from St. Olaf College; M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado

Hometown: Chisago City, Minnesota

Advice to college students: Believe in yourself, use the resources available to you, understand your strengths, advocate for yourself and always know you have lots of support. You can do this!!

When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: On a golf course, on a basketball court, looking out at the lake or sitting around a fire.

Favorite quote: "The truth is rarely pure and never simple." - Oscar Wilde

What brought me to UMR: The opportunity to work in the University of Minnesota system with extraordinary students who want to spend their lives caring for and helping others.

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 Finn.

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 D.C. 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 Bachelor of Science in 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!

Lourdes I. Irizarry
Health Professions Program Coordinator


Schedule an appointment with Lourdes

Education: B.A. in Psychology (minor in American Indian Studies) from University of Minnesota Twin Cities; M.A. in Counseling Psychology from University of St. Thomas; Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration-Higher Education from University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Hometown: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

Words that describe UMR: Collaborative, vibrant, inclusive

Advice to college students: Look at your college experience as a way to learn about yourself and the world around you. Always try to seek your inner resilience whenever obstacles appear in your path. Be positive, never give up on your goals, and always move forward.

When I'm not at UMR, you can find me: At a nearby park or a local coffee shop writing and reading a book. I also love movies, poetry, drawing, and painting.

Favorite quote: “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it” - Angelou

What brought me to UMR: The commitment of the campus community to help students reach their highest potential while providing an inclusive environment.

Grace NelsonGrace Nelson
Senior 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: B.A. in Communication (Minors in Sociology and Leadership Studies) from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin; Semester Abroad in Florence, Italy at Lorenzo De Medici; M.S. in Counseling and Student Personnel from Minnesota State University, Mankato

Hometown: Prior Lake, Minnesota

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: JustASK hours are very unique to UMR.

When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: Spending time with my family and friends and enjoying the outdoors. I have three daughters that keep me busy. I enjoy yoga, walking, having deep meaningful conversations with others, 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.

Betsy Stoltz
Student Success Coach


Education: Education: B.A. in Psychology and Speech Communication from Southwest Minnesota State University; M.F.A. in Forensics - Communication Studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato; M.S. in Educational Leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato

Hometown: Owatonna, Minnesota

Advice to college students:  Never be afraid to ask questions. Take advantage of the resources and activities UMR offers. 

When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: Spending time with family and friends, gardening, hiking, and gaming. 

What brought me to UMR:  To have the opportunity to work with students in a variety of ways in a team environment.

Bridget Tetteh-Batsa
Student Success Coach


Schedule appointment with Bridget

Education : B.A. in English from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana; M.A. in International Affairs (African Studies), M.A. in English from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio; Ph.D. in English from the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks, North Dakota

Hometown: Odumase, Krobo, Eastern Region, Ghana

Advice to College Students: You are here, at UMR! Congratulations. See all the learning, the classroom experiences, friendships, relationships, interactions, accomplishments, and yes, even periodic setbacks as tangible launchpads to your goals and aspirations ( whatever they may be). Celebrate what offers fulfillment, reflect on and seek help addressing unfavorable outcomes, and above all, remember that your presence and voice (here on campus and in any space) matter! Also, remember to ask questions as often as answers are needed, and take advantage of the resources UMR provides.  Final word: embrace the spaces UMR, your community, and peers create for non-academic or social activities. Outside of classroom activities and community engagements do not only advance career goals, they offer needed respite for mental and emotional regeneration.

When I'm not at UMR, you can find me: Time traveling! Reading fiction or texts that transport me into worlds and periods outside of the ones I know, watching movies/shows that offer me lens and access into lives and experiences I may never get to live, on the phone with my mom and siblings who bring me memories of a time when ice-cream or popsicles populated my dreams, or enjoying some escape from home by exploring Rochester's many beautiful parks with my husband! 

What brought me to UMR: I have been teaching at the college level for 15 years. In the context of the pandemic, intentional self and career reflection led to questions about my career goals and pathway. I arrived at academic advising and coaching. I concluded that academic advising and career coaching offer important bridges between teaching and students' academic, career, and personal growth. My search for a suitable campus or work environment led me to UMR! I appreciate UMR's collaborative and supportive work culture. I am even more grateful for UMR's investment in students' success. 

Favorite Quote:  "The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart" - Kwame Nkrumah

Alan ThompsonAlan Thompson
Student Success Coach


Schedule appointment with Alan

Education: B.A. in Journalism and Spanish from Augustana University; M.S. in Counseling and Student Personnel from Minnesota State University, Mankato

Hometown: Rural Nicollet, Minnesota 

Advice to college students: Get to know your classmates, faculty, UMR staff and coach. They can help you navigate your time at UMR, and some of those relationships will last a lifetime. Remember to use your coach as a resource to explore academic and career options, discover personal values, and plan for the future. We are also there if you just need someone to listen.

When I’m not at UMR, you can find me: Hiking at state parks, trying new recipes and kayaking on Silver Lake.

Favorite quote: “It takes time to live. Like any work of art, life needs to be thought about.” - Albert Camus

What brought me to UMR: UMR coaches care about students' success, and we care about them as people, too. Our community is rich with diversity. This is a place where you can show up as yourself, whoever that may be.