Resources for Tribal Colleges

Minnesota State and the four tribal colleges of Minnesota have developed a partnership between each college and all seven state universities, paving the way for seamless transfer between the 2-year tribal colleges and any of the Minnesota State universities.

Each university has assigned a staff person to assist students from the tribal colleges with their transfer questions and needs. Select the university you are interested in from the list below to contact their staff member and learn more about transfer opportunities.

Will Ruckel

 

Will Ruckel currently serves as the associate director of admissions at Metropolitan State University. He has worked at Metropolitan State for over seven years and has over 10 years of experience working in the Minnesota State system. Will’s passion is working with adult and transfer students and building navigating higher education systems alongside them. Please don’t hesitate to contact Will with any questions you have!

P: 651-793-1214 Email: William.Ruckel@metrostate.edu 

 

 


 

Kelly Collins

 

Kelly Collins, Student Support Coordinator for American Indian Students. Kelly is from the Omaha/ Umoⁿhoⁿ Nation in Nebraska and loves to work with Native and Indigenous students! As a first-generation, low-income student, Kelly provides academic, cultural, financial, and wellbeing resources with students. Book an appointment with Kelly!

VOICES- Voices of Indian Council for Educational Success- is our student organization for Native American, American Indian, and Indigenous scholars. VOICES provides a community at Metropolitan State University for American Indian students to connect and support one another. This is a great way to be in community with other Native/Indigenous students, plan cultural gatherings, and gain leadership experience. Join VOICES to get involved and stay connected with the Native community at Metro.

P: 393-930-8336 Email: kelly.collins@metrostate.edu 

 


Laura Jensen

 

Laura Jensen is the Assistant Director for the Financial Aid Office at Metropolitan State University. Laura works closely with Kelly to provide financial aid support for American Indian students, including FAFSA programs, tribal scholarship and grant compliance, and scholarship workshops.

P: 651--793-1416 Email: laura.jensen@metrostate.edu

 

 

Resources

Visit The Native Circle, our on-campus community gathering space. 

Virtual tour and visit information.

Megan Heutmaker

 

Megan Heutmaker works as Director for American Indian & Multicultural Affairs in the Multicultural Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato for over 7 years. This position focuses on the recruitment and retention efforts for American Indian/Native American students in Minnesota and the surrounding Midwest states. She has received Bachelor's degrees in both Anthropology and American Indian Studies and a Master's degree in Counseling and Student Personnel, specializing College Student Affairs from MSU, Mankato. On campus, Megan is involved in the retention efforts of all underrepresented students within Diversity & Inclusion. In the community, Megan serves on the Indigenous People’s Day committee as Vice Chair, to plan and implement the annual festivities of Indigenous People’s Day in the Mankato and surrounding community. Megan also serves on the Mahkato Mdewakanton Association to assist in implementing the annual Mahkato Wacipi (Mankato Powwow) and more specifically the Education Day sessions for the District 77 6th graders each year. More recently, Megan serves on the Board of Directors for the Mahkato Revitalization Project, which works to center Mankato as an historical and cultural education site for American Indian communities. Education and equity are cornerstone to Megan’s work both, on campus and in the community.

Outside of her work at MSU, Mankato and in the Mankato community, Megan enjoys crafting, doing puzzles, reading, and snuggling with her cat, Mystic.

P: 507-389-5230 Email: megan.heutmaker@mnsu.edu  


 

Rachel Sherlock

 

Rachel Sherlock works as the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Rachel has worked in financial aid for over 8 years and is passionate about financial literacy and financial aid outreach. She received her bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Iowa. Rachel is currently working on her doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration from St. Cloud State University with an expected graduation date of December 2021. Outside of her work at Minnesota State, Mankato, Rachel enjoys training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, volunteering for the local roller derby team, and spending time with her husband, Jake, and their two dogs, Chance and Watson.

P: 507-389-5123 Email: Rachel.Sherlock@mnsu.edu  

 


Resources

Virtual Tour 


 

Audrey-Cloe-Messner.jpg

 

My name is Audrey Cloe Messne and I am a graduate of MSUM's Counseling and Student Affairs Master's program. As the Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions, I support our Transfer Admissions team and work with students and their families, transferring or seeking a second undergraduate degree throughout the admissions process and support them in making a decision regarding and transitioning from another college to attend MSUM! I specifically work with students who are pursuing a degree within our College of Business, Analytics & Communication. I also help non-degree seeking students who are interested in taking a class through MSUM to transfer back to another school or to prepare for graduate school admission requirements. I appreciate the opportunity I have in making connections with future Dragons! I see Dragon Pride on campus through the diligence and commitment our students have to their education and one another. I think the community that develops on campus is astounding and I am so proud that I am able to represent that to our future students!

P: 218-477-2559 Email: audrey.cloe@mnstate.edu 

 


 

Jody Steile

 

Jody Steile serves as a Program Coordinator in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. She received a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead and master’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is a member of the White Earth Nation. Jody provides support services to underserved students, particularly American Indian students, through recruitment and retention efforts and ensures students’ progress toward the completion of a degree. She collaborates with campus partners on programming and events that promote cultural awareness across campus; serves as a mentor and advisor to students; and is a resource to faculty and staff.

Jody Steile serves as a Program Coordinator in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. She received a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead and master’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is a member of the White Earth Nation. Jody provides support services to underserved students, particularly American Indian students, through recruitment and retention efforts and ensures students’ progress toward the completion of a degree. She collaborates with campus partners on programming and events that promote cultural awareness across campus; serves as a mentor and advisor to students; and is a resource to faculty and staff. 

P: 218-477-4272 email: steilejo@mnstate.edu  

 


 

Jessie Swedberg

 

My name is Jessie Swedberg and I am a graduate of MSUM’s Educational Leadership Master’s program. I am an Assistant Director in the Office of Scholarship & Financial Aid and work with students as they navigate the financial aid process. I work with many of the specialized programs in our office, such as: MITTP (Minnesota Indian Teacher Training Program), Tribal and State Indian Scholarship Programs, the Federal TEACH Grant, MN Post-Secondary Child Care Program, MN Dream Act, Summer Financial Aid, and Satisfactory Academic Progress. I also work with students who are taking courses through other schools (degree or non-degree seeking).

Phone: 218-477-2084 Email: Jessica.swedberg@mnstate.edu

 


Resources

Request a Visit 

American Indian Center  

 American Indian Student Association 

Gus Condezo

 

Gus Condezo started his career in higher education as an Assistant Wrestling Coach at Southwest Minnesota State University.  He spent five years on staff learning much about new student recruitment, retention and student success.  He then took on the role of an Admission Counselor and has worked with students, both first-year and transfer, from northern Minnesota to southern Iowa and everywhere in between. He has also worked for both Minnesota West Community and Technical College and Ridgewater College as an Academic Advisor. He believes in a student-first philosophy and looks forward to assisting you with any questions that you may have.

P: 507-537-6287 Email: gustavo.condezo@smsu.edu

 


 

Michele Knife Sterner

 

Michele Knife Sterner is the Associate Director of Access Opportunity Success (AOS) at Southwest Minnesota State University. For the last thirteen years, Michele has coordinated a multi-faceted program that provides academic and culturally based support to underrepresented/underserved students and she organizes and implements diversity-based programs to the campus community and to the Southwestern Minnesota region. In addition, Michele’s work experience has aligned with Anti-racism pedagogy from teaching American Indian students’ language, culture and history to co-teaching multiple sections of a Human Relations course. In 2019, Michele received the Cathy Cowan award, which is awarded annually to Faculty or Staff at SMSU who provide outstanding service to the SMSU community. Michele is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, and has a strong sense of family, enjoys playing sports, making music and watching her children, niece and nephews’ endeavors.

P: 507-537-7382 Email: michele.sterner@smsu.edu  

 


 

Connie Smisek

 

Connie Smisek has worked as a financial aid administrator for 40 years, 32 of which has been at Southwest Minnesota State University. Born and raised in the Twin Cities, she is a graduate of Augsburg College with a degree in Business Administration with a Specialization in Accounting. She is a member of Minnesota Association of Financial Aid Administrators (MAFAA), Midwest Association of Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) and National Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

P: 507-537-7329 Email: connie.smisek@smsu.edu  

 


 

Resources

Virtual Tour  

Austin Johnson

 

I am Austin Johnson, the Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions at St. Cloud State University. I have been fortunate to work with transfer students since 2016 and really enjoy helping students meet their academic and career goals. I am an alum of St. Cloud State University and a major highlight of my college experience was studying abroad to South Africa for a semester. I am committed to helping all students have access to higher education and look forward to helping answer any questions you have about how your credits will transfer, what are the best majors for your career choice, and any other questions that may come up. Please see below how you can connect with me by email, phone, zoom or by scheduling a campus visit. Go Huskies!

 

Schedule a Zoom Conversation: https://www.stcloudstate.edu/scsu4u/contact/zoom.aspx?counselor=austin

P: 320-308-5709 Email: Aajohnson6@stcloudstate.edu  


 

 

 

Barb Miller

 

Barb Miller is honored to serve as the director of the St Cloud State University American Indian Center. She grew up in the Stockbridge-Munsee tribal community in Wisconsin and is a member of the Mohican Nation and she is also a descendent of the Menominee Tribe.

Barb has a master’s degree in Counseling and 23 years of experience in higher education focused on the recruitment and retention of under-represented minority students. She has been successful in implementing and managing programs and services to elevate university graduation of Asian, Black, Latinx and Native students. Most recently, Barb served as the director of the Multicultural Student Services at University of Wisconsin Stout and graduation rates increased by 53% for the students of color during her nine years of leadership. She focuses on the resilience of students and believes overcoming adversity can be an asset for success. Barb also values cultivating reciprocity in relationships to maximize opportunities for students.

Barb has served as a guidance counselor, academic advisor, recruitment specialist, American Indian Student Services coordinator and administrator. She takes pride in working in a campus community and enjoys collaborations for continuous improvement. Barb looks forward to innovative opportunities to promote intercultural development and inclusive excellence to enhance diversity, campus climate and equity in outcomes. Individual lives, campus community, tribal communities and the state are positively impacted when more Indigenous students graduate from St Cloud State University.

P: 320-308-5447 Email: Barbara.Miller@stcloudstate.edu 


 

Louise Neeser

 

Louise Neeser is the assistant director of financial aid. She has a BA in English from the College of Saint Benedict and an MS in College Counseling and Student Development from SCSU. Louise works with SCSU's general student population, American Indian students, veterans, student parents, and students at risk academically. She believes that students are engaged and accountable when met with caring connections. Louise makes it her goal to anticipate needs and look for unspoken challenges that prevent success. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, walking her two Miniature Schnauzers, and spending time with her husband and three children.

P: 320-308-2047 Email: laneeser@stcloudstate.edu 

 


 Resources

Virtual Tour

Schedule a Campus Tour 

 

Sarah Curtin

 

Hi, I'm Sarah Curtin. I am the Associate Director of Admissions (Transfer). I’ve been working at Winona State for over 20 years in a number of roles in the Admissions office.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with first year, adult, veteran, international and transfer students.  I enjoy the variety of experiences and challenges each day brings.  As an alum of Winona State I have watched the University grow and change into an outstanding institution with majors and interests for everyone.

At home, I spend time with my husband, two children and our dog.  We especially like taking advantage of the beautiful valley in which Winona is nestled in by biking, hiking, kayaking and exploring new places.

To make an appointment with me, you may email me directly or schedule a visit https://www.winona.edu/admissions/undergraduate/visit.asp and request me.

P: 507-457-5100 Email: scurtin@winona.edu   


 

Jonathan Locust

 

As Associate Vice President of Equity & Inclusive Excellence and Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Jonathan Locust provides innovative leadership and partnership at all levels of the university to promote and evaluate progress and impact of efforts to make excellence inclusive and welcoming throughout all aspects of our University community.

“Through a framework of inclusive excellence, we will measure our success,” says Dr. Locust.

P: 504-457-5595 Email: jonathan.locust@winona.edu  

 


 

Diane Defries

 

Diane Defries is an experienced financial aid counselor at Winona State University. She has been in her current role for the past 10 years. She has been our tribal student contact for a several years and enjoys developing relationships and assisting students with “everything” financial aid.

P: 507-457-5093 Email: ddefries@winona.edu 

 

 

 


 Resources

Virtual Tour 

Recorded Admissions visit presentation

Campus Visit Information (virtual and in person options)

Resources for Native American students

KEAP Diversity Center (student run)