Alumni Society

The Society of the Alumni of the State Normal School at Winona was organized in 1875 to promote the relationship between graduates, students and the institution. The Society also worked advance the cause of popular education in the state of Minnesota.

Today, all alumni are members of the Alumni Society and there are over 50,000 alumni on record.

The Alumni Advisory Board and the Alumni Engagement Office work together to help alumni stay connected with their alma mater and with each other.

Alumni Advisory Board

The Alumni Advisory Board (AAB) consists of alumni volunteers who have a variety of occupational and economic backgrounds. The purpose of the AAB is to build strong, lifelong relationships between the university and its alumni and friends.

The board members provide general counsel and support for activities and programs to build alumni engagement.

Apply to Serve on the Alumni Advisory Board

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Winona State University Alumni Advisory Board Member! We are thrilled you are interested to learn more about the amazing work that this tight-knit, generous and passionate group of alumni volunteers do for the university.

AAB members meet virtually six times per year for one-hour meetings, along with one in-person gathering on campus each semester. The AAB goals, expectations and membership responsibilities can be requested by emailing

If you are interested in applying for a position on this board, please fill out the online Alumni Advisory Board Application.

Meet the Board Members


Nabih Elteir

Economics, '14 ‘18 
Linkedin Profile

Nabih Elteir is the Radiology Department business coordinator for MHealth Fairview. He has been working with MHealth Fairview since 2016. Prior to this, Nabih worked as a Financial Analyst at IBM and a personal banker at Wells Fargo Bank. Nabih graduated from WSU with a Master’s Degree of Science in Organizational Leadership in 2018 and a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Economics and Political Science in 2014. Nabih attended Winona State University in 2011 as an international student from Egypt. Nabih currently resides in the twin-cities area and has two children: Zeyad and Zain.


Frederick Derocher

Vice President/Secretary
Communication Studies and Psychology ‘03

Frederick is a 2003 Summa Cum Laude graduate of WSU with a double major in Communication Studies and Psychology. After graduation, he entered the financial services industry where he owns and runs his own practice with COUNTRY Financial focusing on retirement and estate planning in addition to insurance planning for individuals and small businesses.

Frederick is intrigued with the ever diverging gap between individual financial goals and financial behavior and its impact on human generosity. Frederick and his wife Dina coordinate and lead twice-annual mission trips with Potters House Association in Guatemala City. The organization serves a community of 17,000 living in extreme poverty in and around, and subsisting on the largest landfill in Central America. He lives in Wauwatosa, WI with his wife, and precocious Sphynx cat Furrdinand.


Marla Burkhart

Board Member
Accounting, ‘92 

Marla (Buhs) Burkhart is a 1992 magna cum laude graduate of WSU holding a BSA degree in accounting with a business law minor. She commenced her career in public accounting, after 15 years with her firm and the responsibilities of a general partner she craved work /life balance and began her career at Mayo Clinic.

She has held several roles at the clinic in various areas and is currently an Investment Operations Manager in the clinic’s treasury services department. She currently sits on a handful of not-for-profit boards; her ultimate career goal is that of philanthropist. She lives in Rochester, Minnesota with her husband Chris, and son Noah.


Courtney Colton

Board Member
Mass Communication: Public Relations & Professional Studies '07

Courtney (Kish) Colton graduated from WSU in 2007 with a double major in Mass Communications: Public Relations and Professional Studies and a minor in Theatre. During her undergraduate career, she worked as a Senior Public Relations Writer for the WSU Communications Office and was part of multiple theatre and dance productions. In 2012, Courtney earned her MA in Strategic Communication Management from Concordia University-St. Paul.

Passionate about giving back to students through scholarships and mentorship, Courtney and her husband started a recurring scholarship at WSU in 2013. Currently, Courtney works as a Senior Communications Specialist at ECMC Group, a nonprofit headquartered in Minneapolis focused on helping students succeed. She resides in Lake Elmo, MN, with her husband, two children and three pets.


Claire Exley

Board Member
Criminal Justice & Spanish, '16 '20 
LinkedIn Profile

Claire Exley graduated from WSU in 2016, double majoring in Criminal Justice and Spanish. During her undergraduate career, she was named as Outstanding Student of the Criminal Justice program. Claire completed her Master's Degree in Leadership Education in 2020.

Claire currently works at the Winona County Attorney's Office as the Victim Services Coordinator. In her role, Claire assists victims of crime in navigating the criminal justice system. Claire also serves as the leader of the Winona County Sexual Assault Interagency Council, a multidisciplinary team focused on improving the community and system response to sexual assault.


DeAnna Goddard

Board Member
Psychology & English ’03

DeAnna Goddard graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in English and Psychology in 2003. She holds a Master of Counseling and Student Personnel degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato and is currently the Associate Director for Career Services in the Warrior Success Center at Winona State University. DeAnna is proud to be a first-generation WSU alumnus and alumni society board member. Go Warriors!


Jacquelyn Gosse

Board Member
Mass Communications: Journalism, ‘95

Jacquelyn (Johnson) Gosse graduated from WSU in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication-Journalism. She was awarded a Master of Arts in Management/Health and Human Services from St. Mary’s University. Jaci is an emeritus member of the Winona State University Board of Trustees and was named a Distinguished Young Alumni in 2001.

She has worked at Mayo Clinic for more than 20 years and is an Education Program Manager. She and her husband, John (WSU, Education, 1995) have two children, Caroline and Jude, and live in Dodge Center, Minn., where they are active in school, community and church events.


Haley Joyce

Board Member
Communication Studies ‘16
LinkenIn Profile 

Haley Joyce graduated from WSU in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. As a Warrior she worked for the Alumni Annual Fund- Phonathon, was a WSU Ambassador, a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, a member of TRIO, and a talk show host for the KQAL Non- Profit Radio. She went on to earn her Master's degree in College Counseling and Student Development at St. Cloud State University. She has worked in the higher education field and recently started working for Salesforce, a CRM tech company. Haley is still involved in sorority as an Advisor for the University of Illinois Chapter. She continues to feel grateful for the resources and opportunities WSU provided in the short amount of time she was there! She can't wait to get back soon! Go Warriors!


Clara Kuerschner

Board Member
President of Student Senate
Secondary Education '21

Clara Kuerschner plans on graduating in 2021 with a Bachelor of Teaching degree in History and Mathematics. Clara serves as the President of Winona State University Student Senate having been with the organization for four years. Clara has also been involved in Warrior Entertainment Network, Warriors LEAD Series, College of Science and Engineering Council, Homecoming Committee, and other student clubs.


Nick Lobejko

Board Member
Marketing & Business Education '02 & '04

Nick Lobejko is a first-generation college graduate (Marketing '02 and Business Education '04) of Winona State University. After Winona State University, Nick fell in love with Colorado, where he received a Master's in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Northern Colorado and has lived in Colorado ever since. Currently, Nick serves as the Executive Director of Advancement in the College of Business at Colorado State University, which recently successfully completed a one-billion-dollar comprehensive capital campaign.

Nick and his wife Jillian own Sole Mates (, a retail store in Fort Collins, CO. Nick enjoys spending time with his son Logan, running, and trying to stay upright on his mountain bike on all the local trails in Fort Collins.


Luke Merchlewitz

Board Member
Education, ‘01

Luke received his BS in elementary education from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 1983, and completed his master’s from Winona State University in 2001. He currently teaches second grade at Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School in the Winona Area Public Schools.

Merchlewitz is the 2009 Winona Teacher of the Year, 2010 Minnesota’s Teacher of Excellence and is a NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow. A past Winona State University adjunct faculty member, Luke received the WSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016


Michelle Mertes

Board Member
Paralegal, ‘95 

Michelle Mertes is from Princeton, Minnesota and she is a 1995 graduate of Winona State’s Paralegal Program. Michelle currently lives in Midland, Michigan with her husband Scott (WSU Grad 1994) and their daughter Emma. Since 2002, Michelle has worked as a paralegal at Dow in Midland, Michigan. Michelle enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, biking, and scrapbooking.


Aurea Osgood

Board Member
Sociology, ’00 ‘16 

Aurea Osgood is a proud two-time WSU alum. Aurea has worked at WSU as a Professor of Sociology for the past 13 years. Aurea teaches courses primarily in the areas of sociology of families, social research, and demography. Aurea also serves as the Director of the General Education Program at WSU. Aurea is on the board at Bluff Country Co-op and is a volunteer at the local food shelf. Aurea enjoys baking, gardening, and reading.


Melissa Schaller

Board Member
Education and Special Education, ‘95

Melissa Schaller has been the Director of Special Education for Intermediate School District 917 since 2008 serving its nine member school districts. Melissa is responsible for oversight of district special education programming including 25 sites, approximately 500 staff, and a budget of more than 36 million dollars. Prior to joining ISD 917, Melissa was the Director of Special Education for the Austin Public School District, as well as a Special Education Teacher in Lakeville and Mahtomedi.

She has served many state level organizations in the field of education including serving as president of the executive board of both Minnesota Administrators for Special Education and Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children. Melissa graduated from Winona State University in 1995. Since then she has received her Masters degree from the University of St. Thomas and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Minnesota in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development.