Meet Our Staff

Appointments can be scheduled with all CEC advisors through the online scheduling tool Starfish, found in your MyUW portal.

View advising availability for all CEC advisors

CEC Professional Staff

Audrey Cowling

Credentials: (she/her/hers)

Position title: Career Advisor

Schedule an appointment with Audrey through Starfish here

Audrey moved around a lot growing up and doesn’t consider any particular place her hometown. She has lived in Madison and worked at the Career Exploration Center since 2018. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Spanish from UW-Oshkosh, and a Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Marquette University. Prior to joining the CEC, she worked as an academic advisor at Purdue University for four years. 


In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, watching Netflix, and hanging out with her cat. Her favorite things about Madison are the Lakeshore Path and the great variety of local restaurants.

Claire Peters

Credentials: (she/her/hers)

Position title: Career Advisor

schedule an appointment with Claire through starfish here

Claire considers UW-Madison her second home, having grown up in and near Madison, earned  her undergraduate and master’s degrees here, and worked on campus for more than 20 years. She has also lived and worked in other parts of the country, including Yellowstone National Park for nine years. 


As an undecided and exploring student and young adult, Claire eventually realized that she could help others with their major and career exploration. Since earning her master’s degree in counseling, she has helped about a gazillion students talk through their major and career interests. 


In addition to helping students, she loves being with her daughter; watching movies and reading; and kayaking, hiking, biking, and snowshoeing. Her favorite things about Madison are all of the trees, and of course, the lakes.

Jonathon Ferguson

Credentials: (he/him/his)

Position title: Director

Schedule an appointment with Jon through Starfish here

Jonathon was born and raised on the southside of Chicago. In his teenage years, Jonathon’s family moved to the northwestern Chicago suburbs and upon high school graduation he began working as a full time associate, and later, a store leader in retail. This work experience helped him clarify his desire to help and talk with people from different backgrounds on a daily basis. To explore this realization further, Jonathon became a first-generation college student to continue learning more about himself, the world, and the professional opportunities he might enjoy most. 


Ultimately, Jonathon studied at William Rainey Harper College (A.A degree) and Northern Illinois University (B.A., MS.Ed) and discovered a passion for working with college students exploring their academic and career possibilities. He has been working in higher education since 2005. 

Michelle Jackson

Credentials: (she/her/hers)

Position title: Assistant Director

Schedule an appointment with Michelle through Starfish here

Michelle is from the Milwaukee area and moved to Madison, to attend UW-Madison for college. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and then completed her Masters Degree in Community Counseling from UW-Milwaukee. 


While in undergrad, Michelle worked with children on the autism spectrum, and then spent three years working in behavioral health where she provided counseling services to adolescents and adults with various anxiety and mood disorders, and eventually found her way to career counseling in the Career Exploration Center.  


Generally, Michelle can be found enjoying the Wisconsin outdoors – camping, hiking, biking and kayaking. In the winter she generally hibernates indoors and sits by the fire with Harry Potter. 


Favorite places in Madison: cozy study nooks on campus, like the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Rebecca Bradbury

Credentials: (she/her/hers)

Position title: Career Advisor

Appointments can be scheduled with Rebecca through Starfish.

Rebecca is originally from the south side of Chicago but has called Madison, WI home since 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College and a Masters Degree in Human Development from Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining the Career Exploration Center in 2014, she worked for over a decade in IT consulting and as a career counselor at Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University School of Business.


In her free time you can find her hanging out with her kids, taking long walks, reading books, drinking coffee, and scheming a future career as a flower farmer. 


Favorite thing(s) about Madison: The Olbrich botanical garden (it’s free!). Also, wandering around Madison neighborhoods and looking at people’s gardens (also free!).

CEC Communications

Marissa DeGroot

Credentials: (she/her/hers)

Position title: Coordinator of Campus-wide Advising & Career Services Communication


Marissa DeGroot coordinates communications efforts for the Office of Undergraduate Advising as well as the Career Exploration Center. Previously she served as the Public Relations Coordinator at Dane County Humane Society.