Meet the Student Development Team

RICK ENGSTROM | Dean of Student Development

Rick serves as our Dean of Student Development. He is originally from San Diego, where he grew up at the beach or on a baseball diamond. He stayed close to home and studied philosophy and theology, and minored in psychology, at Point Loma Nazarene University. During college, Rick was involved in a variety of ministry opportunities—he was a junior high youth pastor, Resident Assistant, and youth director for a Christian non-profit which worked with homeless/at-risk teens. It was his work in the residence hall which captured his interest, and 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 in the College of Arts and Sciences. Rick and Shelley live on campus and enjoy frequently having students into their home. They have a son, River, and two Boston Terriers, Gracie and Nora, who also love the students of NU.

LARISSA LILLY | Director of Community Life

Larissa Lilly is the Director of Community life. Her passion is to build community and help facilitate opportunities for students to find a place to belong at Northwest. She works to do this through advising NU’s student government Associated Students of Northwest University who help oversee clubs and organizations, working with our Graduate Assistant to lead and guide SAB, and coordinating and leading Orientation. Larissa has been living life with college students for 10 years – prior to moving to Northwest in 2016 and starting her new role, she worked within residence life. 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 and settle down. Her top five strengths are Achiever, Responsibility, Activator, Developer and Restorative.
Larissa met her husband, Curtis, shortly after coming back to the PNW and they have two beautiful daughters, Zia and Iry! 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 grab a piece of candy!

BLAKE SMALL | Director of Multicultural Life

Blake Small is the Director of Multicultural Life.  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 voice at NU.  Blake moved to the Northwest in the fall of 2018.  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 is married to his compassionate wife Hannah, an RN at EvergreenHealth.  Their son Elias is two years old and ready to take on the world.  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 | Interim Residence Life Coordinator

Shelbie serves as our Interim Residence Life Coordinator. She is born and raised in Lynnwood Washington and has enjoyed being in the PNW her whole life. During college, she stayed close and decided on attending Northwest University where she was heavily involved in many groups such as orientation, cheerleading, student Senate and the Student Activities Board. Recently graduating with her Bachelors in Secondary Education and a Mathematics endorsement in 2020, Shelbie is excited to set foot into the Student Development world and serve the school in a more administrative manner. 

In her free time, Shelbie loves to sporadically make art projects and pet any dog she sees (especially her puppy Mocha and her two black labs at her parent’s home). In August 2020, Shelbie got married to her husband, Jed, and together they love to have friends over, play board games, and watch movies. They are excited to be a part of this community and stay connected with the friends Shelbie made throughout her years as a student at Northwest. Her 5 Strengths are Strategic, Communication, Adaptability, Positivity and Achieving.

HOLLY HOLLOPETER | Area Coordinator of Guy, Perks, and Crowder Residence Halls

Holly serves as the Area Coordinator for the Guy, Perks, and Crowder residence halls. As the Area Coordinator, Holly works directly with students to co-create a fulfilling, meaningful, and memorable college experience. Holly is originally from Columbus Ohio, but moved across the country to attend Northwest University (over 2,000 miles!) During her time as a student at Northwest, Holly received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications and is now working toward her Master’s degree in International Community Development. Between these two degrees, Holly’s interests can be seen clearly: She cares deeply about humanitarian work, encountering the richness of culture, and connecting people with their passions.

According to the Strengths Finders test, Holly’s key strengths are: Communication, Restorative, Woo, Futuristic, and Positivity. All of these strengths contribute to Holly’s enthusiasm for working with the college students here at Northwest! She is eager to learn about your life over a cup of coffee sometime. If you need to find Holly, look in the local bookstores, thrift stores, or head downtown to any of Seattle’s art districts.

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.

HANNAH JONES | Area Coordinator of the FIRS and Student Apartments

Hannah Jones is a Colorado born Area Coordinator for the Apartments. A graduate of Colorado Christian University, she studied Business and minored in Theology, but spent as much time as possible in the music building, in the mountains, or drinking coffee by the vat. Before moving to the PNW, Hannah lived in 6 different states, which included spending two years in Florida serving in Residence Life. She earned her MBA in Florida (about an hour away from Disneyworld-a favorite place) and gets excited about being able to use business to serve others!

Her top five strengths according to Strengths Finders, are Restorative, Ideation, Strategic, Input, and Futuristic/Achiever. All of these words end up meaning that she loves dreaming big with people, and being a part of our stories as humans in telling the bigger story of the Gospel. Hannah is well known for having caffeinated beverages in stock and is always ready to hear another story with a cup in hand. If you want to hear a good one, ask her about being trapped in a “special” part of the Louvre.

TAYLER RANSOME | Community Life Graduate Assistant

Tayler Ransome serves as the Community Life Graduate Assistant. Her role involves directly assisting the Director of Community Life to cultivate a culture of belonging at Northwest. She also works directly with the Student Activities Board (SAB), helping to mentor students and oversee on-campus event programming. Tayler graduated with a degree in Psychology and Communications from Northwest University, and is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Leadership, also from Northwest. Her top five strengths are as an achiever, learner, developer, futuristic and belief. She is passionate about the love of Jesus, moral leadership and the development of young leaders.

Tayler met her husband, Billy, through serving in student leadership at Northwest University. They are both invested in the people, and community here at Northwest . In her free time you can find Tayler enjoying time with her family, sipping a honey-cinnamon latte, weight-lifting or taking care of her many house plants. You can find her in the Pecota Student Center if you ever have a question or concern!

CRISTHIAN ALVARADO | Residence Life Graduate Assistant

Cristhian currently serves as the Residence Life Graduate Assistant. In his role, he works alongside other residence life staff to create an inclusive, fun and home-like atmosphere for the students of Northwest. His passion is for people, and helping them in whatever way he can. In the spring of 2020, Cristhian graduated with his bachelor’s degree in business administration, and is currently working toward his master’s degree in the same discipline. His top five strengths are belief, activator, developer, empathy and communication. 

In his free time you can find Cristhian spending time with friends, playing soccer, or exploring Kirkland and the surrounding areas. If you see him around campus, don’t hesitate to say hello or ask a question!