Lori Tenser joined the Brandeis community as Dean of Academic Support and Advising in August 2022. She is not new to the Brandeis community, however, as she had previously worked at Brandeis in several roles from 1989 - 2005, including 3 years as Assistant Dean of Student Life. Lori served at Wellesley College as the Dean of First-Year Students from 2005 to 2018, and later as the Associate Dean for Academic Integration and Advising. With experience in both Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, Lori’s career has been focused on the connections between academic and cocurricular experiences, and on empowering students to embrace their identities and achieve their aspirations.
Lori earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, her Master's Degree in Education from Harvard University, and her PhD in Higher Education from Boston College. Her dissertation, focusing on the experiences of students who have taken a gap year, was entitled Stepping Off the Conveyor Belt: Gap Year Effects on the First-Year College Experience.
Lori lives in Needham with her husband, Alan, and their dog, Gracie. Their three grown children are also connected to Brandeis, having spent their toddler years at the Lemberg Children’s Center. Lori loves gardening and singing, and she recently started playing the electric bass with her band, Some Assembly Required.
Laura joined the academic services team as department coordinator in October 2018. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Assumption College, Laura’s earned a master’s degree at Boston University in higher education administration and has been working at college campuses for over 15 years. With experience in residential life at two small liberal arts institutions (Babson College and Curry College) to student leadership development at a large institution (Northeastern University) to alumni relations at a graduate theological school (Episcopal Divinity School), Laura’s passion is working with students to help them achieve success at the collegiate level.
In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time and discovering every nook and cranny of New England with her husband and two kids. She enjoys being crafty, cooking and has recently found a love for yoga.
Mary joined academic services in 2022 as a Department Coordinator. Prior to Academic services, she worked in Brandeis' Department of Theater Arts as the Costume Director for seven years. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Theater Arts, and spent the following years working in costume shops in Boston and New York City. Upon returning to Boston she focused on management work in costume shops, eventually transitioning to her role at Brandeis where she grew to love working with our student body. She is excited to start a new chapter in her career, working with the students and staff at Academic Services.
Mary enjoys gardening, antiquing, and relaxing on the beach. She loves hanging out with her nieces and nephew in her free time, and has a cat named Alonso and a dog named Roxie.
Brian joined the Brandeis community in 2008 as an Area Coordinator in the Department of Community Living, and began his work in Academic Services in 2010. As Director of Academic Advising, Brian provides leadership for the academic advising team. 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 is active in NACADA (Global Community for Academic Advising) and was a member of the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program cohort in 2013-2015. A first-generation college student, Brian is passionate about social justice education, college access, and student leadership.
Brian enjoys reading, running, yoga, crosswords, live music, and strong coffee, and spending time with his husband and daughter, Flora. He also teaches group cycle/spinning classes in the greater Boston area.
Julia joined Academic Services in 2012. She provides leadership support to the advising team. Originally from Los Angeles, she first discovered her passion for working with students as a corps member of Teach for America in rural South Dakota. Before coming to Brandeis, she worked in career advising, accessibility support, and advising at institutions including Harvard University and Bennington College. Julia is passionate about supporting students holistically. She seeks to help them develop self-advocacy skills, articulate their goals, and navigate the successes and challenges of their college experience. Julia has a B.A. in history from UCLA and an Ed. M. in higher education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has presented at regional and national conferences on topics including academic entitlement, reflective writing in advising, collaboration with families, and faculty-staff partnerships.
Julia enjoys running, yoga, reading fiction, and exploring art museums and the outdoors with her family.
Katie Dunn joined Academic Services in 2014. After serving as the Program Advisor for the Student Support Services Program (SSSP), she transitioned to the academic advising team in 2016. She also coordinates the Roosevelt Fellow Peer advising program. Katie earned her bachelor's degree in communications and her master's degree in higher education administration both from Boston College—go Eagles! She has worked in both academic and student affairs and enjoys building connections across departments. Katie’s advising philosophy is to support “the whole person,” so she invites students to talk with her about how factors such as health, family, and identity shape their college experience. Katie has presented at regional and national conferences on topics including first-generation college students, holistic advising, perfectionism, and supporting students taking leaves of absence.
In her free time, Katie enjoys following New England sports, trying new restaurants around greater Boston, practicing yoga, and relaxing on Cape Cod, where she grew up working in her family's small pizza restaurant!
Katy works on the advising team 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.
Kimoi works with students whose last names begin with W-Z. Prior to starting at Brandeis, he was an assistant dean of advising at his alma mater. He holds a bachelor's degree in American Studies and MSA in Administration, both from Saint Michael's College. A first-generation student and immigrant, Kimoi encourages students to turn challenges into opportunities. He is passionate about mentorship and is interested in issues related to college persistence.
In his free time, Kimoi enjoys playing soccer, traveling, and listening to reggae and soca music.
Alan joined the Academic Services team in November 2020. Prior to joining the Brandeis community, Alan built his Higher Education experience working in Housing & Residence Life as well as Student Services. He earned both his Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design and Master's Degree in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of West Florida in beautiful Pensacola, FL. Alan has a passion for building individual student connections and aiding students in finding a sense of belonging during their college career.
In his free time, Alan enjoys drawing, reading and writing creative stories, as well as watching nature documentaries.
Prior to coming to Brandeis, Kiernan was an instructor in the Writing Program and History of Art departments at Boston University and the University of Delaware. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and Art History from Hamilton College, a Master’s degree in Art History from the University of Delaware, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University, where she studies ancient Greek and Phoenician art. Kiernan brings her teaching experience to her advising practice, and is interested in issues of persistence, metacognition, creativity and experiential learning.
In her free time, Kiernan enjoys knitting, watching video essays and documentaries, reading genre fiction, going to local museums and attending musical theater performances.
Christopher is a North Shore, MA native and a proud second-generation Italian-American with family from Naples and Sicily. Prior to Brandeis, Chris worked in higher-ed administration for Boston University after earning his Master of Divinity in Theological Studies, researching psychology of world religions and human development. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Psychology from The University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chris especially enjoys working with students through rich processes of discernment as they navigate their academic career.
With the aid of world religions, theology, philosophy, psychology, art, and experimental interventions designed to support holistic psycho-spiritual development, Chris works in his spare time to develop a private practice specializing in helping individuals through their own unfolding and ongoing questioning of: “who am I ?”. He also enjoys camping, trying out new local diners, and learning about sustainable living!”
Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program
Kathryn has worked for almost 20 years in higher education in multiple positions to promote and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion for our most marginalized and disenfranchised populations. Currently, she has served as the director of the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP) for the past four years. She supervises a staff of 10 full- and part-time staff/faculty, manages the curriculum and co-curriculum programming, advises 80+ students, oversees the operating and gift fund budget, is part of the strategic team for admissions and scholarship fundraising and is part of the academic advising leadership team.
Kathryn holds a BA in psychology and Africana studies from the University of Notre Dame, an EdM 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 and practitioner expertise focuses on first-year college access, transition, and retention practices for underserved and underrepresented students of color. She has served on panels and 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). She has published multiple articles and has also taught as an adjunct psychology lecturer at various colleges in the Pittsburgh and Boston areas.
When Kathryn is not working, she enjoys cooking and spending quality time with her husband and their cat; salsa dancing in her living room to Celia Cruz; helping youth at her church; traveling to various cities of Spain during the summer; and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race while eating her favorite dessert, banana pudding!
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.
With the MKTYP, Lily spearheads our events and has overseen collaborations with various university partners to sponsor multicultural events/celebrations that included roundtable discussions/panels, our Night of Artistic Expressions with the Gittler Residency Program, Brandeis’ MLK Day of Service, annual retreats, game nights, our Night of Inspiration, leadership and relationship workshops, our yearly newsletter, and our MKTYP Scholars’ Closing Ceremony.
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and twins, going for walks at night, reading parenting books, and trying international cuisines.
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 the 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, play board games with her husband, and spend time with her two young children.
Sierra has been with Academic Services at Brandeis since 2019. She began as a Program Administrator before becoming a Pre-Health Advisor the following year. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Biology at the University of Washington Bothell, and will soon complete a Master's in Higher Education from Central Washington University. Her background began as a pre-medical student with work experience as an Emergency Medical Technician at a private ambulance and also at the Anesthesiology department at Boston Children's Hospital in Waltham. She realized higher education was the right place for her after serving as a Student Worker and Peer Advisor for Biological Science at UW. A significant perspective about Sierra is she experienced a non-traditional education experience with community college, no access to educated parents, and worked full-time to support herself through education. She is extremely passionate about increasing access to medical education to disadvantaged students like herself!
Outside of work, you can find Sierra playing club volleyball, crafting music playlists, and bonding with people through food adventures.
Joanna joined the Pre-Health Advising team in January 2021 as Program Administrator. She is a first-generation college student who earned her BA in International Development and Social Change and a MA in Community Development and Planning from Clark University. Prior to being at Brandeis, Joanna work at MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs supporting underrepresented and underserved students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Joanna enjoys cultivating spaces by creating programming for students where they can learn and truly develop who they hope to be. She is passionate about increasing education access to under-resourced and unrepresented populations. During her free time you can find her listening to music, dancing, hanging out with family, or going to yoga.
Student Accessibility Support
Cara’s career in inclusive higher education, disability justice and opportunity equity spans more than a decade. Before coming to Brandeis she served as the inaugural Associate Director and Director of Academics, Innovation and Inclusion of the Threshold Program at Lesley University. During her 13-year tenure at Lesley, Cara oversaw higher education programming and curriculum building for students with intellectual, developmental, learning and physical disabilities, and led seven international trips with alumni. She has particular interests in inclusive college environments, Universal Design for Learning, self-determination, and the transition from post-secondary settings into later adulthood. She has developed and taught social science courses and enjoys supervising and teaching social work students. Cara holds a BS in Biology from Boston College, an MSW from Simmons University, and an EdD from Boston University.
In her free time, Cara loves to travel, try new restaurants, and do whatever her two children tell her to do.
Jaspreet joined Student Accessibility Support (SAS) in 2016 and has worked within SAS unit in various capacities. She is an alumna of the Heller School of Social Policy and Management and came to Brandeis as a Fulbright Scholar. Currently, she serves as an Accessibility Specialist for Graduate Students, working closely with faculty and other university partners to ensure classroom and exam accommodations for student success at Brandeis. She works with the SAS team on policies and processes to streamline the student experience, documentation review, and student support practices. In the past, Jaspreet has also been responsible for making coursework accessible for students with visual challenges, print and learning disabilities through a variety of software processes. Jaspreet holds a joint Master’s in Sustainable International Development and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies. She is passionate about diversity and equity work, and involved with various efforts on the campus for making it a more inclusive space. She is also the editorial assistant for J-CASTE, a global journal on social exclusion and was featured in an interview with WGBH series titled 'Caste in America'. She has also presented at various conferences on issues of caste, as well as gender and economic discrimination as systemic oppression in the society. Jaspreet has participated in conferences including; New England-Association on Higher Education and Disability (NE-AHEAD), Postsecondary Disability Training Institute (PTI), National Conference On Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) and the Zale Conference on Disability Inclusion for Intellectual Disabilities.
Outside work, Jaspreet enjoys writing, painting, cooking and bird photography.
Elizabeth Nako joined Academic Services in October 2018. She serves as an Accessibility Specialist for Undergraduate Students on the Student Accessibility Support (SAS) team at Brandeis. Elizabeth earned her BA in history from Providence College and her MA in higher education administration from Boston College. As a "life-long learner,” Elizabeth loves working in the energetic and dynamic higher education environment, and creating a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere to engage with students on many levels. She enjoys meeting with students individually to support them through appropriate accommodations and services to be successful in the classroom, as well as helping students with disabilities work towards achieving their academic and personal goals. Prior to her role at Brandeis, Elizabeth worked in a variety of functional areas in higher education including: disability services, admissions, and career services at other institutions in the Boston area.
When she is not working, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading good books, cheering on Boston sports teams, playing trivia, traveling to new places, staying active whether it is running, hiking, or taking a yoga class, volunteering in her local community, and fitting in as much beach time as possible.
Lenny Prado joined Academic Services and the Brandeis community in June 2016. He serves as Program Administrator for the Student Accessibility Support (SAS) team. Lenny earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Baruch Community College, and a Master of Arts in Bible and Ancient Near East at Brandeis University. Lenny is currently in the process of writing his dissertation to complete a PhD in Bible and Ancient Near East at Brandeis University. Lenny is passionate about accessibility, and learning about new ways that assistive technology can facilitate learning for students with disabilities. When he is not working, Lenny enjoys spending time with his family, teaching the Bible, and rooting for the Yankees, Giants, and Knicks.
Kaitlyn joined the Academic Services Staff in October 2018. Before coming to Brandeis, Kaitlyn has worked at other Colleges and Universities supporting students with documented disabilities, where she developed and presented faculty/staff/student trainings about championing individuals with disabilities, conducted student check in meetings, advised clubs, and more. Using a holistic approach, Kaitlyn works with students to empower them through exploring their strengths, meeting their individual unique needs, and teaching the importance of self-advocacy in order to assist in achieving their personal goals. Kaitlyn is a first-generation college student, who earned her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and Humanities; and a Masters of Education in Student Affairs Counseling.
Gabrielle Clark joined Student Accessibility Support and the Academic Services team in 2021. A self-described "life-long learner", Gabrielle received a BS in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and MSEd in Special Education from Simmons University. She teaches a course at Simmons on inclusive lesson planning, accommodation strategies, and assistive technology in the classroom. She is committed to sharing her passion for inclusion, equity, and access for all and serves on the board for the New England Association on Higher Education and Disability. Her favorite part of her job as an Accessibility Specialist is meeting new students coming into college for the first time and sharing in their excitement.
Outside of work, you can find Gabrielle playing music, riding her bike , and spending quality time with her cat, Ash.
Student Support Services
Chelsea Green (formerly Walker) joined the Academic Services in August 2017 as the Assistant Director for the TRIO Student Support Services Program (SSSP). Chelsea earned her BA in Psychology with a minor in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Studies, and her M.Ed. in Educational Studies from the University of New Hampshire. As a first-generation student and an alumna of SSSP, she credits the program for much of her success in higher education. Chelsea has a background in college admissions, academic mentoring, and youth leadership programming. Her passion for equal access to higher education for underrepresented groups of students has driven her work, and is what continues to inspire her every day.
In her free time, Chelsea enjoys collecting seaglass, following New England sports, baking, staying active, and volunteering.
Darlene Rodriguez (she/ella) joins the Academic Services as the Assistant Director for the Student Support Services Program. Darlene earned her B.A. '17 in Communication Studies with a Counseling minor from Ithaca College and her M.A. '22 in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Connecticut.
Darlene's passion for supporting students blossomed from her own experience as a Latinx womxn of Dominican descent, lower-income, first-generation college student attending a predominantly white, private institution. Darlene understands the challenges of navigating the college experience at the intersection of these identities and has seen first-hand how valuable support services like counseling, tutoring, and advising can be to a student's journey. Darlene has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students and advising lower-income and first-generation college students. Darlene hopes to foster student learning and help students press forward through challenges and uncertainties.
Charlotte Walker joined Academic Services in August 2022 as the Career and Graduate School Advisor for the TRIO Student Support Services Program (SSSP). Charlotte earned her BS in Public Affairs with a nonprofit management concentration from Indiana University and her M.Ed. in Higher Education from Merrimack College. As a first-generation student, she is grateful for the support she received along her career path and aims to pay it forward with each student she meets. By helping students gain self-awareness of their values, interests, personality, and skills, Charlotte aids them in seeking out and taking advantage of opportunities to further deepen their self-awareness as well as their networks.
Prior to joining SSSP, Charlotte worked as a career advisor at Brandeis's Hiatt Career Center as well as Boston College and Merrimack College. Before becoming a career advisor, she spent 10 years in the nonprofit sector, primarily with animal welfare organizations. She knows first-hand that career paths aren't linear and aims to help students gain the skills to keep them curious and fulfilled in their work for years to come.
In her free time, Charlotte enjoys crossword puzzles with her husband, board games with her two young sons, and snuggling with her cat and dog. She loves Beyonce, classic cars, Buzz Lightyear, and skee ball.