Meet The Staff

Erika Smith
, Director

Erika Smith has served as the director of the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP) since 2004. In this role, she oversees the development and delivery of the program's instructional and academic support program, co-curricular programming, and advises students through and beyond their time in the program.

As a member of the university’s Academic Services office, Erika also provides academic advising to students outside of MKTYP, serves on the executive council of the Committee on Academic Standing, the university’s Academic Integrity Advisory Committee, the Students and Enrollment Events Committee, and the campus-wide Kindness Day Committee.

Prior to serving as the program’s director, Erika served as program coordinator and a math instructor in MKTYP, and as a research assistant at Brandeis Heller School's Center for Youth and Communities. She has been on the program’s staff, and at Brandeis, since 2000.

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 at Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Her research focuses on college access and success for youth in foster care.  When Erika is not working, she likes to take West African dance classes, do yoga, meditate, run, and spend time with friends and family.

Talia Abrahams, Senior Department Coordinator

Talia holds a BA in psychology from Boston University and is excited to apply her interests to her role as a senior department coordinator for Academic Services. Talia is currently pursuing her MA in Sociology at Brandeis University.

Outside of Brandeis, Talia enjoys seeing musicals, playing tennis, traveling and spending time with friends and family. You might even find her singing Karaoke from time to time. Talia hails from Weston, Mass.