Meet Our Staff - The University of Tulsa

Meet Our Staff

Christy Caves

Executive Director

Melissa J. Radford

Associate Director

Abigail Hoffman

Assistant Director, Employer Services

cassandra crawford

Cassandra Crawford Ciglar

Career Coach - Health Sciences & Pre-Health

Dontae Doughty

Career Coach - Business

Brooke Smart

Brooke Smart

Career Coach - Arts and Sciences

christopher wong

Christopher Wong

Career Coach - Engineering and Natural Sciences

Kelli Collins

Experiential Learning Coordinator

Aaron Smith

Employer Development Coordinator

Siduri Purnell

Events & Media Coordinator

Rebecca McKee

Department Assistant

Christy Caves

Executive Director

Ms. Caves joined The University of Tulsa’s CaneCareers as Executive Director in July 2019.  Prior to that, she served as Associate Dean and Director of Professional Development at The University of Tulsa College of Law since August 2015.

In college, Ms. Caves was a scholar athlete at The University of Tulsa, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2002.  Ms. Caves returned to the University of Tulsa and received her Juris Doctor from the College of Law in 2005. Following law school, Ms. Caves worked in Tulsa as a litigation associate for Atkinson Haskins where she served as the firm’s Law Clerk and Licensed Legal Intern Coordinator.  Additionally, she managed her own law firm, Swift & Watkins, PLLC, where she provided clients with representation in a variety of litigation matters.

In 2010, Ms. Caves joined the staff at The University of Tulsa College of Law as Associate Director and Public Service Coordinator in the Professional Development Office, assisting with all career and professional development programs for TU Law students and alumni, as well as coordinating with potential employers.  In 2013, she became the inaugural Assistant Dean and Director of Experiential Learning where she coordinated the externship program, providing law students the opportunity to gain academic credit while working under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney or judge.  In 2015, Ms. Caves returned to the Professional Development Office as Associate Dean and Director and served in this role until commencing her current role as Executive Director of CaneCareers at The University of Tulsa.  Additionally, Ms. Caves is a volunteer attorney for Tulsa Lawyers for Children and is admitted to practice law in Oklahoma.

Melissa J. Radford

Associate Director

Ms. Radford joined The University of Tulsa’s CaneCareers as the Associate Director in August 2019.  Prior to that, she served as the Assistant Director of Strategic Engagement within the office of Alumni Engagement at The University of Tulsa.

In college, Ms. Radford attended the University of San Diego, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration.  Ms. Radford received her Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from The University of Tulsa. Following graduate school, Ms. Radford worked in Tulsa at American Electric Power (AEP) as an Organizational Development Consultant. She later joined The Williams Companies as a Management Consultant.

In 2017 Ms. Radford joined the staff at The University of Tulsa as Recruiting Coordinator in the Career Services office, assisting with all career and professional development programs for TU College of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Kendall College of Arts and Sciences, and Oxley College of Health Sciences students and alumni, as well as coordinating with potential employers.  In early 2018, she implemented a new career services database and platform, Handshake, that is the largest career community for students and recent graduates. In late 2018, Ms. Radford was recruited by TU’s Office of Alumni Engagement to lead and implement TU’s university-wide mentoring platform and program, utulsa connect.  In 2019, Ms. Radford returned to the newly reorganized career services office as the inaugural Associate Director of CaneCareers.

Abigail Hoffman

Assistant Director, Employer Services

Abby has dedicated her professional career to helping Tulsans achieve their greatest potential. Originally from Tulsa, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to earn her undergraduate degree in Human Services at Western Washington University. Upon graduation, Abby worked for several years in restaurant management in Austin, Texas. Knowing that she wanted to make an impact on her hometown, she and her husband moved to Tulsa where she joined Teach for America. Throughout her time with Teach for America, she taught 2nd grade Tulsans at Penn Elementary and grew to love the people of Tulsa even more.  After her term of service with Teach for America ended, Abby transitioned into working with local nonprofit agencies.

Abby spent several years working with the Tulsa Area United Way, helping to make funding allocation decisions to the 59 partner agencies throughout the greater Tulsa area. While serving on the Community Investment team she became connected with many local leaders and change-makers throughout the city,  including what would become her home for the next three years,  Reading Partners. Working as the Senior Operations Manager of AmeriCorps experience, Abby was in charge of recruitment, professional  development, and community connections. During this time, Abby also earned her master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Oklahoma.

In her spare time, Abby enjoys seeing live music (pre-pandemic), gardening, cooking, reading, and spending time with her daughter, Louisa. Abby joined CaneCareers in August of 2021 and is excited to be able to put her background in education and management to great use at The University of Tulsa.

Reign ‘Cane!

Cassandra Crawford Ciglar

Career Coach - Health Sciences & Pre-Health

Cassandra Crawford Ciglar, EdD, GCDF, RDN/LD, CPT, MT(ASCP), FAND is a Career Coach in CaneCareers at The University of Tulsa, serving students exploring careers in Health Sciences and Pre-Health Professions. Dr. Crawford Ciglar also serves as adjunct faculty for the Nursing Program in the Oxley College of Health Sciences.

Before coming to The University of Tulsa in fall 2019, Dr. Crawford Ciglar was an Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Northeastern State University where she performed duties as the Didactic Program Director of Dietetics for seven years, Department Chair of Health Professions for two years, and then as Executive Director, Office of Pre-Health Professions and Advising. Dr. Crawford Ciglar was honored with the Dr. Tiffany Mayer Legacy Award in spring 2016, at Northeastern State University. Individuals nominated for this award have served as mentors, going out of their way to help students both in and out of the classroom, and most importantly, creating a lasting impression on students that will carry on throughout the years.

Dr. Crawford Ciglar (affectionately known as Dr. C to her students) earned her EdD with an emphasis in Educational Leadership from the University of New England. She has a Master of Arts in Dietetics, a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, and an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology. She has 20 years of professional experience working in health professions as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Medical Technologist, Embryologist / Andrologist, and a Certified Personal Trainer.

Dr. C’s affinity for working with people and advising students both academically and professionally led to her decision to utilize her knowledge and expertise in both health professions and higher education to become a career coach and help students achieve their professional career goals working in the health sciences and health care industries. There is no greater job satisfaction than helping someone achieve their goals.

When she is not at work, Dr. C lives with her husband, also Dr. Ciglar, and their three dogs. She has two children, one is a student at Oklahoma State University, and the other is a student at The University of Tulsa. In her spare time, Dr. C enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, reading, walking her dogs, and has recently started yoga.

Dontae Doughty

Career Coach - Business

Dontae Doughty joined The University of Tulsa’s CaneCareers as a Career Coach for the Collins College of Business students in October 2020.

Mr. Doughty earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering with an additional major in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He also holds a Master of Science in Technical Management with a concentration in Organizational and Project Management from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Currently, Mr. Doughty is working towards a Doctor of Strategic Leadership with a focus in Leadership Coaching from Regent University in Virginia Beach.

Before joining TU, Mr. Doughty dedicated 12 years of service to the Department of Defense. He held roles as a Hardware-Software Engineer, Contract Officer Representative, Technical Recruiter, Hiring Manager, Development Program Deputy Director, and Engineering Branch Chief in his government service. Throughout these various positions, Mr. Doughty recruited, hired, and managed many undergraduate and graduate students from TU.

Mr. Doughty’s passion is to resource students and leaders for academic and professional resilience throughout their careers and life. Empowering students to achieve their goals through supportive systems is his metric of success. Mr. Doughty considers being a resource for resilience as his professional and personal mission, even working in his spare time with clients through his leadership consulting company.

Outside of work, Mr. Doughty lives with his wife in Owasso, OK. He enjoys weightlifting, traveling, cooking, music, and volunteering at his local church. Mr. Doughty believes serving as a TU Career Coach is among the greatest honors of his lifetime.

Brooke Smart

Career Coach - Arts and Sciences

Ms. Smart joined The University of Tulsa’s CaneCareers as a Career Coach for the students in the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences in September of 2019. Prior to that, she served as a high school math teacher and assistant softball coach at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

In college, Ms. Smart was a student athlete at TU, where she played softball while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics. Following her graduation from TU, she was given the opportunity to play softball in Germany, where she was tasked with planning and executing practices, coordinating lineups and helping with game time decisions. That following year, Ms. Smart was offered a position as the Assistant Softball Coach for The University of Tulsa program. In her coaching and playing tenure at TU, Ms. Smart helped lead the Golden Hurricane to nine regular season and conference championships. During that time, she earned a Master of Science in Math and Science Education.

In 2014, Ms. Smart put her higher education experience to use and went into the classroom at Charles Page High School. She taught a variety of mathematics classes including: Geometry, Algebra 2, Algebra 3, Pre-AP Trigonometry and AP Statistics, all while maintaining a key role as an Assistant Coach with the softball program at Sand Springs. The softball program earned the opportunity to host a home regional in all six of the seasons that Ms. Smart was coaching, as well as, five out of the six years qualifying for the state tournament. Outside of work, Ms. Smart is a volunteer with Lab Rescue OK, a non-profit dog rescue based out of Oklahoma. She also volunteers with its sister organization, TagOK, a non-profit that is aimed at providing free and low-cost pet ID tags with the goal of getting ahead of the overcrowded shelter population.

Christopher Wong

Career Coach - Engineering and Natural Sciences

Chris Wong joined The University of Tulsa’s CaneCareers as a Career Coach for the students in the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences in September 2019.

Mr. Wong earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.  He entered the petroleum refining industry as a Process Development and Field Services Engineer for Universal Oil Products and completed start-up and optimization engineering for eleven refineries in the United States and Europe.

In 1995, Chris and his family settled in Claremore, OK, and Chris managed capital projects for Allied Signal’s Catalyst Production Facility, where he had the opportunity to join and lead engineering teams that built new process lines in Shanghai, China; Florange, France; San Luis Potosi, Mexico; and Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  Next, he engineered modular process units for John Zink Company’s Fuel Vapor Control Division.  Mr. Wong also took an assignment as Senior Process Engineer for Orica USA, and their production of advanced explosives and detonation technologies for the mining industry.

In 2006, Mr. Wong earned the level of Black Belt in Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma, a rigorous statistics-and-design-tools training regimen for professionals in the manufacturing industry.  This honor allowed Chris to work as Continuous Improvement Engineer for steel and plastics manufacturing, as well as the production of ultra-high purity acids for the microelectronics industries. It was during this time that Chris found his calling to be a team motivator, mentor and technical coach.

Mr. Wong has taken to the country lifestyle on his small acreage in Claremore, where he and his family enjoy gardening, homebrewing, herbology for homeopathic remedies, equestrian activities, soapmaking, and other sustainable initiatives.

Kelli Collins

Experiential Learning Coordinator

Kelli comes to CaneCareers from Broken Arrow Public Schools where she was a biology and physical education instructor for 11 years.  From 2016-2019 she was also the varsity tennis coach for Broken Arrow.  In addition to her teaching and coaching responsibilities, Kelli was the head tennis professional at Forest Ridge Golf and Country Club in Broken Arrow from 2015-2018.  In 2012, Kelli was named the Liberty Elementary site teacher of the year and a finalist for the Broken Arrow district.  Additionally, Kelli was inducted into the Northeastern State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 where she played tennis from 1993-1996.  Mrs. Collins graduated from NSU with a degree in education.  In her role as Experiential Learning Coordinator, Kelli will help students find and/or create learning experiences outside of their classroom through job shadowing, volunteering, micro internships, internships, externships and a variety of other avenues.

Aaron Smith

Employer Development Coordinator

Mr. Smith joined The University of Tulsa’s CaneCareers as the Employer Development Coordinator in January 2021.

Mr. Smith graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2017 earning a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, majoring in Sports Management. Following his graduation from Oklahoma State, he decided to continue his academic career at The University of Oklahoma receiving his Master’s in Adult and Higher Education in 2019.

While at The University of Oklahoma, he worked as a graduate assistant in the Athletics Fundraising and Development department, The Sooner Club. As the Employer Development Coordinator, Mr. Smith will identify and recruit local, regional, and national employers to hire TU students and alumni.

Outside of work, he lives in Tulsa, OK. He enjoys spending time with his friends and family, exercising, trying new foods, traveling, music, and cheering on The Oklahoma City Thunder.

Siduri Purnell

Events & Media Coordinator

Siduri Purnell joined The University of Tulsa’s CaneCareers as the Events and Media Coordinator in August 2021.

Ms. Purnell is a Chicago native, new to the Tulsa area.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations with a minor in Fashion from Ball State University in 2017. She’s also currently working on her Master’s in Human Resource Management from Capella University.

Before relocating to Tulsa, Ms. Purnell worked as the Director of Marketing for an events company, Poppin Events Company, located in Chicago.  As Marketing Director, Ms. Purnell created, planned and executed events, created marketing material, and managed social media.

Outside of work, Ms. Purnell lives in Broken Arrow, OK.  She enjoys traveling, attending concerts, shopping, and spending time with loved ones.

Rebecca McKee

Department Assistant

Ms. McKee joined CaneCareers as the Department Assistant in August of 2021.

 

Ms. McKee graduated with a bachelor’s in English and creative writing and a certificate in entrepreneurial management from the University of Iowa in 2019. During that time, she served as a business tutor for student athletes and as an editor for the student-run Iowa Chapbook Prize competition. Following graduation, she traveled across the country twice, gathering a variety of skills and experiences while serving as everything from human resources at a specialty paperboard manufacturer to the manager of a flea market.

 

While serving as a tutor, Ms. McKee realized her love of higher education, and she became passionate about helping students navigate the college sphere, discover their passions, and move onto successful careers. She is thrilled to serve both the CaneCareers and Academic Advising departments at TU.

 

In her free time, Ms. McKee enjoys reading, writing, and working with her hands. She is the author of seven publications and has received two awards for her writing. Her most recent publication can be found in apt. When she isn’t struggling for inspiration, she can be found herding three-legged cats with her husband at their home in Owasso.