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Seaver College Career Center Staff

Meet The Staff

Marla Pontrelli, Director of Career Education and Coaching

Marla Pontrelli serves as the Director of Career Coaching and Education as well as the Industry Specialist for non-profit, social services, and ministry. She guides students and alumni in all stages of their career development from a goal-oriented and strengths-based approach. She seeks to connect Pepperdine's vast network of faculty, employers, and mentors to provide a diverse range of valuable professional opportunities. Marla holds a master's degree in counseling psychology and has a background in career counseling, teaching, and research in higher education.


Nancy Shatzer, Industry Specialist

Nancy has served in the Seaver College Career Center, first as the internship coordinator, and now as the Arts, Communication, Entertainment and Media Industry Specialist. She has over 18 years of career services experience working with faculty, employers, students, and alumni. Her current work includes making alumni/employer connections and assisting students/alumni with a career planning framework specifically preparing Pepperdine Waves to compete professionally locally, nationally and around the world. In addition, she has served the California Internship and Work Experience Association as conference chair, secretary, president, and past president. Her Ph.D. in Education and Organizational Leadership is from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests include internship variables that affect experiential learning outcomes as well as career development theory and assessments.


Christine Gist, Industry Specialist

Christine graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a BS in Management and a MS in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management. She also holds a Career Coaching Intensive certificate from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Christine serves as the Industry Specialist for Business and has over 10 years of experience in career advising working with students, alumni, and employers. Her advising experience ranges across various career fields including business management, accounting and human resources. She also enjoys volunteering her time with non-profit organizations providing guidance and support with resume reviews and mock interviews.


Yeneba Smith, Industry Specialist

Yeneba is a career development professional with a strong commitment to serving the needs of young adults and early careerists. Yeneba brings 10 years of career coaching experience in higher education, six years in teaching, and over eight years as a professional resume writer for professionals from various industries and backgrounds. She is skilled in individual coaching, workshop facilitation and design, writing, teaching, and speaking. She has also held ministry roles as an evangelist and worship leader alongside her career. Yeneba is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Illinois with a BA in English/Writing ('00) and is thrilled to serve the Pepperdine community.


Ryan Groves, Director of Strategic Employer Partnerships

Ryan is an experienced entrepreneur with a a background in non-profit, consulting, talent acquisition, and tech. His first company, Wishing Well, worked with students at more than 50 schools across the US to provide clean water to 40,000 people. Ryan has been a speaker at the Creativity World Forum, TEDx, and dozens of universities across the country, including Yale. As Director of Strategic Employer Partnerships, Ryan works closely with the Seaver Career Center team to create relationships and opportunities with Pepperdine's core employer group. Ryan holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary studies from Oklahoma Christian University ('11) and a Masters in Social Entrepreneurship & Change from Pepperdine University ('15).


Maile Hetherington, Assistant Director of Programs and Partnerships

Maile graduated as Magna Cum Laude from Sacred Heart University with a B.A. in Media Studies and Digital Culture, and an M.A. in Digital Media Production Communications. Maile comes from a background of film, television and video production and has been working at Pepperdine for over 3 years. She serves as the Manager of Programs and Partnerships for the Seaver College Career Center.


Madelline Abourched, Office Manager

Madelline is an Azusa Pacific University graduate with a B.A. in Sociology and an emphasis in Psychology. She joined the Seaver Career Center team in the fall of 2015 as the Office Manager and finds joy in serving the Pepperdine community through the resources that the Career Center offers. Her various responsibilities include supervising student staff, data accuracy and reporting, managing the Career Center's online platform Handshake, and reconciling office finances. Madelline will complete her Master's degree in Organizational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2019.



Sarah Dillion, Marketing and Events Manager

Sarah Dillion is the Marketing and Events Manager for the Seaver College Career Center. Before relocating to California, Sarah served as the Public Affairs Director for the Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs where she managed the marketing, communications, and event planning for the state agency that serves Arkansas' nearly 250,000 Veterans. Sarah graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a BA and an MFA in Digital Filmmaking. She has written and directed several award-winning short films that have screened in festivals across the country.