The Office of Engagement is a collaborative team dedicated to engaging meaningfully with students, alumnae and friends of Stephens.

The Office of Engagement is responsible for Stephens College admissions, financial aid, alumnae relations, institutional advancement, and marketing and communications. 


Gina Sholtis

Vice President for Engagement

Gina serves as vice president for engagement. In her role, she is the chief fundraising officer for the College and advises the president on all matters pertaining to the management and operation of development, alumni relations, as well as community and donor relations. She provides strategic leadership and direction for the Advancement program and is responsible for designing and implementing best practice, sustainable and comprehensive institutional advancement programs, recruiting and developing talented team members focused toward the ultimate goal of significantly increasing constituent involvement and fundraising outcomes.

Gina maintains close working relationships with the president and key internal and external stakeholders. She works to advance the mission, vision, and short and long-term goals of the College in concert with the president and senior administrative colleagues. She personally maintains a dynamic portfolio of high-net-worth individuals and secures major, capital and planned gifts, as well as advanced annual gifts and endowment support.

Prior to Stephens, Gina has had a successful and extensive career in higher education institutional advancement, including leadership roles at Saint Louis University, Washington University, the University of Missouri and Marquette University in Milwaukee. She most recently served as vice president for university advancement at Marquette University, where she was responsible for all areas of the advancement division. Gina was assistant vice chancellor for advancement at Mizzou during its $1.3-billion Our Time to Lead campaign; prior to that, she was associate dean and senior director of development at Washington University, where she participated in the $2.3-billion Leading Together campaign.

Gina has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Missouri State University. She and her family live in Columbia.


Severin Roberts

Associate Vice President for Engagement
Director of Undergraduate Residential Admissions

"It takes guts to go after the life you want." I'd add, "and a little bit of luck." I have been lucky to have women role models throughout my life. Some are mentors, others are people I learned from. A powerful turning point in my lifepath was when a colleague shared a job post with me. When I got the new position, she was the first person I told. I asked her why she'd shared the job with me, and she replied, "We women have to stick together, and help each other up." I see that every day at Stephens College. Alumnae are leaders. Our students are leaders. The women looking at Stephens to find their dream college resonate with Stephens because they are already leaders or know they can be. Every day, I am grateful to the women who have inspired me to be a thoughtful parent, to be bold in my professional pursuits, and to carry enthusiasm to my family, friends and hobbies. I have a B.A. in geography with a minor in anthropology from Mizzou and an M.A. in Geography from the University of Kansas because my love for people, maps and travel is the compass for my curiosity.


Liz Borges '18

Admissions Counselor

Liz BorgesLiz became a first-generation college grad when she received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Stephens College in 2018. During her college career, Liz dived right into the Stephens community by starting a student organization called Firestone Fellowship. Liz would love to share with you her transition from life on a farm in Marshall, Missouri, to living in Columbia. After graduating from Stephens, Liz served in social work as a case manager. She hopes to help prospective students immerse themselves in the community at Stephens and invest in their dreams. In her spare time, you may find Liz singing, painting, or finding new recipes to try out.


Sydney Hamilton

Admissions Counselor

Sydney grew up in Libertyville, Illinois, before graduating with a degree in elementary education from the University of Missouri in 2017. In college, Sydney was involved in Greek Life, Residential Life and Mizzou Alternative Breaks. After graduating, she taught fifth grade for a year before returning to higher education. Sydney knew she wanted to work at Stephens because of its strong sense of community and excellent academic programs! When not talking to prospective students, you’ll find Sydney eating pizza at Shakespeare’s, attempting a DIY project, or watching Veronica Mars.



Melissa Lewis ’16

Admissions Counselor

Melissa is a proud Columbia, MO, native and Stephens College alumna. Since receiving her BFA in Digital Filmmaking in 2016, she has worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri and Stephens College, served as a commercial video producer/editor for the Midwest region, and co-founded Columbia’s newest community media center, Vidwest Studios. Melissa is excited to share with prospective students the unique life and culture that Stephens College and Columbia, MO, have to offer. In her free time, you’ll find Melissa hiking at Rockbridge State Park, collaborating on local video projects, and attending downtown concerts and performances.



Kaitlyn Raith

Graduate and Online Admissions Counselor

Kaitlyn RaithKaitlyn grew up in Birch Tree, Missouri, and graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Multicultural Certificate in spring 2021. During her time at Mizzou, Kaitlyn was involved in Mizzou Alternative Breaks, the Psychology Club, volunteered in a cognitive neuroscience lab, and worked at Bookmark Café in Ellis Library. She is excited about the empowered environment Stephens College provides for young women and helping students achieve their higher education goals! Kaitlyn loves trying new foods, watching true crime documentaries, hiking, and has a big heart for animals.   



Data Systems and Administrative Support 

Joe Enright

Director of Admissions-CRM Operations and Enrollment Management Analyst 

Joe Enright is a Columbia native, but he has lived in five different states. He received both his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Master in Business Administration from Columbia College. Joe has worked in enrollment management for nearly ten years and believes education is a key component to a full and well-rounded life. His dad and both of his brothers work in higher education, as well. Joe is excited to join the Stephens’ community and he looks forward to sharing the legacy of the second-oldest women’s college in the country with students who are seeking to build a strong foundation for the future. Joe enjoys walking, learning about history, gaming, and spending time with his wife, Amber, and son, Cayden.


Jacob Wilson

Associate Director, Gift Processing, Stewardship and Advancement Systems

Jacob has been with Stephens since 2018. He serves as the associate director of advancement services and assistant secretary for the Stephens College Board of Trustees. He is a 2018 graduate of the University of Missouri, and had worked in the sports and entertainment industries prior to joining Stephens. Away from campus, Jacob is a big soccer (football) fan, and even owns a small share of AFC Wimbledon in the English Football League. He also enjoys playing the saxophone, building computers and gardening. Jacob and his wife live in Columbia with their two cats, Cosmo and Sharky.


Marlena Thompson ’18

Engagement Office Coordinator

Born and raised in Columbia, Missouri, Marlena received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Communication from Stephens College in 2018. During her time at Stephens, Marlena held several leadership positions on campus, including resident director of Wood Hall, Class of 2018 president, and membership chair of Mortar Board. Marlena is excited to be able to share her Stephens experience with students while encouraging and supporting them to create their own.




Philanthropy + Engagement

Jenny Trom

Director of Philanthropy and Engagement

Jenny serves Stephens College as a director of philanthropy and engagement. She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing. After many years in the pharmaceutical industry as a hospital sales representative, Jenny stayed at home for several years to raise her children as well as volunteer for several organizations. Upon returning to the workforce, she worked at Columbia Public Schools for four years and then for the University of Missouri for six years. Her experiences in sales and education are a perfect fit for Stephens.  Jenny enjoys engaging with alumnae and obtaining gifts to advance the mission of Stephens College. When asked, she will say, “This is the best job I’ve ever had.”


Ruth Ann Burke

Director of Philanthropy and Engagement

Executive Director, Okoboji Summer Theatre

Ruth Ann Burke serves as the executive director for the Okoboji Summer Theatre, where she plans to help the Company celebrate 63 seasons in the Iowa Great Lakes region during her 24th season next summer. During the school year, she is a Director of Philanthropy and Engagement, connecting with Stephens College supporters and overseeing marketing and corporate sponsorships for the School of Creative and Performing Arts. Before returning to Columbia in 2007, Burke worked in marketing and public relations in Seattle. She is a proud alumna of Stephens College, where she earned her B.F.A. and M.B.A. She also received an M.A. from Drake University.


Lori Ewing

Assistant Director of Engagement

Lori was born and raised in Iowa, but has lived in Missouri since 1986. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business education from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State) and immediately began her career in the graduate office for her alma mater. She spent seven years in the health care arena, then returned to higher education where she has held several roles since 1994. Lori is passionate about Stephens and engaging with alumnae, students, families and donors. She is an avid reader and enjoys watching sports, fitness, road trips, and spending time with her sons and granddaughters.


Marketing + Communications

Jennifer Cropp

Graphic Designer

Jennifer grew up in nearby Glasgow, Missouri. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Commercial Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design from the University of Central Missouri. Jennifer started her career in higher education and hasn’t looked back. She joined the University of Missouri Press where she was a designer and collaborator in the publication of books. She enjoyed the details involved in composition and typesetting, as well as bringing an author’s vision to fruition in the cover design. As an added bonus, she was able to read many manuscripts while typesetting, combining her love of design with her love of reading. Jennifer joined Stephens in 2012, where she implements the visual needs of the College through print and digital media. She thrives on the energy Stephens creates and loves to see the campus come alive with Stephens women each fall. On her down time, you will find Jennifer spending every second with her family, whether it be sporting events or lazy evenings watching the storm roll in from her back porch.


Ellen Orner


Ellen was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, and holds a B.A. in creative writing from Valparaiso University. She has served in higher education communications roles since 2011, including alumnae relations at the University of Montana and recruitment and advancement at the University of Tennessee School of Art. She volunteers as the nonfiction editor for the Best of the Net anthology by Sundress Publications and participates in writers groups based in Knoxville and Columbia. Her husband is an assistant professor of creative writing at Westminster College in nearby Fulton, Missouri. 

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