Staff

Michael Olesen

Consortium Director

I am the Rural Information Technology Alliance Consortium Director.  My Bachelor’s Degree is in History from Hamline University and I have a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from St. Cloud State University.   

In January 2014 I retired after over thirty years at the University of Minnesota.  Most recently I was the Chief Information Officer of the University of Minnesota Rochester where I built their information technology infrastructure

Susan Svane

Grant Manager

I am the Rural Information Technology Alliance Grant Manager at North Central Texas College.  I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas; a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Texas Woman’s University; and a MEd Degree in Secondary Education from the University of North Texas.  For the past 9 years I worked for the Pilot Point Independent School District at Pilot Point High School:  starting as a classroom aid working with special needs students,

Sally Welsh

Grant Manager

I am the Grant Manager for the Rural Information Technology Alliance at Pine Technical and Community College.  I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economic and Business Administration and am licensed in Elementary Education at the Masters level from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Larry Handlin

Grant Manager

I am the Rural Information Technology Alliance (RITA) Grant Manager for Ridgewater College.  I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Politics & Sociology from Cornell College as well as a Master of Arts and obtained ABD status in Political Science from Washington University in Saint Louis.  Prior to joining RITA I was the Assistant Director for Evaluation in Cornerstone: The Center for Advanced Learning at Washington University in Saint Louis.  Cornerstone is a unit designed to improve student performance which includes

Sheryl Givings

Testing Coordinator

I am the RITA Testing Coordinator at North Central Texas College (NCTC).  I have an Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies from NCTC; a Bachelor of Arts degree in general studies with concentration in Reading, Business, and Sociology from TWU; and a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Phoenix.  Prior to joining the RITA team, I was working in customer service, higher education, and was busy completing my master’s degree.

Kristin Brietzke

Data Evaluation Coordinator

I am the Data Evaluation Coordinator for the RITA Grant.  I have a Master of Business Administration with an Economics Concentration from St. Cloud State University; Bachelor of Arts with a Philosophy and  Biology Minor from Iowa State University; and an Associate of Arts, from North Iowa Area Community College.  Prior to working with the RITA Grant, I worked in private industry creating predictive models to support various industries in marketing, fraud, and educational enrollment prediction. 

Belinda Perez-Hernandez

Education and Employment Coach

I am an Education and Employment Coach with the RITA Grant at North Central Texas College (NCTC).  I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Spanish.  Prior to working with RITA I was a Transfer Admissions Counselor at the University of North Texas. My goal in RITA is to be the best Education and Employment Coach that I can be by providing wrap around services to students.

Bekah Samaniego

Education and Employment Coach

I am an Education and Employment Coach with the RITA Grant at North Central Texas College (NCTC).  I have an Associate of Science Degree from North Central Texas College, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English from the University of North Texas and a certificate in Technical Writing.   Prior to joining the RITA Grant, I worked for TRIO as a program assistant and technical editor.  

Maria Aurora Villamater

Testing Center Coordinator and Education and Employment Coach

I am a Testing Center Coordinator and an Education and Employment Coach at the IT Career Connection Center of North Central Texas College (NCTC).  I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from Miriam College Foundation, Inc. Philippines; a master of Arts in Computer Education from AMA Computer University, Philippines; and Post - MA in Applied Linguistics from Montclair State University with a goal of getting into Computational Linguistics.

John Hamerlinck

Grant Manager

I am the Grant Manager for the Rural Information Technology Alliance at Central Lakes College. I have a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, and a Master of Science in Social Responsibility, from St. Cloud State University.

Prior to joining RITA, I worked at Minnesota Campus Compact for a decade, serving as Associate Director from 2009 to 2014