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(504) 865-5103

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Meet the Success Team

Michele Oelking

Michele Oelking, Director 

Michele Oelking serves as Director of the Academic Success Center at Tulane University, an umbrella of academic support services for college students. In 2012, she started the university's Success Coaching program to support student success in the areas of academic, personal, and professional achievement. The program has expanded into a center which offers an array of support services led by both professional staff and student leaders. As a professional certified coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation, Michele believes students achieve success through a comprehensive, individualized approach based on exploring beliefs, interests, values, needs, and goals. In addition, she has also achieved an ADHD specific coach training and is a graduate of the ADD Coach Academy. Prior to her current role, Michele coached students at various universities and colleges through a national coaching organization based in San Francisco. She earned dual Bachelors of Arts degrees in both Anthropology and Spanish from Louisiana State University in 1999 and a Master of Social Work degree from Southern University of New Orleans in 2002. In December 2012, Michele received Tulane University's Presidential Staff Excellence Award for her achievements with student success and retention. In November 2015, Michele was awarded Gambit's 40 under 40 Award: The Class of 2015: 40 New Orleanians You Need to Know.   The Success Coaching program was recognized in March 2016 as an honoree for the Models of Excellence Program through University Business Magazine.


Alex KasikAlexandra Pecoraro, Manager- Academic Success Resources

has worked in higher education in various roles since 2008. She has a special interest in increasing individual success from a holistic perspective; and values that success is located at the center of academic, social, physical and emotional wellness. Having worked in various college and university systems, she has developed a knack for being inclusive and adaptable in her approach to helping students. Alex was hired as a Success Coach a year ago, and has learned just how interesting and fun working with Tulane students can be. Her work with students is grounded in the knowledge and insights offered by the field of College Student Development, and she holds a Master of Education in College Student Personnel from Ohio University. Alex has a certificate in ADHD Coaching from the ADD Coach Academy and is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF). In addition to coaching, Alex serves as the Manager of Academic Success Resources within the Success Center. This role allows her to engage in her passion for Strategic Thinking, Adult Learning,  Assessment, and Supervision.


Karen Hochheiser

Karen Hochheiser, Senior Success Coach

Karen's cocurricular experiences as an undergraduate student were so rewarding that she decided to pursue a career working with college students. She completed a Master of Arts in Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, and then moved to New Orleans in June 2010 to start her career at Tulane University. Her first role on campus was as a Health Educator at the Center for Wellness and Health Promotion (theWELL). In this role, Karen used a Motivational Interviewing approach to work with undergraduate students one-on-one to explore their health behaviors. She developed a passion for honing her communication skills so she could most effectively support each student. When the Success Coaching program started on campus, she was immediately drawn to the program's mission and the opportunity to continue working with students in an individualized way that covered multiple facets of their lives. She transitioned to her current role as a Success Coach in July 2013 and became the Manager of Motivational Interviewing and Success Coach Training in January 2015.  She continues to be dedicated to utilizing best practices in effective communication to create a coaching environment that supports the student as the expert and encourages personal growth, confidence and autonomy. Karen is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and is an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation.

KristaKrista Casale, Senior Success Coach

Krista is originally from Greenville, North Carolina where she studied at East Carolina University. Go pirates! Krista received her undergraduate degree in Family and Community Services and her graduate degree in Counselor Education. Krista started her career off as a school counselor. For three years, Krista supported a local public school in Greenville, North Carolina by developing a comprehensive school counseling program that targeted social, emotional, and academic needs. She also oversaw the process that identified students for special education services by implementing academic and behavioral interventions to aid students in the general education classroom. Krista moved to New Orleans in July of 2014 and began her position as a Success Coach at Tulane University. Krista is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation. In addition, she attained an ADHD specific coach training and is graduate of the ADD Coach Academy (AAC). In her personal life, Krista is a certified Yoga Instructor and incorporates holistic and mindfulness practices into all aspects of her work. As a professional in higher education, Krista believes it is our responsibility to empower students to develop mindsets that will support them in growing their resilience and reaching their greatest potential. Krista loves working with students to explore holistic approaches to wellness that include healthy thinking patterns and finding integration with values, beliefs, and goals.

KyleKyle Pearson, Success Coach

Kyle grew up in northeast Ohio, attending Youngstown State University where he received an undergraduate degree in social work before moving to Pittsburgh to pursue his graduate degree. He received his Master of Social Work with a specific focus on direct practice from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as an outpatient mental health therapist before arriving to Tulane in July of 2016. As a therapist, Kyle conducted individual and group therapy in a community mental health setting and utilized a theoretically integrated approach which included cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology and motivational interviewing. Kyle was drawn to the success coaching program due to its student-centered and strengths oriented approach and focus on action-oriented results. He believes in the importance of a healthy coaching relationship and recognizes that every student has individual strengths, abilities, talents and resources which can help them to realize their fullest potential. Further, he understands coaching to be a collaborative learning process which can increase a student’s awareness of their own strengths, abilities, and interests which supports a student to make the most of their time at Tulane University and beyond!

Phone: (504) 865-5103