Meet the Admissions Staff
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."
Eduardo Viezca - Undergraduate Admissions Counselor
In addition to being the admissions team's youngest member, Eduardo Viezca is also one of the newest to join the admissions team as an Undergraduate Admissions Counselor. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and raised in Denver, Colorado, Eduardo has always had a thirst for being in "intellectual" spaces, so it is no surprise that he now works in higher education. He recently obtained his BEnvd degree in Environmental Design with a minor in Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder and is currently contemplating joining the MFA program in Writing and Poetics here at Naropa. Without hesitation he can confirm to you that the book that has influenced his life the most is Gloria E Anzaldua's text, Borderlands/La Frontera, for its having helped him navigate higher education as a working-class, Mexican-American humanist, activist. Before joining Naropa, he worked for Denver Public Schools helping high school students with the college admissions process and assisted with the implementation of other college-readiness initiatives.
Alexandra Rzhanova - Senior Undergraduate Admissions Counselor
Lexi Rzhanova is an Undergraduate Admissions Counselor who joined Naropa with five years of experience in higher education admissions. She earned her BA in English from Saint Anselm College in 2007, and is currently wrapping up her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at Northeastern University. She discovered Naropa through her studies at the Boulder Shambhala center and fell head over heels in love with Naropa's holistic approach to education. Lexi loves traveling, photography, and being immersed in different cultures. She's a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate and practices the Tai Chi fan dance. She's passionate about creating a holistic admissions experience for her students and watching them grow and rediscover their sense of wonder and hunger for learning.
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.
Meghan Schardt - Graduate Admissions Counselor
Meghan Schardt feels honored to be working as a Graduate Admissions Counselor with the Kerouac School, Wilderness Therapy, Environmental Leadership, and Ecopsychology programs. She graduated from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University with her MFA in Poetry. Meghan is a poet, yogini, and herbal lover from a small farmtown in Connecticut, a funky Vermont lake, and the rocky ocean-stone drop-off of Nauset Beach. She finds great solace in salt and her dreams lay in the architecture of a house on Barley Neck Road in Orleans, Massachusetts. Meghan currently lives in the Rocky Mountains, upward facing the Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado. Most days, you can spot her wearing a burnt orange wool sweater. She has a great passion for Naropa's self-inquiry based contemplative education and feels blessed to be a bridge for students and families interested in exploring their studies at Naropa.
Alan Taylor - Graduate Admissions Counselor
Alan Taylor joined the Naropa admissions team in September 2012. He is a recent graduate of Naropa's M.A. in Religious Studies, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism concentration, and is currently attending the Tsadra foundation's Abhidharmakosa translator training committee with Khenpo Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Dr. Phil Stanley, and Dr. Jules Levinson. Alan enjoys cycling, playing guitar, studying Tibetan, and engaging in contemplative practice. Alan assists prospective students in the admissions process with the graduate Religious Studies, Master of Divinity, Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, and Contemplative Psychotherapy departments.
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 Husick is the Events & Visitation Coordinator for the Office of Admissions. She has over twenty years' experience planning events and providing customer service within the collectibles auction industry. Martha relocated from New Jersey with her husband (who is pursuing an MDiv degree at Naropa), and quickly felt right at home in Boulder and within the Naropa community. She really enjoys the opportunity to welcome new and prospective students and their families to Boulder and Naropa as well!
Phil Skaggs - 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.