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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Meet the Hall Director Team

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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!








John Hyttsten

Hall Director


Education:  MS: College Counseling & Student Development, Azusa Pacific University; BS: Youth Ministry, Crown College, MN

Previous Positions:  Graduate Hall Coordinator (Occidental College); First-Year Experience Program Coordinator (Concordia University)

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  Being a new father, I appreciate being a part of a department that values my work-life balance.  Because family is a very strong value of mine, I love being a part of a team that allows me to spend time with my wife and son while remaining committed to being a part of the lives of students in my building.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I chose to work at Minnesota State University, Mankato because I love the feel of our mid-sized campus.  The school is big enough to have the resources and services that help students succeed at college while being small enough to show individual students care.  The students come first here, and that is apparent through the emphasis that Residential Life places on getting to know students.  The size of the campus has given me a great opportunity to connect with my residents and get them connected to some amazing resources on campus.               

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests:  I've had the opportunity to get involved professionally on many levels here.  I have been a part of search committees and large scale programming efforts where I've been able to collaborate with other departments, as well as leading a delegation to a student conference.  Being at Minnesota State Mankato has greatly helped me grow professionally and I've appreciated the ability to continue taking on new things to further my professional growth.

Hobbies: I'm a big nerd, so I tend to like to play video games, but more recently most of my time has been going to hanging out and playing with my son, Ezra.


Tyeesha Wesley

Hall Director


Education:  M.Ed.: Higher Education Leadership: Student Affairs, Valdosta State University; BA: Psychology, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Previous Positions:  Graduate Residence Hall Director (Valdosta State University); Graduate Assistant for Access Office (Disability Services), (Valdosta State University)

What I Like About Being a Maverick: I love the emphasis the department and the university as a whole puts on our students.  I am able to sit and talk to students about what their needs and/or interests are and create opportunities for the students to explore those interests or learn about a new passion.  The Maverick Spirit can be felt as soon as you walk on campus and it's great to see students, staff, and faculty invested in all aspects of the university.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU:  I chose to work at Minnesota State, Mankato because it is a great position for individuals who are entering their first professional job.  The department allows you to develop and continue building all the necessary skills for a person looking to stay within the field for a long time.  The department also places an emphasis on ensuring students that they have a resource in the Hall Director of their area.  We, as Hall Directors, are encouraged and challenged to get to know every student in the first 50 days of the academic year.  With the intentionality of student care and professional development moments consistently available through different job responsibilities, it was an easy decision to head to Mankato!

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests:  I have been an active member of American College Personnel Association (ACPA) by serving on committees and attending the annual conferences for the last two years. I plan on remaining active within this organization as well as join the Minnesota State affiliate MCPA. I am also a member of National Association of Student Activities (NACA). I have deep-seated interest in Student Activities, Community Engagement, Greek Life, Diversity and Student Leadership.

Hobbies:  I love to bake and cook. It is not uncommon for me to bake goodies for all my residents to stop by and enjoy a snack. I enjoy reading different genres of books and have a very interesting book collection. I am also a big movie person who has a collection that is now approaching the over 300 mark. When not reading or watching movies I am usually doing a puzzle or something crafty. I am an avid sports fan for both college sports and professional sports, with a preference for football and basketball. It is a usual sight to see me around the building or campus wearing something that is Denver Bronco-related.


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.



Alycia Smith

Hall Director


Education:  M.Ed.: Student Affairs, Iowa State University; BA: Psychology, University of Northern Iowa

Previous Positions:  Assistant Hall Director (Iowa State University); Desk Supervisor (Iowa State University)

What I Like About Being a Maverick:  I love the students!  Students are very active here and get involved, whether it be through their academic program, RHA, Community Councils, or Intramurals.  It is great to be at an institution that supports the growth of students, and strives to help each individual feel like they are at home.

Why I Chose to Work at MSU: I only heard wonderful things about MSU before coming here, and enjoyed the feel and environment of campus when I visited.  As a department, we strive to get to know all of our residents in our communities, which may sound like a huge feat, but by aiming towards that goal, I have been able to get to know many of my students on an individual level.  This contributes to an environment that feels like home and allows students to start making connections with folks that can help them be successful.          

Professional Development/Involvement/Interests:  I have attended regional and national conferences, and plan on getting more involved within these organizations.  Some of my interest areas include: first year students, diversity and social justice, and student leadership.

Hobbies: One of the first things people learn about me is my love for cats.  I currently have a cat and love to play with her!  I also love to bake, and my CAs and students greatly benefit from that.  When I'm not baking, I enjoy doing crafts, hanging out with my family and friends, and going on adventures!

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.