Meet Our Staff

Professional Staff

11188253_10207019390269103_2061555660808458335_n-2Dr. Samantha Powers – Director

Sam Powers is the Director of Student Veteran Life at the University of Washington. She provides oversight and management of hiring, development of new programs, and centralization of existing services and resources available to UW student veterans. She provides outreach and collaborates with internal and external constituents.

Sam is a combat veteran of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations where she served as an Aircraft Maintenance officer on the C-130 Gunship Spectres. Sam served in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. She began her post-military career in the field of higher education working in Facilities/Physical Plant Operations as an administrative manager. She has additional experience in Continuing Education and Customized Training. Most recently, she was the Director of the Washington State Veterans Training Support Center where she provided and delivered trainings on veteran-related topics in higher education, veteran best practices, and invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder to Washington State agencies. She volunteers for a number of veterans organizations in Washington State as a member and officer and is an adjunct professor at various higher education institutions across the state and nation.

Sam holds a B.A. in Military History from Virginia Tech, an M.A. in International Relations from University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Old Dominion University.

Lindsay Zike

Lindsay Church – Assistant Director

Lindsay is a Navy veteran turned graduate student.  She served from 2008 to 2012 as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive (Linguist). During her time in the service, she attended language school at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA where she learned Persian-Farsi. After spending two years at a cyber intelligence command, she left the Navy and returned home to Seattle. 

In 2012, Lindsay began her journey at the University of Washington as an undergraduate in the Near Eastern Language and Civilization (NELC) Department where she got her BA in NELC and Comparative Islamic Studies in 2014. After getting her BA, Lindsay went on to attend graduate school in the Jackson School of International Studies at UW where she received her MA with a focus on the Middle East.


Dr. Laura Boye – Veteran Support Psychologist

Dr. Laura Boye is a recent graduate of the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium in Palo Alto, CA, where she earned her doctorate in clinical psychology. Prior to her training in clinical psychology, Dr. Boye also received a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Lutheran University. She comes to the UW after having spent most of the past ten years working with active duty military and veteran populations. As the spouse of veteran, Dr. Boye is also personally familiar with the unique characteristics of military culture, and with the transitions and challenges student veterans face in an academia. Dr. Boye has received specialized training in trauma-focused therapies, and has additional clinical interests in suicide prevention, cognitive-behavioral therapies, and clinical hypnosis. She is excited to be a part of the UW campus and veteran communities, and is looking forward to getting to know student veterans and providing them with quality mental health care services.


Student Staff

Travis Bright – Veteran Peer Mentor

Travis served in the Air Force as an Aircraft Hydraulic Journeyman from 2013-2017. Travis was stationed at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana where he was a member of the first ever Bomber Hydraulic Centralized Repair Facility. During this time, he specialized in overhauling components from the B-1, B-2, and B-52.


Originally from Southwest Washington, Travis was thrilled to come back home to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and begin his journey at the University of Washington. Currently, he is pursuing a degree in Music Education with the hopes of teaching after he graduates.


Nora Burnes – Veteran Peer Mentor

Nora is an Army Veteran and philosophy undergraduate at the University of Washington. Born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, she enlisted in 2006 as a medic and is currently a cadet with the UW Army ROTC program. Nora will commission into the Army Reserves in 2018 as an Adjutant General officer and plans to pursue a career in the Reserves as a Civil Affairs officer. Nora stays busy with her two children, aged 7 and 2, and plans to continue working for and with veterans in public policy.



Adam Fulton – Veteran Peer Mentor

Adam is a Army veteran and undergraduate student studying Medical Anthropology and Global Health.  He was raised in Southern California, and served from 2006 to 2013 as a Medic with the 1st Battalion 17th Infantry Regiment out of Ft.Lewis, WA; he also served as an NCOIC at the Wounded Warrior Clinic at Ft. Sam Houston, TX.  He deployed to Afghanistan in 2009-2010 and served as a line medic.  Adam will graduate this fall, and intends on pursuing his Masters in Social Work as well as his Masters in Public Health starting in the fall of 2018.



Shannon Gatta-  Veteran Peer Mentor

Shannon is serving with the Army National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst while earning her Bachelor’s Degrees in both Informatics and Mathematics at the University of Washington. She’s a recent transfer from Seattle Central College where she received her Associates Degree. Shannon has served for 5 years in the Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan as a Weapons Specialist attached to the 101st Airborne. She is a Texas native for a passion in data science, and moved to Seattle in 2015 to attend UW and continue her studies.


Steven Lester – Veteran Peer Mentor

Steven is a Marine Corps veteran and undergraduate student studying Law, Societies and Justice and Political Science. Born and raised in the Seattle area, Steven served four years from 2011 to 2014 as an Artilleryman with 1st Battalion, 12th Marines stationed on Oahu, Hawaii. He did two deployments throughout the Pacific, as well as numerous brief training exercises to various other countries. He will graduate this spring, and intends on beginning law school shortly after.

Charlene Vasquez – Intersectionality Representative

Charlene was born and raised in Southern California. She has served in the Navy since 2006 in both an active and reserve status. While active duty she deployed on different Naval vessels while being home based in Honolulu, Hawai’i. After switching to a reserve status, she stayed in Hawai’i to earn a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of Hawai’i. She moved to Seattle in 2016 to pursue a Masters in Marine and Environmental Affairs here at the University of Washington.




Brandon Villarreal – Veteran Peer Mentor

Brandon is an Army veteran and graduate student studying Supply Chain Management at the Foster School of Business. After earning a B.A. in Political Science and commissioning into the Army an infantry officer from Texas Tech University, he was stationed at Ft. Benning, GA and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA from 2012-2016. During his tenure, Brandon served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Assistant S3, Logistics Platoon Leader, and Assistant S4.






Ying Ye – Office Manager

Ying is a Navy Veteran, currently a public health undergraduate at the University of Washington. He recently transferred from Bellevue College and is looking forward to pursue a career in nutrition or in the medical field.

Ying served from 2009-2015 as a nuclear electrician on the USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) out of Pearl Harbor. He has served on two Western Pacific and one Eastern Pacific Deployments.

Originally from Miami, Florida before serving in the United States Navy, Ying and his wife decided to move with their 2-year-old son to Seattle for a change in pace. 



Charlie – Service Dawg

Charlie, SVL’s cutest staff member, is a 2 year-old golden retriever service dog in training. Charlie loves people and spending time with her veterans and their families, chasing squirrels, and hanging out at the Intellectual House on campus. Over time, Charlie will transition to a full-time PTSD service dog and facility animal to SVL. Charlie’s favorite part of her job is playing with veterans and their families, chasing her favorite toy Lambchop, and learning new tricks for treats.