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.
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 is the advisor for undergraduate students with last names beginning M-P and provides leadership for the academic advising team. He has a BA in psychology and communication and an MEd 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. Brian is passionate about social justice education, college access and student leadership.
Brian enjoys reading, running, crosswords, live music and strong coffee, and spending time with his husband and new daughter, Flora. He also teaches group cycle/spinning classes in the greater Boston area.
Julia joined the academic services team at Brandeis in 2012, and works with students whose last names begin with I-L. She is also the coordinator of the BUGS (Brandeis Undergraduate Group Study) peer tutoring program. 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 BA in history from the University of California, Los Angeles and an EdM in higher education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
In her free time, Julia enjoys running, reading fiction and spending time with her daughter Claire.
Katie Dunn 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 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!
Katy works with students whose last names begin with D-G 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 BA in philosophy from Tufts University and an EdM 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 and works with students whose last names begin with L-M. 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!
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 PhD 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 snowboarding. 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.
Elizabeth joined the Brandeis staff in September 2013. She serves as the academic advisor for the MLK Fellows and is part of the fellowship advising team. Elizabeth holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from Occidental College and a master of education 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.
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 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 Bachelor of Arts in English from SUNY Geneseo and then went on to graduate school at UW-Madison for her Master of Arts 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.
Sierra joined the Academic Services team in Fall of 2019. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Biology at the University of Washington, and is pursuing her Master's degree. While in Seattle, Sierra was a pre-medical student with experiences as an EMT, hospital volunteer, and pre-health peer mentor. Sierra also volunteered at high schools as a college coach for first generation and underrepresented students. Upon arriving to Boston, she worked as an administrator for two anesthesiologists at Boston Children's Hospital. Sierra was extremely excited to join the Pre-Health Advising team at Brandeis, especially after all the years of supporting pre-health students! 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 worked at Brandeis for over 15 years. She credits Student Support Services 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 at Brandeis where she researched gender, race, and class inequality and reconciliation efforts. She has actively supported the SSSP Student Leadership Board, the Brandeis Pluralism Alliance, the Chaplaincy and the Brandeis Bridges Fellows. She has taught in the Civil Rights and Educational Equity program during the Justice Brandeis Semester. She has presented at national conferences on the first-generation college student experience.
She is active in New England faith-based nonprofit organizations, where she mentors and trains students in spiritual disciplines. Elena has traveled across the south to study the historic legacies of systematic inequality in the United States. Aside from being a tech fanatic, watching movies, eating out and collecting frogs are hobbies she enjoys in her spare time.
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 Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in deaf and hard of hearing studies, and her Master of Education 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 sea glass, 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 recently completed his Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College. His dissertation focused 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 the team in 2016 as a graduate assistant for making coursework accessible for visually challenged students. She holds a dual Master’s in Sustainable International Development and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies from Brandeis University. Jaspreet is passionate about subaltern perspective of development and had been working on maternal and child healthcare for marginalized communities. She also holds a Master’s in Healthcare Management from India. Working with SAS, she currently enables to make coursework accessible for students with visual and learning disabilities through a variety of software processes including Alt-Text editing. She also works with students to provide them classroom and exam accommodations in order to help them navigate their years at Brandeis. Outside work, Jaspreet enjoys writing, painting, cooking and photography.
Elizabeth Nako joined Academic Services and the Brandeis community 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. For fun, Kaitlyn likes to snuggle her Puggle Foster, be creative, go on adventures with her partner, play board games and watch the Patriots.