Scholarship Winners

Erica Alitiem

Erica Alitiem is the Assistant Director for Employer Relations with Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Erica Alitiem engages and develops relationships with employers both locally and nationally by assisting them in creating internship and full-time employment opportunities for students. She oversees the Professional Development Center’s Corporate Partners Program. Additionally, Alitiem provides career counseling, professional development and enhanced career awareness of opportunities for Eller College of Management students. Prior work experience is corporate recruiting and human resource management.

Maddie Foster

Maddie has been supporting students as a Career Counselor at the University of California, Santa Barbara for four years focusing on students interested in pursuing careers in engineering and technology. In addition to working with STEM students, Maddie also supports the career development of undocumented students. She coordinates the Dream Scholar Career Development Program and initiated the Monarch Opportunity Scholarship, allowing all students to participate in experiential opportunities regardless of immigration status. With all students, Maddie effectively combines empathy and listening skills with a strong sense of humor to turn ideas into careers.

Jake Nelko

Jake is the assistant director for career advising at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, where he manages the campus’ career advising function. His favorite parts of the role are teaching a career development class, giving presentations to a variety of audiences, and strategizing with students about their job search. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Jake received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh prior to settling in the Pacific Northwest in 2011. He was previously involved with MPACE while on staff at the University of Washington Tacoma and has also been on the directorate for the Commission for Career Services as part of ACPA. He spends his free time with his wife and one-year-old daughter, following his beloved Pittsburgh sports teams (plus Arsenal), and listening to loud garage rock and hip-hop.

Charlie Rodnuson

Charlie has spent 3 years as a Career Counselor and Liaison to the Natural Sciences College at University of California, Riverside working with undergraduate and graduate students of which are primarily first-generation. He was a former transfer student and later earned his B.A. from UC Irvine and his Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University. As a first generation himself, Charlie advocates for career readiness with his students by teaching the importance of being intentional with regards to career development and developing transferrable skills. This led him to collaborate with his colleague to develop UCR’s first Career Readiness Escape Room that allows not only students, but also staff, faculty, and higher administration to engage with career readiness in a experiential way. Charlie values the mindset that career readiness is not only a Career Center practice but rather has the potential to be a university-wide initiative for overall empowerment. He also serves as the Director of Professional Development for UC Riverside’s Staff Assembly in promoting staff morale and forward professional mobility for staff members. Charlie actively participates in as many MPACE events as possible such as Site Visits & Lunch and Learns, greatly benefiting from connecting with career professionals and learning of best practice from universities and industry. He looks forward to being able to attend his first MPACE conference at the end of this year.

Priscilla Vallejo

Priscilla Vallejo is the Transfer Center Coordinator and Career Specialist at Ohlone College. She serves in a dual role where she helps students navigate the transfer process and integrates a “career-ready” mindset through engaging conversations that connect transfer and career. Her recent role was in Career Services at CSUMB where she wore many hats and worked simultaneously in Career Advising, Employer Relations, and Event Planning roles. She revamped the employer relations programs and created opportunities for employers, students, and the campus community to connect more. She is passionate about working with students from all walks of life and helping them unveil their career aspirations, interest, and skills. She is driven by creating space where students feel welcomed, empowered, and brave. She has been an active member and volunteer with MPACE for the past 2 years and looks forward to continuing her involvement. Priscilla is a first generation student and holds a Masters in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University, Bachelors in Human Services from CSU Fullerton, and Associates from Rio Hondo College.

Michael Van Lear

Mike Van Lear has worked in higher-education for the past 19 years. Committed to supporting students in the college-to-career transition, Mike most enjoys helping students nail the job interview through one-on-one and panel mock interviews. As the Director of Hawaii Pacific University’s Career Development Center, Mike and his team host career readiness workshops that range in topic from Creating a High-Impact LinkedIn Profile to Applicants that Stand Out. Mike is passionate about fostering student-centered learning and facilitating opportunities that promote the success of students and graduates. Keeping current on hiring trends and occupational outlooks are important in how Mike supports the college-to-career transition of HPU students. Mike has been a MPACE member since 2016 , serving on the Pac South Planning Committee since 2017.