Meet the Staff

At Aurora University, you will work closely with your Admission representative throughout the admission process. We are here to answer questions, share with you the benefits of an AU education and be your resource until the time you step foot on campus to begin classes.

Your Admission representative will coordinate completion of your application to the university, inform you of important deadlines and explain various ways to finance your education. Take a few minutes to learn more about our freshman Admission staff.

Shawna Armstronggonzales.jpg
Senior Athletic Recruiting Liaison

630-844-5468 | 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. 

Lauren Elliott
bernier-lauren.jpgFreshman Admission Counselor

630-844-7879 | 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 

Samantha ChmaraSam Chmara
Freshman Admission Counselor

630-844-5465 | schmara@aurora.edu

Education Background: I graduated from Aurora University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre. In 2018, I received a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University.

What advice would you give to a prospective student? Don’t think that your major singularly defines what job you get. There is a lot of variety in what you can do with a degree that isn’t the conventional route. Take this opportunity of college as a chance to build yourself, discover something new, and find what you enjoy most.

What are some of your hobbies? I love exploring, reading, baking, and gardening. But mostly, you’ll find me enjoying the company of my dog while writing poetry.

Favorite TV Show: Definitely a tie between Supernatural and Penny Dreadful.

What was your favorite thing about AU when you were an undergraduate student? The connections and friendships I built with my peers and the faculty. From theatre productions to the classroom to extracurricular groups, the community feel is my favorite aspect of AU.

Stacy Galanis Stacy Galanis
Assistant Director of Freshman Admission

630-844-5418 | sgalanis@aurora.edu

Educational 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.

Patrick KrampPatrick Kramp
Athletic Recruiting Liaison

630-844-6867 | pkramp@aurora.edu

Education Background: I graduated from Aurora University in 2018 with a Degree in Business Administration, as well as a Minor in Sports Management.

What advice would you give to a prospective student? Step out of your comfort zone. Networking is a key part to a successful professional life, and the more people you meet the better. Also, enjoy every second of your time at school. It does go by very fast.

What are some of your hobbies? Watching movies, being around friends/family, playing basketball, and being a couch potato.

Favorite TV Show: Friday Night Lights

What was your favorite thing about AU when you were an undergraduate student? The people. Having the opportunity to be around so many great individuals on a daily basis made my experience here so great. It could have been classmates, teammates, coaches, Athletic Trainers, or Professors. Having a great support system away from home makes college that much better.

Joel Ortega Joel Ortega
Director of Freshman Enrollment

630-844-3853 | 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 PessinaJoseline Valdez
Freshman Admission Counselor

630-844-5298 | 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 am currently working on my Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

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

630-844-5143 | 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!

Joseline ValdezJoseline Valdez
Freshman Admission Counselor

630-844-5145 | jvaldez@aurora.edu

Educational background: Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing and a minor in Psychology from Aurora University

What advice would you give a first-year student? College is tough but every day is a new day to start over, don’t stress yourself too much and enjoy the experience. But also, I can’t say this enough, put yourself out there. Getting involved and taking that first step in being friendly and making friends everywhere will definitely enhance your college experience!

Words you would use to describe AU:
 Supportive, motivating, welcoming and fun.

Something interesting or unique about me: I played the saxophone since the 5th grade and was first chair in my high school band.

What was your favorite thing about AU when you were an undergraduate student? My favorite thing about AU while I was an undergraduate student was meeting my best friends and going through the different college phases together! Also my job at the admissions office as a student worker opened up the doors to a new passion that I now love: higher education and helping others.

Favorite quote: I actually have two favorite quotes, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce” and “Do your squats, eat your vegetables, wear red lipsticks, don’t let boys be mean to you”

What are some of your hobbies? I love hanging out with my family and friends, eating and watching dramatic Spanish Telenovelas!!

Open House and Visit Days
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Friday, January 4, 2019
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Contact us

Office of Admission and Financial Aid

Eckhart Hall 201
347 S. Gladstone Ave.
Aurora, IL 60506
630-844-5533
800-742-5281
630-844-6191 (fax)
admission@aurora.edu
AU Viewbook
Meet our students
Take a tour