Meet the Staff of Academic Services
Erika J. Smith, PhD, EdM: Dean of Academic Services
Erika has been a part of the Academic Services staff since 2000, and became the dean in July 2016. In this role, she oversees the cohesive network of peers, staff and faculty who provide academic advising and support services for undergraduate students. She has been publishing and presenting on issues related to college access and success for underrepresented students-- with a focus on youth in foster care since 2001, and is an affiliated researcher with Brandeis’ Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy. Erika holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University, where she matriculated as a Posse scholar (a merit leadership scholarship program that sends groups of students to top-tier colleges and universities), an EdM in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a PhD in Social Policy from Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Her time at Brandeis has also included appointments as Director of the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program, research assistant at the Heller School’s Center for Youth and Communities, mentor for the Posse program, research analyst for the Office of Planning and Institutional Research, lecturer at the Heller Graduate School, and ombudswoman.
Kathryn has worked for over ten years in higher education as Chair of the College Success 101 program and an Assistant Director of Admissions/Ethnic Minority Recruitment Coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University. College Success 101 is a collaborative among higher education professionals to improve college access for low income and first generation students in the Pittsburgh metro area. In this capacity, Kathryn engaged in strategic planning, budget management, partnership development, and coordination of workshops and presentations on behalf of the program. In addition, she has also served as an adjunct psychology instructor at various colleges in the Pittsburgh and Boston areas.
Kathryn holds a BA in Psychology and Africana Studies from the University of Notre Dame, an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a PhD in Higher Education Management from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education. Her research focuses on college access and transition for underserved and underrepresented students of color. She has presented her work at various professional conferences such as the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) as well as published multiple articles.
When Kathryn is not working, she helps with the youth at her church, enjoys spending quality time with her partner and their cat, likes to travel, and loves to watch Bollywood movies while eating her favorite dessert, rice kheer!
Leah George: Department Coordinator, SSSP
Leah George joined Academic Services in July 2014 as the Department Coordinator for the Student Support Services Program. Leah earned her BS in Economics from Suffolk University and an MBA in Marketing from Bentley University. While at Suffolk, Leah worked as a Research Economist at The Beacon Hill Institute, the University’s public policy research institute. Also, while completing her MBA, she worked as a Researcher in Bentley’s Advancement Services Office. She has recently reentered the workforce after staying home with her 2 children. In her “spare time” she enjoys hiking, biking and curling up with a good book.
Lisa Hardej: Associate Director of Academic Advising
Rage Hezekiah: Disabilities Services Specialist
Rage joined Academic Services in the Fall of 2015. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College, and a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Drew University. At Emerson, she taught First Year Writing and was recognized for her emphasis on collaborative learning, inclusive pedagogy, and outreach to students with a wide range of needs. This work earned her Emerson’s Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellowship. Rage is a published poet and outside work she enjoys writing, singing, practicing yoga, and exploring the woods.
Kerri Hoppe: Senior Department Coordinator
Kerri joined the Academic Services team in August 2014 as a Senior Department Coordinator. Prior to Brandeis, she served as the Graduate Fellow in the Writing Center at Merrimack College, where she also received her M.Ed. in Higher Education. At Merrimack she also served as a Graduate International Assistant and a member of the Student Conduct Board. Before coming to Massachusetts from Western NY, she obtained her M.S. in Inclusive Education from Nazareth College and taught English at the secondary level. Kerri also holds a B.A. in English and Theater from Muhlenberg College. Outside of work, she enjoys the Red Sox, traveling, musical theater, reading, watching television, and spending time with friends and family.
Katherine Dunn: Academic Advisor
Katie Julian joined Academic Services in February 2014 and previously worked as the Program Advisor for the Student Support Services Program. Katie earned her bachelor's degree in communications and her master's degree in higher education administration both from Boston College. She has worked in both academic affairs and student life and looks to support "the whole person" in advising. Her professional interests include the first year experience, supporting first-generation college students, and integrating academic advising and career development. In her free time, Katie enjoys following New England sports, trying new foods around Boston, running, and relaxing on Cape Cod, where she grew up working in her family's small pizza restaurant!
Brian Koslowski: Director of Academic Advising
Brian started off his career at Brandeis as a Community Development Coordinator (CDC) in Massell and Village Quads. As Director of Academic Advising, Brian is the academic advisor for students with last names beginning M-P. He coordinates the Brandeis Undergraduate Group Study (BUGS) program, and works closely with the English Language Program and the International Students and Scholars Office. He has a B.A. in Psychology and Communication and an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Brian has held positions in Residence Life, Admissions, Orientation, and Pre-College programs at UMass Amherst, NYU, and Brown University. Brian belongs to NACADA (The Global Community for Academic Advising) and is a member of the Emerging Leaders Program cohort 2013-2015. Brian is passionate about social justice education, college access, and student leadership. In his free time, Brian participates in bootcamp classes and teaches spinning (group cycling) in the greater Boston area.
Elena Lewis: Assistant Director, TRIO Student Support Services Program
Elena Lewis began working at Brandeis in June of 2004. Before her arrival to Brandeis she served as the Counseling Coordinator and Critical Thinking Instructor for Student Support Services at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA. She credits SSSP and the McNair TRIO programs as influential resources that guided her through her undergraduate degree from Westfield State University in Mass Communications. Elena earned her Master's degree in Sociology here at Brandeis where she researched gender, race, and class inequality and reconciliation efforts to promote equity in the U.S. For the past 10 years, her passion for working with students makes coming to work a privilege. She says, "I learn from students am inspired by them everyday." Aside from being a tech fanatic, watching movies, eating out, and collecting frogs are hobbies she enjoys in her spare time.
Julia joined the Academic Services team at Brandeis in 2012, and works with students whose last names begin with I-L. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she first discovered her passion for working with students in rural South Dakota, where she worked as a high school social studies teacher with Teach for America. Since 2006, she has worked at a range of institutions, from Portland Community College in Oregon to Harvard University and Bennington College in Vermont. At the same time she has developed a background in academic advising, study abroad advising, career services, and disability services. Julia holds a B.A. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Ed. M. in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her free time, Julia enjoys running, baking, road trips, and reading fiction.
Katy McLaughlin: Academic Advisor
Katy works with students whose last names begin with E-H and coordinates the Independent Interdisciplinary Major (IIM), which allows students the opportunity to develop a unique course of study. She joined the Academic Services team in 2010 as the SSSP Department Coordinator, and after a brief time away to pursue a master’s degree, she returned in 2014 as an Academic Advisor. Katy holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Tufts University and an Ed.M. in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Katy is particularly interested in issues related to college access and persistence, the first-year student experience, and helping students navigate the search for purpose and meaning. In her free time, Katy enjoys playing with her dogs Riley and Milo, strategy board games, knitting, reading both fiction and non-fiction, and exploring new places.
Desirae Mix: Program Manager, Disabilities Services and Support
Bio coming soon!
Meredith Monaghan: Director of Academic Fellowships
Meredith was a professor of Classics at Reed College and Boston College before coming to Brandeis as Director of Academic Fellowships in 2010. She earned an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. from Stanford, but her fondest memories are of her days as an undergraduate at Bowdoin College, where she met her husband Pete. She loves working directly with students, especially helping them to discern, and then achieve, their goals. She has lived in Greece and Italy, and before she became a mom she used to enjoy traveling, scuba diving, and snow-boarding. Now her adventures are of the more domestic variety: cooking, playing in the yard, and going to the library with daughter Lorelei and son Brandon.
Jennifer was a university Counselor and Part-time Faculty member in the School of Social Work at San José State University (SJSU) before arriving at Brandeis in Fall 2014. At SJSU, she created a campus-wide outreach program called GENERATE to support first-generation college students, which was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education. She has served as a research mentor to four TRiO McNair scholars. A first generation college student herself, Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Harvard University and a Master’s degree in Divinity at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. Jennifer also holds a Masters in Social Work and a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, where she completed her dissertation on first-generation college students and stressful circumstances. Jennifer loves music, spoken word poetry, knitting, and running, as well as spending time with her husband Richard, who is a stained glass artist, and her cat Willow.
Kerry Patenaude: Assistant Director, Disabilities Services and Support
Kerry joined the Academic Services team in 2011 as a Disabilities Specialist, where she provides individual academic support to students at Brandeis particularly as they transition from high school to their first year of college. She holds a B.A. in Psychology, an M.S. in Technology Management with a focus on Education, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Education at Lesley University, with a specialization in Adult Learning and a particular focus on learning differences and how learning happens in the brain. Prior to Brandeis, Kerry was the Assistant Director of Student Support Services at Boston University School of Medicine where her role included supporting all students in improving their study strategies and facilitating the process of obtaining accommodations for students with disabilities. Kerry has also taught English & Social Studies at the high school level, Math at the junior high level, and has years of experience as a tutor for students with disabilities from the elementary through higher education levels. In her free time, Kerry enjoys live music, anything on the water, and spending time with family & friends, as well as exploring new places, trying new things, and meeting new people.
Lily Pineiro: Senior Department Coordinator
Lily joined the Academic Services team in 2016 as a Senior Department Coordinator. Originally from Colombia, she holds a BA in Business Administration and a Master's in Marketing from the UNAB - Colombia. Prior to working at Brandeis, Lily's work experience includes supporting International Students as an admission officer for Approach International Student Center. She also has more than eight years of experience working as a Commercial Developer and Sales Coordinator in Colombia for Nutresa Food Conglomerate. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and friends, working out at the gym, going for walks at night and trying International cuisines.
Beth Rodgers-Kay: Director, Disabilities Services and Support
A native of upstate New York, Beth came to Brandeis in 2005, and has been working in higher education since 1989. Beth holds a BA in English and an EdM in Reading, Language and Learning Disabilities, and was a high school English and Language Arts teacher for five years. At Brandeis, she determines accommodations and services to ensure that students with disabilities are supported to compete and achieve their full potential on our campus. She also provides individual support to many students and works to increase the level of knowledge about disabilities on campus. Beth has expanded her work to the international arena, and, for one year, did voluntary service in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she worked with school-age kids and their families.
Kate Stutz: Director of Pre-Health Advising
Kate joined the Brandeis family in 2016 as the Director of Pre-Health Advising. Previously, she advised pre-health students and taught courses on African American literature, Native American literature, and composition at University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an advisor, she strives to meet the unique needs of diverse populations of students in order to help them achieve their professional goals. She earned her B.A. in English from SUNY Geneseo and then went on to graduate school at UW-Madison for her M.A. in Afro-American Studies and PhD in Literary Studies. Originally from New York, Kate is very happy to be back on the east coast. In her free time, she loves to bake, read fiction, and play board games with her husband.
Elizabeth Rotolo: Assistant Director of Academic Fellowships
Elizabeth joined the Brandeis staff in September 2013. She serves as the Program Advisor for the MLK Scholars and is part of the Fellowship Advising team. Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Psychology from Occidental College and an M.Ed. in Student Affairs from the University of California at Los Angeles. Elizabeth has worked previously as a Program Coordinator at the Institute for Educational Advancement and as a Resident Director at Boston College. Elizabeth is especially interested in student leadership and experiential learning opportunities. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys reading, running, and taking her dog Riley to the dog park.
Michelle Thomas: Academic Advisor
Michelle Thomas joined Academic Services in Fall 2016 and works with students whose last names begin with T-Z. She comes to Brandeis after serving as an academic counselor at Roxbury Community College, a college transition advisor at Tufts University, and as a financial aid counselor at Northeastern and BU. She holds a master's degree in Urban Affairs from Boston University and a bachelor's degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to music, watching Netflix movies, and spending time with friends and family.
Abby Voss: Assistant Director of Pre-Health Advising; Senior Academic Advisor
Abby Voss began working in Academic Services in February 2014 as the Assistant Director of Pre-Health Advising. Prior to taking this position at Brandeis, Abby worked as a health professions academic advisor at Grand Valley State University (Grand Rapids, MI) and Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida (Port Orange, FL). She enjoys helping students navigate their collegiate experience, as well as assisting them in their preparation to pursue health related programs and professions. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and went on to complete her Master’s degree in higher education administration at Grand Valley State University. In her free time, Abby enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring local restaurants, and shopping.