SASSO

The SASSO Staff

Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO) at The Ohio State University is committed to a comprehensive program of academic, personal, and professional development for student-athletes. We provide athletic academic counseling in conjunction with academic advising across the university to ensure seamless academic support. We collaborate with the Department of Athletics and other Ohio State University units and colleges to enhance academic, personal, and career development programming, and we partner with the community to bring service and career opportunities to student-athletes.

Under the direction of the Office of Academic Affairs, SASSO has an experienced and committed staff to help student-athletes navigate their way to graduation. Additionally, we employ a large staff of tutors and proctors that assist with SASSO's tutor and study table programs.

Together, we assist more than 900 student-athletes across 36 teams in areas of academic, personal, and professional support and development.



SASSO Leadership


SASSO Staff Dr. David L. Graham
Assistant Provost/Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Success
e-mail

Hometown: Adel, GA
Years in SASSO: 6
Education: Ohio University, Ph.D., Higher Education Administration, 2011; Georgia Southern University, M.S., Sports Administration, 1998; Savannah State University, B.S. Mathematics; B.S. Electronics Engineering Technology, 1992.
Athletic Experience: Football, Savannah State University.
Favorite Quote: "The great challenge is to prepare ourselves to enter these doors of opportunity." Martin Luther King, Jr.
Currently resides in: Dublin, OH
Family: Wife, Patricia; Four children, Samatha, Kindra, Johnathan, and Jasmine

Before joining the Buckeyes, David served as the director of the Student-Athlete Support Services Office at Miami University where he had numerous accomplishments: David co-authored the NCAA Choices Grant, and received the NCAA Division 1A CHAMPS Program of Distinction Award. A native of Adel, Georgia, David received Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Electronics Engineering Technology from Savannah State University (1992). He was also a student-athlete on the football team. He also received a Master's Degree in Sport Administration/Education from Georgia Southern University (1998). David is a member of the inaugural class of the NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Males (2002), an NCAA initiative that helps to prepare future athletics administration leaders. He serves the NCAA as a member of the CHAMPS/Life Skills Advisory Committee and is a member of the NCAA Division I Initial Eligibility Waivers Committee. He and his wife, Patricia, reside in Dublin, OH, and have four children, Samantha, Kindra, Jonathan, and Jasmine.
 


SASSO Staff Vicki Melnick
Associate Director/Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Milan, MI
Years in SASSO: 10
Team Assignments:Synchronized Swimming, Rowing and Women's Ice Hockey
Education: Michigan State University, B.A. History/Secondary Ed., 1991; Western Illinois University, M.S. Physical Education: Sport Management, 1997.
Athletic/Coaching/Professional Background: Played JV softball, and JV and Varsity basketball in high school; coached at MSU summer basketball camps; Asst. Coach for JV basketball team at alma mater in 1993; Assisted Athletic Advisor at WIU from 1994-96 while a graduate student; Full-time intern in Athletics Academic Advising at the University of Utah, 1996-97; Athletic Academic Advisor at the University of Northern Iowa, 1997-2002.
Best part of my job: Watching students succeed both in the classroom and on the playing field.
Favorite Quote: "Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing as gentle as real strength." St. Francis De Sales.
Currently resides in: West Columbus
Hobbies: Reading, watching sports-themed movies, walking my dog, and singing along to the radio.

 



SASSO Staff

Kim Doran
Senior Associate Director of Instructional Support Services
e-mail

Hometown: Rochester, NY
Years in SASSO: 4
Education: LeMoyne College, B.S. in Business Administration/Secondary Ed., 1999; LeMoyne College, M.S. Ed Special Education, 2003.
Athletic/Coaching/Professional Background: Before arriving at Ohio State, Kim taught a wide variety of business courses at Nottingham High School in Syracuse, NY. Also served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Syracuse University Softball program. Prior to teaching and coaching, Kim was a 4 year member of the LeMoyne Softball program.
Best part of my job: Watching our student-athletes be successful, both academically and athletically, and of course being a Buckeye.
Favorite Quote: "Never forget where you've come from." My Dad
Currently resides in: Columbus, OH
Family: Most of the family lives in New York (Rochester and Waterloo); youngest sister lives in Washington, DC. I have a 6 year old black lab/beagle mix named Halie.


SASSO Staff Ben Carignan
Assistant Director/Senior Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Claremont, NH
Years in SASSO: 5
Team Assignments: Field Hockey, Men's Lacrosse, Men's Ice Hockey and Women's Volleyball
Education: Western Washington University, B.A. Physical Education & Sport Studies: Sport Psychology, 1999; Miami University, M.S. Physical Education, Health & Sport Studies: Sport Behavior & Performance, 2001.
Athletic/Coaching/Professional Background:  United States Air Force, 1990-1994; Volunteer Asst. Coach, Western Washington University Women's Soccer, 1998-99; Graduate Asst. Miami University Women's Soccer & Miami Synchronized Skating, 1999-2001; Academic Advisor, Miami University Athletics, 2001-2003; Sport Psychology Consultant, 2001-2005; YMCA of Central Ohio, 2005-2008.
Best part of my job: Watching student-athletes grow more confident and go after their passion.
Favorite Quote:  "These are the days that must happen to you."  Walt Whitman
Currently resides in: Bexley, OH
Family: Wife, Natalie. Two sons, Leo, 6, and Max, 3.


SASSO Staff Ruth Staveley, Ph.D
Assistant Director - Academic Resources Coordinator
e-mail

Hometown: Upper Arlington, OH
Years in SASSO: 11 years
Education: Kenyon College, B.A. English, 1986; The Ohio State University, M.A. English, 1989; The Ohio State University, Ph.D. English, 1996.
Athletic/Coaching/Professional Background: Instructed freshman composition and basic writing at Ohio State. Coordinated the tutoring and learning skills program in the former University College at Ohio State.
Best part of my job: Working with students, developing programming that will enhance the student's academic experience, and working with great colleagues.
Currently resides in: Upper Arlington, OH
Family: Daughters Louisa (7) and Cecilia (2), Chihuahua Lonestar, Cat Callie
Personal: I enjoy writing, painting, running, reading, time with family and friends, poking around antique stores and old movies.


SASSO Staff Brett Wohlers
Assistant Director - Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Weeping Water, Nebraska
Years in SASSO: 1
Team Assignments: Football
Education: United States Sports Academy, M.S.S., Sport Management; Nebraska Wesleyan University, B.S., Sport Management
Professional Background: Auburn University, Football Counselor, 2004-2010; Texas Tech University, Assistant Director, Football Counselor, 2010-2012.
Best part of my job: Interaction with my students and helping them reach the ultimate goal - graduation.
Favorite Quote: "If you see a turtle on a fence post you know it did not get there by itself." Virgil Starks
Currently resides in: Dublin, OH
Family: Wife, Audra; I enjoy traveling to new places, sports, my 2 dogs, and family.


SASSO Staff Joann Worthington
Office Manager
e-mail

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Years in SASSO: 3
Best part of my job: Each day can bring something new.
Favorite Quote: "Live life to the fullest; you never know when it may end." Unknown
Currently resides in: Marysville, OH
Personal Information: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, watching football (Go Steelers! Go Buckeyes!) and Nascar.



Office Support Staff


Brittany Savko
Program Coordinator for Student-Athlete Development
e-mail

Hometown: Columbus, OH
Years in SASSO: 3
Educational Background: The Ohio State University, B.A., Anthropology, B.A., Sociology, 2011
Coaching/Professional Background: Prior to SASSO, Brittany worked in the College of Engineering at Ohio State for 3 years. She also served as a Peer Career Advisor in the Arts & Sciences Career Services Office as an undergraduate.
Best part of my job: Working with Ohio State student-athletes and seeing them succeed on and off the field.
Favorite Quote: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Currently resides in: Clintonville (Columbus), OH
Personal: Brittany volunteers in the community and currently serves on her sorority's national board of directors as the National Executive Vice President. She collects Marvin Gaye records, likes DIY-craft projects, loves to site-see/travel, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.


Crystal Joens
Coordinator of Student-Athlete Reporting
e-mail

Hometown: Athens, OH
Years in SASSO: 3
Educational Background: Ohio University, B.S. Sport Sciences, Business Administration (minor), 2007; Ohio University, M.S. Recreation & Sport Sciences, 2010.
Professional Background: Americorps reading and math tutor for K-2, 2007-2008; Records assistant in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at Ohio University, 2008-2010; Sales Assistant in the Ohio Union, Ohio State University, 2010-2012.
Best part of my job: Working with an enthusiastic group of people who are willing to work together in order to help students achieve their goals.
Favorite Quote: "Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Currently resides in: Upper Arlington
Personal Information: I enjoy spending time with family and friends, going to concerts, playing board games, and spending time on the beach.


Jessica LaVrar headshot Jessica LaVrar
Information Associate
e-mail

Hometown: Maumee, OH
Years is SASSO: 1
Educational Background: Bowling Green State University, B.A. Psychology and B.A. Sociology
Professional Experience: My most recent employment was as an in-home childcare provider while I cared for my own children. Prior to that I served in various administrative positions for government and medical professionals.
Best Part of Job: Helping others to pursue their dreams, being the best they can be.
Favorite Quote: "The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature, and God. For then, and only then, can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature's beauty and simplicity." Anne Frank
Resides in: Sunbury, OH
Personal Information: I enjoy spending time with my husband and three daughters. My hobbies include reading, gardening, and sewing. We also enjoy spending time with our church family and pursuing closer relationships with God.



Athletic Academic Counselors


SASSO Staff John Macko
Senior Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Toronto, OH
Years in SASSO: 27
Team Assignments: Men's and Women's Golf, Men's and Women's Tennis, Wrestling, Women's Cross Country, Women's Track and Degree Completion Program Coordinator
Education: The Ohio State University, B.S. English, 1977; The Ohio State University, M.A. Guidance and Counseling, 1978.
Athletic/Coaching/Professional Background: English teacher and Track Coach at Jefferson Junior High School from 1978-79; Guidance Counselor and Golf Coach at St. Charles Preparatory School from 1979-1982 and 1983-1984. Guidance Counselor at Mentor Lake Catholic School in Mentor Ohio from 1982-1983; Athletic Academic Counselor at Ohio State beginning in 1984.
Best part of my job: Working with student-athletes.
Favorite Quote: Whatever it takes.
Currently resides in: Worthington, OH
Family: Wife, Susan. Daughter, Hannah, is a Senior at The Ohio State University.


SASSO Staff Chad McClellan
Senior Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Findlay, OH
Years in SASSO: 9
Team Assignments: Basketball, Softball and Women's Soccer
Education: Florida State University, B.S. Business, 1989; Ohio University, MBA Marketing, 1990; The Ohio State University, Ph.D. Candidate Higher Education.
Athletic/Coaching/Professional Background: Played baseball at Florida State University.
Best part of my job: The relationships with the student-athletes, and witnessing the growth and transformation of the student-athletes during their college years is exciting.
Favorite Quote: Luke 9:23
Currently resides in: Columbus, OH
Interests: I enjoy spending time with my family, power-lifting, and reading Civil War history. I'm active in my church and pursuit of knowing Christ more intimately.


Dana Blount
Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Years in SASSO: 2
Team Assignments: Football
Educational Background: Tuskegee University, B.A., History, 2005; The Ohio State University, M.A., African American Studies, 2007.
Professional Background: Graduate Assistant/Assistant Athletic Academic Counselor, The Ohio State University, Student Athlete Support Services Office, 2005-2008; Athletic Academic Counselor at Mississippi State University, 2008-2011.
Best part of my job: Building relationships with the student-athletes and watching them grow.
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 frightens us...And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." Marianne Williamson
Currently resides in: Columbus, OH
Personal: I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, shopping and traveling.


SASSO Staff Megan Cable
Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Worthington, OH
Years in SASSO: 1
Team Assignments: Women's Lacrosse, Men's Track, Men's Cross Country, Men's Swimming, Men's Volleyball and Diving
Education: University of Findlay, B.S. Mathematics and Secondary Education, 2007; University of Dayton, M.S. Applied Mathematics, 2009.
Athletic/Coaching/Professional experience: Basketball at St. Bonaventure and University of Findlay; Assistant Academic Coordinator/Compliance Intern at University of Dayton, 2008-2009; Mathematics instructor, Columbus State Community College, 2009-2010; Volunteer girls basketball coach at Worthington Kilbourne High School; Senior High Youth Group Advisor at Worthington Presbyterian Church.
Best part of my job: Getting to know the students and seeing them succeed in the classroom and at their sports.
Favorite quote: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." Henry David Thoreau
Currently resides in: Hilliard
Hobbies/Family: I enjoy biking, walking, playing basketball and volleyball, listening to music and spending time with friends and family. My mom and dad live in Worthington, and my older brother, Aaron, teaches 8th grade science in Statesville, NC.


Shaun Swearingen
Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Columbus, OH
Years in SASSO: 1
Team Assignments: Women's Swimming, Men's Soccer, Baseball, Men's and Women's Gymnastics.
Educational Background: The College of Wooster, B.A., Communications, 2007; Bowling Green State University, M.Ed., Sport Administration, 2009.
Coaching/Professional Background: Played football and baseball at the College of Wooster, 2003-2007; Assistant Baseball Coach/Recruiting Coordinator at Ohio Northern University, 2007-2009.
Best part of my job: Knowing that when I wake up I am doing what I love and not something that I am forced to do. Interacting with student-athletes on a daily basis and seeing their development throughout their college career.
Favorite Quote: "Don't be pushed by your problems; be led by your dreams." (Unknown)
Currently resides in: Clintonville, OH
Personal: I am a huge sports fan. Love doing any competitive physical activity. My wife, Kelly, and I spend a lot of time renovating our new home and making it our own. Kelly and I have been married since the summer of 2010. My mom, dad, brother, and sister all reside in Columbus.


Caitlin Martin
Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Oxford, MI
Years in SASSO: 1
Team Assignments: Football
Education: Michigan State University, B.A. English, 2011; Michigan State University, M.A. Education, 2013
Athletic/Coaching/Professional Background Before arriving at Ohio State, Caitlin was a Graduate Assistant at Michigan State University (MSU) with Student-Athlete Support Services. During her three years at MSU, Caitlin was an Academic Tutor, Academic Mentor, Assistant Tutorial Coordinator and an Assistant Academic Coordinator.
Best part of my job The relationships that are built with students, being a part of helping someone achieve their goals, and having the opportunity to watch them grow and develop both academically and athletically.
Favorite Quote: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” –Mahatma Gandhi
Currently reside in: Dublin, OH
Personal Information: I enjoy spending time with my husband, Scott, and our Golden Retriever, Miggy. Most of our family still lives in Michigan, so we try to get back there as much as possible. I also love to run, travel, read, watch football and spend time with friends.


Cierra Gillison
Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Steubenville, OH
Years in SASSO: First
Team Assignments: Women's basketball, Men's and Women's Fencing, Pistol, and Rifle
Educational Background: The Ohio State University, B.A., Psychology 2010; Michigan State University, M.A., Student Affairs Administration, 2012.
Coaching/Professional Background: Athletic Tutorial, The Ohio State University, Student Athlete Support Services Office, 2007-2010; Graduate Mentor/Assistant Athletic Academic Counselor, Michigan State University, Student Athlete Support Services, 2010-2012; Athletic Academic Skills Counselor at Vanderbilt University, 2012-2013.
Best part of my job: Being a part of a team atmosphere and co-piloting student-athletes through their collegiate experiences, life challenges, and overall personal development.
Favorite Quote: "Where the lord has placed you, that's where you shall blossom" Unknown
Currently resides in: Columbus, OH
Personal: Adore spending time with my family. Passionate about the Buckeye experience, and can commonly be found watching/signing alongside anything Disney!



Academic Support Staff


SASSO Staff Darrell Mayne
Football Academic Specialist
e-mail

Hometown: Lincoln Park, Michigan
Years in SASSO: 3
Education: Taylor University, B.S., Math, 1968; Eastern Michigan University, M.A., Counseling, 1974
Athletics/Coaching/Professional Background: Head Football Coach/Mathematics Teacher, Upper Arlington H.S., Counseling/Drug-Alcohol Prevention, Elyria H.S., Elyria West H.S.
Best part of job: The thrill of investing in young people and watching them gain confidence in their abilities and see their comfort zones expand.
Favorite Quote: "It's not about me." Rick Warren, author, Purpose Driven Life
Currently resides in: Hilliard
Personal: Love spending time with my wife, 2 daughters, and my 2 grandsons. Enjoy Buckeye Football, concerts, working out, TBDBITL, and anything Ohio State. Also enjoy reading about American history, and the 'founding fathers' in particular, and literature about achievement and performance.


Matt Locke
Assistant Learning Specialist
e-mail

Hometown: Belpre, OH
Years in SASSO: 1
Educational Background: The Ohio State University, B.A., Communication, 2004
Professional Background: Tyler Star News, Sports Writer, 2006-2008; Columbus Public Schools, Substitute Teacher, 2008-2010; Marketing Specialist, Muscle Milk, 2010-2011. The Ohio State University, Student Athlete Support Services Office, Tutor, 2011.
Best part of my job: For the 'aha' moments when a concept that a student-athlete struggles with becomes clear and realizes, 'Hey, I get it'.
Favorite Quote: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." Albert Einstein
Currently resides in: Grandview Heights, OH
Personal: I have a sister, Vanessa, a niece Karli, and a nephew, Garrett. I enjoy running, swimming, biking and all kinds of sports. I also enjoy a good novel.


Brett McDaniel headshot Brett McDaniel
Learning Specialistt
e-mail

Hometown: Dayton, OH
Years is SASSO: 1
Educational Background: Bowling Green State University, B.S.Ed Integrated Social Studies Education, 2004; bowling Green State Univeristy, M.Ed. Sport Administration, 2007.
Professional Experience: Taught Social Studies for 7 years at the Junior High and High School levels; coached football and basketball.
Best Part of Job: The great people who make up the staff of SASSO.
Favorite Quote: "Do what you can with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt
Resides in: Northwest, OH
Personal Information: I have two daughters, Lucy and Violet, with my wife of ten years, Dr. Catherine McDaniel. I love spending time with my family, playing and watching sports, and studying history.


Megan Howard headshot Megan Howard
Reading and Writing Specialist
e-mail

Hometown: Deerfield, IL
Years in SASSO: First
Education: Wittenberg University, B.A., 1991; Ashland University, M.Ed, 1998.
Professional Background: Taught Language Arts and Visual Arts for the Columbus Diocese for six years. I also stayed home to raise my children. Own a small travel agency that I still book family and friends on their vacations.
Best part of my job: The best part of my job is being able to help students better themselves, academically and creatively.
Favorite Quote: Tell me and I'll forget it. Show me and I may not remember. Involve me and I'll understand. Native American Proverb
Currently resides in: Worthington, OH
Personal Information: Husband is an Ohio State graduate in chemical engineering. I have 3 children: Brooke, 14, is a freshmen at Watterson High School; Bridie, 11, is in 5th grade; Lucky, 8, is in 2nd grade. I also have a Field Spaniel named Guinness, 2 cats, Blaze and Henry, and a hedgehog name Fin. I enjoy cooking, traveling, art, and love playing tennis and watching most sports.


Prince Moody headshot Prince Moody
Football Academic Specialist
e-mail

Hometown: Columbus, GA
Years in SASSO: First
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A. in History 2009, University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.S. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis 2010
Professional Background: Played Football for the University of Wisconsin Badgers. After collegiate career worked in the Athletic Department as the Beyond the Game Coordinator.
Best part of my job: Building positive relationships with the student-athletes and watching them develop into extraordinary people.
Favorite Quote: Don't walk through life just playing football. Don't walk through life just being an athlete. Athletics will fade. Character and integrity and really making an impact on someone's life, that's the ultimate vision, that's the ultimate goal - bottom line. - Ray Lewis
Currently resides in: Columbus, OH
Personal Information: I enjoy spending time with family, trying new restaurants, and traveling.


Kaitlin Flaherty headshot Kaitlin Flaherty
Assistant Learning Specialist
e-mail

Hometown: Columbus, OH
Years is SASSO: 1
Educational Background: Clemson University, B.S. Parks, Recreation and Tourism; The Ohio State University, M.S. Sport Management, 2013
Professional Experience: Prior to Ohio State, Kaitlin worked as an academic tutor for student-athletes at Clemson University.
Best Part of Job: Building relationships with the student-athletes and seeing them grow and progress personally, academically, and athletically.
Favorite Quote: "I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" Kurt Vonnegut
Resides in: Grandview, OH
Personal Information: I love spending time with my friends and exploring all that Columbus has to offer. My parents still live in Clintonville and I have two younger brothers in college, Conor at Centre College and Keegen at Texas A&M.


Ian Moeckel headshot Ian Moeckel
Assistant Learning Specialist
e-mail

Hometown: Painesville, OH
Years in SASSO: 2
Education: The Ohio State University, B.S. In English and B.S. In Psychology, 2013
Professional Background: Graduated from Ohio State in 2013 and have tutored in SASSO since.
Best part of my job: Helping student-athletes realize that their best work can come from the classroom, as well as the playing field.
Favorite Quote: "To be, in a word, unborable...It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish." David Foster Wallace, The Pale King
Currently resides in: Columbus, OH
Personal Information: Interests include reading anything, writing anything, playing soccer, spending time with college buddies and making additions to my already robust and diverse movie collection.

 

 

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