Skip Sub Menu

Meet the Staff

Michelle Laughlin

Michelle Laughlin
Access and Success Director

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

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


Brooke Sanders

Access and Success, Coordinator

M.A Counseling and Psychological Services, Saint Mary's University
B.A Psychology and Sociology, Luther College

Brooke grew up in Des Moines and has always been passionate about working with and helping college aged students. Brooke is a first generation college student and received invaluable support while in college.  She has always had the goal of providing the same sort of encouragement to students that she received herself.  In her free time, she enjoys watching sports, enjoying outdoor activities and spending time with her family.  Brooke believes working with students should be a collaborative process and seeks to always provide a safe and supportive environment to empower students to reach their goals.

Advice for Students: Get involved and connected to campus, Be open-minded, Take this time to become the most amazing version of yourself,  and always remember to have fun!

Contact Brooke:



Laura Shell
Access and Success, Coordinator

M.A, Educational Administration, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

B.S., Management, Iowa State University 

Laura worked with student well-being, suicide prevention, and in campus residence halls before coming to Drake University. She's excited to help students find the resources they need to thrive. Laura loves reading and going on new adventures in her free time. 

Advice to students:  Ask for help. That's why we're here! 

Contact Laura:



Sophie Tibbals
CBPA Success Coach

Sophie was raised in Mystic, Connecticut, home to Mystic Pizza and the largest maritime museum in the United States. She then moved to Des Moines, Iowa and graduated from Drake's College of Business and Public Administration. Sophie works specifically with CBPA students to achieve success during their time in the college. Topics she can help with include:

  • Study habbits: small tips to keep you on track, notetaking strategies, and finding the right study technique for you.
  • Time managmement: utilizing planners or electronic calendars, managing study time, and procrastination advice.
  • Goal setting: setting the right goals for you and goal tracking. 
  • Connecting to resources: have questions and not sure who to turn to? She's here to help. 
  • Accountability: being responsible for your own path forward and creating a network of people to help keep you accountable.
  • and much more!

She enjoys crafting, spending time with her sisters, and being able to work with students during their college years. 

Advice to Students:  No question is a silly question! Always feel free to reach out and ask what's on your mind; that's what we're here for!

Contact Sophie:

Schedule in Starfish



Photos Courtesy of Cameron Johnson, Drake University student

University News