Meet the OCEL Staff

Professional Staff

Jeffrey Rathlef
Director for Community-Engaged Learning

Jeffrey Rathlef
Jeffrey Rathlef is the Director of Community-Engaged Learning at SRU. He earned a B.S. in Horticulture, a B.A. in History from Kansas State University; and an M.A. in International Affairs (Latin American Studies), and M.A. in Cultural Studies in Education from Ohio University. Jeffrey’s prior experiences include serving as a rural community development volunteer in Ecuador with the U.S. Peace Corps, Assistant Director for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at World Learning's division of study abroad (SIT), and the Director for Community-Based Service and Learning at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Under his leadership, Gustavus Adolphus College earned the 2015 recognition by the Carnegie Foundation as a classified community engaged campus. In his current role at SRU, Jeffrey's achievements include assisting the university with a successful 2020 Carnegie community Engagement Classification, the stewardship of faculty learning communities, the development and execution of student service and leadership programs, and the institutionalization of diverse community engagement practices in support of university-community partnerships and engagement.

Graduate Assistants

Meizhen Belko (She/Her/Hers)
RockServe Graduate Assistant

Meizhen Belko is the RockServe graduate assistant who manages and oversees SRU’s digital community engagement platform that hosts and onbaords community service opportunities for Slippery Rock students. She is a first-year graduate student earning her master’s degree in school counseling. She received her undergraduate degree at SRU with a major in psychology. She enjoys working in the OCEL office because of the opportunities to make meaningful connections with all the other staff members and community, as well as grow her own professional skills as she continues to supervise and collaborate with faculty, staff, and students. “I am eager to help students create their own civic engagement journey and create a difference within the community!”

Student Staff

Gabriella Palmer (She/her/hers)
Senior Strategic Communications Coordinator 

Gabriella Palmer is the Strategic Communication Coordinator. She is a senior Integrated Marketing Communications major. In this role, she will implement strategic marketing and communication strategies for specific program area targets and goals within the OCEL’s communications agenda. Gabriella is excited to highlight the many service opportunities and events available to students through RockServe and OCEL in accordance with their mission of life, citizenship, and cultivating civic identity.