My expertise outside of the SEC is in the realm of entrepreneurship. In the SEC, I am the first point of contact for the SEC and enjoy talking to students, parents, and visitors. I provide administrative assistance and clerical support to the center, handle reimbursements and accounts payable plus I supervise SEC office assistance and oversee all student payroll for the SEC. My work also includes assistance with implementation of all program and events, alongside SEC budget management and Internship Endowments. I grew up in the Walla Walla Valley and joined Whitman College in 2012. My husband David Beccera and I have three amazing kids, Vanessa, Kristofer, and Alexa. I love to get involved in the community as much as possible. One fun face about me is that I love Amusement Park roller coasters, the higher and faster, the better!
Director of the Student Engagement Center/ Pre-law advisor/ Sociology Department Research Associate
My notable experience extends to various fields, including community organizing, program management, policy advocacy, lawyering, and teaching. In the SEC, I create and nurture relationships with our amazing community partners, help students figure out ways to bring their ideas for a more just and sustainable world to fruition, and find common ground through my natural curiosity about how people are the same and how they are different. My wife, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Helen Kim, and I have lived in Walla Walla for 15 years. We are fortunate (and exhausted) to have a son, Ari, and a daughter, Talia, who are enjoying their student lives in the local public school system. One fun fact is that I served as a VISTA volunteer in Harlan, Kentucky, the year after I graduated college.
Megan Cooke '19
Hello! I am a recent graduate from Whitman-I majored in geology-environmental studies. As the Marketing Fellow, I manage visibility and communication of the Student Engagement Center. I advertise recruitment/information sessions, visiting alumni for career services, community engagement, and general campus wide career/community events. I am the one sending emails all the time! I am originally from Fort Defiance, a small town named on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. I am the youngest of three and my parents are my idols. I have two kitties and a guppy here in Walla Walla; but back home, I have five cats, one mini-bull, two horses (one mini), a small flock of sheep, a coup of chickens, a duck, a bunny, and four dogs! Plus, my extended family is huge! I have 80 first cousins!
Career Development Team
Director for Career Development
After spending 20 years in a diverse range of roles and organizations in the private sector, I transitioned my experience as a manager and team leader into a highly satisfying role supporting students as they take their first steps into the professional world. In my seventh year with the Student Engagement Center, my focus is working with students pursuing business and technology, while overseeing a broad range of career development offerings. The move from Portland to Walla Walla has allowed my family to to easily access the things we love - the arts, civic engagement, outdoor recreation and NCAA Div-III sports. A fun fact related to my work is that my college internship search included 4-1-1 directory assistance and a stack of my favorite mail-order catalogs as I smiled and dialed to find an apparel company with an internship for design students. We have much better resources for students now!
Assistant Director for Career Education
My background is in education and teaching and I am passionate about coaching students and advising them on their academic and professional paths. I enjoy creating meaningful, educational experiences for students both in-and-outside of the classroom. In the SEC, I oversee all aspects of Career Education from one-on-one appointments with students, to leading workshops for student groups, and presenting in the classroom. As part of my role, I also manage the Student Career Adviser program. A little bit about myself: I grew up in Berlin, Germany, and also went to college there. I received a B.A. in English, History and Education from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and also completed my M.Ed. (English/History) there. During the 2010-11 academic year I came to Whitman to teach in the German department and lived in Das Deutsche Haus.
Areas of Expertise in the SEC:
- Provide career coaching for students covering the non-profit, for-profit, and government sectors
- Help students reflect on their co-curricular experiences (internships, research opportunities, fellowships, etc.) and build a cohesive narrative
- Collaborate with student groups, departments, and faculty to provide workshops and classroom sessions that focus on Career Education
- Develop programs that provide professional, personal, and leadership opportunities for students
- Foster collaborative relationships with community partners, faculty, staff, and alumni to support student learning
Assistant Director for Career Readiness and Employer Engagement
I have enjoyed working in higher education for over 15 years, always with an emphasis on helping students find their paths. While earning my bachelor's degree in Economics at Western Washington University, I worked as a student Academic Adviser, which sparked my interest in a career in higher education. Prior to joining Whitman, I served Director of Admissions for the MBA Program at the University of Washington. Here in the SEC, I focus on helping students prepare for life after Whitman by offering individual coaching appointments, group workshops and connecting students with potential employers via on-campus and virtual information sessions. I can help you with resumes, cover letters, preparing for interviews, applying to graduate school, finding an on-campus job and helping you learn how to research career paths through networking and alumni engagement. I moved to Walla Walla in December 2018 and have enjoyed exploring the area with my husband and young son. An interesting fact about me is that I have visited over 32 countries - so far! I love to travel and look forward to further exploration.
Mitzy Rodriguez Camiro
Assistant Director for Internship Programs
I am a native to Walla Walla and am excited to return back home after receiving my degree in Human Development from Washington State University. In the Student Engagement Center, I will oversee the Whitman Internship Grant program as well as the Community Fellow Program, an initiative that connects community partners from local non-profits and Whitman students to address some of the area's social, economic, and cultural challenges. This will allow me to help students reflect on their co-curricular experiences (internships, research opportunities, fellowships) and build a cohesive narrative. My co-curricular experiences added a lot of value and meaning to my academic journey, so I look forward to sharing that with students at Whitman. Outside of my professional role, I really enjoy spending time with family and my 3 dogs, working outdoors, and learning new dance moves.
Community Engagement Team
Assistant Director for Community Engagement
My experience centers around program management, mentoring and advising, group and team facilitation and teaching. My expertise in the SEC taps into capacity for relationship-building with students, staff, faculty and community partners. I thrive when I can listen, encourage and support others in their co-curricular endeavors both on and off-campus. Participating in the wholistic development, both personally and professionally, of our students is life-giving to me. My husband, Shane, is an athletics photographer for Whitman and other entities in town, while he also works for Armavel in IT security and compliance. I am a Walla Walla Native and returned with Shane years ago to raise our three children in this beautiful, rural, special community we call home. Peyton attends Whitworth University in Spokane, WA and Peter and Paige attend Walla Walla Public Schools. We are a Labrador and cat loving family that appreciate all things sports, the outdoors, road trips and memory-making. While attending University of Washington for my undergraduate degree in Communications, I played Club LaCrosse and loved it!
Community Service Coordinator
I enjoy helping students create meaningful connections through community engagement experiences that provide opportunities to address community needs, explore interests, learn outside of the classroom, and serve as active citizens. I oversee the service trips program and the service initiatives that partner with our local non-profits. In addition to me work in the SEC, I serve as the adviser to the Community Service House on campus, volunteer with several non-profit organizations, and serve as the Co-Vice President of the Sharpstein Elementary School PTA. I enjoy spending time with my family (Mark, Lexa, and Samuel), hiking, camping, traveling, and reading. I earned a BA in Education and an MA in Educational Psychology.
- Helping students make community connections through service
- Mentoring students and helping them develop leadership and professional skills
- Fostering and supporting relationships with our local community partners
Community Consulting Specialist
My career began in Higher Education Administration and meandered through teaching, parenthood, grant writing, business administration, and nonprofit arts management before beginning this position in the Student Engagement Center. My expertise in the SEC includes nonprofit management, consulting practices, student development and learning outcomes. I came to Walla Walla from Oberlin, Ohio as a trailing spouse (My wife, Kris Surovjak, is a Senior Associate Director of Admission at Whitman). I have three children, all who graduated from or are currently attending a liberal arts college. I have a daughter that teaches and lives in S. Korea, a daughter preparing to teach and live in another country, and a son who is a Sophomore at a college in the midwest. I studied Broadcasting and Educational Media as an undergraduate at Kent State University and returned there to pursue my Master's degree in Higher Education Administration. My family and I love to hike and camp, cook meals, play board games, and make music together. I have traveled around the world, managing a regional children's choir as they performed in venues such as the Peterskirche in Vienna, St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, and the Sydney Opera House. I had a brief tenure as the Child Wrangler for Opera Cleveland.
Community Learning Specialist
I have extensive experience facilitating reciprocal and equitable curricular initiatives between faculty and community partners. I also specialize in long-term community-based research that encourages students, staff, faculty, and community partners to creatively rethink what it means to construct and disseminate knowledge. I am a new arrival to Walla Walla, coming all the way from sunny Los Angeles, where I earned my BA in Sociology from Occidental College. Outside of my work at Whitman, you can find me searching for the best espresso shot in Walla Walla with my one-year-old dog, Freddie, in tow or thrift shopping at all the local haunts.