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.
When Erika is not at work, she enjoys yoga, running, meditating, reading, and spending time with her partner, child, and friends.
Welby joined the Office of Academic Services in 2017 as a senior department coordinator. Prior to working at Brandeis, he served as the Jenzabar recruitment manager and salesforce administrator at Cambridge College. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Welby holds a Bachelor of Science in management information systems from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He is passionate about increasing education access to the underserved and unrepresented population. He has held positions in student information systems, information technology, residential education, admissions, orientation, and nonprofit programs for ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) as youth services specialist.
In his free time, Welby enjoys singing, cooking, traveling, coaching tennis and volunteering at local poverty-relief agencies around Greater Boston.
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.
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, and coordinates the BUGS peer tutoring program. 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.
LaKiyah Russell joined Academic Services in May 2019. Prior to starting at Brandeis, she was a residence director at Emerson College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Westfield State University and a master’s degree in higher education from Merrimack College. LaKiyah is especially interested in helping students gain a holistic experience during their time in college.
In her spare time, LaKiyah enjoys listening to music, baking cookies, and enjoying family time!
Erin joined the Academic Services team at Brandeis in June 2020. Erin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philosophy at Brandeis, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) at Bridgewater State University. Prior to joining the Academic Advising team, Erin worked as a clinical social worker with adolescents, treating a variety of mental health issues. She holds licenses as an Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and K-12 School Adjustment Counselor in MA. Her professional interests include student persistence and how mental health concerns impact academic performance.
In her free time, Erin enjoys taking walks with her golden retriever puppy, playing tennis, and watching reality television.
Meredith joined Academic Service in 2010. As Director of Academic Fellowships, Meredith helps students and recent alumni identify and apply for opportunities that extend their academic reach, like Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, Fulbright grants, and on- and off-campus research positions. She loves working directly with students, especially helping them to discern, and then achieve their goals. She is an active member of the National Association of Fellowship Advisors, presenting work at conferences in Philadelphia and Minneapolis and traveling to the UK, Germany, and China to learn about each country's educational landscape and scholarship opportunities. Prior to coming to Brandeis, Meredith was a professor of Classics at Reed College and Boston College, and earned an AB from Bowdoin College, an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. from Stanford.
Outside of work, Meredith enjoys traveling, reading, playing volleyball, and spending time with her husband and two children.
Elizabeth joined Academic Services in 2013. As the Assistant Director for Academic Fellowships she supports students who are interested in exploring academic pursuits beyond the classroom. She also serves as the Academic Advisor for the MLK Fellows and the Campus Liaison for the Columbia Combined Degree Program. Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Psychology from Occidental College and an M.Ed. in Student Affairs from UCLA. Prior to arriving at Brandeis, Elizabeth worked for the Institute for Educational Advancement and Boston College. Elizabeth has written and presented on the topics of on transferable skills, job transitions, and holistic advising practices. She is especially interested in student leadership and experiential learning opportunities.
Outside of work, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, making good use of her local library card, and taking her rescue pup Riley for long walks.
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.
While away from the office, Sierra enjoys ferry boat rides, coastal road trips, playing volleyball, and cooking Mexican food with her husband.
Student Support Services
Elena Lewis has over 18 years of experience in advising, retention, and educational access specifically for underrepresented students in higher education. She currently serves has the Project Director for the TRiO Student Support Services Program founded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and institutional funds at Brandeis.
Elena recently served on the Student Learning and Living Task Force and co-chaired the Academic Advising Working Group. She previously served as the advisor for the SSSP Student Leadership Board, was involved with the Brandeis Pluralism Alliance, the Brandeis Bridges Fellows, and a teaching mentor for the Justice Brandeis Semester for Civil Rights and Racial Equity. Elena currently serves in a dual role as one of the Brandeis University Ombuds.
She credits her own personal success in graduate and undergraduate school to her participation in the Student Support Services Program and the McNair Scholars programs. Her academic pursuits in Sociology as a graduate students at Brandeis have allowed her to travel across the country researching systemic racial inequity, racial reconciliation, and conflict resolution. She has presented at national conferences on the first-generation college student experience. She is also active in New England faith-based nonprofit organizations mentoring and training students in spiritual formation.
Patrice Charlot joined the Brandeis community in 2018 as the program advisor for the TRiO Student Support Services Program, also known as SSSP.
Prior to being at Brandeis, Patrice worked for Boston-based nonprofit Bottom Line, supporting low-income, first-generation college students get in and go far, Bottom Line’s motto. As a college success advisor, Patrice supported upwards of 80 students a year as they navigated through the triumphs and challenges of starting their college careers at various institutions in the greater Boston area. Patrice identified with her students as she too was a first-generation college student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she completed her undergrad, double majoring in Public Health and Sociology. While at UMass, Patrice served as a resident assistant for first-year students for three years, and upon graduation, moved on to work as a social worker for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families before returning to her passion, higher education, and working for Bottom Line. Patrice’s favorite part about working with students is the opportunity to encourage meaningful self-reflection, offer emotional support and empower students to advocate for themselves.
When Patrice isn’t at work, she enjoys Marylou’s Coffee, her mom’s Haitian cooking and watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.
Galit joined the Brandeis community in 2009 as the Executive Assistant to the Director of the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. She recently joined the Student Support Services Program (SSSP) as the Department Coordinator in 2019. Galit values education and is especially interested in working in environments that focus on learning and growing. She has chosen to work primary in academia in such institutions as MIT, Walnut Hill School, Wellesley and is thrilled to be back at Brandeis. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Comparative Literature with a focus in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts. In her free time, Galit loves spending time with her wife and 2 kids, yoga, biking, running in the woods, community service, decluttering and personal finance.
Chelsea Walker joined the Office of 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.
Student Accessibility Support
Scott joined Student Accessibility Support in 2018, and is responsible for helping graduate students with disabilities. Scott is working towards completing his Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College with a focus on belonging and students with emotional and behavioral disorders at the middle school level. During his time at Boston College, he worked on a number of projects related to accessibility and inclusion in higher education. He also taught and developed face-to-face, blended, and online courses at Boston College and at City College of New York. These courses covered a range of topics related to disability, inclusion, accessibility, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). He also was a research associate at CAST, and a LEND fellow (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Disabilities Program).
When not at work, Scott enjoys spending time with his cats, reading, and baking.
Jaspreet joined Student Accessibility Support (SAS) in 2016 as a Graduate Assistant responsible for making coursework accessible for students with visual challenges, print and learning disabilities through a variety of software processes. In a short span of time, Jaspreet became the Program Administrator for SAS who currently, provides technology-related classroom and exam accommodations to students, working closely with faculty and other university partners ensuring student success at Brandeis. Jaspreet holds a dual Master’s in Sustainable International Development and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies from Brandeis University. 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, Postsecondary Disability Training Institute, National Conference On Race and Ethnicity and 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.
Kaitlyn joined the Academic Services Staff in October 2018. Before coming to Brandeis, Kaitlyn worked at four other institutions 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 from Bay Path University; and a Masters of Education in Student Affairs Counseling at Bridgewater State University. Kaitlyn has participated in conferences including; New England-Association on Higher Education And Disability, Postsecondary Disability Training Institute, and NASPA Region 1 to name a few. Last Fall, Kaitlyn gave a presentation at NASPA entitled "Navigating Campus Politics". In college, Kaitlyn published a chapter in the book, Creating Wellness in America, where her focus was on ending the cycle of domestic violence using a non-traditional approach.
Outside of work, Kaitlyn likes to snuggle her Puggle Foster, be creative, go on adventures with her partner, play board games, volunteer and watch the Patriots.