Meet the Student Support Staff


Janet Holtfreter serves as an Academic Advisor and Operations Manager of Student Support Services. Originally from Deerfield Beach, FL, Ms. Holtfreter came to Ave Maria University as a student-athlete.  Her enthusiasm, competitive spirit, and outstanding sportsmanship contributed mightily to the successful start of AMU’s women’s softball team. During her undergraduate years, Janet served as a Resident Assistant and was instrumental in establishing Ave’s Athletic Ministry Program.  Importantly, as a student, Janet came to recognize the value of academic success; she graduated in 2013, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Theology. Upon graduating, Ms. Holtfreter was recruited by the athletic department to be the pitching coach for the Lady Gyrenes.  At the same time, she  joined the Financial Aid staff, guiding families through the Financial Aid process.  Ms. Holtfreter loves interacting with students. Now she feels blessed to be advising students regarding academics and the many other aspects of undergraduate life at AMU.  Apart from work, Ms. Holtfreter enjoys cooking, working out, fishing, and spending time with family and friends.

Maria Padron is the newest member of our Student Support Services team.  Born in Argentina, Ms. Padron immigrated as a small child to the United States with her parents, settling first in Wisconsin, then North Dakota, and finally in the town of Ave Maria, Florida where she has lived for the last ten years.  Ms. Padron graduated from Ave Maria University’s honors program, magna cum laude, as a psychology major with minors in theology and catechetics.  “Mia,” as she is known to family and friends, further distinguished herself at AMU as a Mother Teresa scholar, studying the spirituality of “the Saint of Calcutta,” and serving as a tutor to nearby disadvantaged children. At present, Ms. Padron leads a youth group at a local parish. With her engaging demeanor and record of academic success, Ms. Padron is well prepared and enthusiastic about guiding students through the varied challenges that await students at Ave Maria University.

Lawrence Doherty is in his fourth year at AMU, now serving as an academic advisor with Student Support Services.  He works mostly with incoming students who have not yet declared a major.  Mr. Doherty is from Philadelphia, PA where he earned graduate degrees in theology, family therapy, and law.  He has taught in Catholic high schools and colleges, provided clinical counseling to individuals, couples, and families, and practiced law for many years.  He enjoys discussing with AMU students their abilities, goals, academic interests, and related majors.  He motivates students by highlighting the importance and relevance of a liberal arts education and the value of managing time, setting goals, and writing well.  Mr. Doherty encourages students to take care of themselves intellectually, physically, socially, etc. as a way of achieving academic success, personal development and overall satisfaction during their college years.

Sharon O’Reilly was born and raised in Chicago Heights, Illinois.  She attended many a game at Wrigley Field and remains an avid Chicago Cubs fan. Working in the public service sector in Chicago created in Ms. O’Reilly an interest in social work; she went on to earn BSW and MSW degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  In addition, she earned certification in family counseling from The Family Institute of Northwestern University.  Ms. O’Reilly is licensed as a clinical social worker in Florida and Illinois. Her professional experience spans the areas of child welfare, social service, and mental health.  Ms. O’Reilly began working with AMU’s Student Support Services in 2005.  She now serves as Director of Adaptive Services, providing accommodations for students with documented disabilities.