Meet the Admissions Staff

group photo of admissions team

 

Janet Erickson

Dean of Admissions

Janet Erickson's work in higher education has included both graduate and undergraduate student populations. Before coming to Naropa, Janet was at the University of Denver (DU) for twenty years where she worked in a variety of positions starting in the Office of Financial Aid, then at Daniels College of Business, and most recently in the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) where she served as the Director of Admissions and Enrollment Services from 1979-2012. Regardless of her role in higher education, Janet's work has been guided by her passion to encourage and empower students by listening, understanding, and responding to their needs. Janet has been recognized as a student and staff advocate and has always aspired to create an atmosphere of respect and inclusiveness.

Janet moved to Colorado, from the northeast, to attend the University of Denver where she received her BA in Education and later a Master's degree in Applied Communication. Soon after she arrived in Denver, Janet was introduced to and began a meditation and yoga practice. In recent years, she has worked to make a difference in the lives of families and individuals through her work as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and also as a massage therapist.

"I enjoy working at Naropa University where I am able to actuate the merging of my personal and professional experiences to serve Naropa's mission as the premier leader in contemplative education. It is exciting to be part of an educational community that encourages students to follow their passion and to combine it with purpose. To produce graduates who take these values into the world with a strong sense of self is priceless."

 

Karen Wills
Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

Karen feels right at home within the Naropa community, and loves the way that students, faculty, and staff take the time to honor and connect with each other every day. For much of the last decade, Karen has been working to help students realize their potential through higher education. It's most rewarding to Karen when she finds students who embody the tenets of Naropa University, for they are the dynamos, the positive forces that motivate others and accelerate change. If you don't see Karen in admissions, just look outside. She spends as much time as possible skiing, hiking, gardening, and taking part in art and performance with her energetic family.

 

Murphy Alafoginis
Undergraduate Admissions Counselor

Murphy is ecstatic to be working for such a unique and contemplative university, in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Hailing from the east coast, she graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and an M.B.A. in Business Marketing, and while she did not attend Naropa, she definitely should have. During her undergraduate career, Murphy stumbled upon mindfulness and contemplative practice after receiving a yoga teacher training from the Kripalu Institute in Massachusetts, and she soon found Naropa University. Teaching yoga to under-served populations is her passion, and Naropa's contemplative education attests that mindfulness is for all. She is obsessed with David Foster Wallace's speech called This Is Water, and thinks you should definitely watch it. Murphy now focuses on helping other students find Naropa quicker than she did, and it makes her day when students discover that Naropa is the university they've been searching for!

 

Matt Robertson
Undergraduate Admissions Counselor

Having moved from California to Colorado to finish his undergraduate work at Naropa University, Matt Robertson understands what Contemplative Education can add to a college education. He aims to bring that experiential understanding with him into his work in Admissions, and first experienced doing so as an Admissions intern for two years while finishing his degree in the Interdisciplinary Studies program. Having lived abroad for a number of years in various locations, Matt has learned the importance of diversity and community. He seeks to engage his passion for connection through spoken word poetry, basketball, mountain biking and various contemplative practices. A San Francisco Bay Area native, he became inspired with the worlds of community organizing, social entrepreneurship and ecological activism through his participation in groups like Generation Waking-Up and exposure to the work of Joanna Macy. At Naropa, these are interests he is working to weave into his contemplative lifestyle, which he admits is a constant work-in-progress. Keep an eye out for him at the various open-mics around Boulder!

 

Kelly Watt
Assistant Dean of Graduate Admissions

Kelly is thrilled to be a part of the Admissions team at Naropa University! Originally from central Illinois, she earned a Bachelor of Music from Illinois State University and a Master of Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is an active performer and has sung extensively throughout the Denver metro area in musicals, operas, and concerts. Kelly is especially interested in helping students pursue their own passion through Naropa's unique and supportive educational environment. She assists in the admission process for the MFA Theater: Contemporary Performance, the MA in Somatic Counseling Psychology, and the MA in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology: Art Therapy programs. In her free time, Kelly enjoys yoga, learning how to cook interesting vegetarian food, and exploring Colorado's great outdoors with her dog, Annie. Kelly's program: MA Transpersonal Counseling Psychology: Art Therapy.

 


Graduate Admissions Counselor

Alan Taylor joined the Naropa admissions team in September 2012. He is a graduate of Naropa's M.A. in Religious Studies, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism concentration, and also holds a B.S. in Psychology from Texas Tech University. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Alan enjoys cycling past you, playing guitar, studying Tibetan and German, and convincing himself that he can learn computer science. On any given evening you might find Alan sipping coffee at the Laughing Goat, telling jokes at Johnny's Cigar Bar during open mic-night, or fumbling through dance lessons at the Boulder Swing Dance club. Alan's programs: MA Contemplative Education; MA Religious Studies (with language); MA Transpersonal Counseling Psychology: Counseling Psychology; Master of Divinity.

 


Graduate Admissions Counselor

Jaclyn Hawkins is a Boulder transplant (as many of us are) and comes from the bluegrass fields of Kentucky. She earned her Bachelor's degrees in English, Political Science, and Appalachian Studies from the University of Kentucky, then jumped across the pond to work and live abroad for a few months. Naropa University found her in a small, local coffee shop when a friend mentioned the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics across cappuccinos. Jaclyn moved to Boulder nine months later to obtain her MFA in Writing and Poetics at Naropa and recently graduated in May of 2014. She is incredibly thankful to continue inhabiting this space as a Graduate Admissions Counselor and spends her free time with dear friends, books, (too many) cups of coffee, and her adorable cat named Fitz. Jaclyn's programs: MA Contemplative Counseling Psychology; MFA Creative Writing & Poetics; MFA Theater: Contemporary Performance.

 

Daniel Cantrick


Data and Operations Manager

Born and raised in Boulder, Daniel has always felt at peace in the shadow of the awe-inspiring Flatirons rock-formations that overlook the city. A nature lover at heart, the scent of coastal breezes drew Daniel away from the Rocky Mountains and out to Southern California where he earned his Bachelor's degree studying Music and English. After spending time in the Los Angeles community, the forces that be pulled Daniel back to his mountainous roots and into the wondrous world of Naropa. He is a passionate musician that struggles with the urge to dirty his hands in a garden, while protecting the tools that he uses to create. This type of struggle fuels his drive for a dynamic lifestyle that involves being present and open to all that life has to offer. He is thrilled to be in a community that values mindfulness and is thankful to contribute to it on a daily basis.

 

Martha Husick


Events & Visitation Coordinator

Martha has been at Naropa since 2010, serving as the Events & Visitation Coordinator (or cruise director, as her co-workers sometimes call her) for the Office of Admissions. With over twenty years' experience in the collectibles auction world, Martha left the humidity and mosquitoes behind and relocated from New Jersey with her husband (who was entering Naropa's MDiv program), discovering almost immediately that this is where she was meant to be! It is now her pleasure to welcome new and prospective students and their families to the Naropa community, and to beautiful Boulder, Colorado.

 


Data and Communications Coordinator

Kaleigh wants to live in a world where reading for two hours during the working day is completely accepted and encouraged. A world where Doctor Who plays on a loop and winter is year round and where it is perfectly reasonable to horde blank notebooks.

Kaleigh graduated from the Naropa Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied poetics and she also served on the Student Union, as well as working in the university mailroom for the entirety of her academic career. As the data and communications coordinator, she's been working diligently behind the scenes making the admissions process as easy and painless as possible for all incoming students and admissions counselors, by meeting data entry standards and making sure everyone knows the alphabet.

When she's not painstakingly entering data, you can find her reading in a comfortable chair, hiking in the mountains with her husband, rapidly filling countless notebooks, baking, or taking long walks with her dog Barbra.

Her next project is making sure that Daniel Cantrick doesn't have a breakdown while trying to launch the 2015 applications.

To find out more about Kaleigh you can visit her in her cubicle. It's the one with the Gustav Klimt prints. She will not share her iced coffee with you.


Brand and Marketing Communications Specialist

Hailing from Northwest Indiana by way of Bloomington, Phil brings his love of academia and technology to Naropa. Phil earned his Bachelor's in English and Comics at Indiana University quickly followed by a Master's in Library Science. Graduating at the start of the recession Phil cut his teeth in Tuba City, AZ as the head librarian. Afterwards, he continued on with his education, completing the course work at Ball State in Digital Storytelling. When he's not on his computer building Naropa's online presence, Phil is working on one of his many ongoing projects. Currently he's maintaining his daily food blog where he writes about all things weird in the food world. He's stoked to be in such a progressive institute and hopes to bring Naropa's contemplative voice to life in the digital realm.

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