Aurora University

Meet the Staff

Shawna Armstrong

Shawna Armstrong

Senior Athletic Recruiting Liaison

Phone: 630-844-5468
Email: sarmstro@aurora.edu

Education Background: Bachelor’s degree in sports management from North Central College in 2009; Master’s in Sports Leadership/Administration in 2012.

What advice would you give to a first-year or prospective student? There are so many different opportunities to get involved on campus, take advantage of that. You never know what new activity you find that you love, what new friends you will meet and how much of an impact it can make on yourself and others!

What movie is in your DVD player: The Avengers!

Favorite quote: “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”

What activities are you involved in outside of AU? Enjoying being a newlywed with my college sweetheart, Ryan, golfing, lifting, hanging with our rescue mutt, Marley and reading.

 

Bryce DeSpain

Bryce DeSpain

Athletic Recruiting Liaison

Phone: 630-844-5293
Email: bdespain@aurora.edu

Favorite TV show: Burn Notice or Blacklist

Favorite quote: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Favorite book: Astroball

Favorite thing about AU: The relationships I was able to develop on a personal and professional level with my peers as well as my mentors.

 

Lauren Elliott

Lauren Elliott

Freshman Admission Counselor

Phone: 630-844-7879
Email: lelliott@aurora.edu

What are some of your hobbies? Playing video games with my husband, Mike, participating in the adult soccer league in Chicago, and hanging out with my dog, Rex!

Favorite quote: "Don't look back. You're not going that way."

What advice would you give to a prospective student? Visit! There is no better way to get to know a university than coming to campus. Being able to meet with faculty and staff, while seeing your potential second home will give you the best idea of which school is right for you. Be sure to ask whatever questions you may have. We are all here to help you!

Favorite book: 1984

 

Stacy Galanis

Stacy Galanis

Assistant Director of Freshman Admission

Phone: 630-844-5418
Email: sgalanis@aurora.edu

Education Background: I graduated from Aurora University in 2015 with my degree in English/Secondary Education. I've also received my middle school endorsement from Aurora University as well.

What advice would you give to a first-year or prospective student? My biggest piece of advice to incoming students is to never be afraid to ask questions. Connect with your faculty members and ask them any and all questions; they are there to help you, so you should never be hesitant to go to them.

Words you would use to describe AU: Familial atmosphere, challenging and meaningful.

What are some of your hobbies? I absolutely love to read! I could go through (and have gone through) a book a day. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends and trying my hand at various DIY projects.

What was your favorite thing about AU when you were an undergraduate student? The familial atmosphere; we really are a big family here, and this was the place where I truly felt that I belonged.

 

Stacy Galanis

Candy Barrientos Jiménez 

Freshman Admission Counselor

Phone: 630-844-5145
Email: cbarrientos@aurora.edu

Education Background: I graduated from AU with my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish in May 2019.

Favorite Quote: “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?'' -Frida Kahlo

What advice would you give to a first-year or prospective student? Try to step out of your comfort zone! Join student organizations that will help you network, create life-lasting friendships and fun memories. 

Something interesting or unique about me: While studying for my bachelor's degree, I was able to study abroad to Milan, Italy for one month to learn some Italian. It was an amazing experience! 

 

Joel Ortega

Joel Ortega

Director of Freshman Enrollment

Phone: 630-844-3853
Email: jortega@aurora.edu

Education Background: Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing from Aurora University in May 2013.

What advice would you give to a first-year or prospective student? Make sure to give it your all starting your freshman year. There are so many opportunities to make great connections both socially and professionally. Take advantage of your resources.

Words you would use to describe AU: Encouraging, Demanding, Relationships

What are some of your hobbies? I love the Outdoors! Things like camping, rock climbing, hiking, and taking road trips.

What was your favorite thing about AU when you were an undergraduate student? All the different student organizations that AU offered. I was able to build a great network and make some amazing friends.

 

Haley Pessina

Haley Pessina

Freshman Admission Counselor

Phone: 630-844-5298
Email: hpessina@aurora.edu

Education Background: I graduated in May 2015 from Aurora University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree and minors in sociology, psychology, pre-law and Spanish. I recently earned a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State.

Favorite Quote: Pretty much everything in “To Kill a Mockingbird!” If I had to choose one it would be, "Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts."

Favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

What advice would you give to a prospective student? Do not allow yourself to be comfortable. If you are always comfortable you will not grow. Push yourself to try new things and things you never thought you could do. You won't regret it!

What are some of your hobbies? I love reading, cooking, and hiking.

What was your favorite thing about AU when you were an undergraduate student? Getting together with friends on campus to hang out or study. Some of my best friends are from classes I took here and the organizations I was involved in. You spend so much time together that they become family. Having these kinds of relationships make even the most stressful and challenging times fun!

 

Emily Skupien

Emily Skupien

Freshman Admission Counselor

Phone: 630-844-5143
Email: eskupien@aurora.edu

Education Background: BA Corporate/Organizational Communications, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL.

What advice would you give to a first-year or prospective student? Take the time to get to know your classmates, especially if you commute to school. It is worthwhile to make connections, even if you don't live on campus!

Words you would use to describe AU: Beautiful, innovative, and steadfast.

Favorite Quote: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Something interesting or unique about me: While studying for my bachelor's degree, I also earned a minor in art. I love to draw, paint, and create!