Distance Education Team
Distance Education Office Manager Michelle Ross comes to Unity after 21 years of combined service in the Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Michelle has worked in Administration, Human Resources and Recruiting. While serving in the military, Michelle earned a BA in Environmental Studies from Ashford University through distance education.
Dr. David Rogers is the Dean of General Education and Environmental Studies. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, an M.A. in English from The University of Massachusetts Boston, and a B.A. in English from the University of West Florida. David’s research interests include political rhetoric, critical pedagogy, and cultural studies. Specifically, David is interested in the role affect and emotion play in political discourse. David has received research grants and teaching awards. He loves teaching, has taught a wide range of humanities and communications classes, and has developed and taught Study Abroad short courses. David brings a depth of experience to the BS program, and he enjoys providing support to students and faculty.
Dr. Pamela MacRae is the Distance Education Dean of Environmental Conservation and Research and Professor of Fisheries Ecology. Previously she served as the Dean of the School of Biodiversity Conservation for 3 years and Associate Professor of Sustainable Fisheries Management at Unity College since 2013. She earned a Ph.D. in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University, a M.S. in Zoology from the University of Toronto and B.S. in Biology from Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia. She conducted Post-doctoral Research at Florida State University on the long-term patterns of fish population density in Florida springs, ponds and tidal marshes.
Dr. MacRae is a field-based fish community ecologist and her research has focused on exploring the links between fish community structure and environmental variables in marine, freshwater and estuarine habitats. Dr. MacRae brings a breadth of knowledge to our undergraduate and graduate programs and has over ten years of experience teaching biology, ecology, marine science and fisheries courses. Additionally, she is an active member of the American Conference of Academic Deans and Council of Independent Colleges.
Dr. Brent Bibles is Distance Education Professor of Wildlife Biology. He received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of Arizona and BS in Fisheries and Wildlife from Utah State. Brent has been involved in wildlife management since the 1980’s and is a well-respected expert in the field. Besides working in academia, he has worked for state wildlife and federal land management agencies. He is primarily an ornithologist but works with all taxa. He has worked with several threatened or endangered species, most recently the Mexican Spotted Owls and black-footed ferrets.
Dr. Bibles is an excellent teacher and works at delivering courses using question-driven instruction. His contribution to the Sustainable Natural Resource Management track of the MS in Professional Science is to add his management experience, quantitative abilities, and student-focused teaching style to the curriculum.
Dr. Katera Y. Moore is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies. Dr. Moore is an urban geographer who uses an environmental justice lens to examine how sociopolitical structures contribute to disparities that impact everyday life. She used a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to obtain a PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences with a specialization in Geography from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has expertise in both natural and social sciences and has taught a broad range of students at the college level for more than a decade.
Dr. Moore served as the Director of the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania for 5 years. There, she built collaborative partnerships to address community public health, a symptom of broader environmental injustice. In this role she created year-long research opportunities for students in professional masters programs to complement her role as a capstone advisor. As a practitioner-researcher she presented at national conferences about engaging high school students in food justice and public health work and participated on state and local panels about environmental justice, food security, youth engagement, and career and college readiness. She will continue as a Center for Public Health Initiatives fellow and a lecturer in the Masters of Environmental Studies program. Dr. Moore is a Penn alum with a Bachelors in Urban Studies and a Masters in Environmental Studies.
Dr. Moore lives in Philadelphia with her husband, two children, two cats, and a rabbit. She enjoys traveling, cycling, cooking, and hosting tea parties.
Dr. Kristyn Vitale is Assistant Professor in Animal Health and Behavior. She received a Ph.D. in Animal Science with a focus in Experimental Psychology from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Environmental Science from Miami University. She holds a B.S. in Zoology and a B.A. in Social Geography from Kent State University. Her areas of specialization are animal behavior, animal cognition, and human-animal interaction. Her research focuses specifically on domestic cat behavior and the cat-human relationship. During her graduate career she was as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Visiting Research Fellow at Kyoto University in Japan, where she conducted cross-cultural research into cat-human social interaction. Her research on cat behavior and human-animal interaction has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals. Her innovative research has generated significant international attention from media outlets including Science, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Times of London. She has taught a variety of in-person and online courses on animal behavior and welfare, including courses focused on enrichment, learning, behavior modification, and cat training. She is also an active public speaker and is frequently invited to present at professional associations and to the general public. It is Dr. Vitale’s vision to provide high-quality distance education experiences that foster critical thinking and empower students to become leaders in the field of animal health and behavior.
Dr. Kate Willis is the primary GIS Instructor at Unity College Distance Education and the point person for geospatial support. Dr. Willis completed her Ph.D. and M.A. in Geography at University of California Los Angeles and her B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University. At UCLA she taught classes in GIS, cartography, and earth science and helped create an online GIS certificate program.
Dr. Willis has applied GIS and remote sensing to a variety of research fields. She led a team with the National Park Service to enact an ecological monitoring policy, and has conducted field work in Siberian and Canadian peatlands and California protected lands. She brings private industry experience as a Geospatial Analyst/Data Scientist in agriculture, sustainability, and transportation. She is excited to return to teaching and to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for GIS with students at Unity.
Research and Development
Distance Education Director of AR/VR Research and Development, David Bass-Clark, is an educational technologist and extended reality (XR) strategist, evangelist, and innovator. His work focuses on XR experiences, immersive learning design, and innovative distance learning. Working at the intersection between emerging technology and education, David has designed and built learning experiences for a wide range of audiences from Portland, Maine to Shanghai, China. David received his M.S.Ed from the University of Southern Maine and his B.A. in Business Administration and Music from Muhlenberg College.
Distance Education Director of Partnership Development, Doug Studdiford, is a global education and business innovator and entrepreneur. At Unity College, Doug is responsible for building and nurturing corporate partner relationships that connect our global community in scalable and sustainable ways.
He comes to Unity with over 20 years International partnership experience creating long term relationships that share common missions. Doug has lived and worked in Italy, Japan and Hong Kong.
Director of Distance Education Enrollment Management, Christopher Vigezzi
Distance Education Concierge Nichole Clark returns to Unity College as an alumna with her B.S. in Captive Wildlife Care and Education. During her time at Unity, Nichole took a keen interest in Conservation Law Enforcement. As a non-traditional student, Nichole has firsthand knowledge of the struggles that a working professional, parent, and student will experience while obtaining their education. As a graduate from Unity College, Nichole has unique insight and understanding of the college’s sustainability principles to help guide and support Distance Education students.
After she graduated, Nichole implemented an Animal Care Technician Internship program at The Humane Society Waterville Area, which has since accepted a Unity College student. With her real-world experience, Nichole can also speak to how our degrees can apply in a professional setting within today’s workforce.
Distance Education Concierge, Samuel Ross comes to Unity College with a background in higher education administration. With experience in recruitment and support for online students, he aims to find and assist students who are ready to make a change in their lives. He created an enrollment and support model in his most recent role and believes that online students deserve a meaningful and engaging experience. Samuel earned his B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin.
Distance Education Concierge, Nicole Kunin comes to Unity College with a B.A. in Marine Affairs with a Minor in Marine Biology from the University of New England. After graduating college, she jumped at the opportunity to live and work in Maine. She loves sharing her passion for the environment with her students and takes pride in helping them achieve their educational goals.
Distance Education Concierge, Zsakiyah (Ziggy) Brown graduated from The University of Maine at Fort Kent with a B.A.S. in Education and Secondary Mathematics. Brown also has a post-graduate degree in Sociology and Management from Essex University in Colchester, England and is now working to complete her M.B.A. in Sports Management. She has started to build her career in sports, taking on Women’s Head Basketball coach positions, athletic compliance, and, this previous year, assuming the role of the Athletic Director at Unity College. Although Brown won’t be able to do athletics this year, she is transferring her skills to Distance Education to help continue recruiting students for Unity College. She is happy to be on board and reach new heights.
Distance Education Concierge, AJ Callahan joins the Unity College Distance Education team with a B.S. in Environmental Recreation & Tourism Management from the University of Maine at Machias. His goal is to promote environmental conservation awareness through meaningful and engaging online education. Utilizing his own real-world field experience in everything from organic agriculture in Vermont to trip leading in Oregon, and previous Unity College program recruitment experience, AJ looks to inspire students by emphasizing the educational and professional advantages of an environmental degree.
Distance Education Concierge, Olivia Gilbert comes to Unity College with a background in higher education and recruitment. She holds a B.A. in Politics from Bates College and is committed to helping students succeed both academically and professionally. She is passionate about the intersection of social and environmental issues and hopes to motivate Distance Education students to think about the ways in which the environment plays a part in every aspect of their lives.
Distance Education Concierge, Alexis Wolterbeek comes to Unity College with a background in International Recruitment and Support. She holds a B.A in Business Management with a double major in Marketing and an International Business Concentration. She has spent time traveling Eastern Europe and Latin America recruiting college students under a Department of State regulated cultural exchange program. She aims to help contribute to student diversity and access for those passionate about environmental sustainability.
Distance Education Concierge, Daphne Ellis grew up on a small farm in central Maine and holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts and English Composition from Gettysburg College. She supplemented her degrees with a semester in England, training in Los Angeles and a theater apprenticeship in Juneau, Alaska. While working in her alma mater’s admissions office, she unearthed a passion for supporting prospective students in search of their full potential and looks forward to doing so here at Unity. She also served on the board of directors for Gettysburg’s International Affairs Association and competed in Model United Nations conferences around Europe that centered on the urgency of environmental conservation worldwide. She’s joins the Unity College Distance Education team with a mission to inspire fulfilling, effective communication.
Chris Malmberg is Director of Distance Education Instructional Design with a background in the humanities. He received his M.F.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing and Literary Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he taught Composition and Creative Writing for several years. He is interested in the application of narrative in learning design, the evolving interface between humans and technology, and the ways in which education must evolve to serve peoples’ needs in a world that is constantly changing.
Distance Education Instructional Designer Sarah Laudin has a diverse background in education, previously working as a facilitator, trainer, advisor, and as an instructor of English and Spanish. She spent four years living and teaching abroad in Spain and South Korea, and has a M.A. in Language Teaching. Sarah is passionate about creating authentic and engaging curriculum that is equitable and experiential.
Distance Education Instructional Designer Corey Butler is an instructional designer who collaborates with subject matter experts to deliver intuitive, engaging, and rigorous online curriculum. His background in instructional and information technology assures digital tools are effectively and meaningfully integrated into courses and assessments. He holds a B.A in New Media and an M.Ed in Instructional Technology from the University of Maine. Corey’s professional interests include competency-based education, assessment best practices, and adult learning theories.
Distance Education Instructional Designer Sarah Lukianov has a background in secondary education and content management. She holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MAT in Secondary Education from Simmons University. She has extensive experience in curriculum design and teaching all ages. Her professional interests include equity and accessibility in education, experiential learning, and fostering community in distance education.
Distance Education Instructional Designer Danny Chin brings experience in language teaching and diversity, equity, and inclusion to his role at Unity. He holds a BA in French and Biochemistry from Bowdoin College and an MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. His approach to education emphasizes skill-building, communicative strategies, and real world applications of language learning, which he implements in his instructional design of courses. He believes distance education has the potential to create more equitable learning experiences and new forms of connection.
Denise Young, our new Associate Dean of Retention and Completion, is a Maine native that comes to Unity College with over twenty years of experience in various levels of education. She received her B.S. in Business Administration, Management Concentration, from the University of Maine; and also her Master’s in Education with a dual focus in Instructional Technology and Leadership. Her experience in higher education includes various aspects of academic affairs; including academic programs, partnerships, policy, and advising. In addition, she is mastery level certified by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) in prior learning assessment.
Distance Education Advisor Wendy Berube joins the Unity College Distance Education team with over 15 years of experience in higher education and career training. Her work has focused on student services, advising, admissions, career development, and campus management. She also worked for 7 years in the non-profit world, fundraising and marketing, and holds a BA in History from the University of Southern Maine. As an Academic Advisor, Wendy is dedicated to ensuring that all students are successful.
Distance Education Advisor Christina LeBlanc joins the Distance Education team after completing her M.Ed in Student Development in Higher Education at the University of Maine. She also holds a B.S in Secondary Education with a double major in English. Her experiences and interests through her graduate studies includes assessment of student success and retention, institutional research, and financial advising. As an Academic Advisor for undergraduate students, Christina is committed to increasing student success within the Distance Education programs.
Distance Education Advisor Lauren Massey joins the Distance Education team at Unity from one coast to another. She grew up in Washington state and graduated with a BA in History at Seattle Pacific University. Her background has been working and living abroad in multiple countries, working in the nonprofit sector in Seattle, and also in college study abroad. Currently she loves exploring the New England outdoors and is really excited to work with students who want to find careers that help keep this world a beautiful place. She’s passionate about committing herself to helping students succeed and be excited about obtaining their online undergrad degrees.
Distance Education Advisor, Trish Popovitch joins the Unity Distance team with a background in higher education and sustainable agriculture journalism. Her background includes running an outreach college campus in Wyoming, teaching the HiSet program to adult learners, advising technical students in the Portland area, and most recently running a remote learning program for a private school in Auburn, ME. She holds a degree in the social sciences from the University of Wyoming and studied history at both Penn State and the American University in Cairo. Trish’s diverse advising and research experience in both the college and K-12 setting affords her the necessary insight to navigate her new role at Unity College. With a penchant for exploring, Trish enjoys foraging for medicinal plants and edible mushrooms in the beautiful Maine countryside.
Distance Education Advisor, Nichelle Orel joins the Unity Distance Education team with several years of experience in higher education and college counseling. Originally from New Jersey, she received her BA in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Rutgers University and her MS in Applied Psychology from Sacred Heart University. She has a background in college admissions and advising, as well as college counseling in secondary education. She has spent the last four years working with international students providing wholistic advising services at a community college in Massachusetts. Before this, she worked at a non-profit organization providing college counseling and advising to students within underrepresented and underserved communities. Her ambition and passion for not only education but also nature and exploration brought her to Maine, where she would vacation often. She enjoys spending as much time as possible outside either snowboarding, hiking, running, or rock climbing.