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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; M.A. in Sociology (in progress), 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 am heavily involved in the Minnesota College Professionals Association, and currently serve on the board. My other interest areas include Social Justice and Diversity, Student Conduct, and Leadership Development.

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 am currently involved in the UMR-ACUHO Region as part of the Programming Committee. I have previously been involved in NASPA and the SEAHO region. Some of my interests include sustainability, civic engagement, career development, and community service.

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


Alexis Paladini

Hall Director


Education:  Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and a Master of Science in Education in College Student Personnel Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Previous Positions:  Graduate Assistant Community Director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  Everyone is so friendly! Students, faculty, and staff are not afraid to come up to you and chat. It is such a welcoming and fun atmosphere to be a part of.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: The special attention MSU gives to the 50 First Days of school. Those 50 days are important and I loved how the university emphasized them to make sure students were getting involved an acclimated to their academic courses.           

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: The MSUAASF Parking and Transportation committee and the Graduation Ceremonies committee. I am looking forward to getting more involved in regional and national organizations.

Hobbies: Baking, cooking, reading, playing video games, and hunting waterfowl


Maddie Smart

Hall Director


Education:  Bachelors Degree in Psychology and German from Marquette University, Masters Degree is College Student Affairs from Eastern Illinois University

Previous Positions:  Marquette University RHA President, Associate Resident Director at Eastern Illinois University, RHA Advisor at Eastern Illinois University, ACUHO-I Intern at Carroll University

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  I love the school spirit and Maverick pride that is all around! I think it is so awesome that you can walk down the street and see lots of people in their purple and gold! Plus, the double chocolate chip cookies in the dining center are easily the best thing I have ever eaten so that’s pretty great.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I get to be really intentional about spending time with students! A huge part of my job is getting to know students, their stories, their likes and dislikes! I think that is really awesome and is something that is really special about this job. I went into this field to work with students and at MSU we do our best to meet students where they are at.           

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: I am going to UMR ACUHO this year and excited to learn more about that! I think that some really cool things can be learned when we get together with people from other universities and talk about what is going on on our campuses! I am also interested in work with Greek Life and may be volunteering with my own organization!

Hobbies: I love listening to podcasts and am a true crime fanatic! I also like playing fantasy football and am a two time league champion! Oher than that I like spending time with my fiancé and my family. We love to play board games and cook- I am always trying new recipes or new ways to do things and I love it!


Daniel Vorwerk

Hall Director


Education: B.A. in Communications: Public Relations from the University of Northern Iowa, M.A. in Postsecondary Education: Student Affairs from the University of Northern Iowa

Previous Positions: Graduate Assistant: Communication and Training/Development in Academic Advising at the University of Northern Iowa. Executive Director for UNI Dance Marathon at the University of Northern Iowa.

What I Like About Being a Maverick: This is a place where no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you are studying, you belong to a Maverick family that is proud of you and what you are doing here. Everyone I interact with is really excited about the work they are doing here at MSU and that makes me really proud to be a fellow Maverick.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: From the beginning, I was impressed with the level of care and dedication that Residential Life has for students living in our communities and from the moment I drove into town for my on campus interview, the MSU campus and the greater Mankato community felt like home.

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: I have attended regional conferences such as NASPA-IV-E and UMR-ACUHO and am looking to expand my involvement in these organizations over the next year. Additionally, I am interested in Student Leadership Development and specifically, working with Dance Marathon programs on college campuses to raise funds for their local Children's Miracle Network Hospital.

Hobbies: I love learning about coffee and the processes to make a great cup of coffee or to pull a great shot of espresso. I love exploring new cities and taking photos of the world around me, and I love getting to chat with people and hear their stories. If you can't find me in Mankato, it's probably because I'm up in St. Peter at River Rock Coffee doing some writing.


Sarah Frazier

Hall Director


Education: B.A. in Sociology, University of Northern Colorado, M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership, University of Northern Colorado

Previous Positions: Gender & Sexuality Resource Center Graduate Intern (University of Northern Colorado), Housing & Residential Education Graduate Intern/Assistant (University of Northern Colorado)

What I Like About Being a Maverick: I appreciate the sense of pride that people have about being a Maverick and being part of the Maverick community. I am enjoying being a part of a campus that takes pride in who they are and in the diverse community that we have here at MSU Mankato.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: The easy answer is the people. From my first interview with staff from MSU, I could tell that this was a department and campus that not only says they care, but actively engages with students to prove it. The student focus and emphasis on developing students through programs, conduct, and daily interactions is what brought me here and will keep me here.

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: I was involved in ACPA (College Student Educators International) during my time in graduate school. Since moving to Minnesota I have gotten involved in UMR-ACUHO (Upper Midwest Region-Association of College and University Housing Officers) and ATCCHA (Associated Twin Cities College Housing Administrators). Some of my interests include topics around student development, social justice and diversity, and self-care/advocacy.

Hobbies: In my free time you can find me drinking coffee, eating cheese curds, and spending time with friends. I am hoping to work on my baking skills in my off time so look forward to baked goods, especially during the winter! I also have a blog and am working on getting back into the habit of reading for fun now that I am out of school.


Priscilla Perez

Hall Director


Education: B.S. in University Studies, with a focus in Sociology, and a minor in Anthropology from Illinois State University, M.S.Ed- Student Affairs Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (partnership program with UW-River Falls)

Previous Positions: Resident Assistant, Zeta Theta Pi founder and President, Tour Guide, and Hostess for Campus Dining Services at Illinois State University, Graduate Hall Director, Advisor for WCPA Student Affairs 101, Advisor for WURHA and Greek Life intern at UW-River Falls

What I Like About Being a Maverick: Immediately walking onto campus, I felt at home. The students are awesome, staff and faculty members are great! What I really like about campus is everything is pretty accessible. It take less than 15 minutes to get from one side of campus to the other. Plus, there’s a ton of school spirit here! Go Mavs!!!

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: Strictly for the Taco Bell Express on campus. Just kidding! I love seeing students interact with one another. There is so much to get involved with on campus and the list for RSOs keep expanding. Another reason I love working at MSU is the amount of students that are very vocal about social justice, inclusivity, and equity. I admire that and want to work at an institution that helps nurture and create future leaders.

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: ATCCHA (Associated Twin Cities College Housing Administrators), MCPA (Minnesota College Professionals Association), UMR-ACUHO (Upper Midwest Region-Association of College and University Housing Officers), and Girls on the Run (Heart and Sole) in Mankato.

Hobbies: Annoying my partner, Alex, and lounging around with my dog, Zeus. I also love going to concerts, excessively watching Netflix, crafting, drinking coffee, and eating pizza. I play a mean game of Catch Phrase and really love exploring the City of Mankato.


Becky Gwinn

Hall Director


Education: M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Western Michigan University; B.S. Human Services Leadership with a minor in Social Justice, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh 

Previous Positions: Graduate Assistant Hall Director at Western Michigan University; ACUHO-I Intern at Western Michigan University; Community Development Specialist for Community Engagement at The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

What I Like About Being a Maverick: I love the school spirit! There is always something happening on campus that supports and empowers students, whether it's a conference or a sporting event. I enjoy going to these events and seeing the impact that they have on our students here at MSU. There is always a friendly face on campus, which makes MSU feel like home. Go Mavs!

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I chose to work at MSU because of the connections I get to make with students. There is such a focus on student development and interaction, and I love the opportunity to build those relationships! Working with people and hearing their stories is a passion area of mine, and I am glad to be at an institution that supports and encourages me.

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: I have previously been involved with NASPA and GLACUHO. As a student and advisor I have gone to several NACURH, GLACURH, and MACURH conferences, as well as business conferences throughout the NACURH region. I am excited to serve as the NRHH Advisor this year, and to get involved with ATTCHA!

Hobbies: I enjoy anything that I can do with friends or family! I am a huge Wisconsin sports fan, and could watch sports all day, everyday. I love playing games and going on adventures, and I am excited to see what exciting things I can find to do at Mankato!


Emily Ender

Hall Director


Education: B.S. in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, M.S. Ed in Student Affairs Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Previous Positions: Resident Director at Georgia Southern University, Graduate Hall Director at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Accessibility Resources Intern at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Resident Advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

What I Like About Being a Maverick: TThere is so much campus pride throughout the community! You can go anywhere in Mankato and see people wearing MSU apparel or with Stomper stickers in their windows. It creates an incredibly welcoming environment and just goes to show that MSU is the place to be!

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I chose to work at MSU because of the strong emphasis on community development. Helping students find their fit on campus is why I started working in this field, so it only makes sense to work at a place that values that as much as I do. I love being able to work closely with the students in McElroy and help them get involved on campus.

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests: I was previously the NRHH Advisor at Georgia Southern University. I advised delegations attending RBC (Regional Business Conference) in 2018, and the GLACURH Regional Leadership Conference in 2016. I am passionate about leadership and taught a leadership course during my time at Georgia Southern. I have attended several conferences, including Lead365, a conference focused on helping empower students through leadership, and Across the Lifespan, a conference for educators from K-12 through higher education that is focused on supporting students with disabilities throughout their education and careers.

Hobbies: When I’m not at work, I like to attend car shows with my partner, Nate, and visit parks with my dog, Goose. I also love hiking, finding new coffee places, painting, and working out.