Our Students

Our Students


Our students have diverse interests, backgrounds, skills and experiences that typically put them into one of four categories: career launcher, career changer, career advancer or lifelong learner.


Career Launcher

Ashley Belisle (MS16)

Current Position: Career Programs Specialist at Carleton College

During her undergraduate years, Ashley Belisle worked in the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations, where she oversaw events such as commencement, homecoming and reunions. Of her decision to pursue higher education as a career path, she said, “It struck me that I was happiest at work when I got to be in the college setting.” Ashley enrolled in the MSHE program immediately after her undergraduate degree and became a graduate intern in Northwestern’s Office of New Student and Family Programs (NSFP). There she gained valuable experience planning large-scale events, supervising and mentoring students, and collaborating with campus partners.

Ashley achieved her goal of returning to Minnesota after graduating, as she now serves as Career Programs Specialist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she advises students on internship and career decisions.

Joanne Kang MS16

Joanne Kang (MS16)

Current Position: Student Development Coordinator at Duke University

During her time as an undergraduate at Boston College, Joanne Kang was involved in various mentoring programs for first-generation and low-income students. In addition to these experiences, her leadership as an intern with Northwestern University’s Multicultural Student Affairs inspired her to pursue a career in higher education with a focus on multicultural student affairs and social justice. Joanne was awarded the competitive Campus Life Award for her contributions to Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Desi American student life at Northwestern. For her master’s project, Joanne focused on the influence of spirituality on social justice values. Currently, Joanne works as a Student Development Coordinator at Duke University’s Center for Multicultural Affairs.

Career Changer

Joe Lattal MS16

Joe Lattal (MS16)

Current Position: Assistant Director of Student Organizations and Activities at Northwestern University

Seven years after completing his undergraduate degree, Joe Lattal decided to pursue a career in higher education. With regard to his decision to enroll at Northwestern, Joe explained, “I liked the instructors, I liked the students I met in the program, and I was really impressed by the [master’s project] poster presentations" at Preview Days. Before his career change, he wrote for Notre Dame’s daily student newspaper and university magazine, taught English abroad, and worked in the television advertising industry.

Joe is currently an Assistant Director in Northwestern University’s Student Organizations and Activities. He also worked in that office for his required graduate internship. Since graduating, Joe has given presentations at various national conferences on student employees’ learning outcomes—the topic of his Master’s Research Project.

Lorato Anderson MS16

Lorato Anderson (MS16)

Current Position: Undergraduate Advisor, Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz

Throughout her time in the program, Lorato Anderson served as a graduate assistant in the MS in Higher Education Administration and Policy program office as well as an intern in Northwestern’s Buffett Institute for Global Studies and the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. Lorato completed her Master’s Project on the distinctive learning needs of English Language Learners and Underprepared Native English Speakers. Post-graduation, Lorato aimed to return to her home state of California where she now works as an undergraduate advisor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Career Advancer

Caitlin Burnett (MS14)

Current Position: Senior Academic Adviser within Student Affairs at the School of Education and Social Policy

Caitlin Burnett is a Northwestern undergraduate alumna, graduating from the Medill School of Journalism in 2009. Her first steps in higher education began as an undergraduate tour guide, and later she worked for four years as an undergraduate admission director, recruiting prospective students and running the campus tour guide program. She joined the MSHE program in 2013 to advance her career in higher education, and she completed her Master’s Project on the racial identity development of Black and Latino students working in student recruitment. She now is a Senior Academic Adviser within Student Affairs at the School of Education and Social Policy, continuing her journey at Northwestern University.

David Musser (MS09)

David Musser (MS09)

Current Position: Program Specialist at U.S. Department of Education

A graduate of Virginia Tech, David Musser studied English as an undergraduate student. David had been working in financial aid for several years when he decided to pursue a master's degree. David enjoyed working in financial aid but wanted to know more about the federal policies that impacted his work, and his master’s project focused on social and cultural influences of high-stakes testing in college admissions practices.

After graduating David was hired by the U.S. Department of Education to be an institutional review specialist where his job was to audit colleges and universities to verify compliance with the many regulatory requirements necessary for their students to receive federal financial aid funds. David was later promoted to the position of Program Specialist within the Department of Ed and is now based in Washington D.C.

Lifelong Learner

Karen Cross (MS16)

Current Position: Tenured Faculty at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago

Karen Cross, a full-time faculty member at the John Marshall Law School, joined the MSHE program in 2014 as a part-time student. She studied international relations at University of Wisconsin-Madison and received her law degree from Harvard Law School. She has held a variety of internships at Northwestern, including at the Office of the Provost and the Office of Compliance, and credits her legal background as a critical foundation for her administrative skills in central administration. Her Master’s Project focused on the unionization of non-tenure track faculty.

Contact Us

MS in Higher Education Administration and Policy Program

2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-7526

Email: ms-highered@northwestern.edu