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.
Taking the lead in helping coordinate Faculty Ambassadors, the Gen One Network, and additional co-curricular efforts, Amy comes to us from Boston College where she recently completed her Master’s in Higher Education. During her time at Boston College, Amy served as a graduate assistant in the Office of Residential Life and assisted with research on the experiences of Latinx students in law school. Prior to her move to Boston in 2018, Amy worked as a public service career advisor and managed student leadership programs at Stanford University; advocated for youth facing discrimination and low achievement in New York City schools; and lead summer study abroad experiences to South Africa and Spain with The Experiment in International Living. When she’s not working, Amy can typically be found rehearsing or performing with a few local salsa, bachata, and modern dance companies.
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!”
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.
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.
Gabrielle Clark joined Academic Services in 2021 as the Accessibility Generalist for Student Accessibility Support (SAS). In this role, Gabrielle helps Brandeis undergraduate students access a wide range of classroom and campus accommodations, including alternative text materials. Gabrielle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master’s Degree in Education from Simmons University in Boston. Gabrielle has spent her career working in inclusive educational settings to create equitable opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Her interests include assistive technology, culturally responsive teaching and learning, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in education.
In her free time Gabrielle enjoys visiting the U.S. National Parks with her husband, going on nature walks, learning new musical instruments, and sending greeting cards to friends and family.
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.
Chelsea Green (formerly 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.
Darlene Rodriguez (she/ella) joins the Office of 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.