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SSS Staff


Krystal Rice

Krystal Boose

Krystal Rice, MPA

Krystal Rice serves as the Director for TRiO's Student Support Services department. Krystal received her Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations from Creighton University and her Master's Degree in Public Administration from UNO. Krystal has an incredible passion for TRiO, tremendous ties to the Omaha non-profit community, a fantastic operations and programming back- ground, and a significant track record of community involvement around diversity, inclusion, and social justice issues. Krystal is an alumna of CU's Student Support Services. In her free time, Krystal likes to read, run, paint, mentor through Girls Inc., and serves on three boards in the community. Krystal loves 'firing' up her crockpot and having hearty meals available in the office for the price of a conversation.

Karen Thurber

Karen Thurber

Karen Thurber, MS
Senior TRIO Coordinator

Karen Thurber serves as the Senior TRIO Coordinator for Student Support Services. She has worked at Creighton University for over 27 years, both in SSS and 16 years in Career Services. Karen has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master's in Education, emphasis in Student Personnel from the UNO. Karen enjoys assisting students with questions regarding course selection, 4-year plans, financial aid, loans, FAFSA, careers, resumes, mock interviews, graduate school and anything else that might be an unexplored territory for students. Karen has two sons, Michael and Nick, and they attended UNL and KU. She loves to garden, belongs to a few clubs, and works in the nursery at church.

Shirleena Terrell

Shirleena Terrell

Shirleena Terrell, MA
Assistant Director, Academic Support and Retention

Shirleena serves as the Assistant Director for Academic Support and Retention for Student Support Services. Shirleena received her Bachelor's degree from Hampton University in Hampton, VA, where she studied Business Marketing. Shirleena's passion for education led her to Kipp Houston, where she taught in K-12 for five years. Upon obtaining her Master of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Higher Education with a concentration in Student Affairs, Shirleena transitioned from K-12 environments to Higher Education. Shirleena has a passion for working with minoritized, marginalized, and underrepresented populations. Her passion for social justice and working with underrepresented populations led her to the University of Iowa, where she worked in Multicultural Affairs. Shirleena feels blessed to join Creighton's TRIO family and advocate for first-gen, low-income, and persons with disabilities. Shirleena loves singing, dancing, and all things musical. On any given Sunday, you can find her singing at church with the choir or dancing with the liturgical praise dancers.

Brittany Planos

Brittany Jackson

Brittany Planos, MEd
Assistant Director, Recruitment and Assessment

Brittany Planos joined the TRIO Student Support Services team as Assistant Director for Recruitment and Assessment in 2020. Brittany comes to Creighton from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln Office of Admissions where she directed the Campus Visits program and co-chaired the Admissions & Strategic Enrollment Management Division's Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council. Prior to UNL, Brittany worked at University of Nevada- Las Vegas (UNLV) where she served as Director of Engineering Recruitment and as an academic counselor for UNLV's TRIO Upward Bound Math & Science Center. Brittany is a first-generation college student and holds a B.S. in Education & Human Sciences from University of Nebraska- Lincoln and a M.Ed. in Higher Education, Intercollegiate Athletics from UNLV. Brittany's service to low-income and first-generation college students has been recognized by the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce. She is an advocate for diversity initiatives and researches factors affecting access and equity within undergraduate admissions.

Brittany is a Vegas Golden Knights Hockey fan and enjoys sunshine, travel, and gardening.

Mary Longo

Mary Longo

Mary Longo, Ph.D.
English and Writing Specialist

As a member of Creighton's English Department for over 12 years, Mary Longo has taught composition and world literature as well as online classes for adult students. She became the writing specialist for Student Support Services in September of 2013. She has served as an RSP advisor SSS and first-generation college students. She has taught at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Writer's Workshop, and, before coming to Creighton, she taught writing and literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for 7 years. Her passion for the written word, which began with Golden Books and continued through Nancy Drew mysteries and 19th-century British novels, led her to obtain a B.A. in English at the University of Notre Dame. Her undergraduate years also awakened her love for the academic life, especially teaching, so she went on to get an M.A. in English from Creighton and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This Jersey girl considers herself fortunate to be living in Nebraska and working at Creighton, especially in SSS!