Advising & Career Services Employees

If you are wanting to meet with an advisor, please join our Zoom Advising Room or walk in to our offices on the 2nd floor of the Student Services building.  To schedule an appointment, email a specific advisor, call our main number (254) 299-8614, or fill out an Advising Request Form.  Thank you.

Michele-Anderson-IMG_0824.jpgMichele Anderson, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 209A
(254) 299-8614 /

Michele began advising at MCC in January, 2021 after working for many years at Baylor University.  She is also a member of our career counseling team.  Michele grew up in McGregor, Texas and now lives in Woodway with her 3.5 lb. yorkie, Quinn.  She earned associate's degrees in Accounting and Management from MCC, a Bachelor’s degree in Great Texts of the Western Tradition and a Master’s of Science in Education in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Baylor University, and then completed a Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology from Tarleton State University. Michele loves to spend her time outside of work with her family doing home improvement projects, traveling, and just enjoying time together.

Heather-Holt-IMG_0831.jpgHeather Holt, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 217
(254) 299-8614 /

Heather comes to MCC with years of experience as an academic advisor and educator. She is an MCC alumna and was actively involved in MCC’s TRIO Student Support Services program receiving several awards, one specifically being the “Outstanding Student of the Year.” She has earned 3 associate degrees from MCC and both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Tarleton State University. Heather has a passion for education and enjoys collaborating with students to help them achieve their academic and career goals. Being a continuous learner, she pursues education, knowledge and personal growth. In her spare time, she enjoys being with family and friends.

Allyson-Huntley-IMG_0816.jpgAllyson Huntley, Lead Advising Specialist, Academic Advisor Training
Student Services building, Room 209B
(254) 299-8614 /

Allyson has been working in Advising & Career Services at MCC since the summer of 2017. Prior to her time in advising, Allyson held positions at the University Center at MCC and in a mental health clinic. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Baylor University and later completed a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology at Tarleton State University – Waco. As an advisor, she specializes in the Business & Industry and STEM pathways, and has recently taken on the role of coordinating training for new advisors on campus. In her spare time, Allyson likes to watch college football, listen to true crime podcasts, and spend time outdoors. Most of the time, you will find her enjoying these things with her husband and her two corgis.

Tina-Headshot-2023-Cropped.jpegTina Lyles, Associate Director of Advising & Career Services
Student Services building, Room 221
(254) 299-8614 /

Tina Lyles received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX before returning to Wayland to obtain her Master of Education.  She is also a graduate of Mohave Community College in Bullhead City, AZ.  Ms. Lyles has enjoyed a 21-year career in higher education, serving in positions such as Financial Analyst for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Director of Education at WyoTech in Sacramento, CA, and Director of Business Programs at Heald College in Roseville, CA.  In 2014, her family relocated to Waco, TX and she joined McLennan Community College as an Advising Specialist in charge of Career Services.  After two years, Ms. Lyles became the Associate Director of Advising and Career Services at McLennan.

Jonathan O

Jonathan O'Connor-Olivarez, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 218
(254) 299-8614 /

Jonathan is a native Wacoan who has worked in Advising & Career Services at MCC since February 2022. He graduated in 2007 from The University of North Texas with a degree in Psychology, after which he worked in the field of child welfare for over 10 years. In May 2020, he earned a Masters degree in Social Work through Tarleton State University at the MCC University Center, completing his licensure in Fall 2021. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Woodway with their son, Reed, and dog, Poppy. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys great food, traveling, camping, and exploring Waco.

Lauren-Pearsall-Headshot-2023-Cropped.jpg Lauren Pearsall, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 215
(254) 299-8614 /

Originally from New Hampshire, Lauren came to Waco in 2018 and taught art for 9 years before becoming an advisor at MCC in 2023.  She graduated from Colby-Sawyer College with her B.A. in Photography with a minor in Education, and got her M.A. in Teaching from Upper Valley Educators Institute.  Lauren enjoys traveling, photography, trying new foods with friends, relaxing in her hammock and taking care of her two cats.  She is now in charge of the advisor social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Be sure to follow!

Kari Peden Photo Kari Peden, Lead Advising Specialist, Transfer and Technology
Student Services building, Room 225
(254) 299-8614 /

Kari began advising at MCC in August of 2018 after working for three years as the Senior Executive Secretary for the V.P. of Research, Effectiveness, & I.T. and the Director of Marketing & Communications at MCC.  Originally from Fort Worth, TX, Kari came to Waco in 2002 to get her Master's of Divinity from George W. Truett Theological Seminary and her Master's in Church Music from Baylor University, both of which she completed in 2006.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hardin-Simmons University in 2002 with her Bachelor's of Music Education degree.  For three years, she taught voice at MCC as an adjunct faculty member.  In her free time, Kari enjoys cheering on the Baylor Bears' football team, directing or acting in musicals at the Waco Civic Theatre, playing handbells at church, and taking care of her Pembroke Welsh Corgis - Ginger & Buckley, and cat Sasha.  Kari and her husband Scott enjoy playing in the Texas Heatwave Band for weddings and special events.  As an advisor, she specializes in the Health Professions and Creative Arts pathways and is in charge of Transfer Thursdays and the Get on the Bus program. 

Johnny-Raines.jpgJohnny Raines, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 224
(254) 299-8614 / 

Johnny began advising at MCC in August of 2018 after relocating to Waco from northern Idaho where he had just completed his Master of Science in Environmental Science at the University of Idaho. Although Johnny is originally from Houston, Texas, he has spent most of his adult life in the northwestern part of the United States. He completed his bachelor's degree in Philosophy also at the University of Idaho where he graduated magna cum laude. Some of the various careers that Johnny has had in his life include: general contractor for residential construction, wilderness guide in Central Idaho, and serving in the Navy during the tumultuous times around 9/11. He has raised three awesome kids, and he enjoys hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing and carpentry. As an advisor at MCC, Johnny specializes in Science, technology, engineering and Mathematics degrees ( STEM Pathway ). He is also the advisor for the 2 + 2 biomedical sciences articulation agreement with Texas A & M, which is the best route for students that desire a future in the medical field or in veterinary science.

Diane-Russo-IMG_0841.jpgDiane Russo, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 216
(254) 299-8614 /

Diane has been an Advising Specialist at MCC for over 19 years.  Although she has west Texas roots, she has called Waco home for most of her adult life.  She received her Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University, and her Masters of Science degree from the University of Texas in Arlington, where she graduated with honors.  She worked in medical settings for many years before transitioning to university work.  In her free time, Diane enjoys being with her family and friends, reading a good novel, gardening, and being involved in service activities.  As an advisor, she specializes in the Health Professions pathway and is in charge of updating the Academic Advising Handbook and the Advisor Training Curriculum. She also assists with new advisor training.

Liya-Headshot-2023.jpg Liya Scott, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 226
(254) 299-8614 /

Liya Scott began advising at MCC in 2023. She is native to Colorado Springs, CO, home to snow-capped Rocky Mountains and the magnificent Garden of the Gods park.  Her parents were both aerospace engineers in the military.  Liya received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master of Science in Education from Baylor University. Liya’s professional portfolio includes working as Resident Director at St. Edward’s University, working in Student Activities and the Career Center at Baylor, and working as a Coach/Instructor at Sportrock rock-climbing facility in Virginia. In her work with Explore Austin, a non-profit organization, Liya uses her skills and talents to mentor underserved youth via outdoor learning experiences. Liya understands the importance of holistic development, growing in self-awareness, and using one’s talents to positively contribute to society. In her spare time, Liya enjoys outdoor recreation, water sports, baking delicious recipes, exploring new places, and hanging out with friends. 

Natalie-Timmons-IMG_0797.jpgNatalie Timmons, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 223
(254) 299-8614 /

Natalie began advising at MCC in June of 2021 after 13 years in public education as a teacher and school counselor.  In 2008, Natalie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with her Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.  She became certified to teach Pre-K – 8 th grade.  She then utilized the University Center at MCC to earn a Master of Education degree in Counseling in 2014 from Tarleton State University.  Natalie enjoys spending time with her husband Dave and their two boys Noah and Evan.  She enjoys cooking/baking, reading, gardening and working on her latest Lego creation. 

Patrick-Williams-headshot.jpg Patrick Williams, Advising Specialist
Student Services building, Room 226
(254) 299-8614 /

Patrick began advising at MCC in April of 2022 after moving from Athens, Georgia. He grew up in Houston attending Lone Star College. He transferred to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) to play football and finish out his undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology in 2017. He met his wife, Katie, there and got married his senior year. He then pursed a masters degree at LSU graduating with a Masters in Sport Management in 2019. Patrick enjoys spending his free time with family and friends playing board games or participating in mud races, such as tough mudders or savage races. He has a German Shepherd named Lauren that he adopted when she was a puppy.

Dinithi-Wright-IMG_0820.jpgDinithi Wright, Lead Advising Specialist, Career Services and Front Office
Student Services building, Room 222
(254) 299-8614 /

Dinithi (Dee) has been working at Advising & Career Services at MCC since October of 2017. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka and moved to the United States in 2007 to attend college. She got her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Educational Psychology from Wichita State University in Kansas. She served in the United States Army as a Combat Medic and had the opportunity to be stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. Dee has also worked as a mental health case manager at MHMR in Waco after her transition from the military. In her free time, Dee enjoys watching true crime shows and cooking shows. She loves cheesecake. She specializes in  Career Services , assisting students with job searching, resume writing, interview skills, and assessments for choosing a major, and the  Public Service Pathway  for advising.