We have on our roster a diverse, experienced staff available to support, serve and see you graduate. All our staff members have their office at 220 Canfield Administration Building North.

This is the building directly west of the Nebraska Union, which makes it easily accessible to our participants. All our courses are offered in classrooms across campus, but in close proximity to the office. The office also is equipped with a student computer lab and a study lounge.

There are 2 metered parking lots in the vicinity:

  • 14th & R ST- Southeast and across the street from the Nebraska Union.
  • 15th & S ST- East of the Gaughan Center and the Nebraska Union.
Reach Our Office

Professional Staff and Faculty

 Image of Cameron Woodard
Director of TRIO Programs

Cameron Woodard, M.Ed.

  • mobile-phone-2(mobile-phones) 402-472-6080
  • fax-machine(phone) 402-472-9338
  • email-2(email) cwoodard5@unl.edu
  • location-pin-2(locations) 220 Canfield Administration Building

I am the Director of TRIO Programs at UNL. I oversee 4 TRIO programs including Student Support Services, Upward Bound & Upward Bound Math Science and Educational Talent Search. I am originally from Atlanta Georgia where I served professionally as an Academic Counselor at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. Prior to becoming the TRIO Director for UNL, I served as the Program Director of TRIO Student Support Services program at Broward College. I developed 6 new TRIO SSS, to which all 6 programs met the grant goals and objectives. I am a proud graduate of Augusta University with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Psychology, and have also obtained a Masters of Education in Counseling/Psychology from Troy University. I have worked in K-12 and Higher Education for over 15 years. I love supporting, assisting, and serving students towards pursuing their academic dreams and completion of a college degree. I am a first-generation college graduate and understand the importance of college access programs that support and assist students in overcoming barriers that can be a challenge in continuing their education.

 Image of Marianna Burks
Science Specialist

Marianna Burks, Ph.D.

Originally a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I am an instructor, professional, and alumni of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, obtaining both a Bachelor’s (2000) and Master's Degree (2002) in Biology. I serve as a Biology Instructor for the School of Biological Sciences and Science Specialist for the TRIO Scholars Program. My tenure at UNL has previously been in research, conducting studies for 11 years in the School of Biological Sciences in behavioral cognition, and also functioning as a laboratory manager. I currently instruct sections of Bios 101-General Biology and LIFE 120 - Fundamentals of Biology, and serve in undergraduate research efforts for TRIO program students. My specialized interests are focused on the success of first-generation students, science self-efficacy, and instructional practices that enhance learning outcomes in science education. I have been awarded at the university level the Inaugural Staff & Diversity Inclusion Award for my service and efforts in diversity and inclusion in STEM and the College of Arts & Sciences college level award for mentoring and advising students in biology and STEM. I also serve as the Faculty Advisor for the Minority Pre-Health Association. My husband Jai & I have 5 children: Isis, Aida, Ivan, Aria, and Iyla.

Image of Aras Shakir
Academic Outreach Specialist

Aras Shakir


I am a proud first-generation immigrant and first-generation college graduate. My family and I are ethnically Kurdish, and we immigrated to the United States in 1998. I graduated from Nebraska in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a Social Science endorsement and then taught English and Sociology abroad in South Korea for six years. I returned to the U.S. in 2021 and joined UNL in 2022. As the Academic Outreach Specialist for the SSS TRIO Scholars Program, I am passionate about providing all the answers, resources, support, and guidance I never had as a first-generation student. As a first-generation college student and commuter student, I often felt alone when it came to the various struggles of college, but this is what the SSS TRIO Program was designed to help with! If you ever need to talk to someone about the stresses of school and life or just need a quiet place to relax and study, please feel free to drop on by the SSS TRIO Scholars Office and visit. Another important part of my role with SSS TRIO is helping build a wonderful community through various activities and events such as game nights, movie nights, study nights, volunteering, etc. I'm always open to hearing fun ideas from students.

Portrait of Austin Pena
Academic Retention Specialist

Austin Pena


A first-generation student from Omaha, Nebraska. I graduated from Nebraska in May 2020 with a Bachelor’s in English and a minor in Film Studies. I joined the SSS TRIO Scholars Program in the Fall of 2022 as their Academic Retention Specialist with the goal of giving students a safe space to speak their minds and an avenue to become who they want to be. When I was a student, OASIS was my place to socialize with other students, gain skills through organizational involvement, and speak to professionals when I needed a listening ear. I hope to do the same with my time here at SSS. If I can motivate students to keep going on their journey toward their diplomas, I have done my job. For any student or staff that wants to talk about life, movies, or music, my door is always open.

Portrait of Ana Pecina
Administrative Associate

Ana Pecina


In my role as the Administrative Associate for TRIO Programs I support all 4 TRIO programs with administrative tasks and office management. In my former role as the Education Specialist of the Regular Upward Bound Program, I coached students and assisted them in developing the skills necessary to succeed in their future college and career aspirations. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2018 and have been working in K-12 and higher education since then.

Portrait of Ana Pecina
Project Activities Coordinator

Dahltyn Farrar


I am originally from Grand Prairie, Texas but I’ve been living The Good Life in Lincoln since 2015. I have worked with TRIO since 2016 both at the college level with SSS and at the high school level with Upward Bound. Within my current role I assist our newest cohort of First Year Research Experience scholars develop professional and personal skills to help within their labs and to ease the transition to college. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Science with minors in Education, Math, and Sociology. I’m always open to conversations about gardening, reading, art history, and thrifting!

Student Staff

Portrait of Adbel Elhaj

Adbel Elhaj


Major: Mechanical Engineering w/ minor in Math and Arabic
About Me: I enjoy reading, working out, and playing basketball and soccer. I chose TRIO because I wanted to be a part of the community that has helped shape me into the student I am today.

SSS Tutors

Portrait of Nhu Le
Math Tutor

Nhu Le


Major: Electrical Engineering
About Me: I chose to work for TRIO because I love learning and sharing knowledge among friends. Being a Math tutor at TRIO does not only help me strengthen my math skill for my career goal, but I am able to help others do so also.

Portrait of Khushi Singh
Math/Science Tutor

Khushi Singh


Major: Double Major in Statistics and Data Analytics/Secondary Education Mathematics
About Me: I am really passionate about maintaining the Earth. Because of this, I am invested in clean energy, sustainable living and environmental education. A goal of mine is to better use natural resources and implement clean energy in rural areas. I am also passionate about racial and gender identities. I want to move towards a society in which being culturally competent is an expectation.

Portrait of Ally Jay
Math Tutor

Ally Jay


Major: Double Major in Statistics and Data Analytics/Secondary Education Mathematics
About Me: Along with being a tutor for TRIO, I enjoy running and cooking!

Portrait of Josah Mills
Science Tutor

Josah Mills


Major: Pre-Vet Biology w/ minor in Fisheries and Wildlife
About Me: I like to read and travel, and some of my other hobbies include playing club soccer and doing puzzles with my roommates!

Portrait of Aliyah Muniz
Science Tutor

Aliyah Muniz


Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders w/ minor in Education Studies
About Me: Some of my hobbies include reading, Pilates, listening to music, and hanging out with friends and family. I am interested in the Twilight saga, linguistics, traveling, and learning as much as I can about anything!

Portrait of Ved Patel
Science Tutor

Ved Patel


Major: Biological Systems Engineering w/ minor in Mathematics
About Me: N/A