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Mentoring, Advocacy and Peer Support

Mentoring, Advocacy
and Peer Support
• IDEAS Coordinator
• LGBTQIA Outreach
• Title IX Advocacy
• Tutoring

<MAPS Staff>

MAPS Staff

The Office of Mentorship, Advocacy and Peer Support staff and Graduate Assistants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Each is dedicated to serving students and supporting their success.


Ed Wirthwein
Director of MAPS


In addition to his duties as Director, Ed manages the Suspension Waiver Program for the MAPS office.


Ed earned his BS in Physical Education-Fitness Wellness in 1993 and his MS in Sports Administration in 2002, both from UCM. He's worked in higher education his entire career, including stints at Friends University in Wichita, KS, East Central College in Union, MO, and Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS. Before coming to the MAPS office Ed was the Assistant Director of the Elliott Union at UCM for six years, where he not only worked with a wide variety of student resources but really got to know the student community at UCM.

Ed's approach to working with students is to try and help them succeed inside and outside the classroom, acting as a coach who can give them support and advice, but also helping them find their way when they get off track.

Ed is married to Diane, who works for Sodexo at UCM; they have two children, Jake and Kourtenay, who both attend Warrensburg High School.


Suzy Latare

MAPS Coordinator


Suzy manages the Academic Resource Coach program for the MAPS office and also works on community outreach, including overseeing the Friendship Families and Good Neighbors programs and outreach to local landlords and property managers.


Her undergraduate degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies (English, French, and Fashion Design) from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She received an M.A. in Environmental Studies from UCM in 2012.


Her route to the MAPS office has been circuitous, including positions with non-profits, municipal government, as a campaign coordinator, and with our local Chamber of Commerce. She enjoys having the opportunity help students become more connected to the many resources at UCM and in the community, and to help the greater Warrensburg community become more included with, connected to, and supported by the University.


Outside of work she loves to practice and teach yoga, hang out with her husband and dog, volunteer in the community, and spend time in nature.



Tara Napoleone-Clifford
IDEAS Coordinator


Tara oversees the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity as well as the Mentorship Program and other diversity and equity programs for the university. She has an undergraduate degree in Social Work, a Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration, and a Master of Arts in Communication, all of which were earned at UCM. She completed an interdisciplinary doctoral program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, focusing on multicultural education, higher education administration, and curriculum and instruction leadership, and is completing her EdD in higher education administration through Gwynned Mercy University.


Her background includes a 12 year military career and a childhood that gave her experiences in both small town America and within an urban area. Her philosophy for student services is to meet the student where they are in their needs. She also pays close attention to the power dynamic that she and her position bring to each student encounter. It is always her intention to assist the student with what they need to be successful.


She and her wife and live on 11 acres with their four dogs in rural Missouri, traveling when they can then returning to their beloved country “getaway.” Outside of work Tara loves hiking, kayaking, family movie nights, gardening, singing with the Kansas City Women’s Chorus and just about any activity with friends. Her philosophy for life is pretty simple: do your best, regardless of how others define your best, see as many sunrises in a lifetime as possible, never forget or refuse your family, and always keep a furry friend close by to pet.



Heather Lawson

Title IX and Care Team
Case Manager

Heather provides resources and support to any student who is, or has been, involved in the university's Title IX process, as well as students on the CARE Team.  She completed her undergraduate work in Sociology from Central Missouri State University, now UCM. She later attended seminary at Graceland University and earned her first Masters degree. Currently, she is working towards a Masters degree in Clinical Counseling through Central Methodist University.


Heather has worked over twenty years in the human services field. Throughout that time, she was able to serve in many different capacities with many different populations. Heather believes all persons deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Her goal is to assist students with achieving success, whatever that may look like for the student.


As the Title IX and CARE Team Case Manager, Heather is dedicated to making sure that students know what resources and supports are available to them.


In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with friends and family, going on road trips and food adventures, discussing spirituality, and spending time with her partner and their five, furry, and four-legged rescues.



Lexy Gibson

Office Professional IV


Lexy earned her B.S. in Digital Media and Video Production from the University of Central Missouri in 2014, and is currently pursuing her M.A. in Mass Communication with which she expects to graduate Spring of 2017.


She’s passionate about helping others, and the work of the MAPS office is a great fit for her because of the important role it plays in student success. She believes everyone has a story, including herself, and because of this she’s able to relate to the students we serve on a personal level.


When she’s not at work she enjoys spending time outside with her son Owen and her husband Travis. She also has a love for rescue animals, so when she’s not loving on her own fur babies, she rescues strays and find them forever homes.



Dana Meyer

Suspension Waiver Program
Graduate Assistant


Dana graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology with a minor in studio art. She is currently working towards her Masters in Sociology and getting her Women, Gender, and Sexuality Masters Certificate.

In her free time she enjoys hiking with her dog Winona Sadie Ryer (or Nona for short), canoeing with her family, going to concerts with her friends, or just cuddling up with a Jane Austen novel. To her, Nietzsche said it best: "Without music life would be a mistake."


Brittany Ridenhour

Student Outreach
Graduate Assistant


Brittany graduated from the University of Central Missouri with her Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice with minors in both Psychology and Legal Studies. She is currently working toward her Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.


When not being a student or at work, Brittany finds most of her time devoted to her English Bulldog Wheatley, watching hockey, playing video games, reading books and being an aspiring coffee connoisseur.

Her life's motto is "Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi


Raven Shelton

Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity
Graduate Assistant


Raven oversees programming and multicultural student groups in the Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity.


Raven graduated from the University of Central Missouri in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Development. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in College Student Personnel Administration. Although young, Raven has always had a passion for education. She is committed to helping students succeed and lives for opportunities to do so.


In her free time she enjoys dancing, working on communty service projects with her sorority sisters, mentoring others, and hanging with friends/family. As an advocate for self-care, she uses her free time to create and work towards personal goals outside of her profession. Her motto is: "Be passionate, be courageous, have purpose, and work for things that are bigger than you. Somebody needs you."





Christopher Cooper

Mentorship Program
Graduate Assistant

Christopher holds a BFA in Interior Design from the University of Central Missouri’s (CIDA) accredited Interior Design program. He is currently pursuing a MA in Sociology with future plans to earn a PhD in American Studies.

As a McNair scholar, Christopher investigated the potential benefits of aquaponic systems architecturally integrated into residential spaces. He has presented this research in an array of cross-disciplinary and discipline specific settings, including the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) in Fort Worth, Texas. While pursuing his BFA, he was also given the distinguished honor of lecturing on behalf of Dr. Kathleen Desmond for UCM’s Great War History Lecture Series for the presentation, Dadaism and Artistic Protest of WWI.

Christopher’s journey to academia was one of considerable difficulty. As a teenage single father and a high school dropout, he did not pursue a college education until his late 20s. Before that, he was a manual laborer, providing for a family of six. UCM’s unique focus on student achievement provided him with the tutoring and mentoring he needed to be successful as a non-traditional student. The struggles that he has endured as a person and as a student, coupled with a deep love for people and for learning, make him uniquely qualified to support other students on their journey to collegiate victory.

In his free time, Christopher loves spending time with his four children, playing Frisbee, creating art, and writing and performing music.



April Roller

Victim Advocate
Graduate Assistant


April graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a minor in psychology from UCM spring 2016 and is currently working toward becoming a licensed professional counselor. April became a community advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention after her husband died by suicide in August 2013. Instead of allowing the tragedy to define her and her sons’ lives, she decided to fight stigma and encourage individuals to seek treatment.

While an undergraduate, April earned the Learning to a Greater Degree Award and was selected as a McNair Scholar where she conducted a summer research internship on suicide and legislation. April and her family are involved with campus and community organizations that advocate for others.  April’s passion for advocacy will allow her to help the people she comes into contact with as a victim advocate.

Outside of work, April and her three sons enjoy spending time with family, friends, and their fur babies. The family loves being outside and active in the community by volunteering and participating in Cub Scouts. Family favorites include Supernatural, Captain America, 80s movies, classic rock, and giggles. The Roller family motto is “be the change you wish to see in the world.”



For more information call the MAPS office at 660-543-4156 or email