Emily Cibulka, Brian Irizarry and Catherine Jordan join college and career-access focused program at Finlandia University
The first six months on the job have been a busy one for TRIO Pre-College Programs Director Dave Kamrad. In addition to taking on his new role leading the annual TRIO Upward Bound summer program, Kamrad was charged with bringing in three new staff members to key roles. Late in summer he had completed the process, bringing in highly qualified candidates in Catherine Jordan, Emily Cibulka and Brian Irizarry.
“Our team has great experience and energy,” Kamrad said. “Each of these new hires complements our returning staff in an impactful way for our programs.”
Cibulka is working as an Academic Advisor for TRIO Talent Search, while Irizarry and Jordan are Academic Coordinators for TRIO Upward Bound. All three began at the university on September 1.
Irizarry is a former Marine and high school teacher at Aviano Air Force Base in Italy, where he taught math and Italian. In addition, he formerly coached high school softball, served as mentor for a high school robotics and homework club, and served as a volunteer tutor for calculus.
“I am excited be part of this community and to have the opportunity to working with students, to help them achieve their goals in higher education,” he said. “I will work hard to be good role model, and seeing as I didn’t grow up in this community, I am excited to get to know it.”
Irizarry earned bachelor’s degrees from University of Georgia and Western Governors University.
Irizarry isn’t the only one making a move back to the United States, world traveler Emily Cibulka is excited to begin laying her roots in the Copper Country after working in South Korea, Scotland and South Africa.
“I am excited to watch these students from year to year, to see how they change and evolve as they prepare themselves for the next step in their academic careers,” she said. “Education has always been a fundamental aspect of my life, and I truly believe every young person should have the encouragement and opportunity to pursue and succeed in their education goals.”
Cibulka is a first-generation college graduate. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Central Michigan University before earning a Master of Science in Evolutionary Psychology from University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland.
While Cibulka and Irizarry are looking to lay their roots in the Copper Country, Catherine Jordan is already well rooted in the area, having grown up in the region and calling it home again since 2014. Jordan has more than 20 years of experience in education, including teaching in both Houston, Texas and Plymouth, Wisconsin.
“All of us in TRIO have a lot to bring to the table, and our diverse past experiences will be extremely beneficial to our students,” Jordan said. “It’s already been a lot of fun with this team as we look to bring the best out of the students we’re working with.”
Jordan earned her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Michigan Technological University and her Master of Education from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. In addition, she has completed professional development programming at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Marian University.