Our Team

Reginald J. Alston, Ph.D.

Reginald J. Alston, Ph.D.

Interim Director

Reggie Alston is currently the Interim Director of the Chez Veterans Center. He is also the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Kinesiology and Community Health in the College of Applied Health Sciences. We will be searching for a new director during the course of the next academic year (2021-2022).

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Dustin D. Lange, Ph.D., M.S.

Dustin D. Lange, Ph.D., M.S.

Assistant Director for Academic & Career Services & Facility Operations

Dustin is the Assistant Director of our academic & career services and supports the interim director with the day to day operations of the facility. He has been with the center through various roles since its opening in 2015. Prior to his current appointment, Dustin did a postdoc fellowship at the Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare (CINCCH) at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Chicago, where he currently is a Research Associate and a member of their steering committee. He is a three time alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has authored peer-reviewed journal articles, white papers, and is the lead author of the book titled Camo to Career: The Veteran’s Guide to Career Success. Dustin has also garnered numerous military honors from his 8-years of active duty service in the United States Marine Corps.

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Ingrid Wheeler, MSW, LCSW

Ingrid Wheeler, MSW, LCSW

Assistant Director, Behavioral Health Services

Ingrid oversees the Center’s Behavioral Health Services. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and received her Bachelor’s Degree for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and her Master’s Degree in Social Work, with a specialization in mental health, from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Ingrid is often a first contact for students and can support students with adjusting to campus, finding resources, and acclimating to higher education. As a clinician, her approach is client-centered. Ingrid has extensive experience helping individuals with a variety of challenges, from mental health challenges such as psychosis, substance abuse/dependence, personality disorders, suicidal ideation, relationship conflicts, behavioral issues, and stress management. Through individual, couples, family and group therapy, Ingrid has worked with a variety of ages in inpatient, outpatient settings, and dual diagnosis and addiction treatment centers. Ingrid comes from a military family, growing up with her father in the Navy who retired to Illinois after 20 years of active-duty service.

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Garret Anderson, Jr., Ret. Sgt. U.S Army

Garret Anderson, Jr., Ret. Sgt. U.S Army

Outreach Coordinator and Student Recruiter

Garrett is the Outreach Coordinator and Student Recruiter at the CVC, where he focus on student recruitment targeting veterans with disabilities , establish and maintain connections with national and regional disability-related groups and organizations, especially veterans with disabilities; establishing connections with para-athletic and para-recreation opportunities to create additional options for student-veterans with disabilities, building upon the strong reputation of University of Illinois programs, and establish new and maintain existing connections to local and distant community groups. Garrett Retired from the U.S. Army in 2006, received his degree in Criminal Justice from Illinois State University in 2010, and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counselling from the University of Illinois Champaign- Urbana in 2018.

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Jeni Hunniecutt, Ph.D.

Jeni Hunniecutt, Ph.D.

Assistant Director of Research Engagement and Educational Programming

Jeni oversees the research and academic programming initiatives at the Chez Veterans Center. In her role, Jeni created and directs the CVC’s research branch, the Military Service Knowledge Collaborative. She also develops and teaches academic courses on Veteran issues to undergraduate and graduate students on campus. Jeni earned her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Denver in 2018. Guided by a community-engaged approach to research, she aims to generate insight that improves the health and well-being of Military Service Members, Veterans, and their families. Jeni served from 2008-2014 in the Virginia Army National Guard and has been an advocate serving Military/Veteran communities since. She served as Outreach Specialist for the Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology at the University of Denver before joining the Chez Veterans Center in 2018. Jeni has served as affiliate faculty in institutions in Colorado, Virginia, and Tennessee, and has published research on topics such as Veteran identity, reintegration, and suicides. Jeni is also a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health in the College of Applied Health Sciences.

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Jason Sakowski

Jason Sakowski

Assistant Director of Veteran Student Support Services

Jason serves as the Assistant Director of Veteran Student Support Services at the Chez Veterans Center. Jason served eight years of active duty in the Marine Corps and completed two tours to Iraq and one tour to Afghanistan. It was during his undergraduate degree that he discovered he wanted to serve military-connected students after he graduated. Jason also retired from the Illinois National Guard 2020 and completed his Master’s in the Human Resources Development program here at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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