STUDENT SUCCESS AND EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE
Meet Our Support Team
195 South Central Campus Dr
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
AMY BERGERSON, DIRECTOR
It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I packed my boxes and headed off to college. Once the boxes were unpacked, the roommates met, and my brother had driven away, I realized that there was a whole lot more to going to college than getting in and getting there. For some reason, that hadn’t crossed my mind before that moment. And, I learned that first semester that college wasn’t a cakewalk. Figuring out how to study at the college level, trying to imagine who I would be when my college journey was complete, and the pressures of working, making friends, and navigating a new environment all made for a challenging semester. Thanks to the special attention of one faculty member, I began to get my feet under me, and eventually I grew to love it so much that I’ve spent the rest of my 25-year career working at colleges and universities.The University of Utah’s Student Success and Empowerment Initiative is here to help you navigate many of the same challenges I faced many years ago – along with new ones that grow from our use of technology, the increasing size of our campus, and the growing diversity among you and your peers. Our Student Success Advocates are your guides to the college experience. They listen to your story and help you find the best ways to enhance your time on campus. They assist you in knowing what questions to ask now as well as when you plan for your future. They offer you a personalized attention that is rare on large campuses like ours.
All of us here at the Student Success and Empowerment Initiative want you to know that we value what you contribute to our campus. Our community benefits greatly when you find your niche on campus and develop a sense of belonging on our campus. And, in the process of creating your meaningful Utah experience, you benefit as well. We’re here to assist as you navigate the many ways you can leave your mark on the University of Utah, and we can’t wait to see what you imagine….and then do while you’re here!
195 South Central Campus Dr.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0511
JUAN RIOS, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
When I first moved to Utah I only expected to be here for four years to do my undergrad. I chose to come to Utah because I had previously vacationed here and loved the scenery here. When I first moved here adapting to life was a bit hard. I was use to a very fast paced lifestyle and the beach was only 15 minutes away. Utah was the opposite, landlocked state and a much slower lifestyle. But over time I found new surroundings and adventures in the mountains. That’s probably the one thing I love the most about the U, everywhere you look, you have amazing views. As an undergrad I had no idea what I wanted to major in, I knew I wanted to major in business or law (I wish the Student Success & Empowerment Initiative was around when I was in school). While working on the pre-requisites for the business major I discovered marketing and public relations and fell in love with them. I’m lucky that in my current position I get to dabble in some marketing and P.R. projects.
In my free time I like to travel, go camping, watch movies, go running with my dog, and explore the great outdoors.
PISTI GAMVROULAS, OUTREACH AMBASSADOR
Hi, I’m Pisti! I’m currently in my 4th year at the U, working towards a Fine Arts major with an emphasis in graphic design. With my passion for art and design I have a lot I’d love to do! I hope to spend time working for a respected design firm, travel the world as a freelance designer, and eventually return to school to get my MFA, so I can teach design courses!
When I’m not focused on school, I love baking and decorating cakes for friends, discovering new hiking trails, playing a wide variety of sports, and creating and practicing art/design.
I became aware of the Student Success Empowerment Program after I was introduced to an SSA during a class in my 3rd year at the U. I began to meet with an SSA regularly throughout the rest of the school year, and am very grateful I did. Since working with an SSA, I’ve discovered many different resources at the U that I never even knew existed, met and formed connections with a multitude of students, and found a support buddy that helps me see the lighter side when college/life gets stressful.
As an Outreach Ambassador, I want to share my positive experience with other students and help them find the success they’re looking for. I believe that our Student Success Advocate team can have a lasting effect on a student’s college experience, and am excited to help connect students to an SSA that will support them in reaching their fullest potential.
OLIVER PEREZ, OUTREACH AMBASSADOR
I am a sophomore double majoring in Health, Society & Policy and Philosophy of Science and minoring in Medical Humanities, Pediatric Clinical Research, and Philosophy. After I graduate, I plan to move to England to pursue an MB/PhD and later become a neurosurgeon as well as a professor. I enjoy hiking, reading books, going to museums, and going to see operas, symphonies, and plays.
I like being an OA because I enjoy helping others. The SSA program has helped me tremendously and I would love to help others connect to this resource.
BRANDON GEORGIAN, OUTREACH AMBASSADOR
Hi, I am Brandon! I’m currently a sophomore double majoring in Business Management and Environmental Sustainable. When I am not in school, I enjoy scuba diving (haven’t had too much luck in Utah), cheffing it up in the kitch, and playing video games with the boys. During my summer as an Orientation Leader, I worked closely with Student Success Advocates. After the summer, it was clear to me the main goals and vision for SSAs matched my goals for the campus community which are to plug students into campus resources, opportunities, and programs.
195 South Central Campus Dr.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0511
MELANIE LEE, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR EDUCATION, SUPPORT, & ASSESSMENT
About me… I am a leadership nerd, BBQ aficionado, and sports fan. I am originally from Kansas City, MO and have spent time in Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Utah. Currently, I am an Educational Leadership & Policy Ph.D. student here at the U and am interested in the experiences of students’ perceptions of access to programs on campuses. Prior to landing in Utah, I lived and worked in New Orleans as an academic adviser and first-year experience instructor. I hold a Master’s degree in College Student Personnel from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Leadership Studies from Christopher Newport University.
My philosophy for working with students is nothing magical (sorry, no sweet patronus here), but is instead student-centered. Ahem.. that means you. I am here to be a resource for you and it is my job to soak up as much information as humanly possible to be the best resource I can be. Colleges and universities are their own universe with new names for things and new processes for how things are done. My job is to help you navigate this strange place we get to share together.
Once you complete your adventure at the University Of Utah and can confidently say you are a little bit different, and you have grown, as a result of your time here that means as a team, we accomplished what we set out to do and we are all enriched because of that.