Meet Our Admissions Team

Admissions Deans and Directors

Melissa Chastain, PhD

Dean, Enrollment Management & Strategic Initiatives

Melissa Chastain

Dr. Melissa Chastain joined Spalding University in 2004. Her higher education experience includes academic leadership, enrollment management, recruitment, new program and partnership development.

At Spalding, she is a tenured faculty member in the School of Communication, has served as Chair for the School of Communication, Associate Dean for the College of Social Sciences & Humanities and is currently the Dean of Enrollment Management and Strategic Initiatives with responsibility for Admissions, Financial Aid and Marketing & Communications.

Chastain is Chairman of the Kentucky Authority for Educational Television (KET) and the Kentucky Educational Television Foundation.  She is currently Past President of the Kentucky Communication Association and has served as President for National Association Women’s Business Owners KY Foundation and the Association of Communication Administration.  She is a journal reviewer for the Kentucky Communication Journal and the Journal for Communication Administration.

Additional accomplishments include Business First’s 20 People to Know in Education & Workforce Development, the Lumina Foundation’s Learning Outcomes Project and keynote address on Edith Stein and the Rhetoric of Responsibility.

Chastain holds a PhD in Communication, Duquesne University; MA in English Literature & Theory, Duquesne University; and BA in English Literature, Westminster College.

Jill Gaines, MSBC

Director of Admissions, Community Partnership Development

Jill earned her BS in Business Administration and Accounting at Spalding University and went on to earn her MS in Business Communication with a concentration in Non-Profit Management. In addition, she completed all of her degrees as a non-traditional adult learner. She is a proponent of lifelong learning and has the privilege of working with professional adults in both undergraduate and graduate programs at Spalding University. Jill prides herself in promoting and empowering women both professionally and personally. She is on the Associate Board of Maryhurst and hopes to make a difference in meeting the needs for the kiddos at Maryhurst. Jill is graduate and active member of the Leadership Louisville community. She also serves on the Alumna Association Board at Assumption High School in Louisville, Ky.

Maria Bella Della

Associate Director of Admissions

Maria Bella DellaMaria loves sharing her passion for higher education with her students and colleagues. She has worked at Spalding University since 2017. She was the founder of Spalding's first Student Ambassador Program and helps coordinate group and individual visits to campus. She says, "Speaking with our students on campus gives me more and more pride for our University every day. These students will truly change the world."

Admissions Counselors

Jessica Coryell

Senior Admissions Counselor

Jessica CoryellJessica Coryell earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Administration and Advertising in 2018. After finishing her degree she participated in the Disney College Program. She grew up just across the river in New Albany, Indiana, and has always considered Louisville to be her home. Jessica is a Senior Transfer Admissions Counselor and enjoys working with her students who are looking to switch universities or adult students looking to finish their degree. Jessica is passionate about connecting with her students and helping them achieve their academic goals.

Jeff Dickson

Online Enrollment Navigator

Jeff DicksonJeff has worked in higher education since 2018 and is experienced in both admissions and academic advising. Jeff works primarily with online and transfer students which is a natural fit as he completed his undergraduate degree as a transfer student and his graduate degree as an online, non-traditional student while working full time. Jeff believes strongly in Spalding’s mission and is passionate about helping his students earn their degrees and achieve their goals.

Zack Johnson

Digital Recruiter

Zack JohnsonZack earned his BA in Communication with a minor in Journalism and has worked in higher education since graduating. He first started his higher education career working in the Alumni Relations and Annual Giving side working as a gift officer, alumni program manager, direct mail, and email appeal writer and as a phonathon coordinator. Later on, he moved over to the admissions side of higher education as an admissions counselor working with online undergrad and graduate students on achieving their educational and professional goals. When Zack isn’t working he loves traveling, reading, baking, hanging out with his husband and their cat and dog.

Samantha Key

Admissions Counselor

Samantha KeySammy graduated college in 2021 with a degree in Psychology and has a passion for education. She is eager to begin her career in higher education. Her goal is to help students graduate and earn their degree so they can pursue their aspirations and live life to the fullest.

Joyce Lee

Admissions Counselor

Joyce Lee

Joyce has been working in higher education since she graduated from college in 2019. She is a lifelong learner and advocate for others pursing their dreams of attending college and obtaining their undergraduate degree. She loves working with incoming students and their families, helping them find the school that is their perfect fit.  She enjoys helping others in any way possible to make the college enrollment process smooth. She does not believe there is any such thing as a dumb question and encourages families to think through every aspect of their college decision.

Chelsea Richardson, BA

Admissions Counselor, Success Coach

Chelsea RichardsonChelsea is a 2015 Graduate with a Bachelors in Public Relations and a Minor in Communication. Chelsea is also a member of the Kentucky Association for College Admission Counseling (KYACAC). She is on the Session Proposal and Fundraising Committees for KYACAC. When Chelsea isn’t on a KYACAC committee she is serving as the current Alumnae Relations Advisor for the Gamma Beta Chapter of Delta Zeta. Chelsea’s favorite aspect of Spalding University is the 6 week block schedule, she believes it really benefits and helps our student’s time management! Lastly, Chelsea enjoys getting to know her students even more when she is serving as a Success Coach for Spalding!

Mary Ann Seger

Transfer Admissions Counselor

Mary Ann SegerMary Ann's numerous years experience in enrollment service departments within the Spalding Community affords her the opportunity to effectively guide lifelong learners as they prepare their return to school. Her experience as a transfer student to Spalding from Jefferson Community and Technical College, paired with over 14 years customer service, benefits those she serves. As a proud member of Team Admissions, Mary Ann knows the challenges adult students face as they strive to balance their education, work and home life. She stands ready to assist and advocate for all whom she encounters as they continue educational journey at Spalding University.


Elizabeth Simmons

Data Processing Specialist

Elizabeth SimmonsElizabeth has worked in the field of higher education for over 17 years, 15 of those have been with Spalding University. Her attention to detail and orderly manner is what keeps the day to day process of gathering and maintaining the student’s information seamless, during their application process. She prides herself on accuracy and swiftness, as she knows the process of applying to college can be an anxious time for anyone. Elizabeth is proud to be an Admissions team member and all that she has helped them achieve during her time with them, and looks forward to many more.