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 caree
r 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 Zike – 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.

Student Staff

13241335_10206440043746576_8687835366323256373_nBrian Crist

Brian is an Army veteran returning to the University of Washington to complete his bachelor’s degree.  He served from 2011-2015 as an indirect fire infantryman in the 1st Infantry Division.  He served two combat deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, one to Afghanistan and one with the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. 

Brian is attending the Jackson School of International Studies, and will be pursuing graduate school following his undergraduate work.


Mike Grenkavich

Mike is an Army Veteran, currently enrolled in the University of Washington as  a Political Science Undergraduate. His three years at the UW has provided him with the knowledge to guide other veterans to resources and support throughout campus. He is a senior and in his final year. He enjoys spending time with his brother who is also a student veteran at the UW. He loves movies, Star Wars, snowboarding, camping and sailing. Never get between him and his Star Wars.

Mike served as a Forward Observer in the Army with 2nd Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade, 1st Battalion 23rd Infantry “Tomahawks”, Apache Company. He served overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2006 to 2007 deployed 15 months. He left the Army in 2009.

Christian Jamieson

Christian is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a cyber network specialist in the Headquarters and Support Company of the 6th Engineering Support Battalion.

Christian is a transfer student from Clark College and is working on an undergraduate degree in political science. After graduation, Christian will be seeking an active duty commission with the Marine Corps.




KonanKonan Kile

Konan is a Navy veteran who served as a nuclear machinist mate from 2001 to 2012. During his time in, he served aboard the USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) in Bangor, WA and as an instructor at the Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU) in Ballston Spa, NY.

After separating from the Navy, Konan worked in the oil industry servicing emissions control equipment. Today, Konan is now working towards his B.A. in Economics and lives with his wife and two boys in Gig Harbor.

Alberto Melendez

Alberto is a transfer from Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood, Washington and is a sophomore studying Geographic Information Systems. Although not a veteran, Alberto is an Air Force ROTC cadet within 910th Detachment Wing at the University of Washington. He enjoys listening to the veterans that enter the office, in hopes that their knowledge and experience will be beneficial to him as a military officer.

Alberto comes from a military family with his father having served 20 years in the U.S. Army and his older brother currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. His interests include hiking, comics, films, and exploring the city of Seattle.

JamesJames Ng – Outdoor Recreation

James is a Navy veterans where he was an Aviation Survival Support Equipment Man from 2010 to 2015. Stationed in Whidbey Island, WA, James assured the quality and performance of aircraft survival gear as well as led instruction on utilizing said gear upon ejection. While attached to CVN-75 for a nine month deployment in The Gulf, James performed his duties while simultaneously led functional fitness instruction to ensure physical readiness for all sailors and marines onboard.

Upon separating, James transferred to Columbia Basin Community College then to the University of Washington to finish his undergraduate in Political Science. His pastimes include: whitewater kayaking, scuba diving, mountaineering, hiking, and standup paddle boarding. As the Veteran Life’s Outdoor Leader, he hopes to be able to bring vets from all walks of life to explore and enjoy the abundant amount of beautiful recreational activities found in the great PNW!


Ying Ye

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. 



Emo – Service Dawg

Emo is an 11 year-old black lab, border collie mix who is extremely well loved by her family and friends. After her owner underwent a series of major operations and developed PTSD and anxiety with other physical disabilities, Emo began her training to become a service dog. She now serves her owner in both a physical and psychological capacity. Emo’s favorite part of her job is when she gets to spend the day at the Student Veteran Life office where she gets pets and snuggles with any and all student veterans. If you love dogs and want to spend some time with Emo, stop by the office.


Charlie – Service Dawg

Charlie, the youngest and newest edition to our staff, is a 1 year-old golden retriever service dog in training. Charlie loves people and spending time with her veterans and their families. Over time, Charlie will transition to a full-time PTSD service dog but, currently, she splits time in the office with Emo. Charlie’s favorite part of her job is playing with veterans and their families, sneaking out of the office to visit her neighbors, and learning new tricks for treats.