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Distance Education Team

Vice President

Dr. Donavan Outten is the Vice President of Distance Education. 

Dr. Donavan Outten is a powerful trainer, consultant, educator and administrator with over 20 years’ experience. He is the former Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Webster University where he was responsible for the extended campus network.  As the chief administrative officer for distance education, he was charged with delivering educational programs throughout the United States.

As a Senior Higher Education Consultant he helped colleges and universities develop focused comprehensive, executable strategies to enhance teaching, learning, assessment, analytics and education administration. He has worked with numerous institutions aiding them in enrollment management, improving student learning outcomes and retention, managing and implementing institutional change. 

Dr. Outten’s experience also includes serving as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, where he was the senior officer in charge of the extended network of multi-metro campuses, military campuses and online. Dr. Outten served as Dean of University College at Hampton University in charge of their online programs for the university. He also served as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at Argosy University. 

As a faculty member, Dr. Outten taught courses in education and business including educational leadership and administration, urban special education leadership, educational assessment, human resource management, and business policy & strategic planning.

A noted author and presenter, Dr. Outten has publications and proceedings to his credit. Dr. Outten is well known for writing books that inspire and motivate individuals to achieve greatness in their lives. Dr. Outten earned his Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, Masters in Human Resource Development & Administration from Barry University, Masters in Finance from Webster University and Bachelors in Psychology from Bethune Cookman University.

Office Manager

Michelle Ross

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. Kelly Boyer Ontl is the Dean of Environmental Conservation and Research. Dr. Boyer Ontl has been working in the field of primatology and wildlife conservation for 20 years. Her diverse background includes working as a primate keeper at the Houston Zoo, caring for orphaned chimpanzees at a West African sanctuary, researching wild chimpanzees in Senegal, and serving in faculty roles at Michigan Technological University and Ball State University. Her time in West Africa fueled her to pursue her graduate degrees and to establish the Falémé Chimpanzee Conservation project, an outreach program that promoted chimpanzee conservation through education, stakeholder collaboration, and ecological research. Her area of expertise focuses on the ecology and behavior of chimpanzees in southeastern Senegal using indirect and non-invasive methods. Her research has explored how chimpanzees adapt to the hot savanna environment by using caves as microrefugia to escape the heat, as well as studying the impacts of human activities, specifically small-scale gold mining, on chimpanzees and their behavior. Her research has been featured in the New York Times Science section and on She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and M.A. in Anthropology from Iowa State University, and a B.A. in Animal Behavior from Franklin and Marshall College.

Full-time Faculty

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. 

Kristyn Vitale

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.

Kate Willis

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

David Bass-Clark

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. 

Doug Studdiford

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.



Dana Bosse, our Dean of Distance Education Concierge Services, brings to Unity thirteen years of higher education admissions experience. Dana received her undergraduate degree in English at Bates College with a concentration in Creative Writing. She began her career in higher education with Andover College and quickly realized her passion for working with non-traditional students. She eventually went on to lead the admissions and advising department for Kaplan University, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Higher Education with a concentration in Leadership. Dana has always held an appreciation for all that Maine has to offer, and is excited to introduce students to innovative and environmentally focused degrees. In her spare time she enjoys downhill skiing and exploring the coast!

AJ Callahan

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, Joe Mette comes to Unity with a background in International Recruitment and Cultural Exchange. He has a degree in Political Science from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is motivated to help students expand their horizons by pursuing their passions. 

Distance Education Concierge, Rebecca Bonney comes to Unity College with a background in distance education recruitment and advising. She received her Master’s in Higher Education: College Administration and Leadership from Purdue University Global. Rebecca is dedicated to helping distance learners find the correct career path to achieve the goals they’ve set both professionally and educationally.

Jessica Sawyer Unity College

Distance Education Concierge, Jessica Sawyer comes to Unity College with a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Maine at Farmington. After working in retail for 10+ years, she is looking forward to helping students from all walks of life, pursue and achieve their environmental sustainability goals.

Glen T Unity College

Distance Education Concierge, Glen Tricarico joins the Unity team with a sales and marketing background that he hopes will bring a fresh perspective to Distance Education. He graduated in 2014 with a Marketing degree from the University of Maine, and is committed to providing high quality, but accessible education for all students. He looks forward to helping each individual find success in an increasingly competitive and sustainability-focused work environment!

Distance Education Concierge, Jayne Marie Foley joins the Unity team with a Master’s in Policy, Planning, and Management with a concentration in Sustainable Development from the University of Southern Maine and a B.S. in Economics and Environmental Science from the University of Maine. Jayne has a passion for higher learning and hopes to help others who share that passion especially when it comes to the environment. After working in hospitality for eight years, she is excited to use those people skills to help grow Unity College.

Distance Education Concierge, Erin Gale joins the Unity team after spending the past seven years working in collegiate athletics.  She holds her Master’s Degree in Education from William Woods University along with her BS in Health Administration from Ohio University.  She is excited to help nontraditional students across the country find their career passion and achieve their professional goals.

Distance Education Concierge, Hannah St.Germain joins Unity College with a background in both admissions and orientation programs. She graduated from the University of New England with a B.S. in Neuroscience and is looking forward to helping students start their journey at Unity and to reach their full potential!

Distance Education Concierge, Allison Burt comes to Unity College with a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management from Purdue University Global. She also has her B.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis in Psychology. Allie has a passion for helping others and creating a more sustainable environment. After working in healthcare for 10 years, she is looking forward to helping individuals in a new way by assisting distance learners find their passion.

Instructional Designers

Chris Malmberg

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 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.

Daniel Chin

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.

Distance Education Instructional Designer Hannah Sirois has a background in place-based education, experiential learning, and curriculum development. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine in Education with a minor in English. She attended the University of Idaho’s McCall Outdoor Science School, earning a master’s degree in Natural Resources with Environmental Education and Science Communication certificates. Hannah is passionate about designing immersive and experiential instruction, preparing students with the skills to make a difference in their careers, environment, and communities.

Distance Education Instructional Designer Brian Nail is an interdisciplinary instructional designer and educator with over ten years of experience in higher education and online learning.He earned his MA in English at the University of North Florida and a PhD in Literature and Theology from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He has published essays and articles on a wide range of topics in the fields of religion and literature, biblical studies, and philosophy of law. His approach to online education focuses on creating transformative learning experiences through active learning and human-centered design.


Denise Young Unity College

Denise Young, our Distance Education 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.

Wendy Berube

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. 

Christina LeBlanc

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, 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.

Nichelle Orel Unity Advisor

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.

Distance Education Advisor, Sarah DeLuca joins the Unity College Distance Education team with over 16 years of experience in education at various levels.  She returned to Maine in the last handful of years after completing her BA in Mathematics and Secondary Education and her MA in Secondary Education, with an EdS degree in Educational Leadership in Massachusetts.  She has a background of working with both traditional and nontraditional students with unique backgrounds.  She is dedicated to providing continual support and resources for undergraduate students to increase their success. 

Distance Education Advisor, Jessica Hannebury joins Unity with over 10 years of experience in higher education.  She has her Master’s Degree in Higher Education as well as an array of experience in the field, having worked in departments such as advising, student leadership, career and transfer services, TRIO and residential life.  Jessica is passionate about supporting and advocating for her students to help them achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals. 

Distance Education Advisor, Daneel Dafni joins Unity College with a plethora of experience as a Spanish educator, business owner, and childcare specialist. Prior to founding a Spanish School for children in Portland, Maine, Daneel was an elementary and middle school Spanish teacher in the Kennebunk school system, and a high school Spanish teacher and Department Head at Saint Dominic Academy. Daneel holds her M.S.Ed. in Education and her B.S. in International Business and Spanish. As a lifelong learner and educator, she is excited to guide students throughout their college career and to be the advisor that she never had, herself.  Her goal is to help the campus build a community of confident and ambitious students to build a sustainable future for all.  When Daneel is not working with her students, she can be found adventuring in nature with her favorite sidekick, Sola.

Enterprise dedicated to Distance Education

Distance Education Assistant Director of Marketing, Kelly Schneck joins the Unity College Distance Education team with 10 years of experience in creative and marketing. She is a passionate and driven creative who has worked as a designer, art director & marketer. She earned her BFA in Graphic & Interactive Design at Temple University, Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She enjoys big picture thinking and leading a team of creatives on their process to create stunning and impactful work that exceeds the goals of the project. When she isn’t designing, she’s out in the woods hiking with her dog.

Last Updated on September 14, 2021