Discovery Scholars Program

Home » dsp » Meet Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

DSP staff member Phaedra WhitePhaedra White Abbott

Phaedra has been employed at The University of Texas at Austin since 2001 and has been with the School of Undergraduate Studies since its inception. She received her B.A. in music education from Louisiana State University and an M.Ed. in college student personnel from Loyola University Chicago. She has spent her entire professional career working with college and post-graduate students and loves assisting students in getting the maximum out of their educational experience. Phaedra was raised in Tallahassee, Florida, and loves to travel and experience different cultures.

DSP staff member Kelsey HowardKelsey Howard
Student Development Specialist

Kelsey Howard attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and graduated in 2018 with a B.A. in religion and a minor in music. Upon graduation, she moved to Denver, Colorado, to begin work at Denver Seminary where she studied Youth and Family Ministry and Counseling. She decided to pursue her true passion for students and is currently attending Angelo State University Online to obtain her M.Ed. in student development and leadership. Kelsey is excited to be working with the amazing DSP team and cannot wait to see what the future holds!

DSP staff member Olyvia MoriartyOlyvia Moriarty
Student Development Specialist

Olyvia graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2015, where she received a B.A. in Spanish literature and culture and minored in women’s and gender studies. Upon graduating, Olyvia began working as a student services associate in UNCC’s business advising office before moving to Austin in 2016, where she began working as an administrative associate for the Discovery Scholars Program. Currently a college life coach for DSP, Olyvia enjoys the sense of community inherent to student affairs work.

Bryan Russell Bryan Russell
Student Development Specialist

Bryan is a student development specialist for the Discovery Scholars Program. He provides individual academic counseling and helps students develop essential learning skills. Prior to joining the Discovery Scholars staff, Bryan worked as an assistant instructor for UT, where he taught courses in Native American and Mexican American literature as well as in rhetoric and writing. He also worked as a newspaper reporter in West Texas and worked in media relations for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Bryan studied journalism and English at Angelo State University, where he earned his B.A and M.A. He earned a Ph.D. from UT in English with a focus on indigenous studies.

Niko Valentine Niko Valentine
Administrative Associate

Niko graduated from UT Austin in spring 2019, where they received a B.A. in government and Liberal Arts Honors. As a student, they worked in the preservation department at the Harry Ransom Center. Niko is thankful to have found their place on the DSP team and excited to work with students directly.

Zach Yuan
Student Development Specialist

Zach grew up in Beijing, China, and completed his B.S in packaging science at Michigan State University in 2016. From there, he worked to support international students at MSU through his work with a non-profit for 2 years. After moving to Austin in 2018, he worked at Austin Community College. Zach joined the DSP team in 2020 and is excited to work with the team and the students!