Staff Directory

 

Meet the Staff

Melody Werner, Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Werner oversees all investigations taking place under the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Anti-Discrimination policies. She joined MSU in the fall semester 2019. Prior to this role, she served as the senior associate athletics director/ senior woman administrator, and most recently, the title IX coordinator at Eastern Michigan University.

She earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communications and a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University. She is the Chair of the Michigan Association of State Universities Title IX Group, Member of the NCAA Research Review Board, and an arbitrator for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

In her spare time, she loves to go on long runs with her dog Piper.

Melody Werner

Debra Martinez, Deputy Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Martinez leads the RVSM investigation team and strives to improve response to reports of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, and stalking. She emphasizes trauma-informed practices and collaboration with campus and community partners to develop processes that focus on the values of safety, respect, fairness, equity, and accountability.

She joined MSU as a senior investigator in 2015 before rising to deputy director in 2018.  Prior to joining MSU, she worked at the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office where she specialized in prosecuting crimes of sexual assault, relationship violence and crimes against children.  She served as Unit Chief of the Special Victim Unit. Debra also worked in private practice in the areas of education law, criminal defense, and family law.

Martinez earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from Central Michigan University and has a law degree from Michigan State University.

Debra Martinez

Jenelle Austin, Case manager

Jenelle Austin

Tiara Blair, Service Coordinator

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Tiara Blair's role is to take in reports of potential violations of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Anti-Discrimination Policies. She is responsible for gathering information, reviewing it and determining if the conduct falls underneath the jurisdiction/policy. Blair also provides general resources and options for individuals going through the OIE process or providing them with information to choose the best option for them. Her goal is to create a safe environment for individuals to feel comfortable with making a report.

Prior to this, she worked as a student clerical assistant and has a background in student organizations and leadership in integrated learning. Her past experience allows her to serve as a connector for all students, faculty, staff and community members that come from various backgrounds.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Michigan State University Eli Broad College and enjoys Zumba in her spare time.

Tiara Blair

Katusha Galitzine, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns:  She/Her/Hers

Katusha Galitzine investigates claims of discrimination and harassment under the Anti-Discrimination policy.

Before joining OIE, Katusha served as the Associate Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU, where she conducted trainings and programming focused on bias and equity in educational environments. Before coming to MSU, Katusha worked with organizations focused on LGBT+ civil rights and the domestic utility of international human rights.

Katusha earned a bachelor's degree in writing and political communication from Emerson College and a juris doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law.

Outside of work, Katusha enjoys camping, crafts and experimenting in the kitchen.

Katusha Galitzine

Nicole Hoppes, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns:  She/Her/Hers

Hoppes primarily investigates claims under the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Prior to this role, she worked in Kent County as a Mediator/Evaluator at the Friend of the Court, and prior to that at Allegan County Friend of the Court as an Investigator.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from Michigan State University’s James Madison College, and a Juris Doctorate from Cooley Law School. Hoppes is a certified domestic relations mediator, with additional civil mediation training. During law school she worked at the State Court Administrative Office at the Hall of Justice and volunteered, through EVE, at the Ingham County Personal Protection Office. Hoppes and her family consider themselves proud Parrot Heads and enjoy attending Jimmy Buffett concerts almost every summer. She lives by the motto: “If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.”

Nicole Hoppes

Fatima K Konare, Student Clerical Assistant

Pronouns: She/her/hers

As the student clerical assistant, Fatima Konare's responsibilities include assisting in the closure process, filing, scanning, dealing with correspondence, organizing cases, maintaining data, and other general office duties. Her work provides support to the OIE team. Prior to this, she has worked in law offices as a legal administrative assistant where she routinely drafted documents, filed motions, interviewed clients, and prepared retainers. 

Konare is currently a junior at Michigan State University where she is pursuing her bachelor's degree in Philosophy- Pre-Law. Her favorite gift is a wood-wick candle.

Fatima Konare

Brent Lockwood, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns:  He/Him/His

As a Civil Rights Investigator, Brent works to ensure university compliance with applicable law and university policies, including investigating claims of discrimination and harassment and working to ensure that appropriate resources are available to the parties throughout the investigation and adjudication process.

Brent is a licensed attorney who successfully represented clients in a variety of employment and civil rights matters prior to joining the Office of Institutional Equity.

Brent received his Juris Doctorate and graduated magna cum laude from the Michigan State University College of Law in 2016. Brent has been admitted to the State Bar of Michigan and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Brent graduated from Michigan State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.

In Brent's free time he likes to wrestle with his 100-pound Bernese Mountain Dog and spend time with his family and friends.

Brent Lockwood

Kelli Malcolm, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Malcolm primarily investigates reports of violation of the Anti-Discrimination Policy (ADP.) Prior to coming to Michigan State University, Kelli worked in the insurance industry. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and sociology from the University of Michigan.

Kelli Malcom

Erin Martin, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Martin primarily investigates claims under the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Prior to this role, she worked in Kent County as the staff attorney at Friend of the Court and as a private practice family law attorney.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from Case Western Reserve University. Martin is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan. She has a collection of 36 Starbucks coffee mugs from cities all over the world.

Erin Martin
Lori Mercer, Professional Aide
Lori Mercer

Tiffany Patten, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Patten is responsible for investigating potential violations of the Relationship Violence Sexual Misconduct Policy. Prior to joining MSU, she was the deputy equal opportunity coordinator and sole compliance investigator for the University of Toledo. Patten has a background in crisis intervention and management, K-12 education, and mediation.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University. Patten also holds a Master of Arts degree in dispute resolution and a Juris Doctorate degree from Wayne State University Law School. He is a licensed attorney with the State Bar of Michigan and a member of the Oakland County Bar Association.

Tiffany Patten

Nick Royal, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns: He/him/his

Nick Royal primarily investigates claims under the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct (RVSM) policy. If you have a meeting with Royal, you can expect the beginning to focus on your rights, responsibilities, and options through our University policies and state and federal law. He comes to OIE from the LBGT Resource Center at Michigan State. Prior to that, he served as a Hall Director at the University of Michigan and the University of Denver.

Royal has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in law and economics from Central Michigan University and a master's of science degree in higher education administration and policy from Northwestern University. He is a member of the Michigan Association of LGBTQIA+. When he isn't in the office, you might find Royal listening to podcasts, playing Settlers of Catan with his partner and friends, or cuddling with his dog, Regina.

Nick Royal

Nicole J. Schmidtke, Senior Investigator

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Schmidtke is currently responsible for investigating allegations of violations of the University's Anti-Discrimination Policy. Before joining MSU's OIE, she held the role as a private practice litigation attorney, with a strong focus in employment and labor law, including civil rights for public employees. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan.

Nikki Schmidtke

Alesha Spooner, Service Coordinator

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Spooner is responsible for accepting reports of potential policy violations, routing notifications to community partners and providing outreach with information about resources and OIE's process to those who may have been impacted by a potential violation of OIE's policies. Previously, she worked with graduate and international students, and athletics at Central Michigan University before joining MSU. She has also worked in hospital compliance at MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot.

She earned a Bachelor of Sience degree with a major in Political Science and a concentration in Comparative Politics/international Relations and minors in Leadership and Public Administration from Central Michigan University. It was there that she later completed her Master of Arts in Political Science.  Spooner has earned certifications from ATIXA and D. Stafford and Associates in the fields of ADA/504, Title IX, and Civil Rights. She has also completed training in trauma-informed interviewing and understanding implicit bias. She also has experience in FOIA, FERPA, and HIPAA.

Alesha Spooner

Kaylie Kinney Straka, Senior Investigator

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Straka investigates sexual violence, sexual harassment, relationship violence, and stalking cases on campus. She also reviews concerns relating to special relationship violence and sexual misconduct matters, such as the experiences students, faculty, and staff have while studying abroad, conducting fieldwork, or participating in other off-campus programs. As Senior Investigator, Kaylie also reviews investigative work.

She previously served as a staff attorney with Legal Services of Eastern Michigan where she focused on fair housing law. She worked throughout law school as a clerk for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, concentrating on education law, the First Amendment, and criminal justice reform.

Kaylie earned a Bachelor of Arts in political theory and constitutional democracy from MSU and a juris doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Her favorite building on campus is the Wharton Center because she is a passionate fan of the performing arts. 

Kaylie Kinney Straka

Allison Towe, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns:  She/Her/Hers

Towe primarily investigates claims under the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct (RVSM) policy.

Prior to this role, she worked with Michigan Protection & Advocacy Services preserving the rights of individuals with disabilities. She primarily conducted abuse, neglect and death investigations in psychiatric hospitals, jails and prisons throughout Michigan.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Grand Valley State University.

When not in the office you can expect to find her participating in outdoor activities such as golfing, fishing, hunting and trail rides in her family's ORV.

Allison Towe

Zachary Walker, Civil Rights Investigator

Pronouns:  He/Him/His

Zach is responsible for the University's compliance with civil rights laws and policies. He investigates claims of discrimination and harassment involving students, employees, and third parties by interviewing parties/witnesses, collecting evidence, and drafting investigation reports. Zach also collaborates with the Campus Equity Navigator, advocates, and advisors to ensure appropriate resources are available to the parties throughout the investigation and adjudication process.

Zach was a judicial law clerk prior to joining the Office for Civil Rights and he interned for both the MSU Office of the General Counsel and the Eaton County Prosecutor's Office.

Zach earned a bachelor's degree in human biology and a bachelor's degree in philosophy from MSU and a master's degree in philosophy from Western Michigan University. After teaching at Western Michigan University, Zach went on to graduate from the MSU College of Law in 2018 and was admitted to the Michigan Bar.

Zach knows how to play the cello.

Zachary Walker

S. Faye Watson, Office Assistant

Pronouns:  She/her/hers

S. Faye is responsible for greeting customers and providing direction to appropriate staff members in the Office of Institutional Equity. She processes conference registrations, travel, payroll and reimbursements for the unit. She performs backup duties to the Executive Staff Assistant.

Having worked as the Program Manager in Veterinary Medicine, she has organizational skills and project management skills.

Watson earned her MBA from Spring Arbor University and her BA from Davenport University.

She also enjoys bowling, reading, crafts and volunteering at her church. As an avid roller-coaster rider, her favorite vacation spot is Cedar Point. She also especially enjoys spending time with her granddaughters.

S. Faye Watson

Lauren Woodworth, Executive Staff Assistant

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Lauren Woodworth is responsible for assisting the Office of Institution Equity director and providing administrative support to our team. She previously served as an office administrator for a law firm in East Lansing, Michigan.

Woodworth earned a B.A.A. in Health Administration from Central Michigan University. She enjoys spending family movie night with her children, volunteering at her church and retail therapy.

Lauren Woodworth