Residence Life Staff


Mary Oakes Mary Oakes
Director of Residence Life
Mary earned her Masters Degree in College Student Personnel from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She has served the Residence Life Department here at Columbia for 10 years, but has worked in Residence Life for a total of 20 years professionally and on a student staff level. She enjoys supporting and challenging students while they live on campus and experience their transition into College life.
Kelli Collins Kelli Collins
Associate Director of Residence Life
Kelli earned a M.S.Ed. with a concentration in community counseling from Eastern Illinois University. She has served in Columbia’s Residence Life Department for nearly 20 years, but has worked in Higher Education for approximately 27 years professionally. Kelli's professional philosophy is that there is a great deal of learning that can take place outside of the classroom, and that is what she likes to promote with the students that she interacts with on a daily basis. She strives to provide an experience that will help the students that she comes into contact with leaving the interaction better than they were previous to interacting with her.  It is refreshing to know immediately, or years later that something you did or said helped to improve the life of the student that you worked with.  There are so many challenges that can become blockades for students as they are progressing through college and beyond, it is Kelli’s life work to help to ease some of those challenges.
 Orterio Villa
Coordinator of Residence Life Training & Communication
Orterio calls Rock Island, Illinois his home town with strong family ties in New Orleans as well. In 2010, Orterio earned a Masters of Science in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. Upon leaving WIU he worked as a Hall Director at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for 3 years. Working at Columbia College Chicago has provided Orterio the opportunity to fulfill his passion in working with artistically talented students and watch as they engage in the creative process. Manifest, Commencement, and Convocation are some of his favorite events at Columbia as they really showcase what is unique and special about this institution. 
Quote: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
Fun Fact: I have a twin brother and I enjoy frequenting my local CrossFit gym.
Joanne GunsJoanne Guns
Coordinator of Residence Life & Ajudication
Joanne joined the Residence Life Office at Columbia College in January 2015. Prior to coming to Columbia, Joanne worked at both Murray State University and Ferris State University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Ohio State University and a Master of Educational Leadership from the University of North Dakota. Joanne enjoys working with students that share her love of the arts. Theater, music, and arts are a large part of Joanne’s life.
Quote: “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” – Winnie the Pooh
Fun Fact: My go to Karaoke song is “Son of a Preacher’s Man”
Christie LewisChristie Lewis
Coordinator of Residence Life & Student Relations
Christie has a Masters of Science in College Student Personnel Administration from Illinois State University. She joined the Residence Life team at Columbia College Chicago in January 2016 and has been in Residence Life for 8years. Prior to coming to Columbia she worked at Illinois Wesleyan University and Saint Xavier University. Christie enjoys supporting student development while challenging them to reach their highest potential. 
Quote: Never give up on something you can't go a day without thinking about" - Winston Churchill 
Fun Fact: I have a twin brother and am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC 
Liz Velez Liz Velez
Coordinator of Assignments & Operations
Liz Velez joined Residence Life in September 2008 and currently oversees the student application, contract, assignment and billing for all residents. She brings over 15 years of administrative and contract management experience to Columbia College. She feels privileged to be in a position where she can serve as a resourceful staff member to all students; and with much pride appreciates witnessing our students grow into mature, successful adults first-hand. Liz enjoys spending time with her family and also takes pleasure in playing volleyball, while cheering for Chicago’s local teams. 
Quote: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." - Mark Twain
Fun-fact: My favorite movie is Finding Nemo 
Shannon Parker Shannon Parker
Administrative Assistant
Shannon earned her Master of Management, Higher Education Administration Specialization from Robert Morris University. She has over 6 years of higher education and joined the Residence life staff In 2013. Now at Columbia College , Shannon has taken well to her role and enjoys working with the staff and participating in different RA and coordinator events.
Quote: "There nothing to it, but to do it." - Unknown
Fun Fact: I snort when I laugh
Adam Kubiak Adam Kubiak
Coordinator of Residence Life & Community Development
Adam joined Residence Life at Columbia College in January 2017. Prior to coming to Columbia, Adam worked as a Residence Life Coordinator at Elmhurst College in the west suburbs of Chicago. He received his Master of Higher Education Student Affairs Leadership from Western Michigan University. Having received his undergraduate degree in Art History and sharing a love for the creative arts, Adam is very excited to be working with such creative, talented, and diverse students at Columbia.
Quote: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” - Unknown
Fun Fact: Adam’s favorite color (Pantone 448C, "opaque couché") also happens to be considered the world’s ugliest color.
Na'imah Muhammad Na'imah Muhammad
Coordinator of Communications & Operations
Na'imah graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater with a B.A in Media Arts & Game Development in December 2016. She joined Residence Life in February 2017 and really enjoys working with the students. She takes pride in keping the Residence Life website up to date and answering all email inquiries. 
Quote: "Going into the unknown, without fear or expectation, is the ultimate adventure" - Akin Olokun 
Fun Fact: During my freetime I love to: play video games, read manga & watch anime