Office of Enrollment Services

Meet the Enrollment Services Team

Laura Birdsall, First Year Experience Advisor

lbirdsall@mica.edu

Laura grew up in the San Fernando Valley and holds a BA in Anthropology from UCLA. She received her MFA in Fiction from Vanderbilt University, where she then taught English and served as an Academic Advisor for several years. She is a co-editor of two volumes of poetry and fiction by incarcerated writers on Tennessee's Death Row.  She has also worked for many years with The Contributor, Nashville's street paper, sold by homeless and formerly homeless vendors.

Click here to make an appointment with Laura!


Edna Blackwell, Executive Assistant
eblackwell@mica.edu

Edna has been a member of the MICA community since 2002 and has over 20 years of administrative support and customer service experience. She has a background in visual and culinary arts, and hospitality management. As a member of Gold Star Mothers, an organization of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of our country, her commitment to veterans is strong. One of Edna's main goals is to ensure that every student seeking academic advice at MICA receives the best possible front-desk experience. On the weekends when she's not growing her wedding-event planning business, she's spending every spare moment with family and friends, her lovable labradoodle, Max, and scouring flea markets and vintage shops.


Leah Cooper, Upper Level Academic Advisor
Assistant Director of Academic Advising

lcooper@mica.edu

Leah Cooper is an interdisciplinary artist who has lived and worked in Baltimore since 1989. Within her practice she seeks to produce work that yields questions rather than asserts conclusions. Thus, the effectiveness of her practice is bound to the quality of her questions. She believes, first and foremost, that artists are thinkers and problem solvers, and because of this she is strongly committed to working with and supporting artists during their academic careers. Leah received her BA in Studio Art from University of Maryland and completed her MFA at MICA. She strives to bring her experience as an artist and an educator into every conversation she has with her advisees.

Click here to make an appointment with Leah!


Ken Dippong, Director of Academic Advising
kdippong@mica.edu

Ken joined the MICA community in 2011 after working for his alma mater (where he earned a BA in English and a MED in Adult Learning and Development), Cleveland State University, for 15 years. In addition to his many years in the advising profession, he has worked in both admissions and registrarial fields; these experiences have deepened his knowledge of, and appreciation for, the student's entire life cycle (and its myriad challenges). Ken's journey to MICA was inspired by a profound interest in working with art and design students, and his belief in their boundless potential as agents of social and cultural change. When he's not answering email, Ken is known to pen the occasional play, poem, or imagined letter to the editor.

Click here to make an appointment with Ken!


 
Hadley Garbart, Director of Student Records and Institutional Research
hgarbart@mica.edu


Robin Gunkel, Upper Level Academic Advisor
rgunkel@mica.edu

Robin began advising at the University of Baltimore in 2009 as a freshman advisor. Prior to being an advisor, she taught college composition and freshman seminar. She is a community organizer who has hosted the Mushroom City Art Festival since 2013. Robin earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and is a PhD candidate in Sustainability Education with Prescott College. Since joining the MICA advising team, she has found working with MICA students to be a hugely rewarding experience. She enjoys learning about her advisees visual work while assisting them with their academic challenges and celebrating their successes. Her interests include writing poetry, learning to sing and play the guitar, and hanging out with her two Bengal cats, Sumi and Zen.

Click here to make an appointment with Robin!


LaShay Harvey, Graduate Enrollment Advisor
lharvey01@mica.edu

LaShay has spent the last six years studying black women's sexuality and contraceptive choices. She holds a Masters degree in Education and a PhD, both in Human Sexuality Studies. LaShay has nearly 20 years experience as an educator and has taught at Morgan State University, Towson University, and the University of Baltimore. At MICA she advises graduate students as they work towards their MA and MFA degrees. LaShay was born and raised in the deep South, believes tea should be sweet, and grits should be served with salt, pepper, and butter.

Click here to make an appointment with LaShay!


Cija Jefferson, Upper Level Academic Advisor
cjefferson01@mica.edu

Cija (pronounced Kia) Jefferson is a writer, and host of Writers & Words, a Baltimore reading series. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore, and BA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been an academic advisor at multiple universities/colleges for over 10 years. Her advising philosophy and practice is grounded in accessibility, providing an environment that facilitates active participation in the academic journey, and encouraging students to unearth and trust their voices.

Click here to make an appointment with Cija!


Tru Ludwig, Upper Level Academic Advisor and Transfer Specialist
tludwig@mica.edu

Tru has been an advisor at MICA since 2006 working primarily with the transfer student population. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, he earned his BA in Studio Art and Art History, with a minor in Music History, from St. Olaf College. He holds an MA in Art History, and an MFA in Printmaking and Drawing. Since 1999, he's been teaching in the Art Education, Art History, First Year Experience, and Printmaking departments at MICA; and Art History at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. Tru's studio practice is devoted to large-scale woodcuts and multi-plate etchings which have been shown on four continents and are included in collections across the country.

Click here to make an appointment with Tru!


Carissa Mattern, Associate Registrar
cmattern@mica.edu

Carissa earned her BFA in Art History, Theory & Criticism from MICA in 2010 and began working as the Associate Registrar in early 2017. In 2019 she earned her MA in Public Management from The Johns Hopkins University with her capstone titled Core Police Training and Independent Review Act: A Modified Policy to Tackle Use of Force. Since 2017 she has also worked as a policy analyst and researcher for two Maryland State Senators, on a Congressional campaign, and with the Baltimore City Council. Her politically charged paintings and photography have been shown across the country, are part of several permanent collections, rated on Trend Hunter, published in The Huffington Post, and featured on Chasing News: New Jersey with Tamara Laine. But, her force from within does not awaken until there is coffee.


 
Christine Peterson, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services
Registrar
cpetersn@mica.edu


 
Dana Small, Assistant to the Registrar
dsmall@mica.edu