About Us

Meet the Staff

Amy Martin Job Location and Development Coordinator


I am the Job Development Coordinator for the HSU Academic and Career Advising Center. I work closely with the local business community, chamber of commerce’s and national recruiters to bring career related opportunities to HSU students. I am a Humboldt State University alumni with a degree in Biology and Zoology. In my free time I love to travel (especially to Disneyland!), watch my daughter swim and compete with our local swim team and attend community events.  

Anna Thaler Academic Advisor for 1st and 2nd year students in Biology, Botany, and Zoology


I am proud to be the academic advisor for students majoring in the Biological Sciences. I studied biology at Sarah Lawrence College, pursuing my passionate interest in ornithology through independent projects in all my classes, and by taking a year off of school to gain experience in the field through internships. I graduated in 2002, and then spent a year working for the Redwood Sciences Lab in Arcata, doing mist-netting and bird banding around northern California. I earned my biology teaching credential in 2006, and then taught Integrated Science for three years at a local high school. I completed a Master’s Degree in Education in 2011 at Humboldt State, focusing my research on the experience of being bullied in childhood, and how that influences adults’ approach to confronting bullying behavior in children. I then worked for four years in the School of Education, coordinating the Secondary Education Credential Program. I love working with students as they make progress toward their academic and career goals. When I’m not working, I enjoy goofing around with my young son, Ira, playing steel drum in the Pan Dulce Steel Orchestra, birdwatching, and going for walks with my dog, June.

Dana Deason Associate Director and Academic Advisor


Humboldt County welcomed me home in the early 90’s after having lived and worked for most of my life in Southern California, in the banking and retail industries.  Like many, I fell in love with its natural beauty, temperate climate, and the independent, artistic, and caring people who live here.   The same held true in coming to work at HSU.  Each day, I come to campus knowing that I’m going to be inspired by the students I meet.  Their passion, their accomplishments and their vision for a better, more just, world motivates me, and reminds me of all that can be accomplished when we bolster possibility with education.   Being in a position to support these efforts  is a privilege, and an incredibly satisfying way in which to spend my career. Outside of work, I have been involved in many civic, artistic and political organizations during my years as a Humboldt resident.  Some other interests of mine are  gardening – particularly in encouraging people to grow their own food, relaxing with my friends and family, traveling,  reading,  Halloween!,  feral cat rescue, taking care of my four cats, and generally enjoying the life my husband and I have created for ourselves.


Gilly Black Academic Advisor for 1st and 2nd year students in Wildlife, Forestry, and Environmental Science and Management


Joy Soll Career Advisor for the College of Professional Studies


I am passionate about helping students achieve their dreams.  Like most people, I have gotten to this place in my life by a very circuitous route.  My initial BA was in Geography from San Francisco State University.  I started out as a Psychology major but changed when I found caring professors and a focus on the environment in Geography.  My first real career was as an outdoor backpacking and canoe professional with Outward Bound.  That was a dream job.  I got to teach people about backpacking and canoeing in some of the most gorgeous places in America while really connecting those students to real experiences both with each other and nature.  I then got a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Education with a focus on Experiential Education.  Subsequently, taught high school and middle school for a number of years until I started a family with my husband.  After taking time off to be with my kids, I got a job at a community college advising their student government and realized that I loved helping college students.  After a move to Humboldt, I got very serious about my job hunt and worked as both a Career Counselor and an associate teacher, teaching student success classes. I love working in the Academic and Career Advising Center. I love the diversity here at HSU and helping students do really amazing things all over the world.  

Kathy Thornhill Director


As an HSU alum, it is my privilege to work on campus to help develop and implement programs to help students achieve their goals. Throughout my career, I have created numerous workshops and programs aimed at developing leadership skills, increasing awareness and commitment to diversity and social justice issues, and fostering academic success. I am fortunate to work with an amazing group of people committed to helping students make the most of their college experience.  I recently returned to the area after living and working across the country, most recently in Colorado where I earned my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. I love sports, and am an avid baseball fan. My bucket list includes going to all the Major League Baseball stadiums (I am about half way there). I have two wonderful dogs, Hannah and Jake. Like me, they loved the mountains of Colorado but have fallen in love with the beaches of Humboldt County.

Kelda Quintana Academic Advisor for 1st and 2nd year students in Criminology and Justice Studies, Sociology, and Psychology


As an HSU alum, I attended both the Bachelors and Master Programs of Social Work, and graduated May 2010. My background is seeped with a deep regard for social justice, and a desire to connect with people in a liberating and meaningful way. In particular, I'm interested in collaborating with students to connect to personal passions, goals, and to reflect upon personal strengths. Often, students arrive without a clear vision for their future, or without realizing the varied and diverse opportunities possible while working towards a degree. Internships and life changing experiences like studying abroad are endless and the very reason why it can be so exciting on a college campus. Personally, being an academic advisor is a win-win for me. In my view no individual is fully formed. On the contrary, each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities. My goal is to help students experience success. I am energized when I notice a glimpse of excellence or of "flow" where previously there were only halting steps.

Kristina Hunt Career Advisor for the College of Natural Resources and Sciences


Kristina Hunt brings 10 years of Human Resources experience to the Career Advisor position in the Academic & Career Advising Center.  She discovered her talent for building relationships with young adults, inspiring them to reach their full potential through her time as a counselor (6 years) and coach (8 years).   As a counselor, she worked to cultivate an appreciation for the outdoors among youth of all ages by leading them through weeklong outdoor experiences in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. 

Kristina is an alumnus of Humboldt State University, earning a B.A. in Liberal Studies Elementary Education with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language.  She earned all-academic honors during her participation on the intercollegiate volleyball team.  Kristina likes spending time with her family, hiking, playing volleyball and relaxing at the family ranch.  She enjoys learning about all the pieces that come together to make a ranch successful, including the care of large animals and the role timber management, environmental stewardship and watershed protection have in the ongoing sustainability of resources.

Loren Collins Faculty Support Coordinator for Service Learning and Career Education


I am proud to be a graduate of HSU's history program who has returned to assist future graduates of HSU with a building a future of their own. Since graduating I've gained 7 years in the field of career planning and employment counseling with three separate certifications.  I started my career working with non profits working with teens and at risk youth, then worked as an employment counselor for the County of Humboldt and then came to work with the HSU Academic and Career Advising Center.  I am excited to have just become the Faculty Support Coordinator for Service Learning and Career Education.  Getting the needs of our students and the community met through classroom experiences has become a passion.  I am working on the last third of my Master's Degree in Sociology, love watching my two daughters grow into strong young girls, love literature and theory, and am the only one in our department who prefers the Lord of the Rings just slightly more than Harry Potter.

Nora Montoya Career Advisor for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences


I am a proud first generation high school and college graduate. Coming from a single-parent, immigrant, and working class family taught me many beautiful life-lessons including the value of higher education. In 2005, I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. (Quick note: Shortly, thereinafter, my three youngest siblings also obtained their college degrees). Upon graduation, I worked in universities and found that my love for education extended beyond my personal experience. I served as an Employment Services Counselor for the Welfare-to-Work program and really connected with the part of my job that helped clients develop educational/career plans to become independent from the Welfare system. In 2016, my husband and I moved from Southern California to Humboldt County and I worked as a Social Worker for a several years. In January 2018, I was very fortunate and was offered the position of Career Advisor for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Every day is a great day! I absolutely love my job! I get to work with students with the development of their passions and dreams. Every day, I get to witness how education opens opportunities and helps our wonderful students’ achieve amazing things- professionally and academically.

Hobbies: Spending time with my husband David; photography; cooking; writing; listening to music; traveling.

Sarah Bacio Academic and Career Advisor


Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position of Academic & Career Advisor. As an HSU alum and first-generation college student she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography and her Master of Arts degree in Education. From these experience and her various roles on campus Sarah has been able to connect with the students she works with via shared experiences, empathy, and understanding. She helps students get connected to resources both on and off campus, encourages them to explore the area and make Humboldt home and she empowers students to believe in themselves and reach for their goals even when things get challenging. When not enjoying work, you can find Sarah hiking in the redwoods behind campus, running along the Hammond Trail, and tidepooling in Trinidad. She also loves relaxing at home, reading a good book and hanging out with her cat, Felix Felicis and dog, Norbert the Dragon. 

Shannon Berge Administrative Support Coordinator


As an alum of HSU with a Master’s degree in Education, I feel fortunate to live, work, and play in such an amazing place. I love to utilize my skills and creativity for special event coordination, advertising, and finding ways to help our center run more efficiently. When I’m not on HSU’s beautiful campus, you can usually find me at one of our local beaches or forests, taking photos and getting exercise, or at home gardening, cooking, and doing craft projects.

Statements of Purpose and Vision

Statement of Purpose:

Our purpose is to honor students’ identities and lived experience as we guide them to:

  • EXPLORE and choose academic majors and career options
  • Obtain and reflect upon academic and career-related EXPERIENCE
  • Develop, pursue, and ACHIEVE meaningful educational plans in pursuit of life goals


The Academic and Career Advising Center will be recognized university-wide as an integral resource for actively engaging students in exploring and achieving their academic and career aspirations. We are preparing students to make meaningful contributions to our global society upon their graduation from HSU.

Our Staff:

Our staff is committed, both personally and professionally, to infusing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) into our work. We continue to build upon the efforts our Center has made through bi-annual strategic planning and reflection. Below is a link to ACAC's JEDI Strategic Plan and a sampling of ACAC infographics:

ACAC JEDI Strategic Plan 2020-2024

Career & Volunteer Expo 2021

HSU Cares - Fall 2020

Transfer Week/Internship Week Collaboration 2020

Advising for Undecided and Exploring Students - Spring 2021