Meet the Staff

Jerry WrightJerry Wright is the Director of Student Support Services at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. He has been in his current position for the past 16 years. He has also held TRiO positions as the Assistant Director of Upward Bound at NIU and Elgin Community College and Counselor with the Educational Talent search Program at Northeastern Illinois University. He holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Western Illinois University and a Bachelors' Degree in Community Health from Eastern Illinois University.

Jerry served as President of the Illinois Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (ILAEOPP) in 2000 and is a current Executive Board member. In 2006, Jerry was inducted into the Eastern Illinois Athletic Hall of Fame for his football playing career. He is the Treasurer of the DeKalb Youth Football League and Pastor of The Rock Christian Church in DeKalb.


Ramona WaltonRamona Walton-Fykes is an Academic Counselor with Northern Illinois University, in Student Support Service department. Ramona’s introduction to the field of Counseling occurred in one of her first employment placements after receiving her Bachelors degree from Northern Illinois University. Ramona worked for two years as a program coordinator, with Upward Bound in 2000. Her role was to facilitate training for new staff. She administrated Individual Educational Plans for High School Students. Other duties consisted of developing workshops, class instructions, tutoring, and counseling sessions.

Later she furthers her education and received her Masters degree in Counseling with the emphasis in community and school counseling from Northern Illinois University. Ramona has worked in various departments at Northern Illinois University. In the Counseling Department, Ramona taught a three credit hour Career Development class. As a graduate student Ramona worked with the graduated school as a peer recruiter for the institution. In additional to Ramona’s experience with counseling she developed a pilot program designed to enhance academic performance for students who are transitioning to college and do not meet traditional academic admissions requirements for Educational Services and Programs (ESP-CHANCE), NIU.

Ramona’s Professional affiliations consist of faculty advisor for TRiO Association (student organization), College Parents’ Group, member of ASCA, American School Counseling Association, and ACA, American Counseling Association, and she is a committee member for NIU Judicial Board.

Ramona was raised in Chicago, IL. Ramona now lives with her husband and three children in DeKalb. Ramona has recently been honored by her sorority for program of the year and outstanding philanthropy (Raising and Giving). Something the audiences should know about Ramona is that her favorite color is Royal Blue and she has a diverse background working with people. Ramona is very excited and eager to work with the Student Support Services department utilizing the Change Management Model.


Genesis White

Genesis White is the Graduate Academic Counselor and Career Specialist of TRiO Student Support Services at Northern Illinois University. She teaches TRiO’s Career Planning course (CAHC 211). Genesis completed her B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University. Currently, she is pursuing her M.S.Ed. in counseling at NIU. Prior to coming to SSS, Genesis worked as a group home manager, employment specialist, and case manager at Association for Individual Development. She has a background in advocacy and support services for special needs and under-represented populations. Currently, Genesis serves as the staff advisor for NIU's TRiO Disability ALLy & Advocacy ASsociation (DALLAS). She believes in ALL students' ability.

Genesis is a proud member of Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP), Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education and National Black Graduate Student Association (NGBSA). She also serves on the Illinois TRiO Legislative Committee. Genesis enjoys international travel and her hobbies include playing sports, studying foreign language, reading, and spending time with family and friends.


LaBrian CarringtonLaBrian Carrington was born and raised in Elgin Illinois, where he was born the last of eight kids. His Mom also adopted three more kids and took in her brother’s oldest son which added to the Carrington family. Of all the children in the family he was the only one to graduate with a four year college degree. It was May of 2003, when he graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Art in General Studies.

Shortly after graduating LaBrian started his first career working in Student Support Services at Roosevelt University (RU) in June 2003. He has always enjoyed working in TRiO because it made him feel like home. He feels he grew up in TRiO. His mentor is Pastor Jerry Wright also the Director of SSS. Mr. Wright has shown how to positively influence young people by being available, open and honest. As a college student working in Student Support Services he has learned also how to lead young college leaders. There is where he developed the "MAKE IT HAPPEN" philosophy. His years as a college student had not always been the greatest; but he never quit.

It is great to have Mr. Carrington back at NIU since November of 2010. After working at RU for almost eight years, he had an opportunity to come back to Northern Illinois University to work in SSS, as an Academic Counselor, to a program that has shown him so much. And even now being at NIU Mr. Carrington makes it his priority to connect with as many students as he can. He sees the role SSS plays in the lives of our young people. If you are ever in a bind he has always had and continues to have an open door policy and all students are welcome to visit.


Rickey Layfield

Rickey Layfield is a current Graduate Assistant for Student Support Services. He focuses on programming and organizational development with the College Parents Group, Mentoring Valuable Peers and Trio Scholars. During his time as an undergraduate student at Northern Illinois University he was able to work on multiple projects and take lead in many organizations and committees. As a freshman, he helped create a non-for profit organization, Liberated Minds. As President of Liberated Minds Organization he was able to help engage students in community service, fundraising and programming. Additionally, Rickey gained experience with budgets ranging from $200- 4million dollars in various student organizations. Being blessed with the opportunity to serve as the President for Liberated Minds Organization, Campus Activities Board and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated Epsilon Phi chapter, Rickey has obtained the ability to adapt to different learning styles while finding the strengths of board members and using them to strengthen the entire organization. His experience with programming and leadership has added to his ability to become more solution orientated. This opportunity increased my conflict management skills. His problem solving capabilities have developed while planning week long events such as Homecoming, to serving as an advocate for students in judicial affairs.

Rickey Layfield is co-founder of “Campus Live Radio” and Liberated Minds Organization. He also organized a staff to revive "Lifeline Magazine" at Northern Illinois University. Some of his most important creations or implementations at Northern Illinois University are pushing the effort to build a computer lab in the Grant South Residence Hall, Creating the “Rep Your Org Program”, creating the “Black leadership Unity Banquet” and bringing the “Blacklight/glow in the dark party” to campus.