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 (** Will be on sabbatical for the 2013-2014 academic year. **)
Assistant Provost/Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Success
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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 and Rowing
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 (** Will serve as Interim Director for the 2013-2014 academic year. **)
Associate Director - Senior Learning Specialist
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 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
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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
Office Associate - Front Desk Coordinator - Resume Tutor
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Hometown: Columbus, OH
Years in SASSO: First
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. Throughout college she participated in co-ed intramural softball and played 4 years of varsity volleyball in high school.
Best part of my job: Working in a fun, positive environment and with people who genuinely care about our student-athletes' success, both 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, OH
Personal: I serve as National Secretary for Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., and also as Edition-in-Chief of the sorority's national magazine. I am a movie/tv junkie who enjoys photography, collecting Marvin Gaye records and spending time with family and friends.


Crystal Joens
Information Associate
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Hometown: Athens, OH
Years in SASSO: First
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.



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
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.


SASSO Staff Ben Carignan
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.


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.


Blank Graphic Cierra Gillison
Athletic Academic Counselor
e-mail

Hometown: Steubenville, OH
Years in SASSO: First
Team Assignments: Women's basketball, Women's Ice Hockey, 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: "What you are is what you have been. What you'll be is what you do now." -Unknown
Currently resides in: Columbus, OH



Academic Support Staff


SASSO Staff Darrell Mayne
Football Academic Specialist
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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.


Megan Howard headshot Megan Howard
Reading and Writing Specialist
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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.


Blank Graphic 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.

 

 

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