Academic Advising

Meet Your Advisor


Connect with your advisor! Locate them by major or check out their bios below.


Acoustics Paula Brien 312-369-7935
Audio Arts (with concentration) Paula Brien 312-369-7935
Acting Will Casey 312-369-8623
Acting with International Study Will Casey 312-369-8623
Advanced Management Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7801
Advertising Art Direction Samantha Freeman 312-369-7503
Advertising Samantha Freeman 312-369-7503
Animation Kamillah Ong  312-369-3233
Art and Materials Conservation  Alexis Kowalsky 312-369-3257
Art History  Dave Sagehorn 312-369-7238
ASL & English Interpretation  Stephanie Barnes 312-369-7648
Audio Design and Production Paula Brien 312-369-7935
Cinema & Television Arts James Alford 312-369-8353
Cinema & Television Arts Jill Sultz 312-369-7372
Cinema and Television Arts Nicole Campisano 312-369-7734
Cinema and Television Arts Stephanie Barnes 312-369-7648
Comedy Writing & Performance Cristian Baeza 312-369-7977
Communication Samantha Freeman 312-369-7503
Creative Writing  Ritch Barnes 312-369-7932
Cultural Studies Alexis Kowalsky 312-369-3257
Dance  Stephanie Barnes 312-369-7648
Design Management Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7801
English Ritch Barnes 312-369-7932
Exploratory Ritch Barnes 312-369-7932
Fashion Design Chris Peak 312-369-7494
Fashion Studies Chris Peak 312-369-7494
Fiction Ritch Barnes 312-369-7932
Filmmaking/Film Jill Sultz 312-369-7372
Fine Arts Dave Sagehorn 312-369-7238
Game Art Alexa Lindsley 312-369-7645
Game Design Alexa Lindsley 312-369-7645
Graphic Design Alexis Kowalsky 312-369-3257
Illustration Meg Elliott 312-369-7113
Interdisciplinary Keith Lusson  312-369-7283
Interdisciplinary Documentary Jill Sultz 312-369-7372
Interior Architecture Dave Sagehorn 312-369-7238
International Arts Management Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7801
Live and Installed Sound Paula Brien 312-369-7935
Live and Performing Arts Management Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7801
Marketing Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7801
Media Management Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7801
Journalism Samantha Freeman 312-369-7503
Photojournalism Samantha Freeman 312-369-7503
Music Business Lauren Targ 312-369-8626
Music (Composition, Performance, CUP) Kelci Kosin 312-369-7646
Music Technology Paula Brien 312-369-7935
Music Theatre Cristian Baeza
Photography Meg Elliott 312-369-7113
Programming Alexa Lindsley 312-369-7645
Public Relations Samantha Freeman 312-369-6700
Radio Samantha Freeman 312-369-7503
Social Media and Digital Strategy Samantha Freeman 312-369-7503
Sports Management Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7935
Theatre Design Will Casey 312-369-8623
Theatre Technology Will Casey 312-369-8623
Theatre Will Casey 312-369-8623
Theatre Directing Will Casey 312-369-8623
Visual Arts Management Jessica Horwitz 312-369-7801
Writing for Performance Will Casey 312-369-8623



Alexis Kowalsky

Alexis worked with the Art & Design department and then the Design department as an Academic Coordinator for 7 years before joining the College Advising Center as an Assistant Director.  She earned an M.A. in Art History with a specialization in Material Culture and Decorative Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Prior to working in higher education she worked as a gallery and research assistant as well as an decorative arts appraiser at an auction house here in Chicago.  She loves working with creative students and helping them to find their path here at Columbia.

Assistant Director 312-369-3257

chirsChris Peak


Chris Garcia Peak has an MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University and a BA in Theatre/Fashion Design from Texas Christian University. He previously worked in Columbia’s Fashion Retail Management Department and has created a unique niche for himself as an educator, artist, and arts marketer. He also is the Artistic Director of the non-profit organization Cock and Bull Arts producing theatre, podcasts, and digital art. Previously, Chris was the Executive Director for Theatre for Young Audience USA and the Marketing & Development Director for The Illinois Shakespeare Festival/ISU School of theatre and dance. Before moving to Chicago over twenty years ago, Chris was an entertainment reporter for British Sky Broadcasting, covering red carpet events, fashion shows, press junkets, and interviewing an incredible amount of celebrities. His favorite was Sharon Stone. Ask him about his least favorite. He loves working with students and was an adjunct faculty at the Theatre School at DePaul for fifteen years. He has also taught at Columbia College and Illinois State University. Chris is also a writer, director, dog whisperer, and self-proclaimed gourmand. 

Academic Advisor 312-369-7494

picture1.png Dave Sagehorn

Dave is a graduate of Northwestern University (Ph.D. and M.A. in Screen Cultures, emphasis on amateur/outsider film production) and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (B.A. in Film Studies, minor in Journalism/Mass Comm).  He has worked with students and higher education for over a decade.  He has taught courses at DePaul and Northwestern University, and has also worked in a campus library, writing center, fellowships office, and university housing.  When not working, he is a film enthusiast, fan of theater and live comedy, record collector, and consumer of too many podcasts.  

Academic Advisor 312-369-7238

james.jpg James Alford

James is a proud Trio Alum and got his BA in Political Science/ minor in Black Studies and a M.S.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education from Northern Illinois University. While in undergrad James had the opportunity to study abroad in Beijing, where he studied Leadership, Service and Culture. In his free time you can find him volunteering, BBQing, playing video games, hanging with friends, and being Super Uncle.

Academic Advisor 312-369-8353


Jessica Horwitz

As the academic advisor for Business students, Jessica is continuously awed by the talent and commitment her students exhibit. She is passionate about helping her students reach their full potential while at Columbia. When not advising her students, Jessica likes to spend time reading, doing crossword puzzles, and trying new restaurants throughout the city. She is excited to welcome you to Columbia and looks forward to getting to know you.

Academic Advisor 312-369-7801


 Kelci Kosin

Kelci Kosin has been an academic advisor for over three years now, previously serving as the academic advisor for the School of Music at Ball State University where she also completed a Doctor of Arts in Music. When she is not advising, Kelci is also pursuing a career in performance and teaching voice. She loves many styles including classical, musical theater, jazz, and pop/contemporary. Kelci’s greatest joys in life are her family, including her husband and two sons. Kelci is beyond thrilled to advise here at Columbia College Chicago and her mission in advising is to help each student realize their potential, articulate their dreams and visions for the future, and to remind them that they belong here at Columbia.

Academic Advisor 312-369-7646

Sam Freeman

Samantha Freeman

 Samantha is the academic advisor for the Communication Department. She studied film, television and media in both undergrad and graduate school, receiving her B.A. from the University of California Berkeley and her M.A. from Northwestern University. Before becoming an academic advisor, Samantha taught courses on media and cultural representation, all while receiving dual certificates in Teaching and Gender & Sexuality Studies. When not advising Columbia students, Samantha is an avid crafter, reader, and DIY enthusiast. Samantha is eager to help students meet their educational goals and make the most out of their time here at Columbia.

Academic Advisor 312-369-6700


Jill Sultz

Jill works with Cinema and Television Arts students. She has taught in Cinema and Television for 15 years. She is a filmmaker and passionate cinephile. Jill’s other interests include military history, baking and fashion.

Assistant Director 312-369-7372


Kamillah Ong

Kamillah is one of the academic advisors for Animation students. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from DePaul and a master’s degree in higher education from Loyola University, she’s spent years studying, working, dreaming and exploring in Chicago. She strongly believes college is a catalyst, an opportunity to challenge yourself to discover what you love and what you do well, and define how you will use your creativity to impact your community. Her favorite part of her job is helping students figure out how to do that and more.

Academic Advisor 312-369-3233

Alexa LindsleyAlexa Lindsley

 Alexa is the academic advisor for the Interactive Arts and Media students. After graduating from Loyola University Chicago with her bachelor’s in History, she continued at Loyola to receive her master’s degree in higher education. Alexa has worked with a myriad of students from the Illinois Institute of Technology to the University of Chicago. She is very excited to now be working at Columbia with the IAM students! In her spare time Alexa enjoys practicing yoga and meditation, watching anime, and playing badminton and tennis on the weekends with friends.

Academic Advisor 312-369-7645


Keith Lusson

Director, and Interdisciplinary Advisor, Keith Lusson reads U.S. History and taught it, too. He also digs, hoops, golf, good movies, musicals, and being a dad. As the Director of Academic Advising, I encourage all Columbia undergraduates to work with their advisor to maximize their educational experience and create a clear and timely path to graduation.

Director 312-369-7283


Lauren Targ

Lauren is a certified Life Coach and an interdisciplinary artist whose passion is nurturing students. Lauren understands what her students are going through as they build good lives in the arts.  She is the quintessential collaborator. She has worked in theatre and film as an actor, director, and writer, and has co-authored a book called The Ever Loving Essence of You. Stop in the College Advising Center to see her and share your vision of your future. You can work with her on making it a reality.

Assistant Director 312-369-8626

ncNicole Campisano

Nicole has a master’s degree in Italian from Middlebury College. After living in Italy for a year, she was an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University, and has worked in higher education for the last 2 years in New Jersey.  Nicole is new to Chicago and is very excited to be at Columbia working as an Academic Advisor! Nicole’s interests include astrology, scary movies, and baking. 

 Academic Advisor: 312-369-7734


Meg Elliott


Meg is the advisor for Illustration and Photography students. She’s delighted to have the privilege of working with students pursuing their creative passions. She comes to advising as an experienced museum educator and holds an MAT in Museum Education from The George Washington University. She’s also a working actor and has an MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul. When she’s not teaming up with other artists to pursue world domination through art, she reads voraciously, plays guitar terribly, and is stealthily perfecting her rock-skipping skills

Academic Advisor 312-369-7113


Paula Brien

Paula has had two careers -- as a journalist and as a college advisor to media students. Both are rooted in a similar, and critical, set of skills: understanding the audience, asking the right questions, and finding the best answers. Paula is your source, from what classes to take to what connections to make. Paula's education background includes a Master of Science degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Policies & Public Issues (interdisciplinary major) from Mills College, Oakland, CA.

Academic Advisor 312-369-7935 


Ritch Barnes

Ritch Barnes is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago in Film & Video. He has worked on several Hollywood features, he is a passionate poet, fiction writer and  Jazz enthusiast. Ritch enjoys meeting with students to share his knowledge and to hear their creative stories. According to Ritch, he lives in the best of both worlds because he can help young people find their dreams, while he pursues his own. Stop by the CAC and don’t hesitate to tell Ritch your story (or stories).

Academic Advisor 312-369-7932

 cristian baezaCristian Baeza

 Cristian (He/Him/His/Él) is the advisor for Musical Theatre and Comedy Writing and Performance students. He received his bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Learning from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he also had the opportunity to study abroad in Amsterdam, conduct research around the impact of academic support programs, and where he was heavily involved with the Latinx community. He then went on to pursue his master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Northern Illinois University. His love for the arts stems from his participation in musicals and plays at a young age, along with being a Culinary Arts major in high school. He enjoys dancing bachata, indulging in anything and everything related to arts and crafts, and has a strong passion for student involvement. As a first-generation Mexican American college graduate, Cristian is passionate in helping underrepresented students navigate the college pipeline as they make the most out of their experiences. Cristian looks forward to providing his students with the necessary tools and support to help them meet their academic, professional, and personal needs.

Academic Advisor 312-369-7977


Stephanie Barnes


Stephanie (she/they) arrived in Chicago by way of Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. She sang opera until realizing she didn’t want to audition for a living, and now she loves to help students figure out what they want (or don’t want) to do with their lives and academic careers. A musician, writer, improviser, and educator, Stephanie earned their Masters of Music in Music Theory, which in many ways is the math of music, which they promise is super fun once you get through all the boring and hard stuff. Stephanie is passionate about curriculum, comedy, and composting, and is thrilled to help you navigate your Columbia journey.

Academic Advisor 312-369-7648


Will Casey

Will Casey is a fellow lover of the theatre, and after many years as a professional actor, has the connections and insight that will guide you on your way to a life on stage. He’s also a wiz at the bbq (with a dry rub that will knock your socks off) and will be more than happy to help you find that killer monologue you’ve been looking for (and also give you a great toast, just in case.)

Academic Advisor 312-369-8623