Staff Bios

Mendi Benigni, Instructional Technologist

Mendi is an Instructional Technologist and works primarily with the School of Education, Health & Human Performance.  She has a degree in International Relations from Roanoke College but has always loved computers.  So when an opportunity opened to become a Mac tech she couldn’t say no.  She’s been working in the computer/technology field since the early 90s and loves every minute of it, especially working with mobile and video technologies.  She is married to Vince Benigni, a professor in Communication, and has an awesome daughter who keeps her on her toes.

Zach Hartje, Director

Zach is the Director of Teaching, Learning and Technology.   Zach has a degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Dayton.  He has worked in multiple capacities within TLT over the past several years, serving as an Instructional Technologist and Assistant Director. He enjoys working with faculty to find ways to use technology to enhance the learning process. He has a 1 year old son who likes to keep him busy and on his feet outside of work. When he has free time he enjoys playing and watching a wide variety of sports and doing home DIY projects. Thanks to wonders of technology he has been able to watch every single Dayton basketball game over the past 8 years though being almost 700 miles away.  Goooooo Dayton Flyers!!!

Christopher Meshanko, Instructional Technologist

Chris Meshanko is an instructional technologist who works primarily with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has an education specialist degree in instructional technology, from the University of West Georgia, and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi. Chris also has a master’s in school counseling and bachelor’s in psychology, with a minor in sociology, from Valdosta State University. He loves testing emerging technologies and helping faculty select tools that engage students and enhance the learning experience. At home, Chris enjoys photography and spending time with his family.

Amy Ostrom, Instructional Technologist

Amy Ostrom is an Instructional Technologist who works primarily with the School of the Arts.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in Education and Theater from Erskine College.  She also has a Master’s plus 30 in Special Education, specializing in Educational Technology and Content Delivery from the University of South Carolina and is a Certified Distance Education Trainer.  She loves collaborating with faculty to find ways to integrate technology into the classroom and beyond to meet the needs of all learners.  At home, Amy enjoys hanging out with her husband, son, and two cats: Hawkeye and Honeycutt.

Laura Plotts, Instructional Technologist

Laura Plotts is an Instructional Technologist and works primarily with the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs.  She has a degree in English from the Ohio State University.  She started working with faculty as a sales representative for Harcourt Brace, where she helped integrate the publisher’s technology resources into their teaching.   She is married to Chris Warnick, an associate professor in English.

Jessica Smith, Instructional Technologist

Jessica is the newest member of the TLT team and works with the School of Business and Economics.  Jessica earned a Bachelors degree in Communication Studies from Longwood University followed by a Masters degree from Bowling Green State University.  After a year as a special events coordinator, Jessica entered the University of Tennessee to pursue her Doctoral degree which she received in 2010.  From 2010 to 2012, Jessica served as a lecturer for the School of Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee.  From 2012 to 2014, Jessica was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the College of Charleston.  As an instructor, Jessica dove headfirst into the world of education technology and hasn’t surfaced since!  She enjoys sharing her passion for tools and applications that will enhance engagement, deepen learning, increase efficacy, and empower both students and professors.  She enjoys British television shows, books by David Sedaris, music by Counting Crows, “slow jogging” in James Island County Park, and visiting the Marion Square Farmers Market.

Kaitlin Woodlief, Instructional Technologist

Kaitlin is an instructional technologist who works primarily with the School of Sciences and Mathematics. She has a PhD in Genetics and Genomics from Duke University, a Certificate in Teaching College Biology from Duke University, and degrees in biology and chemistry from University of Northern Iowa. Kaitlin enjoys learning about new technologies and helping faculty apply instructional tools to enhance student learning. She also teaches biology courses for the college in the evenings. Outside of work, Kaitlin spends her time running and exploring local restaurants with her husband.