The University Advising Center is very pleased to share that Ben Mandelbaum has joined us as our newest Academic Advisor! Ben joins us after spending 7 seasons as a college basketball coach. In his most recent position, he coached the Alcorn State University Men’s Basketball team to the 2023 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship. Ben is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he received his Master’s degree in Exercise Science. New to Dallas, Ben has enjoyed exploring the Dallas area by visiting museums, attending shows, and taking in sporting events. In his free time, Ben likes following his favorite sports teams, traveling to the beach, and listening to podcasts.
SASP is fully staffed to kick of the fall, 2023 semester!
Please join us in welcoming Gracy Herrera as the new academic probation counselor. Gracy will counsel all pre-major students on academic probation. Gracy is an education advocate with over 14 years’ experience developing academic courses of action for students of varying social backgrounds, scholastic levels, and special needs. Gracy has most recently focused on advancing the skills of student-athletes in Dubai. Gracy will start next Monday, August 7.
We are also excited to welcome Makenzie Moriarty as the new academic counselor. Makenzie will counsel declared majors on academic probation, university probation, Prelude students, and the general undergraduate population. Makenzie comes to SMU from the University of South Carolina where she was a GA in the Student Success Center working to empower peer leaders and counsel students who were working to transfer to USC. Makenzie will start next Monday, August 7.
Varun Singh is our new Graduate Assistant for the First-Generation Initiative. Varun will work closely with Chris Meyers to support our first-gen students and implement our signature events. Varun is pursuing a MS in Business Analytics in the Cox School of Business. Varun has worked as a head organizer for a film festival, managed various projects, and has spent the last six years starting and managing his own real estate and construction firm. Varun will start next Wednesday, August 9.
We’d also like to thank our colleagues who assisted in the search process for all our positions this spring and summer – your collaborations are so appreciated.
Student Academic Success Programs welcomes Grace Okoro, who will start as tutor coordinator July 5th. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from UTA and a master’s in Health Administration from TWU. She is also working towards a PhD in Health Sciences. Grace will be assisting Adreana and Nancy in expanding our tutor training program, working with our tutors, and working with students. Grace will bring SASP experience in data collection, and as a teaching assistant.
Dr. Robin Corbett, DASS Coordinator, will be leaving SMU to be closer to her home and family to pursue new endeavors effective 7/7/2023. All student files will be temporarily reassigned until our new staff member arrives. For any questions, please call the office while we’re in this transition – 214-768-1470
We are welcoming the new Coordinator in July and will be introducing her before the fall semester begins.
Please join us in wishing Robin well and thank her for her work with SMU.
Our second change involves the First Gen Initiative. These programs and student academic support will be overseen by Associate Director, Chris Meyers. Chris has done an outstanding job working with our students on academic probation and will supervise a new academic counselor to take over those duties. Chris is excited to work with our first generation students and pick up the program that has grown tremendously over the past three years. He’ll work hand in hand with the advisor to the First Generation Association, the recognized student organization, to expand the programming and celebrations for these students. Please contact Chris if you are interested in working with our First Gen students – email@example.com. Any graduate student interested in joining this program as a graduate assistant should look at the job description on Handshake.
Briana Morales joins the Honors and Scholars team as the new Rotunda Scholars Success Counselor. A Texas Native, first-generation college graduate, and SMU alum, Briana earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in the SMU Counseling program. Since her time as an undergraduate, Briana worked with SMU’s First-Generation Initiative and First-Generation Association as a fierce advocate for many students whose struggles she knows too well.
Briana’s experience mentoring students, coordinating student centered events, and building relationships across campus will be a welcome addition to the Rotunda family. Briana is excited to join the Rotunda support system and community as it grows in number and expands services. Her favorite part of serving students is the relief and joy on students’ faces when they see how much you care. To her, there is no greater feeling than showing someone you care about their well-being and success. We are excited for Briana to join our team and begin working June 19th.
Please welcome two new staff members to the Student Academic Success Programs (SASP) team and thank a valued member who is leaving:
Dr. Nancy Larkin is joins the A-LEC team as the Assistant Director of Tutoring. Nancy has an Ed.D. from Walden University in Teacher Leadership, a master’s in Educational Technology from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from Lamar University. She has experience teaching and writing curriculum in many high school science courses including Honor’s and AP physics, chemistry and biology. She has presented at many conferences and has a lifetime teaching certification in Texas public schools.
Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies (DASS) regrets to say goodbye to Dr. Robin Corbett in July as she returns to the K-12 sector, working in the area of special education. We welcome her replacement, Valiza Cameron-Patterson, in mid-July. Valiza comes to us from Dallas ISD where she served as a school counselor. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling & Student Affairs from TCU, and is excited to work with students with disabilities in higher education.
After leading the Academic Skill Development for several years, Becca Umobong has been promoted to Director. Becca’s leadership has led to the expansion of the HDEV courses to include a pilot online offering in summer, HDEV 1110 moving to a 2 credit course, and close collaboration with Simmons as a new department chair has been introduced. Her team expanded support for our Prelude students by offering semester-long academic counseling. Becca has assume a greater role within the Associate Provost’s area (SAES) through her communication coordination within all 5 departments. Her continued work with RLSH to review and perform outreach after the Early Alert Micro Assessment project is one that contributes greatly by identifying at risk students who are at risk for retention. Congratulations, Becca!
From a Ben Thomas Outstanding Tutor award winner, to a Math grad student, to our Math/CS learning specialist, Jacob Cadena has been an integral part of the SASP team for quite some time. After completing his masters’ degree, Jacob continued working with us while also working as a private learning specialist. I’m excited to announce that Jacob will begin serving as our Asst. Director of the A-LEC/Tutoring Dec. 1. Jacob will work with both ADSA and A-LEC tutors to gain CRLA certification for our tutor program, work with Adreana in hiring, training and scheduling tutors, and also work closely with other areas of academic support, such as Math help tables and Lyle’s Hart Center in order to promote all services available to students. Congratulations, Jacob!
Please congratulate these valuable staff members.
We are excited to announce Bailey Price has joined the Student Academic Engagement and Success Team as of Monday, November 21st. Bailey will be serving in our new position as SAES business manager. Bailey received her undergraduate degree from SMU in 2021 and she’ll be starting the MBA program this spring. Bailey wrote “I received so much support and guidance from SMU administration during my undergraduate career, and I’m grateful for the chance to help various offices that provide these opportunities to the students. The SAES team has implemented some exciting initiatives and set some incredible goals, and I can’t wait to be a part of the growth that this office is working towards.” Bailey has been working in Human Resources and recently competed her aPHR certification (Associate Professional in Human Resources). Please help us welcome Bailey back to the Hilltop!
Student Academic Success Programs (SASP) will say good-bye to our tutor coordinator, Carlos Luis Garcia, at the end of September. Carlos served our students for five years after his graduation and was a math tutor during his undergraduate career, earning the Ben Thomas Outstanding Tutor Award his senior year. Carlos heads to Ernst and Young to apply his M.S in Operations Research and Engineering Management degree. Thank you, Carlos and you will be missed.