Meet the Staff

Bryan Thomas, Jr.


Bryan Thomas, Jr.
Academic Success & Retention Specialist

M.S., Higher Education Administration, Florida International University
B.A., Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bryan is a New Orleans native who enjoys cooking. His goal is to help students make the most out of their collegiate experience. He prides himself in helping students exceed past their expectations.

Advice to students:  Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. If you are willing to do this then your potential is limitless.

Contact Bryan:
Phone: 515-271-2029


 Michelle Laughlin

Michelle Laughlin
Student Disability Services Coordinator

M.S., Secondary School Counseling, Drake University
B.A., Psychology, University of Northern Iowa

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” 

Michelle has spent her life encouraging others to achieve to be the best that they can be despite their challenges.  With her educational and personal background she helps students make the most of their educational experience.

Advice to Students:  Change your way of thinking and it can change your life.

Contact Michelle:
Phone: 515-271-1835
Fax: 515-271-2376

 Stephanie Viola  

Stephanie Sledge
Director of Student-Athlete Academic Services

M.S., Higher and Postsecondary Education, Arizona State University
B.S., Rehabilitation Services, Penn State University

Originally from the small coal mining town of Minersville, Pa., Stephanie was a four-year member of the Nittany Lion softball team and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Stephanie oversees the academic progress of all Bulldog athletic teams and works to ensure student-athletes balance the academic and athletic demands they face

Advice to students:  Be proactive and take ownership for your success. Remember that asking for help when needed shows great strength of character and maturity.  Never forget to have fun and enjoy your time at Drake!

Contact Stephanie:
Phone: 515-271-2074




Photos Courtesy of Cameron Johnson, Drake University student

University News
August 2, 2017
Fifty Des Moines Public Schools students will participate in a week-long symposium at Drake University to discuss the unique challenges that students of color face when preparing for college.