Please welcome our new WWU employees and congratulate employees on their transitions!


We are pleased to announce Jon Nickell has accepted the Director of Residential Life beginning July 1. Jon has served WWU as an Associate Dean of Men for six years. Previously, Jon worked as a Graduate/Clinic Manager and Drug and Alcohol Counselor. He received both his BS in Psychology and a MA in Counseling Psychology from WWU.

I am excited to work collaboratively with the team that is already established as well as work towards pursuing excellence for Walla Walla University.

Jon enjoys spending time with his wife and his three-year old daughter, long conversations, and walks on the beach.

We have greatly appreciated the tremendous service Kristin Taylor has provided as the Director of Residential Life and will miss her presence and contributions.


Please welcome Alisa Lopez, joining WWU as a COVID Response Nurse. She is currently a clinical instructor for the nursing assistant program at WWCC and previously worked as an Assistant Director of Nursing in a Skilled Nursing Facility in California. She graduated from Pacific Union College with a Bachelor’s in Nursing.

Alisa has been married for 14 years to David Lopez and has been blessed with four boys: Crosby (9), Carter (7), Garrison (4), and Thornton (2). They also have two dogs, Kipper and Sydney. Her favorite hobbies include running, gardening, making enough food to feed her boys, camping and going on outdoor adventures with her family.


Please congratulate Paul Starkebaum as he has accepted the position of Athletic Director at WWU! Paul looks forward to bringing energy to our campus through athletics and helping young people succeed in the sports that they love. He will also continue to lead out in intramurals and looks forward to serving our student body through that.   

Previously, Paul was the Women’s Basketball Coach and Intramurals Director. He has also coached basketball at WWVA and taught elementary PE in Walla Walla Public Schools. He graduated from WWU with a Bachelor’s in Physical Education and obtained a Master’s in Sports Administration from Concordia Irvine. Paul is getting married to Briana Jenkins in July and will be a step dad to Addie, a springer spaniel. His hobbies include classic cars, sports, and outdoor activities.


Jennifer Buyco is joining Walla Walla University as the Creative Manager for Marketing and Enrollment Services. Jennifer comes from the Seattle area where she worked as a Senior Graphic Designer at Deloitte. She received her Bachelor’s in Fine Art in Graphic Design from Pacific Union College.

Jennifer’s favorite hobby is photography. Please send her your warm welcomes!


Matthew Vaughan is our new Counselor in the Counseling and Testing Center. He previously worked as a Behavioral Health Specialist/Therapist for the Program of Assertive Community Treatment at Comprehensive Healthcare. He graduated from Washington State University with an A.S. and B.S in Psychology and then received his M.S. in Counseling.

Matthew originates from Massachusetts, enjoys playing guitar and has a border collie/corgi mix named Molly. He interned at WWU for his master’s program and is happy to return. Please reach out and welcome him!

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