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Welcome to Student Life! Life outside the college classroom can be as much a learning experience as inside the classroom. We endeavor to create a living learning environment for students whether they live in residence or commute to campus. We base our living learning philosophy around a wellness model. Students are encouraged to take advantage of all the programs that our various offices provide to the campus community. We want students to learn and grow in all facets of their lives.

Student Life provides the following opportunities for growth:

Meet the Staff of Student Life

Jenn Biederman

Jennifer Biederman - Administrative Assistant for Student Life

Jenn Biederman started out as the Administrative Assistant for Career Development in 2002, and since then has moved from Office Assistant to Administrative Assistant for Student Life. Her responsibilities vary on a day-to-day basis and include some of the following: assist students, answer incoming calls, photograph and issue University IDs and assist in the production and distribution of publications. Prior to working at UIU, she worked as a dental assistant for eight years. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband, Jon, and two children. Jenn also is an avid scrapbooker, cardmaker and has had several cards published.

Crystal Cole Crystal Cole - Director of Counseling and Wellness
Bachelor of Arts - University of Northern Iowa, Master of Social Work - University of Northern Iowa

Crystal is the new Director of Counseling and Wellness at Upper Iowa University. She comes to UIU with a background in healthcare.  Crystal is excited to work with students, staff, and faculty to help achieve individual success for students.  She enjoys spending time with her husband, Justin, and their two children.  She also enjoys being outdoors, reading, and running on occasion.  Crystal's primary responsibilities are counseling students both locally and from satellite locations as well as developing and implementing wellness programs and strategies for the UIU community.
LeAnn Cushion

LeAnn Cushion – Director of Campus Recreation
Bachelor of Science – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Master of Arts, Education – Upper Iowa University; Teaching License, Physical Education and Health – Concordia University

LeAnn has been at Upper Iowa University in the Recreation Department since 2011. She has worked in many training facilities and with many individuals helping them accomplish their fitness and health goals. She is very passionate about health and wellness and stays active by running, bicycling, personal training, teaching group fitness classes, and participating in outdoor events. LeAnn’s husband and two small daughters keep her on her toes. As the Director of Campus Recreation, she is responsible for the recreation center, pool, group fitness classes, personal trainers, club sports, and other events held at the Recreation Center.

 Daryl Grove

Daryl Grove - Assistant Dean of Student Life
Bachelor of Arts – Buena Vista University, Master of Education (M.Ed) – The Citadel, (In progress) Ed.D. – Grand Canyon University 

Daryl Grove has been a part of helping students achieve their personal best at UIU since 2002. He loves traveling, kayaking, being outdoors, coaching, and spending time with friends and family. Daryl lives in Fayette with his wife Marta and three little peacocks in training. Responsible for leadership, civic engagement, Peacocks for Progress, student activities, clubs and organizations, student government, and orientation Grove strives to empower students and provide useful, helpful and fun opportunities to the campus community. 

 Jean Merkle

Jean Merkle - Dean of Student of Life
Bachelor of Arts, Communication – University of Minnesota, Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies Augustana College

Jean Merkle is the Dean of Students for Upper Iowa University. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Communication from the University of Minnesota, Morris and Master's Degree from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jean arrived at Upper Iowa University in 2003 and has been in the field of Higher Education since 1994. She has served in multiple capacities of Student Development throughout her 16 year career; Residence Life, First Year Experience, Career Services, Security, and Student Activities. Jean's current responsibilities include being the Director of Residence Life and Security. Jean is married to Jeff Merkle and has 3 children and resides in Fayette. 

 Nate Post

Nate Post, Residence Area Coordinator 
Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice – University of Dubuque

Nate Post is the Residence Area Coordinator for Garbee Hall. Nate graduated from the University of Dubuque with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. Nate supervises the RA staff in Garbee Hall and Hofmaster. Nate enlisted in the Iowa National Guard at 17 and served over eight years. Recently discharged from the National Guard, Nate is excited to serve the residents and students of Upper Iowa University. Nate is originally from Fayette, Iowa and is very excited to work in his home town.