Press Release

JUNE 8, 2020

CUPA-HR Announces 2020-21 Wildfire Program Cohort

Twelve members of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) have been selected to participate in the 2020-21 CUPA-HR Wildfire program, a 12-month leadership development experience designed for early-career higher education human resources professionals. Program participants will have the opportunity to develop their professional skills through tailored learning experiences including mentorship, learning events and courses, and the completion of a year-end project highlighting the insights they gain throughout the year. CUPA-HR’s Wildfire program is made possible in part thanks to support from HigherEdJobs.

This year’s program received more than 120 applications. Participants were selected based on their HR strengths and areas for development identified on the program application as well as their interest in and commitment to the program.

The selected participants are:

  • Alejandro Briceno, Senior Compensation Analyst at Houston Community College
  • Courtney Cifaloglio, Human Resources Manager at Rowan University
  • Marisa Clabby, Human Resources Business Manager at the University of North Texas System
  • Matt Everhart, Human Resources Generalist at Minneapolis College of Art and Design
  • Julieta “Julie” Garcia, Recruiter/Sourcer on the Talent Acquisition Team at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Andrea Kiser, Senior Human Resources Consultant at James Madison University
  • Fred Kitchell, Human Resources Assistant at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita
  • Elizabeth Ross, Director of Talent Management at Pellissippi State Community College
  • Kristen Sides, Human Resources Specialist at Jefferson College
  • Chricinda Stephens, Business Analyst at the University of Tennessee System
  • Helena Warren, Senior Human Resources Consultant at Pima Community College
  • Cassidy Zekas, Recruitment Support Coordinator at Salt Lake Community College

“We are excited to welcome our seventh Wildfire class,” says CUPA-HR President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Brantley. “Every organization must be committed to the development of early-career professionals. The full-year experience these early-career professionals receive through the Wildfire program is an outstanding leadership development opportunity for them, and also a great opportunity for our higher ed HR leaders to give back and help prepare the next generation of higher ed leaders.”

Wildfire program facilitators include Mark Coldren, associate vice president for HR at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York; David Blake, Ph.D., vice president for human resources at California Western School of Law; Sheraine Gilliam-Holmes, executive director and chief human resources officer at Austin Peay State University; and Julie Boggs, director of member marketing and engagement at CUPA-HR.

“CUPA-HR’s investment in these early-career professionals is one of the best things we do as an association,” says Coldren. “The Wildfire program is helping develop passionate and talented higher education HR professionals as leaders on their campuses and within our organization. I am so excited to be working with the new cohort. Getting to know the previous Wildfire participants has been a wonderful gift. I have learned so much from them, and I am proud to call them colleagues and, more importantly, friends.”



CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving more than 31,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 2,000 member organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.

Contact Information
Erin Rosolina
Marketing Manager – Communications and Marketing