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Meet the Staff: Resident Student Advocate Office

Jason Brake | Assistant Director

I grew up in Northeast Ohio, where at the age of 11 I accepted Jesus to be my Lord and Savior in my home church. Each step in life I have grown in my faith by God's grace.

I graduated from Grove City College in 2000 with a degree in Mathematics & Computer Science and in the same year I married Jennifer. Out of college I worked customer service in industrial supply and insurance fields. We have two boys, Daniel and Josiah whom we homeschool, and as a family we have been on an adventure serving God. In 2009 Jennifer and I graduated from seminary in The Salvation Army and we were commissioned as officers sent to work in Maine and Vermont. We had many wonderful and interesting experiences while serving in this capacity doing the most good.

Having moved frequently, our family is really looking forward to settling down and placing our roots in Virginia. Jennifer is a graduate of Liberty University Online and she has brothers who are currently attending and working on campus. I am very blessed and excited to be a part of the Liberty family. It is my desire to bless and serve students and their parents as the Assistant Director of Retention.

Favorite Food: Italian food
Favorite Hobby: Going to new places
Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings
Favorite TV Show: College football

Courtney Richards | Senior Student Advocate

As a native Virginian, I grew up in the Hampton Roads area, where my family still resides. In 2010, I began my studies as a Freshman at Liberty University. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I set out to accomplish a unique goal of meeting every person on campus! Of course, I shortly realized that I may have been biting off more than I could chew. Despite not meeting 10,000+ people, I thoroughly enjoyed pursuing my bachelors degree.

My freshman year of college, I was called in to speak with my RA’s and SLC's. As you can imagine, I was nervous.  As I sat in the small residence hall room on M21-2, my mind was racing. To my surprise, my leadership team began to explain why I was summoned. Unfortunately, my mom had reached out to inform them that my grandmother (66 years-old) had opted to go on hospice. After battling cancer for 3 years, my grandmother passed away during Thanksgiving break. Losing a loved one is never an easy challenge to face, but the grieving process is bearable when people extend care and compassion.

The Student Advocate Office representatives at that point were the hands and feet of Jesus to me. In the face of difficulty, they provided much encouragement and optimism. Since then, I strive to show that same care and compassion towards those who find themselves in the midst of tough times. For this, I am thrilled to be a part of such a vital department where we have direct access to uplift and encourage the downtrodden and those in despair.

Favorite Food: Chicken Alfredo
Favorite Hobby: Language learning
Favorite Movie: Crash
Favorite TV Show: House of Cards | (434) 592-5263

Timi Plyter | Student Advocate

I am a native upstate New Yorker. I accepted the Lord at the age of 26 and have had a wonderful walk with my Lord ever since. My husband, Richard and I have been married over 40 years! We have 3 happily married sons, five granddaughters, and two grandsons and another on the way!  They are my delight. My two younger sons served in the military ... one is retired Navy, one served 8 years in the Army. My oldest son serves in the Lord’s army here at home and heads the men’s ministry at a church here in Lynchburg.

We moved to Lynchburg in 1996 because our youngest son, through one of God's miracles, was going to attend Liberty University. My husband and I both began working here in 1997. He is now retired but worked for years in Admissions and I worked as the receptionist in the Registrar's Office for 7 years. I now have the honor of serving students as a Student Advocate since the office’s inception in 2004.

The Lord has given me a phenomenal love for all of the students here and I deem it an honor to serve His Kingdom members at this university. Liberty University is a wonderful place to have your faith undergirded and strengthened!  I give a mustard seed to each student with whom I meet and ask them to memorize Matthew 17:20.  We have even planted some seeds in pots in our office to encourage the students.

Favorite Food: Roast chicken dinner and pumpkin pie
Favorite Hobby: Sewing and scrapbooking, baking and cooking
Favorite Movie: War Room
Favorite TV Show: Live Free or Die, or anything Alaska-related | (434) 592-3984

Lindsay Burgess | Student Advocate

I was raised in Roanoke, Virginia all my life.  I was so blessed to grow up in what I think is one of the prettiest states in the United States as I get to enjoy and marvel at God’s beautiful creation whenever I see the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround the Roanoke Valley.  My older brother and I were homeschooled through high school, and I am grateful for the opportunity that we were given to learn at home through a Biblical worldview and be involved in events year round with other homeschoolers in the area.  As I approached my high school graduation, I decided that I wanted to pursue my love of music in my college career.  I had begun taking piano lessons when I was 7 years old, and I fell in love with music and the instrument.  Even though Liberty University was only a short hour’s drive from my home, I had not considered attending there.  But the Lord began opening doors and made it plain that Liberty is where He wanted me to be.  I graduated in May of 2012 with a Bachelor of Music degree.

I am blessed to still be a part of the Liberty family, and I am so excited to be serving the student body with the Student Advocate Office.  I have been struck by this office’s heart for the students and how they seek to help the students in any way they can to make their years on this campus a success, and I am humbled and honored to now be a part of that ministry.

Favorite Food: Roast chicken and Reese's Peanut Butter cups
Favorite Hobby: Playing the piano
Favorite Movie: Kate & Leopold
Favorite TV Show: Parenthood and The Voice | (434) 592-4614


Stephen Stafford | Student Advocate

I was born and raised in sunny South Florida. I became a Christian during the spring semester of my junior year in high school. Upon graduating from high school, a friend and I traded the beach for the mountains and came to Liberty University. In 2012 I earned a B.S. in Religion with a minor in Greek and I’m now currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching. As a student, I was very involved in Student Leadership and thoroughly enjoyed my time on campus.

I met my wife during my junior year at Liberty and we have now been married for three years. We recently purchased a home in Lynchburg and enjoy exercising with our dog Riley, frequenting the community market, and teaching Sunday school at our church. I am very excited about joining the Student Advocate Office and look forward to helping students reach their goals during their time at Liberty.

Favorite Food: My wife's cooking
Favorite Hobby: Playing basketball
Favorite Movie: Braveheart, The Patriot or A Beautiful Mind
Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad |  (434) 592-5854

Holly Nickerson | Student Advocate

I haven't always called Lynchburg my home. I am a Canadian citizen by birth and came to Liberty in 2010 all the way from British Columbia! Attending Liberty was a leap of faith. I remember the excitement and shock of driving onto campus for the first time as a freshman having never seen the campus and knowing that my family would be returning home thousands of miles away. Six years later, I couldn't be more grateful for this school. I gave my life to Christ my senior year in high school and the spiritual development that has occurred in my life since then has largely been fostered by the personal discipleship, spiritual programs, and environment that Liberty provides. I am passionate about our student body and believe in what our University has sent out to accomplish.

My desire as a Student Advocate is to assist students in succesfully completing their degrees so that they can continue to have the opportunity grow in this incredible place. I graduated from Liberty in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Pre-Med Biology and am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Public Health. When I arrived on this campus I would have never guessed that I would meet and marry my husband, Jordan, or that I would develop some of the most edifying and deep relationships with others that share my faith. I didn't know that that I would work in student ministry as a PLGL, RA and RD wife or that I would be working eventually in the Student Advocate Office. I am unsure of what my future holds but I trust that the Lord is in control of every situation just as He is in each student's life at Liberty.

Favorite Food: Raspberries
Favorite Hobby: Running
Favorite Movie: I don't have a favorite. There are too many!
Favorite TV Show: Rehab Addict and Fixer Upper |  (434) 582-2355

Isaiah Isaac | Student Advocate

I was born in Patterson, New Jersey, but moved to Virginia at the age of ten. I gave my life to Christ at an early age. Growing up, I never attended a Christian school until I came to Liberty University. I thank the Lord for establishing Christians around me while attending public schools as well as in the environment I was living to better my focus toward the Lord. I attend Dan River Bethel Baptist Church in South Boston, Virginia.

My favorite sport is football. I enjoy other sports but consider football my favorite. Fantasy Football is something I enjoy as one of many hobbies. I enjoy watching sports as it motivates me to work out and live a healthier lifestyle. I hold a Bachelors in Business with a concentration in Human Resources. One day I hope to work as a Human Resource representative in a professional environment.

I look forward to working as a Student Advocate as it will allow me to assist students to successfully complete their degree at Liberty University. The experiences I have gained through a variety of life situations will assist me in motivating students to pursue their goals in life. I will do my best to help you succeed here at Liberty University.

Favorite Food: Seafood
Favorite Hobby: Bowling
Favorite Movie: The Fast & the Furious movies
Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead (434) 582-2767

Rosemary Shakro | Operations Coordinator

Born and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, I grew up in a Christian home with three younger brothers, accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the age of four. Since grade school, I attended private Christian schools which supported my foundation in Christ. My parents taught me the importance of family through our American-Lebanese heritage, and, most importantly, taught me morals and values based upon the Bible. Attending one of Connecticut’s largest public high schools, I shared my faith with others by example as a leader of Youth Alive club.

I earned my Bachelors degree at Liberty University, where I grew spiritually, academically, and emotionally, graduating in 2012 with a degree in Elementary Education. I went back to Connecticut after graduation, but the more I prayed for direction, I lived with that sense of “You belong back at Liberty.”

In the meantime, I recruited two of my brothers to attend here. Once my youngest brother graduates from high school, he’ll be heading this way and we’ll be a true Liberty family!

Looking forward to this new opportunity to begin my career, I bring with me a heart to serve, support, and encourage each student to attain his or her full potential. As God has opened the door for me to return to Liberty, I am blessed and grateful to be a part of the Student Advocate team. I’m eager to assist Liberty students to have the best experience here at the world’s largest, most exciting Christian university, just as I did.

Favorite Food: Lebanese, Mediterranean or Italian food
Favorite Hobby: Singing
Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music
Favorite TV Show: Full House |  (434) 592-4844

Tylar Kirkpatrick | Office Assistant

I was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, and have lived in the same house since birth. Moving to Liberty was a very big change for me. I had attended a private Christian school from Freshman to Senior year, being involved in the Fine Arts department, sports, and honor societies such as National Honors Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. I was the treasurer of Key Club for three years, worked at Chick-Fil-A and was involved in much community service including singing with my choir at different events and charities. I love to travel and have been multiple places in Europe, such as France, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.

Up until my senior year of high school, I was planning on going to school for musical theatre and working on Broadway in New York City until I realized God had a different plan for my life. I am proud to say I am a brand new student in the Fall of 2015 at Liberty University, planning to major in Interior Design, and minor in business while working in this office and at Chick-Fil-A. The Lord blessed me in many ways with getting here and I'm so excited and thankful to be starting my college career as a part of this office.

Favorite Food: Buffalo chicken bites
Favorite Hobby: Crafting and DIY activities
Favorite Movie: Frozen
Favorite TV Show: Once Upon A Time |  (434) 582-7200