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Alumni Success Stories

The following testimonials represent the diverse learning experiences, academic achievements, and post-graduation successes of the alumni of the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies.

If you're an alumnus/a of our department, we'd like to hear from you! Contact our department chair to share your academic, professional, or personal success story.


Cherise James

Cherise James, M.S., graduated with her College Student Affairs degree in 2009 and is currently the Associate Director of Orientation and Lower Division Programming at Wake Forest University in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

Cherise was an NSU Distinguished Alum and has returned to campus as a guest speaker to generously share her experience with our current students. She believes in mentoring those students coming up behind her and credits the CSA program and her Graduate Assistantship with preparing her for her career. While at NSU she was the Graduate Assistant for Multicultural Affairs. This experience helped her in her work with diversity and inclusion at Wake Forest.

Jake Shilts

Jake Shilts, M.S., graduated with his College Student Affairs degree in 2009 and is the Campus Director of Advisement and Career Services at Miami-Dade College.

While he was a CSA student, Jake was a Graduate Assistant. Upon graduation he was hired as a Practicum Coordinator at NSU. He later went to Miami Dade College and is now in the Campus Director’s position. Jake credits his master’s program and his assistantship in helping him to become a successful student affairs professional.

Donielle Cyprian

Donielle Cyprian, M.S., graduated with her College Student Affairs degree in 2013 and is the Director of Student Engagement at Bethune-Cookman University. Bethune-Cookman University, a member of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), is located in Daytona Beach with an enrollment of about 3,600 students.

According to Cyprian, “My time at NSU has been the best. I was nervous at first in pursuing a degree online and the feeling of being alienated, but my experience was just the opposite; the classes were inviting and engaging and faculty and staff were so supportive. The time I spent at NSU has been a joy and after graduating I feel that the education that I have gained has made me the best Student Affairs Professional. I couldn’t have asked for a better program to help me to the next level in my career.”

Patrice Abner

Patrice graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs in 2012 after serving as the GA for Student Organizations in the Office of Student Activities. 

"My Graduate Assistant experience greatly prepared me for a career in Student Affairs. While a Graduate Assistant, I was given autonomy from my supervisor, creative freedom and tasks that were relevant to my professional development. I use many of the same strategies with my graduate assistant today. The courses in Conflict Analysis and Resolution prepare me twofold by assisting student groups that I advise in their conflict management styles and reframing information when communicating with colleagues."

She began her journey as a Leadership Coordinator at the University of North Texas. She is currently the Director of Student Inclusion and is in the process of transitioning to Jacksonville University, where she will begin a new position. One of her favorite memories from her time at Nova was Dr. Holliday’s wisdom of “trusting the process,” which is something that she continues to use for herself and tells to the students she works with. She holds dear the connection she shared with her cohort members over classes and living in the same building. She says that she has built lifelong friendships through the CSA program that she will cherish forever.

Hannah Barr

"Without question, my graduate assistantship has gifted me with an even greater understanding of the importance and vitality of the student affairs field. Every day is a new opportunity for growth and challenge. To be supported by professional staff and my professors has been wonderful, and I know that support will continue to be shown as I move forward in my career."

"The emphasis on conflict analysis and resolution has granted me a new set of skills. I now recognize that conflict is not something to be feared or avoided; rather, we should embrace the opportunity to navigate through the deeper issues that may bar productive and strengthened relationships."

Deborah Ackerman

"The College Student Affairs program at NSU has given me a foundation upon which to build my future as a Student Affairs professional. I have grown both personally and professionally from being able to combine my coursework with the experience of a graduate assistantship. I am thankful for the support my classmates and professors have shown me throughout this learning experience, and am confident that I will be successful in the field after graduation."

Alicia Bates

Alicia graduated with her M.S. in College Student Affairs. From there she began working as the Coordinator of Student Activities at Johnson and Wales University in North Miami. She then kept up with her passion for student activities by moving to Carnegie Mellon University Qatar at Doha, Qatar. When asked what she remembered most from her time at Nova, it was the words of Dr. Gay Holliday, “Trust the Process.”

Patricia Beavan

Patricia graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Coordinator of Florida Recruitment in the Office of Admissions at Georgia Southern University. She is now the International Student Coordinator at Georgia State. The student affairs program left a lasting impression on her as she loved her classes and her GA experience at NSU. Her favorite part were “the friendships I made within the program!”

David Beliard

David graduated with his M.S. in Student Affairs and began working at Ross University School of Medicine, there he worked as the Career Advisor. Currently, you will find him doing the same thing. He has a passion for helping people out and loves encouraging them to take charge on the pathway to self-betterment. Something that he keeps with him that he now relays to the students he works with is to “Trust the Process.” These memorable words, spoken by Dr. Gay Holliday, David keeps with him from his time at Nova. Along with those words, David learned and grew a great deal while working as a GA for the career office. The experiences he gained and the things he learned at Nova gave him the tools he needed to succeed.

Nate Berger

"The NSU graduate assistant experience allows you to have autonomy to act in a professional role. You are given responsibility and depended on in order to help the division of student affairs function to the best of its ability. Both professionals and fellow GA's throughout the division are always willing to offer assistance and support."

Michelle Bettes

Michelle graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as Assistant Director in Undergraduate Admissions at NSU. Michelle is currently the Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at NSU. Her advice to prospective students is “Take the practicums seriously! Think about how beneficial it will be for your future and the programs you implement in each practicum. This is a huge opportunity to grow your network of CSA professionals and show them your strengths.”

Heilit Biehl

Heilit graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Hall Director at the University of Colorado — Boulder campus. She now works as the Case Manager for Students of Concern, as well as the Chair of the Behavioral Intervention Team. Heilit remembers Dr. Holliday’s famous words “Trust the Process.” She also remembers Daren Capirchio’s coffee order and Aarika Camp’s laugh.

Kamla Billings

Kamla graduated in 2014 from Nova Southeastern University with her M.S. in College Student Affairs where she was the GA for Civic Engagement - External Services for the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engangement. Upon graduation she obtained her first career opportunity as a Career Advisor at Valencia College in Orlando, FL. She attributes much of her success to the engaging and brilliant instructors within the program. She lists Dr. Gay Holliday as one of her most influential mentors and expressed that Dr. Holliday’s words, “Trust the Process,” encouraged her and aided her growth as a student affairs professional. She currently works as the Coordinator for Employer Relations at Valencia College. She gives the credit to her long-term friends and mentors she had gained while in attendance at Nova.

Whitney Brown

"The Conflict Analysis and Resolution classes changed the way I communicate about and resolve issues at work. I now focus on gaining an understanding of others rather than simply finding a quick solution and this has helped me build solid relationships with students and coworkers.

While at NSU, I also worked in the Offices of Career Development and Residence Life specifically with upperclassmen and graduate students. Those experiences have made me a resource at my current institution when we are considering new initiatives that affect those populations."

Joshua Bires

"The staff members at NSU were my determining factor to attend NSU. I am able to work with amazing Directors and Deans, in the field, on a daily basis. In addition, I get to bring my own experiences from the field into the classroom, making my experience all the more valuable."

Jessica Bostock

"The Division of Student Affairs provides the graduate assistants with immense hands on experiences helping to foster and develop each individual. Our directors and supervisors constantly challenge and encourage us to take initiative and become more involved on campus. We are provided with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of a students growth and development.”

Ashley Buchanan

Ashley graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Coordinator of Admissions and Registration at Florida Atlantic University. She is now the Associate Director for Recruitment and Marketing at FAU. One of Ashley’s fondest memories from NSU was being able to finally meet her peers during Residential Institute. This was such a meaningful experience for her because she was an online student. She had been in groups before with Rachel Rickinger but had never met her. She finally had a chance to talk in person and have lunch. She concludes by stating that “it was nice to connect with my classmates and share stories and experiences.”

Jessica Budik

Jessica graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Professional Development Advisor at Ross University School of Medicine. She currently works as the Associate Director for Career Services at Carnegie Mellon University. One of her lasting memories was that she “Really enjoyed our class projects and interacting with different groups. My favorite was creating our own University for Professor Williams’s class. I enjoyed learning about everyone’s creativity and undergraduate background experiences and blending it into a project.”

Lorena Cabrera

Lorena graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as a Community Director with University Housing at Arizona State University. She currently works as Community Director at Arizona State University. One of her lasting memories was Dr. Gay Holliday’s famous words “Trust the Process.”

Michelle Zoraida Canales

Michelle Canales graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs in 2014 after she was a GA for Special Events for the Office of Student Activities. 

"Thus far, my time at NSU has been quite a journey. With the many different opportunities for graduate assistants to get involved through their position and outside of their department, I have been fortunate enough to learn things about myself that I wouldn't have otherwise. I have had the chance to advise great student groups and interact with some inspirational administrators who I now call my mentors. Additionally, I get to plan some of the biggest events on campus and get to see the enjoyment our students experience when participating in the events. I am appreciative of the impact NSU has had on me and the impact I am able to have on our students."

After graduation, she started working as a Student Affairs Advisor II as well as a Spotlight Programs Board Advisor. She is continuing this work at the same university which is Georgia State University. One thing that stayed with her through her time at Nova and beyond was Dr. Gay Holliday’s wise words, “Trust the Process.”

Tara Centeno

"NSU is a different type of university than my undergraduate institution and that is something I wanted in my Master's program! The curriculum is the perfect blend of theory and practice; and with two semesters of practicum, I can get a variety of experiences in the field of Student Affairs."

Travis Checketts

Travis graduated from Nova in 2011 with his Master’s in College Student Affairs. From there he began his career with the University of New Mexico working as Community Director. He now works as the General Manager for American Campus Communities. Due to the nature of his current position he has held on to the law class at Nova as well as the conflict analysis and resolution. He has always reflected on Dr. Holliday’s words, “Trust the process.” The only thing he can say as a criticism of the program is that it is that there is no business classes. However, his favorite class was the College Student and the Law class because the assignments were concise and to the point. Feel free to contact Travis to share experiences or for support.

Tim Chin

Tim graduated with his M.S. in Student Affairs in 2010. "Looking back at my experience in the College Student Affairs program at NSU, I can say that it has prepared me for my current role. Each day I utilize the skills that I learned during my experience at NSU. The skills that I have utilized the most are my conflict analysis and resolution skills. The skills help me assist my students through difficult situations. Overall, I believe this program helps provide you with the foundation to be successful in the field of Student Affairs."

He started working as the Residential Life Coordinator at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Tim currently works as the Assistant Director for College Housing, Eleanor Roosevelt Quad and is the Chair of the Student Staff Recruitment and Selection Committee at Stony Brook University. One of his lasting memories was, Gay Holliday’s famous words "Trust the Process."

Shelby Clinton

Shelby graduated with her Master’s in College Student Affairs and began working as Coordinator for the Learning Community Program at Florida Atlantic University. She continued her employment at Florida Atlantic University as Assistant Director of the Learning Community Program and the Student Learning Strategies (SLS). Her take away from her time at Nova was, of course, the leadership of Dr. Holliday and all the other great instructors and mentors that shaped her to be the student affairs professional she is today. She always goes back to Dr. Holliday’s words, “Trust the Process.” Feel free to reach out to her for more information on her experiences and for any support you may need. 

Nicholas Colin

Nicholas graduated with his M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Coordinator for Orientation, new student programs, and campus tours at Humboldt State University. He continues to work in this position making an impact on students the same way NSU made an impact on him. He held on to the great words of Dr. Gay Holliday, “A college campus is a microcosm of the larger, outside world.”

Jon Colon

"In furthering my professional development, my current assistantship has given me the unlimited opportunity to professionally grow in volunteering through other offices outside of my own. With regards to my education, it has allowed me to implement and practice every piece of knowledge and skill set attained through my everyday interaction with the students, which is a unique experience in itself."

Amy Conlin

Amy graduated with her M.S. in College Student Affairs and began working at Humboldt State University as the Residence Life Coordinator of Education and Engagement. She has continued working in this position, going on a year and a half with the university. She credits a great deal of her success to Dr. Gay Holliday. While Amy had experiences with many great mentors she deems Dr. Holliday as her most “stand-out” mentor and she misses her greatly. One word of advice Amy still carries with her today is “Trust the Process,” spoken by Dr. Holliday.

Taylor Dahlby

Taylor graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs in 2015 after serving as the GA for Training and Development in the Office of Campus Recreation. 

"I chose NSU's CSA program because it offers a multitude of opportunities to develop through practical application in real-world situations. With the addition of a Graduate Assistantship, CSA really emphasizes the hands-on experience! In essence, I'm getting paid to pursue a career that I absolutely love – how awesome is that?"

She started working as a leadership coach within the Leadership and Service Center at the University of South Carolina. Taylor is currently a career services manager and University 101 programs class instructor. “I have no idea where the evidence is ;), but I would have to say one of my favorite moments at NSU was creating the ‘College Student Affairs “Shake it Off”’ video for NASPA in 2015. It wasn’t all of us, but a large portion of our cohort got together and ran all over campus trying to create the most ‘lit’ video so that we’d get put into the NASPA National comprehensive video (which we did I may add). Overall, the friendships I built at NSU with my cohort are unlike any other—and the video was one shining moment in a sky of stars—my cohort, in a lot of ways, is one of the major reasons for my success at NSU.”

Michael Deneus

Michael graduated with his M.S. in Student Affairs and started his career as the Coordinator of Student Organizations at Lamar University. In fact he loves his position so much he stuck with it and is still doing what he loves. NSU’s graduate program had a big impact on Michael, as it has many graduates. His quote to live by is Dr. Gay Holliday’s empowering words, “Trust the Process.”

Patricia Figueroa

"I think every experience I have contributes to my life in one way or another. I try to take advantage of every moment and find opportunities and the bright side of every experience. Living in the moment is the way to go!"

Danielle Durbala

"I chose NSU's College Student Affairs Program because it offers a well-rounded experience to prepare me for my future career. I am treated like a professional, given the responsibilities to match, and the freedom to develop new ideas. There is also a huge support for exploring your career interests through professional development, volunteer opportunities, and practicum. I couldn’t have asked for a more experience-oriented program."

Melissa Forges

Melissa graduated in 2013 with her M.S. in Student Affairs after she was a GA Career Advisor for the Office of Career Development. She then started working as Assistant Director, Employer Relations and Recruitment Services for Engineering at Florida State University's Career Center. Melissa is currently the Director of Student Services at Keiser University — Pembroke Pines Campus. She remembers “Coming up with the "Student Affairs" definition as a class was a great team building activity that helped us affirm as a unit that what we were learning and about to embark on as a career was important and a needed component in student development. Plus, it helped us to have a succinct explanation to describe what Student Affairs is to our friends and family!”

Angie Freeman

"I am working with students, residents, and staff members on resolving various conflicts with other folks. The courses in Conflict Analysis and Resolution have helped me to be intentional about the process of resolving conflict and put to practice what I have learned."

"I learned a lot about politics, which has a huge presence within the scope of higher education. I am applying my knowledge about student development and putting to practice what I have learned about supporting students of concerns. The concept of challenge and support definitely plays a big role within my supervisory position. I am constantly figuring out ways to balance both when working with students to challenge them to be better at what they do and persevere while also supporting them along the way."

Katie Gittleman

Katie G. graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working in Academic Advising and Higher Education when she began the program. Katie is currently the Associate Director of STEM Initiatives and Outreach. One of her most memorable moments was Dr. Gay Holliday’s classes and her famous words “Trust the Process.”

Brooke Goehring

Brooke graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Assistant Director of the Hendry Glades Center at Florida Southwestern College. She currently works as the Campus Director for Nova Southeastern University – Jacksonville Campus. One of Brooke’s lasting memories was how much learned and grew “through the CSA program, both professionally and personally.”  She credits her success to all of the wonderful experiences and amazing faculty.

Danielle Goldberg

Danielle graduated in 2013 with her Master’s in College Student Affairs. She began her career in residential life as an Area Coordinator for the University of Tampa. She then began working as a Facility Director for Alpha Kappa Theta at Northwestern University. She gained the confidence during her time at Nova to accomplish her goals. She started out being uneasy not being a graduate assistant her first year. She also started out not believing she would get a job. However, through her time, she learned relevant and important skills that would enhance her future experiences and give her a leg up when searching for a career. She came out of Nova changed for the better and would love the opportunity to discuss these developments with other students. 

Andrea Gruger

"The courses in Conflict Analysis and Resolution offer a practical approach to handling conflict in the workplace. Because of my experience in the coursework, I can see how conflict starts and I have the skill set to intervene and diffuse situations. This is definitely helpful when working with student staff and advising student organizations. However, it is even more helpful when working with peers. My experiences in my graduate assistantship were extremely helpful in learning how to work with and best assist the current generation of students on college campuses. I also learned a lot about the impact of institutional culture on our individual roles. Because of this, I was able to come into my new position with an open mind and I knew that there was a great deal to learn about my new institution, rather than just seeing what I could change."

"I apply a great deal of what I learned at NSU by first learning about my institution. No two institutions are exactly the same, so you have to be truly open to adapting to a new culture. Because of my background with conflict analysis and resolution, I have been brought into a conversation about bringing mediation into the residence halls. I also use a lot of mediation strategies when working with student conflicts, specifically roommate disagreements."

Rhonda Hampton

Rhonda graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Director of Intramural Recreational Sports at Truman State University. Rhonda is currently the College Advisor and the Star Scholarships Advisor for Harry S Truman College. “I entered the CSA program while the program was very new and there were still things to figure out. Dr. Holliday called me to invite me to the program and I remember her ‘selling’ me on the idea of Student Affairs and not recreational sports as my background was recreational sports.  I did not understand during that phone call that she was providing me an experience to diversify my skills and abilities within higher education instead of being narrowed focused in recreation.  This concept of a higher education professional in student affairs was a 2 year push for Dr. Holliday, however, by her last class with me, I realized that it’s not just recreation, it’s a wide variety of opportunities and I need to take advantage of it… Two of Dr. Holliday’s quotes will forever be with me, ‘Trust the Process’ and ‘don’t chew bubble gum in my class.’  (The last quote is tailored for those who were there and know, however, it is one of my fondest memories of the CSA program).  My advice to current CSA students, soak up as much information within the program as possible as you never know where your career may take you and need that information to carry you forward.  Plus, always trust the process and wear sunscreen!”

Stephanie Haskell

Stephanie graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs in 2013 after serving as the GA for Student Programming in the Office of Student Activities. 

"As a CSA grad I am proud to say that my experience in my courses and my GA position in Student Programming has served to benefit my career in Student Affairs. I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Engagement at Louisburg College and I use what I learned at NSU everyday when working with my students."

She started working as the Assistant Director of Student Engagement at Louisburg College. Stephanie currently works as the Director of Student Engagement at Louisburg.  One of the many memories Stephanie has from her time at NSU is Dr. Gay Holliday’s famous words “Trust the Process.” She also states that she has “so many great memories with SEA Board, we had a wonderful time working together at all of our events.“

Delia Hernandez-Madrid

Delia graduated in 2015 with her Masters in College Student Affairs, from there she began her career at Louisiana State University as the Coordinator for Leadership and Involvement. She stayed at this university and in this position as she had found her place in the Student Affairs community. She stated that politics and policy work hand in hand. She was able to apply the knowledge she gained at Nova to all aspects of her life and was able to excel at her career. She expressed that she was thankful for all the wonderful experiences she had while at Nova and for all of the qualified, fun mentors and instructors that helped her achieve her personal best. Feel free to contact Delia, as she is happy to talk with students. 

Raenel Horton

"I selected the CSA program at NSU because I loved the idea of combining Conflict Resolution classes along with Student Affairs. It is my hope to someday work in student conduct, and this program, along with my graduate assistant position, will position me to pursue opportunities in that area upon graduation."

Jodi Jabs

Jodi graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Coordinator of Student Activities and Greek Life. Up until now, Jodi worked at Lenoir-Rhyne University as the Director of Student Activities. She then transitioned (2017) to Alpha Sigma Alpha National Headquarters as the Collegiate Recruitment Coordinator. One of her lasting memories was, “Dr. Holliday's famous words of advice: Trust the Process.”

Stephan Jean-Lewis

Stephan graduated in 2016 with his Master’s in Student Affairs. He started working as a Student Conduct Officer for Washington State University. He is currently still in this position. He gained quite a bit of his skills from the program, including how to ask the right question – something that is crucial to being a conduct officer. He is happy to talk with any students who reach out to him.

Andrew Johnson

Andrew graduated with his M.S. in Student Affairs and started working as the Director for Residence Life at Southern Catholic College in Dawsonville, GA.  He is now working at the Director for Operations and Outreach Housing and Residential Education at the University of South Florida. He remembers the first time he met Dr. Williams and Dr. Holliday when he visited with some friends who were a part of the first cohort.  He had lunch with them and a few other CSA students.  Some time went by and he decided to apply.  When he was in his GA interview (about 8 months later), Dr. Williams remembered his name and specific items about their lunch conversation.  He was truly impressed on how invested Dr. Williams was in him after a 30 minute lunch conversation. Andrew also remembers his time as an online CSA student while working full-time in north Georgia. He really enjoyed the Residential Institute time when he was able to come to campus and feel like he was connected from a distance.  Andrew specifically remembers the campus tour that Dr. Williams took him on to demonstrate how the university was interconnected.  It was a golf cart tour with Dr. Williams, Andrew, and two other students.  The Greater University course opened his eyes to the causes and effects produced by each department’s actions or inactions. Lastly, Andrew remembers when he was trying to complete the program and had taken courses out of sequence.  He essentially didn’t take Assessment I in the fall like he should have.  He remembered having a phone call with Dr. Holliday in the spring time and sharing that he didn’t think he would complete the program because of the additional time commitment it would require (a whole extra semester for just one class).  She encouraged him into completion and offered to teach the Assessment I class during the summer session so that he could complete faster.  More importantly, they worked as colleagues on the assessment study until he learned not just the technical aspects but the how and the why they conduct assessment.  Andrew believes that this is a tremendous testament to her dedication to students and student learning.

Benn Johnson

Benn started the program already a part of student affairs, as an Area Coordinator for Florida Memorial University. He attended Nova to hone his skills and to enhance his experience professionally. He graduated with his Masters of College Student Affairs in 2014. He then began work as Judicial Director at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is still currently employed in this position and absolutely loves it. The skills he gained in the CSA program at Nova really prepared him for his current work. He remembers his experiences within his practicum since Dr. Holliday was his supervisor. He has kept what he learned under her and puts it into practice every day. Feel free to contact Benn for any assistance. 

Craig Johnson

Craig graduated with his M.S. in Student Affairs after being the GA for Marketing and Outreach in the Office of Orientation and started working as the Assistant Director of Orientation Programs at Purdue University. Craig is currently the Director of Orientation Programs at Purdue University. When looking back at his time as a student in the College Student Affairs program, Craig finds himself “reflecting back to several of my classes when going through the day-to-day functions of my role. I think back to Assessment, or Facilitation, or Mediation, and can’t help but to be reminded that those courses, specifically, have helped set a framework for what I do as a professional.”

Diane Klein

Diane graduated in 2008 with a Masters in College Student Affairs from there she started as the Assistant Director of Internships at Nova Southeastern. She continued her work at Nova, moving to Associate Director of Career Development. She enjoyed having the experience of being a Graduate Assistant in the Division. She described the experiences she had as giving her multiple opportunities to develop as a professional. Diane was provided a great mentorship through the faculty at Nova and she gained the skills to become a strong student leader and a successful professional. Today, as she deals with Graduate Assistants, she tries to mentor them and also tries to develop them into great young professionals in the field. She has enjoyed her time at Nova and wants to assist future student leaders to reach their full potential. 

Molly Kresl

Molly graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs in 2014. She was the GA for Student Organizations for the Office of Student Activities. 

"They treat me as a full time professional here. Where other schools have coordinators, this school has graduate assistants. We have a close knit group of student affairs graduates in both the first and second year cohorts. I love the relationships between the offices on campus, and if you need help, you can always reach out to your fellow Graduate Assistants for a great group to help out. I have had the opportunity to present at conferences on campus, and create new student development initiatives. I know I made the right choice."

After she graduated, she started working at Humboldt State University in Northern California. Molly celebrates 3 years with the university and is currently the Clubs and Activities Coordinator. Molly grew a lot while at Nova, and stated that the program really prepared her for her career and life in general as she shared in her testimony: “It was a tough program. I loved my conflict analysis and resolution classes and still use them today. With everything we were doing between school and assistantships, I can say I am better prepared to deal with the unexpected. There were a lot of struggles but in the end I am a better professional because of what my colleagues and I went through.”

William Lacava

William graduated with his Master’s in College Student Affairs in 2012, from there he landed his first job as Coordinator of Residential Hall and Staff Training. He was involved in the selection process for the department staff at the New Mexico Tech. He then began working at the University of Texas in Dallas, as a Residential Life Coordinator. He expressed that he initially did not care too much for his cohort group because he was not a graduate assistant and many of his peers were. However, he began to enjoy them more when he landed a graduate assistant position as well. He remembers Aarika Camp, Dr. Holliday, and Dr. Williams. He has the fondest memories learning from these great leaders in higher education. Feel free to contact William for support or advice as he is happy to talk with and mentor students.

Greg Langstaff

"NSU's student affairs division is very advanced as far as quantitative assessment of the impact student affairs has on students. Being a graduate assistant here gives me the chance to learn how to demonstrate the value, both financial and educational, of student affairs work and those skills are very appealing to potential employers. I also really love spending time with my fellow Graduate Assistants; they have become some of my best friends."

Hannah Link

Hannah graduated with her M.S. in College Student Affairs and began her career at Lynn University as the Area Coordinator. Hannah stayed at Lynn University and continued to work with students in the housing field by working as the Assistant Director for Housing and Residential Life. Hannah recalls some of her many memories at Nova. Some of the most important ones are the everlasting words of Dr. Gay Holliday, “Trust the Process.” Apart from that she held an extreme fondness for Dr. Holliday’s take on the job search process. She also has phenomenal memories from her interview weekend – she knew NSU was where she was meant to be. Hannah attributes her desire to attend and work at NSU to the professional staff, students and fellow Graduate Assistants.

Emilio Lorenzo

Emilio graduated with his M.S. in Student Affairs. He started working as the Career Adviser at Nova Southeastern University and became the Assistant Director for Career Advisement and Pre-Professional Services. Emilio has many fond memories from his time at Nova, one of which is Dr. Holliday’s words “Trust the Process.” He stated that one thing he still carries with him is “learning how to trust the process in your professional development and how to show your value to others through storytelling.”

Kelley McCarthy

"As a graduate student I didn't realize how often I would use the knowledge and skills I learned in my conflict analysis and resolution courses. Working in residence life I have found myself referring to my textbooks and notes at least once a week. So far, I've presented on the topics of facilitation and mediation during RA training, found myself using the different mediation theories during a roommate conflict meeting, and lastly, passing the knowledge to others around me."

Gina Mercanti

Gina graduated in 2012 with her Masters in College Student Affairs while she was GA for Student Organizations in the Office of Student Activities. She began her career at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as the Coordinator for Student Activities. Shortly after she began a career at Jefferson University, East Falls Campus, Philadelphia, PA (formerly Philadelphia University). She loved that Nova’s program seemed to raise the bar for student affairs professionals. She left with the knowledge and know-how to be successful in a great amount of careers. Feel free to contact Gina for more information on her story as well as for any assistance. 

Monica Moreno

"I chose NSU because the minute I stepped onto campus I felt welcomed by the staff and students. My graduate assistantship has allowed me to grow as a future student affairs professional through the constant support and opportunity that has been given to me."

Megan Morini

"The Graduate Assistantship at Nova Southeastern University has provided me with the opportunity to apply what I am learning in the classroom to real life situations. This exceptional hands-on experience not only helps to enhance my knowledge of the profession and field of Student Affairs, but also gain an edge when seeking full-time positions."

Arienna Milkles

"As a student at NSU the opportunities to learn, grow, and develop are copious. Within my first semester as a Graduate Student at NSU I have transitioned in many ways, ranging from advising an organization, supervising staff, and even starting an organization along with other members of my cohort. Every day whether at work or in class there are new opportunities to change something in yourself and in the lives of other students and colleagues. If there is any opportunity or experience you wish to have, NSU is the place to have it."

Zaibis Munoz

Zaibis achieved a Master’s degree in College Student Affairs in 2011. While in attendance at Nova, Zaibis worked as a Residential Graduate Assistant for Rolling Hills. Zaibis then began working as the Residential Life Director for New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury. Zaibis obtained real skills and enabled him to achieve a fulfilling professional life. He holds on to Dr. Holliday’s famous words, “Trust the Process.” Nova gave him the tools to be successful in life, both professionally and personal. Feel free to contact Zaibis for any further advice or support. 

Antoinette Murray

Antoinette graduated with her Master’s in College Student Affairs in 2014. From there she went on to become the Resident Director of Western New England University located in Springfield, Massachusetts. From there she went on to become a Resident Director at Bowie State in Maryland. She will take with her the ability to think critically, to analyze, and communicate effectively and efficiently. One thing she remembers is the theory class; she enjoyed identifying the theories and putting them to practice, as well as seeing them play out in her career life. Feel free to reach out to Antoinette for any further advice. 

Francis Ortiz-Pineda

"NSU has provided me numerous opportunities to work first hand with students and to help them develop. Being able to do so, as a first year CSA student, has made my experience here in NSU remarkable thus far.”

Ronald Padron

Ronald graduated in 2012 with his Master’s in College Student Affairs and started off working as a Program Coordinator for the Department of English at the University of Central Florida, while pursuing his degree. The first job Ronald received post-degree was as an Academic Advisor in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park where he continues to work today. His favorite memory from the program was while he was in the online program and attended the Residential Institutes which he described as such an amazing experience. He enjoyed getting to meet so many of his online classmates in person and forged some amazing friendships and many of them remain in contact both personally and professionally to this day. 

Ujash Patel

Ujash graduated in 2012 with his M.S. in College Student Affairs. He then enrolled in a doctoral program for higher education administration and became a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Admissions. He is currently the head of admissions for the Honors College at University of Kansas. His advice to young professionals is too look beyond the scope of typical student affairs offices. He encourages others to see that what you learn in the classroom is applicable to all of higher education. He also recalls being the first teaching assistant for Dr. Williams. His second fondest memory, and something he takes to heart even now, is the overall impact of Dr. Holliday.

Kristin Pearsons

Kristin graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs in 2011 and began her journey working as Assistant Director for Student Activities at Triton College. She is no longer in student affairs and instead works for a law firm and oversees trust accounts. She describes her experiences at Nova as common sense blended with creativity and she is still able to utilize these skills in her current position. She has taken hold of the conflict and mediation analysis and exercised it in her daily life and her professional life. She gained a great deal from the CSA program at Nova and said that she was given “unlimited resources.” One thing that she really held onto was the freedom to be silly and goofy; she cherishes the fact that the program allows individuals the ability to be weird and different. Although she is no longer in the field, she has expressed her joy in talking to students and one piece of advice she would offer is do research and investigate options. Don’t be so quick to move up but just take the time to figure out such things as, “What is the current climate of the institution?” She advises anyone going into student affairs to remember to interview the institutions of interest as well. Feel free to reach out to Kristin anytime. 

Julio Perez Jr.

"If I had to identify the opportunities that NSU’s College Student Affairs Program has to offer with one word, I would use "endless"! The opportunities are "sky’s the limit," with the endless list of volunteer opportunities, graduate assistantships, and practicum opportunities. The experience that I am currently undergoing at NSU has been invaluable to my academic and professional growth. "

Tricia Realbuto

Tricia graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and began working as the Coordinator of Orientation and Service at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Tricia now works as the Assistant Director of US Operations at John Cabot University, Rome, Italy. Tricia remembers the famous words shared by Dr. Brad Williams “Live like a college student now so you don’t have to live like on later!” She states that she “shares that advice with students all the time when it comes to how they spend their money and time!”

Jennifer Revezzo

Jennifer graduated in 2015 with her M.S. in College Student Affairs and now has 12 years of college student affairs experience under her belt. She started working for Nova Southeastern University as the Director of Student Services in the College of Engineering. She has since left the field but continues to call upon the skills she learned in the program at NSU. She is now a project manager at an ITT Technical Company located in South Florida. She recalls her ability of what she used in practicum and the ability to apply it to “real life.” She created a peer mentoring program for student government when she was in college and it continued to leave an impact after she left. She also remembered the theories class she took as part of the program. It allowed her to work more closely with people. She does admit that she misses working with student and encourages anyone going into student affairs to expand their resumes by not becoming “niched” to higher education. 

Hernan Rico

Rico graduated with his M.S. in College Student Affairs in 2016. Following his graduation, he started as a Career Advisor at Nova Southeastern University. He has since perused a career with residence life at Humboldt State University. He harkens to Dr. Holliday’s famous and encouraging words of “Trust the Process.” He testifies that that quote coupled with the knowledge he gained in the program made him not only a better professional but a better person.

Kenrick Roberts, Esq.

Kenrick graduated with his Master’s in College Student Affairs in 2009 and jumped into his first student affairs position, which was the Area Coordinator at the Catholic University of America. He later began work as an Associate Attorney with Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman, & Darby, LLP. One thing from this CSA program he will always remember is those simple, yet meaningful, words spoken by Dr. Holliday, “Trust the Process.” Though he is not in student affairs anymore, he is quite willing to support and mentor any students that contact him. 

Yaileimy "Jamie" Rodriguez

“Statistics say young professionals leave the students affairs fields within the first five years. I feel if more of these professionals have experiences such as working within this division, they’d be less likely to leave the profession. The support, inspiration and constant challenge to improve have provided me an experience that can compare to no other.”

Sean Ryan

Sean graduated in 2015 with his Master’s in College Student Affairs and settled into life as a student affairs professional. His first position was Coordinator of Leadership Programming at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He then began a career as Associate Director of Fraternity Life and Experiential Leadership Education at Dickinson College. His memory of Nova was shaped by Dr. Holliday’s exemplary leadership and her unforgotten words, “Trust the Process.” He is happy to discuss his experiences at Nova with any students who reach out to him.

Wafia Sayfalnasr

Wafia graduated with her M.S. in College Student Affairs in 2011. Since then, she had worked as the coordinator for the University of Central Florida and now works as a Coordinator at the Community College of Valencia. She has loved every step of the college student affairs journey and could not cite simply one memory or item she took with her from NSU. Instead, she credits all she has achieved and everything she uses to the NSU student affairs program. She credits everything to the excellent professors, to the rigorous classes, and of course to the friends she made to assist her in pushing through.

Sara Schilling

"It’s a really fantastic way to meet future colleagues. I also appreciate the support that the Division of Student Affairs gives the graduate assistants.”

Stephanie Schmidt

"I love working in the Office of Orientation and Commuter Involvement at NSU. While working directly with Orientation programs and Commuter students, I also have the opportunity to volunteer for events held all over campus by different offices. I'm able to learn about different offices and how they work while working in my own office. I think this opportunity sets NSU apart from other graduate schools because I am able to volunteer in every aspect of Student Affairs not just where my assistantship is held."

Russell Lee Slendebroek

"NSU supports and develops you into the professional you wish to be. I can tailor my practicum and professional development to fit specific needs on my journey throughout my masters program."

Julianne Stephens

Julianne graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs in 2016. Since graduating, she has not received a job in her field. However, she only has positive things to say about the program and held on to the experiences she gained in her practicums. Her advice is to make sure that the practicum experiences are taken seriously because that is where your career is built.

Amy Strachota

"In my short time at NSU, I have been given ample opportunities and experiences that are helping me work toward achieving my career goals and aspirations. Faculty and professional staff members have aided me in developing my skills and competencies in Student Affairs, both inside and outside the classroom. These skills and competencies are going to be the tools necessary to be successful in my career!"

Christopher Thornton

Christopher Thornton graduated in 2014 with his Master’s in College Student Affairs. Upon graduation, Christopher began working as a Residential Director at State University of New York at Oneonta. He is currently employed at Frostburg State University and is still within Residential Life. He holds on to and remembers the support and inspiration he gained while in the program and harkens his accomplishments to the challenges he faced in the NSU program. He describes having to think critically and analytically. NSU gifted him the tools to be successful in any field. Christopher is happy to discuss his experiences and assist in any way he can. So, feel free to contact him.

Samantha Townsend

Samantha graduated in 2014 with her Master’s in College Student Affairs. From there she began her CSA career working as an Area Coordinator at Brandeis University, located just outside of Boston. She then came back to Nova, as she developed a passion for the atmosphere and the students. She now works as Area Coordinator for Founders, Farquhar, Vettel, and the Cultural Living Center. She also has a position as the Retention Specialist for DOSA COUS.  Samantha has learned a lot from the program but one thing that has always stuck with her was a quote from her Human Factors professor who stated “never apologize for how you feel; your feelings are your own.”  They had a whole discussion about how one may change their viewpoints through conversations and how an individual may feel differently later on but in that moment may feel a certain way. She stated that that conversation really stuck with her throughout the years in the field.

Nhee Vang

"My experiences as graduate assistant and taking courses in conflict analysis and resolution at Nova Southeastern University were ever life-changing. Being able to engage and interact with students, staff, faculty, and peers has greatly prepared me as a new professional in student affairs and has also enabled me to further pursue opportunities in the field of higher education."

Jennifer Vogel

Jennifer graduated from Nova with her Master’s in College Student Affairs in 2014. Her journey started as the Athletic Academic Coordinator at NSU’s Athletic Department. She moved to Harold Washington College, which is a part of the City Colleges of Chicago. She now works as a College Advisor in the Academic Advising Office. In this position she coordinates New Student Orientation and First Year Experience programs while advising students on academic, career, and transfer goals. One of her favorite memories from the CSA program was working with her fellow GA’s. She remembers a day that she worked on STUEY biographies late into the night. It would have been a miserable task if it weren’t for the fun, amazing people that she worked with. She stated that “Any project or event was better because of them!” Feel free to contact Jennifer, as she still aims to inspire future professionals. 

Aeryel Williams

Aeryel graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and from there continued to pursue further education. She currently is working on her Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. She has also worked as a Program Coordinator for Florida International University and as a Reslife Coordinator at Dillard University. Now she is back in the classroom to seek a Ph.D. and is working as a Graduate Assistant like she did when she was attending NSU. In fact, what she recalls most from NSU, was serving as Dr. Brad Williams' teaching assistant.

Stephanie J. Womack

Stephani graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs in May of 2014. Sue began working as the Coordinator of Orientation and Leadership Development at Dalton State Collage. Stephani now works as the Assistant Director of Career and Professional Development. One of her lasting memories of her time at Nova was Dr. Gay Holliday’s famous quote, “Trust the Process.” Stephani continued by stating that she “always has and it has never steered her wrong!”

Jim Wood

Jim graduated with his Master’s in College Student Affairs and began working as a recruiter for the Huizenga College of Business at Nova Southeastern University. He enjoyed being a part of this College and has not left. He currently acts as the Assistant Director of Admissions for the NSU College of Business. Jim said that he could not narrow down his experiences to one memory that stands out because his experience was so enriching at Nova and he is happy to talk with any student who wishes to reach out to him. 

Milly Yin

"In NSU's CSA program, you get to know professional staff well and there are many professional conferences you will have the chance to attend. Within the GA position, you can improve your communication skills by communicating to student affairs professionals in daily life and improve your leadership skills when you facilitate different activities and supervise student workers."

Jazmin Zea

"My courses in Conflict Analysis and Resolution allow me to understand how to define the root causes of conflict in everyday struggles. For instance, in our coursework, we learn about the different styles of conflict management. We may encounter or perhaps see ourselves become the avoider (leave-lose/win), accommodator (yield-lose), collaborator (win/win), or the controller (win/lose). It is beneficial to understand your personal conflict style, to learn how to pick and choose your battles in the field of Student Affairs You can also use conflict analysis and resolution to understand and take a step back to see how the other person is feeling. The Graduate Assistant experience is very practitioner-based; you have many responsibilities over-seeing a functional area to your department and the division. The experience makes you very marketable because you deal with entry-level professional duties."

"In my professional role with the university, I utilized all the fundamental courses in conflict analysis and resolution and student affairs to hone my skills. I am seen as an ombudsman. The students feel comfortable talking to me and addressing their concerns or opinions. Also, working in Higher Education opens the door for you to work with governmental agencies such as the Department of Education, and many other entities that provide resources and funding opportunities to students."

Karen Zuniga

Karen graduated with her M.S. in Student Affairs and started her career at Fordham University as the Resident Director within the Office of Residential Life. She continues this challenging work even now. Karen has a passion for students and enjoys what she does. She also enjoyed the time she had at Nova. She states that she cannot think of one memory as greater than another. She has had so many meaningful experiences that it would be hard to pick. She does say, however, that overall her experience was one that she would not change at NSU and if she could she would do it all over again.

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