Washington State University Tri-Cities

Office of Veterans Affairs

Veteran Friendly Listeners Program

The Veterans Friendly Listener (VFL) program is a network of faculty and staff that have volunteered to support WSU Tri-Cities student veterans. Each VFL is open to speak with any veteran, veteran dependent or family member.

As students, veterans can feel disconnected from the campus community because they have had such a different life experience than many other students, faculty, and staff. With this program veterans have a network of faculty and staff who are familiar with the veteran experience and are safe resources for veteran students to seek out for information and conversation on topics related to academics, post graduation planning, transitions, pastimes, and their veteran student experience.

Interested in becoming a listener and support our student veterans?

Send an E-mail to Vet Corps vetcorp@tricity.wsu.edu

Directory of Veteran Friendly Listeners

The Directory of Veteran Friendly Listeners provides a names, contact information, and brief biographies of current Veteran Friendly Listeners.

Adjunct Faculty

Steve Reidel

Francisca Yoder

Advancement & Regional Development

Melissa O'Neil Perdue


Andréa D. Davis

Mark Mansperger

Michael Pieracci


Cheryl Farabee

Harvey Gover


Jennifer Ambriz

Kathy Harper

Dallas Barnes

Student Affairs

Brad Liebrecht

Lindsay Lightner

Shiloh Penland

Allison Rodgers

Janice Smearman

Dr. Beth Jane Smith

Carol Wilkerson

Adjunct Faculty

Steve Reidel
Adjunct Professor Geology
CIC 102 BB

I am an adjunct; that means that I am usually only at WSU-TC for my classes or related stuff and I am not regular faculty. I have taught as an adjunct at WSU-TC since 1994. I retired from the Pacific Northwest National lab about 3 years ago and started teaching more classes.

I am a geologist. I have PhD; MS and BS in geology. I teach Geology 322/323/ Geology 210 and Geology 390. Geology 210 will be taught in the fall; Geology 390 and 322/323 are in the spring.

I am not a veteran; I came close. I was drafted but President Nixon put people of my status into the first draft lottery in 1970. They missed me by 3 numbers that year. First lottery I was happy to lose.

Francisca Yoder
Adjunct Professor, Spanish

My father served in WWll and my husband served in the Vietnam War. I graduated from WSU in 1988 (MA in Foreign Languages & Cultures) and have been teaching Spanish for what it seems all my life. At times I also teach English (as a second language) and prepare adult students for their GED on a volunteer basis.

Advancement & Regional Development

Melissa O’Neil Perdue
Marketing and Communications Manager
East 244

Melissa O’Neil Perdue joined WSU Tri-Cities as the Marketing and Communications Manager in March 2007.

A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Melissa previously worked at the Tri-City Herald as a reporter — covering everything from the police beat to the business community — and as the newspaper’s marketing coordinator. She was a resident assistant at PLU, is a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities Class IX, and has completed WSU’s Cultural Competency and Safe Zone training.

Melissa primarily grew up in Portland, Ore., but moved several times in her youth (attending three middle schools) so knows what it’s like to be new. As a wife and mother, she also understands the challenges of balancing multiple obligations and conflicting priorities.

While her experience with the military is limited to a college boyfriend who taught her the Army ROTC version of “hooah” and an uncle with 20 years in the U.S. Navy, Melissa is an open-minded listener who offers her support to veteran students.


Andréa D. Davis
Assistant Professor of Composition and Rhetoric
West 207M

Andréa D. Davis is an Assistant Professor at Washington State University, Tri-Cities in the Department of English, where she is also the campus Writing Program Administrator. Dr. Davis teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Composition, Rhetoric and Professional Writing, as well as in the Digital Technology and Culture program. Dr. Davis received her Ph.D. in Cultural Rhetorics and Digital Rhetorics & Professional Writing from Michigan State University. Her current research project involves expanding her archival research on her great grandfather Edward H. Davis, the cornerstone collector for the Heye Foundation, Museum of the American Indian, to produce an historiography that contextualizes his work with Native communities. For more information, visit digitalcelt.com.

Mark Mansperger
Assistant Clinical Professor
West 128

My father was in the USAF, retired as a Colonel, then went on to Northrop and was an Engineering Manager for the B-2 Stealth Bomber Program. We lived in Germany and Iran for about 2 years each while growing up.

Cultural Ecology, Political Economy, Cultural Change, Contemporary American Social Problems, Human Evolution, and Primate Behavior
I have enjoyed teaching a wide variety of courses since coming to WSU Tri-Cities. It is a pleasure for me to develop and deliver new classes in the myriad of possibilities provided by the broad field on Anthropology. Although primarily a Cultural Anthropologist, I also delve into Physical Anthropology quite often and stay current on the latest paleo-anthropological finds throughout the New and Old Worlds.

I have not completely departed from my original training in Economics, however, for my research interests currently include Political Economy, in which I am questioning the virtues of globalization and asking if we truly have a functioning democracy in America, or if our society is actually more accurately classified as a plutocracy.

Moreover, I am also deeply committed to investigating the looming challenges of dwindling resources and exorbitant wastes that we, as a species, have created on this planet and what we must do to prosper in the future.

Michael Pieracci
Clinical Assistant Professor
West 126

A Licensed Psychologist in the State of Washington, I have counseled numerous Mid-East and Viet Nam Vets during my 30 plus years of clinical experience. I have been extremely interested in the plight of Vets for many years. I have tailored several of my courses (notably the Humanities 101 class) to address the experiences and pain of Veterans. While not a Vet myself, my daughter is currently in the US Army.


Cheryl Farabee
Library Specialist
CIC 101

I have been with WSU Tri-Cities Library for 21 years. Have a grown son I raised on my own. I have always been a listener. Heaven knows I can talk, but I really enjoy listening and helping people. I am very interested in people’s lives. Daily I listen to students frustrations about being a student with a family with a job. I have also had several friends come back from Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Many of them have talked to me, some have not. It is not a conversation that can be forced.

I come from a military family. Father was in the Air Force, brother in the Coast Guard.

I support the veterans who have fought for our country. I believe too many times they come back from a war and they are not given the support or the time they deserve. I would like to help them in any way I can. I want to help support the men and women who support us.

Harvey Gover
Assistant Campus Librarian
CIC 201 AF

Harvey Gover is the sole surviving son of a veteran killed in action. Harvey has not served in the military, but has been in close communication with a former WSU Tri-Cities student who did his Army Basic Training to start his service in our local National Guard.

Harvey traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, twice to attend his friend’s two graduation ceremonies, one halfway and the other at the conclusion of his Army Armored Basic Training. Harvey was in close communication with his friend during his deployment to Iraq, frequently sending gifts of food for him and members of his convoy team. Harvey has a strong identification with and loyalty to our American Military.

Harvey is the Faculty Librarian for the WSU Tri-Cities campus. His title is Assistant Campus Librarian. Harvey is a specialist in regional campus library services for land grant university systems, and is tenured on the Library Faculty of the WSU Libraries.

Harvey has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University, a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Tarleton State University, a regional campus of the Texas A&M University system.

Earlier in his career, Harvey was Public Services Librarian at Tarleton.

Widely published, Harvey is internationally recognized as a spokesperson for and principal author of the 2008 Standards for Distance Learning Library Services. Harvey was awarded a U.S. Department of State U.S. Speaker and Specialist Grant for a two-week speaking tour of India in February, 2002. Harvey presented the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education at the international conference of the Global Alliance for Transnational Education (GATE) in Paris in September, 2002. Harvey was named the 2008-9 National Distance Learning Librarian of the Year.

Here on campus, Harvey is the faculty Advisor for the Multicultural Club. In spring 2010 Harvey was presented the Multicultural Club’s Commitment to Diversity Award.

In addition to teaching UCOLL 300, a one credit hour course in Conducting Electronic Research, Harvey teaches invited units in online research for various other courses across the campus curriculum plus similar training for students who work in the Libraries. Harvey also provides individual tutorials for students undertaking research projects.

Harvey’s photo and campus contact information are available by clicking on his name in the Faculty and Staff Directory on the campus Web pages.


Jennifer Ambriz
Counseling Assistant, Educational Leadership & Counseling Psychology

Hi, my name is Jennifer Ambriz and my family was positively impacted by several of my uncles serving actively in the Navy. I am originally from California but grew up in Tri-Cities. I graduated from W.S.U. in 2004 with a bachelors degree in Psychology and Comparative Ethnic Studies, minor in Women Studies. Later, I began graduate studies finishing my Masters degree in Counseling Psychology in 2009. I chose to continue my studies and am currently a PhD student in Counseling Psychology, also at W.S.U.

My diverse work history includes serving as an Academic Advisor for the College of Education at W.S.U. for one year, working as a Career Counselor for two and a half years also at W.S.U., and treating clients in both the university and community mental health setting.

I accepted a position as a Counseling Assistant at the Tri-Cities Neuropsychology Clinic affiliated with W.S.U. for the 2011-2012 academic year. I look forward to becoming more involved with the Veteran community.

Kathy Harper
Student Accounts/Cashier
East 254

I have worked at WSU Tri-Cities for 14 years. I started out working in Accounts Payable and later moved to the Student Account/Cashier position.

I am familiar with all aspects of tuition, late fees, and cancellations of enrollment. I have a good working relationship with the people in the same positions in Pullman and can call them with any sort of questions. Some of my duties are taking tuition, answering questions about cancellation of enrollment and the amount of the tuition adjustments, selling of tickets for on and off campus activities, helping with travel reimbursements and taking the money for transcripts. I am usually always at my desk, so getting a hold of me to ask questions is pretty easy. I am always willing to talk about all of the above and direct students in the direction to get their questions answered.

If someone needs to talk about children and grandchildren, I have three grown daughters and four grandbaby daughters.

Dallas Barnes
Special Projects
CIC 202

Dr. Barnes is married and is father of two adult children has been at WSU for 40 years and was raised in the Tri-Cities. Dr. Barnes worked at Hanford, with the City of Pasco, the Community Action program, and was appointed by the governor as the human rights commissioner protecting the rights of veterans and others. Dr. Barnes enjoys out door sports and studying contemporary social issues.

Dr. Barnes received his A.A. in Liberal arts from Columbia Basin College, and he received his B.A. M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Washington State University Pullman.

His experience with veterans includes: Advising and counseled student veterans on both the Pullman and Tri-Cities campuses. Visited Fort Bliss, Texas and Miramar, California as an educator he met and traveled with W II Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker. Has recommended students for flight and officer candidate school, and Is the son of, and brother to three veterans (all deceased).

Student Affairs

Brad Liebrecht
Admissions Counselor
West 201

Brad works in the Admissions Office at WSU Tri-Cities and has been an admissions representative since coming to the Tri-Cities in 2009. Brad graduated from Washington State University in Pullman in 2007 with bachelor’s degrees in History and Social Studies Education. Brad is currently enrolled at WSU Tri-Cities in the Educational Leadership master’s program. Brad works with future Cougars in the Yakima Valley and Moses Lake areas.

Lindsay Lightner
Academic Coordinator
CIC 202

As an academic advisor, I enjoy helping students of all backgrounds to build academic success, plan a course of study, develop major and career options, and explore the meaning of life. Growing up, I heard many stories from my father about his days as a Vietnam-era serviceman, and from my aunt and uncle about their years spent as officers in the Navy.

I learned about esprit de corps and the power of what can be accomplished by many people working together when I began my career as a Teach For America corps member, teaching middle school science in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. I have also been an English instructor at the Pennsylvania State University, where I specialized in working with first-generation college students in the CAMP and Student Support Services programs. Prior to joining WSU Tri-Cities, I was as a senior lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University, England, where I mentored first-year teachers working in low-income London schools. I hold a bachelor’s degree in geology from Carleton College and a master’s degree from the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University.

Shiloh Penland
Financial Aid and Scholarships
West 269 H

While I was growing up, my grandpa always told me stories about his time in the Army. I was intrigued by his stories, interested in the experiences he had, how he felt about those experiences and how they affected him. So, when my first husband joined the Navy in 1999, I was a bit apprehensive but excited about his decision to serve our country. Our first duty station was San Diego, CA. We were there for 2 years before transferring to Sicily, Italy. We transferred to Sicily only 2 weeks after 9/11. This was a truly challenging time for our military. During our 4 year stint in Sicily, I worked for 3 of those years for the Department of the Navy as a Mentoring Program Manager and Special Programs Coordinator at the K-12 school on base. Our last year there, the funding was cut for this position and I was moved over to be the Teen Center Director for MWR. In both of these positions, I worked with a wide range of individuals from active duty members and their families to the Commanding Officer of the base. Because of my time with the military, I am familiar with military life, the strain it can have on individuals and their families and how difficult the transition from military to civilian life can be.

Allison Rodgers
Student Involvement and Leadership Development Coordinator
West 269 G

Allison grew up in various places throughout the United States: rural Northeast Tennessee, suburban Southwest Washington, and urban Southern California. These different subcultures allowed her the opportunity to meet people from various backgrounds with differing abilities, strengths, and aspirations. Allison, now, uses her love for diversity as the Student Involvement and Leadership Development Coordinator at Washington State University Tri-Cities, where she advises and coordinates activities in ASWSUTC, student clubs, and student organizations. Allison received her bachelor’s degree in Business & Management from Hope International University in Fullerton, California; her master’s degree is in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. She looks forward to meeting your acquaintance.

Janice Smearman
Office of Reinstatement
CIC 202

My military life experience had been as a dependant raising a family of a United States Marine and the Washington State National Guard, Mike was a staff sergeant both in the Marine Corp and National Guard. My working experience with the military has been with Head Quarters Marine Corp in Arlington, Virginia with family dependents applying to receive military assistance and enlisted and officers applying for promotions. Several members of my family have been career military in the Navy and Air Force but others have been short timers. My fifteen years working experience at WSU Tri-Cities has presented many opportunities to listen to students; many of them veterans.

Dr. Beth Jan Smith
Director – TRiO Student Support Services
East 203

I am a mother of five grown children; my oldest was a Seabee for six years and is currently using his GI Bill to attend another university in Washington State. He completed tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Both my father and husband also served in the Navy. I understand the sacrifices military personnel — and their families — must make to protect our nation. I am familiar with the challenges veterans face when attending college and accessing the funding they worked so hard to earn. While working at Blue Mountain Community College, I was instrumental I making the campus “veteran-friendly” and served underrepresented veterans in the Hermiston area.

I am proud to be a called a WSU Tri-Cities alumni and veteran-friendly listener. Feel free to stop by my office anytime.

Veterans Affairs, 2710 Crimson Way, Washington State University Tri-Cities, Richland WA 99354-1671, 509-372-7364, Contact Us