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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Meet the Hall Director Team

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Taylor Bergstrom

Hall Director


Education:  B.S. in Mass Media, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Previous Positions:  Hall Director, Concordia College Moorhead

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  Being part of a campus that values pushing boundaries is what makes me proud to be a Maverick. The students, faculty, and staff I interact with everyday are always challenging their limits and doing things that create a unique campus experience, even as an alum.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I chose to work at my alma mater to grow. After working with the department during my undergraduate experience, I saw firsthand how Hall Directors learned and grew their professional experience here. A lot of people I valued and looked up to became amazing, driven professionals through our department, so I chose to follow that path.            

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: I have attended conferences such as UMR-ACUHO and AASHE during my first two years in Student Affairs, and I am looking to expand my involvement in those associated organizations. My other interest areas include Social Justice and Diversity, Student Conduct, Leadership Development, and Organizational Communication.

Hobbies: I enjoy cooking, reading, board games, puzzles, traveling, spending time annoying my cat Duey, and expanding my video game collection.


Lydia Hayes

Hall Director


Education:  M.A. Higher Education/Student Personnel, University of Mississippi; B.S. Professional and Organizational Communication Studies, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Previous Positions:  Graduate Community Director (University of Mississippi); ACUHO-I Intern (Texas A&M University-Commerce)

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  The community of people I am surrounded by. The students are incredibly creative and driven, and the true core of the university. The staff care a great deal and are dedicated to creating the best possible experience for the students they serve.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I chose to work at MSU because of the commitment to being student focused. I am grateful that my job is centered around directly serving students and creating relationships that will help them be successful in their time at MSU. I also appreciate the size of the Mankato area and the different opportunities it has to offer!             

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: I have previously been involved in NASPA and the SEAHO region. Some of my interests include sustainability, civic engagement, and community service. I appreciate the support given at MSU for individual professional development and look forward to utilizing the resources available to continue to grow and learn.

Hobbies: Being outdoors, hiking, camping, running, biking, crafting, drinking coffee, playing cards, traveling, reading, and spending time with family and friends.









Kelsey Nation

Hall Director


Education:  M.Ed.: Student Affairs, Iowa State University; BS: Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Production, Iowa State University

Previous Positions:  Programming Graduate Assistant in Student Activities (Iowa State University); ACUHO-I Graduate Intern for Summer Camps and Conferences (Valparaiso University)

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  The people!  From CAs to professional staff, I immediately felt welcome on campus.  The care our students and staff have for residents here is wonderful.  You see people go the extra mile for each other and that's something I really appreciate.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I wanted the challenge to expand into a different departmental area.  My background is in Student Activities and Programming and I was looking forward to working in Residential Life.  Plus, there were so many connections between people I knew at ISU and here and I heard so many good things about the university and department.             

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests:  I've had the opportunity to get involved in many ways to keep growing professionally.  I've been on a search committee, which gave me the opportunity to learn about a new office on campus.  I also volunteered to do advising for undecided students registering for classes during summer orientation with New Student and Family Programs.  Lastly, I've been able to continue my passion for programming on the committees for Welcome Week and Family Weekend, as the Residential Life Representative.  It was great to see multiple departments come together to plan campus-wide events for students here!

Hobbies: Whenever I'm not catching up on my ever too-full DVR, I like to visit family and friends and go to different events.  I especially like cheering for my Cyclones and love football and basketball seasons!  One fun hobby I have is hairstyling and have done quite a few weddings over the years.  I'm self-taught, but have been doing hair for over ten years and really enjoy it!


Kory Theil

Hall Director


Education:  MS: Educational Leadership, Minnesota State Mankato; MS: Education- Health, Physical Education, and Coaching, BA: Spanish, Lakeland College

Previous Positions:   Assistant Housing Director (Ellsworth Community College), Assistant Wrestling Coach (Ellsworth Community College, Iowa Western Community College, Lakeland College, Northern State University)

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  Being a Maverick and in this position, I have seen myself grow and develop professionally and personally.  It allows me to be creative and have fun while assisting our residents in reaching their goals.  Our student focus allows me to create meaningful and positive interactions with our residents.  This experience and diversity in our staff has helped me learn from some of the best and allowed me to create my own personal strategies.  Our student CA staff is fantastic to supervise and work with.

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: 2015 Regional Entry Level Institute (RELI), presented at 2015 UMR-ACUHO annual conference, volunteer Wrestling Coach at Minnesota State Mankato.  Interest areas include: masculinity, student-athletes, student conduct, and leadership development.

Hobbies: Traveling, playing golf and Frisbee golf, watching and playing sports (Chicago Blackhawks, Bears, and Cubs), working out, coaching wrestling, spending time with family.









Danielle Freeman

Hall Director


Education:  M.Ed.: Higher and Postsecondary Education, Arizona State University; BS: Human Development and Family Studies, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Previous Positions:  Community Director (Arizona State University); Residence Director (Fort Lewis College)

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  I love the staff and students that I get to work with every day!  Residential Life at MSU definitely has a strong community feel that is not found everywhere!

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I was looking for a school in the Midwest to move closer to home and had heard only good things about MSU.  I have always loved Minnesota (I am from Wisconsin) and MSU seemed like a perfect next step!  I have really enjoyed my time here so far and am excited to see what the rest of the year brings!    

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests:  Being fresh back to the Midwest, most of my professional involvement has been within the Intermountain region within Colorado and Arizona.  I attend every conference that I get the chance to, to learn from my peers in the fields, and I have been able to advise many student delegations to regional and national conferences!  Some of my interests include student leadership, student development, first generation students, and students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Hobbies: I love to spend a lot of my time hanging out with friends and my family.  I also love to travel and explore and enjoy a good road trip!  When I feel like being a homebody, I love a good cinematic adventure, trying new Pinterest projects, and baking.







Alan "Press" Werden

Hall Director


Education:  MA: English Studies, Minnesota State Mankato; BA: Literature, St. Cloud State University

Previous Positions:  Student Service Coordinator/Graduate Hall Director (Minnesota State Mankato); Conference Housing Manager/Graduate Intern (Brown University)

What I Like About Being a Maverick: Our students truly enjoy living with us.  It has always been a pleasant surprise to have such a popular housing program despite the fact that we do not require anyone to live on campus.  Our department is extremely supportive of innovation in support of our students, and offers many opportunities for professional development.  Our leadership team is compassionate and fun to work for, and they help the department maintain a strong student focus.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU:  I was immediately impressed when I first met the staff of the department, and became eager to learn from such talented and invested individuals.  I was also drawn in by the pride that students take in their residence hall experience, and the energy they bring to department initiatives.  Our student leaders in particular are motivated and upbeat, and make MSU a fun place to live and work!

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests:  I am always interested in finding new ways for technology to assist our efforts in the work environment.  I also enjoy developing my supervisory and problem-solving skill sets by testing them in different situations. During my time here, I have had the opportunity to act in a supervisory capacity with the Overnight Safety Monitors and the Maverick Mentor program for one year each, and have grown as a professional because of it!
Hobbies:  Reading, tinkering with electronics, biking, and training dogs.

Phil Neuman

Hall Director


Education:  MS: Counseling and Student Development, Kansas State University; Graduate Certificate in Academic Advising, Kansas State University; BS: History, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Previous Positions:  Assistant Coordinator (Kansas State University); ACUHO-I Intern (Belmont University)

What I Like About Being a Maverick: Being student-focused to the core of everything we do.  I have the opportunity to spend intentional time within my communities to ensure that the students I work with are both academically and personally successful while attending Minnesota State University, Mankato.  I find it helpful to be able to answer the question of "how does this benefit our students?" on a regular basis.  This mindset truly impacts the quality of work that I do and positively impacts the students' experience while living with us.

What I Chose to Work at MSU:  I chose to work at MSU for a few different reasons.  It was clear when I began my interview process that the department is very committed to students and truly want to see them succeed academically and personally.  The facilities are top of the line.  It was also evident that the department would allow me to create opportunities that I was personally interested in and being able to have fun within my position.

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests:  I am a member of UMR-ACUHO. I have written an article for the UMR-ACUHO Perspectives Magazine and I hope to continue to write in the future. My interests beyond housing are student conduct, leadership development, academic advising, advising student groups, StrengthsQuest, first year students, and first generation students.

Hobbies:  Attending MSU theatre events and MSU hockey games, watching sports, playing video games, reading books, seeking adventure, geocaching, collecting license plates, thrift shopping, and playing board games.