Meet the Student Development Team

RICK ENGSTROM | Dean of Student Development

Rick serves as our Vice President for Student Development. He is originally from San Diego, where he grew up at the beach and on the baseball diamond. He stayed close to home and studied philosophy and theology at Point Loma Nazarene University. During college, Rick was involved in a variety of ministries—he was a junior high youth pastor, Resident Assistant, and youth director for a Christian non-profit that worked with homeless/at-risk teens. It was his work in the residence hall that spurred his career in student development.
Rick has worked professionally with Christian college students since 2006. That same year Rick married his wife, Shelley, who is an artist, writer, and adjunct professor. Rick and Shelley live on campus and enjoy frequently having students into their home. They have two kids, River and Eden, and a Boston Terrier, Gracie, who also love the students of NU. You’ll frequently see the Engstrom family walking campus, eating in The Caf, or attending events!

LARISSA LILLY | Associate Dean of Student Development

Larissa Lilly is the Associate Dean of Student Development. Her passion is to build community and help facilitate opportunities for students to find a place to belong at Northwest. Larissa oversees our Residence Life and Housing department and works within conduct and student leadership. She loves working with a team of Area Coordinators and Resident Assistants to serve the residential students at NU! Larissa has been living intentional life with college students since 2008. Though originally from a farm in eastern Washington, Larissa has found this work has taken her all over the US, but was happy to move back to the PNW in 2016. Her top five strengths are Achiever, Responsibility, Activator, Developer and Restorative. She’s a strong Three on the Enneagram and loves talking with students about how their personalities and stories play out. Larissa met her husband, Curtis, shortly after coming back to the PNW and they have three young children: Zia, Iry and Booker. You will often see them as a family eating in the Caf, walking across campus or cheering on our Eagles! In her time away from work, you can find Larissa enjoying time with her family, fellowshipping with friends over meals, or at a local coffee shop. Come on by her office in the Pecota Center and ask her to take you to coffee!

BLAKE SMALL | Director of Multicultural Life

Blake Small is the Director of Multicultural Life and has been at NU since the fall of 2018. His role includes supervision of the student leader group Mosaic, multicultural fellowship clubs, and NU’s Act Six scholarship program. Each of these responsibilities seek to advocate and offer opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds to find their home at NU. He originally was born in South Korea but grew up in the East Valley of Phoenix, AZ. Blake earned his B.S. in Accounting from Arizona State University and his M.A. in Intercultural/Urban Studies from Moody Theological Seminary, in Chicago. His top five strengths are Harmony, Restorative, Deliberative, Adaptability and Individualization. Blake and his wonderful wife Hannah (a RN at EvergreenHealth) have two growing boys, Elias and Raiden. In his free time, you can find Blake in the outdoors exploring all that Washington has to offer, hitting tennis balls, or playing with his rambunctious Bernese Mountain Dog.

SHELBIE FRYE | Community Life Coordinator

Shelbie serves as the Community Life Coordinator, overseeing campus-wide programming such as Welcome Weekend, Student Activities Board, and student government, the Associated Students of Northwest University. She is born and raised in Lynnwood, Washington and has enjoyed being in the PNW her whole life. As an NU alum, Shelbie is thrilled to continue to serve the University by leading many of the groups she was a part of herself. Shelbie earned her B.S. in Secondary Education in her time at Northwest and recently earned her M.S. in Management and Leadership from WGU online. Her 5 Strengths are Strategic, Communication, Adaptability, Positivity and Achieving.

In her free time, Shelbie loves to play with her wild German Shepherd/Husky, Mocha, be with friends and family, and visit local coffeeshops. Shelbie and her husband, Jed, welcomed their new little girl, Aria, into the world in August of 2022 and are loving to see her grow and explore her surroundings for the first time. They all love to have friends over, play board games, watch movies, and take their dog to the dog park. The Frye crew is thrilled to be a part of the Northwest community and continue to build relationships with the NU family.

PATRICK MCLELAND | Area Coordinator of Gray-Beatty Residence Halls

Patrick serves as the Area Coordinator for Gray & Beatty residence halls. Patrick spent several years of his childhood in South Africa where his family served as missionaries; where he first came to know the Lord. As a student, he received both of his degrees from Indiana Wesleyan University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Psychology with an Addictions Studies focus in 2015, followed a few years later with a Master’s in Student Development Administration in 2018. In the past few years, Patrick has served as a camp director with SpringHill in Michigan. He looks fondly on his experience as a camp director as it, along with his student life experience and education, has prepared him for ministry within the hall. You can find Patrick around the hall, in his office, or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest; he’s new to the area. For fun, Patrick is going to be out for a run, reading a good book, board gaming, movie critiquing, playing yard games, or simply enjoying nature. If you ever want to discuss philosophy or just say hello, feel free to stop by his office, there will always be plenty of coffee to share. 

Through it all, Patrick believes that every person has been created with their own unique divine calling that brings purpose to life. Though Strengths Finder and Enneagram types are important information to some, for others, the significance of such tests may be obsolete. Though Patrick does love a good personality discussion, what’s most important to him is that students can see Northwest their home away from home.

SARA RODRIGUEZ | Area Coordinator of the Apartments

Sara Rodriguez serves as the Area Coordinator for the Apartments and is excited to be part of the Northwest Community. She grew up in Indiana, where she received her Bachelor’s in Adolescent Ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University. She continued her education in Texas and received her Master’s in Christian Education from Dallas Baptist University while teaching outdoor education classes to 5th graders. She is now pursuing her Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Liberty University Online. Her professional experience has been spent in camping ministry, where she has had many opportunities to connect with college-age students. This work grew her passion for college students, and she landed at Northwest. She is an enneagram seven, and her strengths are connectedness, empathy, developer, positivity, and ideation.

Sara spends her free time hanging out with friends, cooking for people, enjoying live music, trying a new coffee shop, or traveling. She is always up for an adventure and a good conversation! So please feel free to stop by her office for a good chat and maybe some coffee!

ARLETTE HENDERSON| Area Coordinator of Guy, Perks, and Crowder Residence Halls

Arlette Henderson serves as the Area Coordinator for the Guy, Perks, and Crowder Residence Halls. She is from Houston, Texas and enjoys living life with purpose. She has previously served as a Resident Assistant, Resident Manager, Resident Director, Student Organization Advisor, and Ordained and Licensed Minister. Arlette completed a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with a Human Services Concentration Degree from East Texas Baptist University and a Master of Business Administration Degree from East Texas Baptist University. Her top five strengths are Responsibility, Achiever, Ideation, Empathy, and Strategic.

Traveling, cooking, shopping, and exploring new things are her favorite hobbies. Her Servant leadership commitment is a key cherished value that she possesses in her current student development career position by humbly serving, motivating, mentoring, and leading individuals in a Christ-like manner.



Please wait a moment...