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Meet The Ombuds Team

Julia Heck, M.A. - Associate Director

Julia Heck is Associate Director of the Office of the Ombuds at Eastern Michigan University. Currently, Julia Heck is working towards her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) specializing in the training and development practices of Ombuds within higher education as a conflict resolution tool. She received her M.A. in Educational Leadership - Higher Education & Student Affairs from EMU, as well as a B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Human Development & Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. 

Julia is a dedicated, strategic educator and servant leader with an emphasis on conflict resolution, collaboration and restorative justice, continuous systemic redesign and improvement, program evaluation and assessment, retention, academic success, and personalized learner-centered growth and development. Her previous work includes a range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional experience working in university settings such as housing, student leadership, orientation, recognition and programming, and summer camps and conferences across large institutions, mid-sized institutions, and small institutions, both public and private.

Ben-Oni Morgan -  Ombuds Conflict Coach & Case Manager

Ben-Oni Morgan is an academic activist and social entrepreneur from Plano, Texas, with over a decade of experience in teaching, business operations, and research. Cynthia has dedicated her life and career to creating home places within schools and other public spaces, in the spirit of bell hooks - sites of Black feminine care, inclusion, and resistance.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in History from Princeton University in 2010 and her Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Eastern Michigan University in April 2020.  As a recipient of The Delores S. Brehm Endowed Scholarship and Fellowship in Special Education, Cynthia is currently researching recess social skills interventions for Black autistic learners.  She is currently pursuing an advanced counseling certificate with EMU’s Leadership and Counseling Department in Helping Interventions in a Multicultural Society .

Michayla Petel - Ombuds Conflict Coach & Case Manager

My name is Michayla Petel and I graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences. I then began my academic career at EMU to pursue my Master’s in Orthotics and Prosthetics. I applied for this position one year ago with the goal to help students navigate any challenges that might be in their way of continuing their education successfully. My passion for helping others is embodied in this position and my goal for all students to feel both supported and informed in their path to success following their appointments.

Tiffany Chen - Ombuds Conflict Coach & Case Manager

Hi, my name is Tiffany Chen! I am currently a graduate student here at Eastern Michigan University studying Educational Administration. Prior to Eastern, I was in Germany for my entire high school and I transferred back to the US for college. I received my undergraduate degree at Michigan State University with a major in English and a minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Second Language Learners). Due to my unique educational history, I hold great value and importance in institutional policy, cultural diversity, social justice and conflict resolution. I have extensive experience in culture difference, international students, and hold an immense passion for institutional policy and law in higher education. My aspiration is to one day work with institutional policy and create positively impactful and memorable college experiences for my future students. What I really like about being in this office is the team and environment all staff have with each other and how we work together to help students with their needs. What I like about being an ombudsman is that I can pull myself out of the situation as a third party and give an outsider perspective. While there are a lot of conflict resolution processes, the ombudsman is able to use their own position as a platform to provide insight and recommendations to reach resolution. Ombuds can work from any level within an institution due to their position and have a neutral say that is valued and informative.

Elijah Vasquez -  Ombuds Conflict Coach & Case Manager

My name is Elijah Vasquez, I am a graduate student here at Eastern Michigan University in the Higher Education in Student Affairs program. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a focus in Human Resources here at EMU in April of 2019. As a first-generation student from a low-income background, my goal is to work in student affairs as well as academic advising to assist students in their higher education journeys. These roles will allow me to provide the necessary information and resources, in addition to supporting their holistic development in order to succeed to their fullest potential. My passion to help others is what drives me to achieve these goals. Working with the Office of Ombuds, I will apply the skills and knowledge I have obtained to help students in any way possible to ensure they are successful and receive the best possible assistance.

Jaquan Cotton -  Ombuds Conflict Coach & Case Manager

Greetings! My name is Jaquan Cotton born and raised in the motor city, Detroit MI. My personal pronouns are he/him/his. I graduated from Michigan State University with my bachelors in Human Development & Family Studies and I'm currently pursuing a masters in Higher Education Student Affairs here at Eastern. My career interests include becoming an Academic Advisor where I can work with students from marginalized populations, cultivate a sense of belonging by helping them navigate their degree program and providing support services that will facilitate their success within Higher Education. One of my favorite hobbies is relaxing at home with a box of pizza watching episodes of Avatar The Last Airbender. [The TV show obviously!]

Kim Kreuzwieser -  Ombuds Conflict Coach & Case Manager

Kim Kreuzwieser is a 2 nd -year HESA and Academic Advising Certificate student at EMU. During her time at EMU, she has held positions as a GA in Pathways for Future Educators, a UNIV 101 instructor, and is currently a GA in the University Advising and Career Development Center (UACDC). Prior to her work at EMU, she was an ESL instructor in Japan, Los Angeles, and Ann Arbor. She believes deeply in the power of education and is passionate about supporting students along their college journey and advancing multiculturalism. She is a lifelong student of world languages and cultures and her hobbies include travel, reading, cooking, hiking, biking, and listening to music.

Lucas Schacht -  Ombuds Conflict Coach & Case Manager

Hello!  My name is Lucas Schacht (he, him, his) and I’m a student in Eastern’s Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs Master’s program.  My college experience started out rocky when I was academically dismissed from the first college I attended.  Several years passed where I tackled personal, academic, and systemic challenges, navigated financial aid concerns, and switched majors.  I eventually transferred out of community college and graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.   

I’m here at the Office of the Ombuds because I know firsthand how important and how difficult education can be.  Everything is figure-out-able with the right support and my goal is that we find the best solution to whatever adversities you might face.  

In addition to working with Ombuds, I am also a Graduate Case Manager for the Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility as well as a researcher with The UndocuResearch Project.  Outside work and school, I enjoy spending time with my dog, Max, cooking awesome vegan food, and being on the water.

Iman Ali -  Ombuds Conflict Coach & Case Manager

My name is Iman Ali. I have a bachelors degree in children and families and I'm currently in grad school in educational psychology. I have three semesters until graduation. My background was in computer programming and system analysis, then I changed route and went for my Montessori education and child development. I worked as a Montessori teacher for 10 years before deciding on continuing with my BS. I am a wife and a mother of three adult children. I am one of five eagles of EMU. I was going to University with my children and it was such a blessing.


Kaitlyn Willis - Office Assistant

Hello my name is Kaitlyn Willis and I am an office assistant here at the Office of the Ombuds. I am an undergraduate in my junior year majoring in Early Childhood education. I transferred from Jackson College in 2019, where I took and completed all of my general education courses while working at the Ombuds and Admissions office. I truly love working in the Ombuds office here at Eastern Michigan because each day is a new day to be there for someone much like when I was younger and I had people there for me. You matter and so do your concerns! I hope one day to work in a school as a teacher then eventually work on the school board.

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