Mentoring and Personal Development

Live Well – Personal Development

BOLD provides students with professional staff who serve as mentors and guide undergraduates through their college experience. Mentors adopt a holistic approach and connect each student to relevant academic opportunities, resources for career development, and leadership possibilities. Pursuing these options helps students develop skills that prepare them for their future lives. By working with a mentor, Douglass students can expand their self-awareness and, in turn, give voice to personal, academic, lifestyle, and career choices. Mentors also coach students on the value of persistence and resilience as they navigate the resources and expectations of a large research university.

The BOLD Center assigns each first year and new transfer student to a mentor through their housing assignments or status as commuters. Students may wish to continue working with their assigned mentors throughout their years at Douglass, or find other mentors in areas closer to their majors. In addition, each staff mentor will help students develop an "action plan" based on their interests, defining their goals and the steps required to reach them. Finally, mentors are always available to help students manage any personal concerns.

 

DRC Staff Mentors

 

 

 

 

Leslie Danehy
(848) 932-3184
leslie.danehy@echo.rutgers.edu

Dr. Leslie Danehy is currently the Assistant Dean & Executive Director of the BOLD Center for Leadership, Career and Personal Development at Rutgers University - Douglass Residential College. Dr. Danehy has worked in higher education for over 17 years as an administrator, coach, instructor, and as an emotional intelligence consultant.
Dr. Danehy’s previous experience involves many years in athletic administration including work at the NCAA headquarters, as Director of Athletics at Cabrini University, as Head Soccer Coach and Assistant Athletic Director at Western Connecticut State University, as an instructor at the University of Louisville and as an Emotional Intelligence consultant both in the university and corporate settings.
She completed her doctoral work at Wilmington University in Delaware and wrote her dissertation on emotional intelligence and leadership in 2006.

Dr. Danehy completed her master’s degree in education at Springfield College and her undergraduate work at Providence College where she played college soccer and basketball. She has a passion and focus for supporting higher education students during their most transformational years.

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Madinah Elamin
(848) 932-2546
melamin@echo.rutgers.edu

Madinah Elamin is the Director of the Global Village here at Douglass Residential College. Madinah received her Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University and a BA in psychology from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Always passionate about social inequities, Madinah has worked to improve the lives of students throughout her career and personal life as well. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Inc. and sits on a number of boards and committees tasked with improving the lives of children. Away from the office, Madinah enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with her son, and re-watching old sitcoms.

 

 

Kayla Fowler
(848) 932-1043

kayla.fowler@rutgers.edu

Kayla Fowler is the Director of Experiential STEM Programs overseeing both the Bunting-Cobb Women in STEM and Douglass Project STEM Programs, such as RU Research Ready?, Research? It’s Not Too Late, and Networking Night. As a third-generation Rutgers University alum and second-generation Douglass alumna, Kayla was born and raised a Scarlet Knight and Douglass student. Kayla is a two-time Rutgers graduate receiving her Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise Science & Applied Kinesiology and her Masters of Public Health degree in health behavior, society & policy. Kayla’s passion for women in STEM and research stemmed from living in Bunting-Cobb as an undergraduate student and participating in the Douglass Project Project SUPER program for many years – she enjoys encouraging  students to seek as many opportunities and experiences to expose them to various STEM fields. Outside of office, Kayla enjoys reading, watching documentaries, and spending time with family! She is also a previous ODASIS student, LSAMP scholar, McNair Scholar, George H. Cook Scholar and Institute for Women’s Leadership and WINGS Scholar! Find Kayla Fowler in Carpender Hall, Room 207

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Cody Grabbe
(848) 932-3024
cg803@echo.rutgers.edu

Dr. Cody Grabbe is the Senior Program Coordinator for the new Gender and Arts Program at the Douglass Residential College. A trained classical clarinetist, Dr. Grabbe completed his studies at the Jacob School of Music at Indiana University, Miami University, and Michigan State University where he was a University Distinguished Fellow. As a performer, he has played with several orchestras throughout the Midwest including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and he was an Associate Musician with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his role at Rutgers, he taught and oversaw the Arts Scholars Program at The Ohio State University from 2014 to 2018. When not performing or teaching, he enjoys cooking, travel, and spending time with his husband and two rescue dogs, Elphaba and Luna.

Find Cody Grabbe at:
Carpender Hall 303

 

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Dr. Elizabeth Gunn
(848) 932-1052
elizabeth.gunn@echo.rutgers.edu

Before joining Rutgers University in 2017, Dr. Elizabeth Gunn was a tenured associate professor at Morgan State University (MSU). She earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and she holds two masters degrees. She is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles centered on the nexus of sexuality, gender, and nation building. In 2016, she was awarded MSU’s highest faculty honor, the Sandye McIntrye II Award, for international development: she pioneered global opportunities for students, faculty, and staff, and she designed a dynamic partnership with the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca in Mexico. At Douglass, Dr. Gunn serves as Assistant Dean of Academic Programs, and her portfolio includes the Global Village, the Douglass Course, and Introduction to Scientific Research, among other innovative programs and initiatives. She is an avid runner and creative writer.

Monaé James
mj664@sph.rutgers.edu

Monaé James is a graduate mentor at the BOLD Center at Douglass Residential College. She is a native of Columbus, Ohio and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in dance from The Ohio State University. Before transitioning to Rutgers, Monaé worked in research studying suicide and depression among children and adolescents. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in public health. In the future, she plans to combine her education and artistic background to become a policy and community advocate for LGBTQ adolescents. In her free time, Monaé enjoys reading, the performing arts, and spending time with loved ones.

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Dean Michelle Jefferson
(848) 932-3925
jeffermi@echo.rutgers.edu

Dr. Michelle Jefferson graduated from Douglass College-Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, women’s studies, and a minor in psychology. She received her Master of Education degree in Leadership from Beaver College now known as Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Michelle then earned her Doctor of Philosophy in higher education from Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. The focus of her research was the reduction of prejudice in college students.
Dr. Jefferson con-currently serves as the Associate Chair of the Organizational Leadership Department in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers and teaches several courses in organizational leadership. Many students look to her as a teacher, role model, advisor, mentor, and friend. She is known around campus as “Dean J” and students can find her working out in the gym, attending sporting events, conducting programs in the residence halls or the student centers in the evenings, or just chillin’ in her office when she is not in the classroom.

Find Dean Jefferson at:
88 College Avenue

Allie Kroeper
(848)-932-2548
amk253@echo.rutgers.edu

Allie is a 2015 graduate of DRC, having studied English, Theater, and Creative Writing. They are currently the Unit Administrative Specialist for DRC's Office of Academic Programs and an LGBTQ Liaison. As a student, they were involved in Cabaret Theatre; LLEGO, The LGBTQQIA People of Color Organization of Rutgers-New Brunswick; the Douglass Historical Society; Camp UKnight; the College Avenue Players; and Cap & Skull. They also went to the occasional Juggling Club meeting. Today you can find them practicing improv comedy at the Magnet Theater in NYC and with Howdy Stranger of Hackensack, NJ. You can also find them acting in plays, writing their own plays, and learning to freestyle rap at Freestyle Love Supreme Academy. A passion of Allie's is to help students find their paths at Rutgers, so feel free to email with any questions you have!

 

Jacqueline Medina
 (848) 932-1048
 jacqueline.d.medina@rutgers.edu

Jacqueline Medina is the Program Coordinator for the computer science initiatives at Douglass Residential College, including the Douglass-SAS-DIMACS Living-Learning Community and the Douglass-DIMACS Computing Corps. She is a Rutgers University alumna, with a B.A. in Cell Biology & Neuroscience from Douglass College and an Ed.M. in Science Education from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Before joining the Douglass staff, Jacqueline was a science educator, teaching content across different disciplines and grade levels. A majority of her time was spent in the middle school classroom, where she was known for her accepting, student-centered learning environment. She transitioned to a career in higher education to pursue her passion (realized as a student at Douglass) for supporting and empowering students in their expressions of identity. As a mentor, Jacqueline brings her communication skills from the secondary classroom and a perspective that welcomes unique life paths. In her time outside of Douglass, Jacqueline enjoys writing, animated series, hot tea, and time with her cat.

Christine Oller
 cjo62@echo.rutgers.edu

Christine is currently serving as the part time program coordinator for the BOLD Center’s Externship Program. As a first generation college student and Douglass alumna, Christine understands the importance of gaining and maintaining positive connections through immersive experiences. Her own story as an extern pays tribute to her current experience as a graduate student, obtaining a master’s of science in education for student affairs and college counseling. Christine’s past professional positions and current role in her graduate program has trained her to assist with transition guidance, resume and cover letter building, interview techniques, and professional development skills. Stop by Carpender Hall on Thursdays between 5-9pm to meet with Christine!

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Stephanie M. Perez
(848) 932-3158
stephanie.perez@rutgers.edu

Stephanie M. Perez is the Associate Director of the BOLD Center at Douglass Residential College. Her primary responsibilities include the Externship Experience, the Bold Empower Program for First-Generation Douglass students, and student leadership activities. While she has only been at Douglass since 2018, Stephanie has been a staff member at Rutgers for over a decade managing various programs for faculty, staff, and students. She is also a Scarlet Knight herself, and graduated from Rutgers in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and media studies. She received her Master of Education degree in social and philosophical foundations of education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in education with a concentration in theory, organization, and policy. Her research is centered on educational access and equity. If she isn’t working, teaching, or studying, Stephanie loves watching movies, reading, and talking to anyone who will listen about Star Wars.

 

Xiomara "Isabel" Perez
xip1@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
 

Isabel Perez is a graduate mentor for the BOLD Center at Douglass Residential College. Isabel’s areas of expertise include STEM career support, peer advising, opportunities at Douglass and Rutgers, and general student support. Isabel received her BS in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers and is also a DRC alumna. During her undergraduate years, Isabel participated in Project SUPER which jump-started her career as a biomedical scientist and engineer.  She is now pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers where her dissertation research focuses on developing a cell-based therapy for traumatic brain injuries. In addition, she is also very active in STEM community outreach efforts. During her free time, Isabel enjoys binge-watching series and movies and spending quality time with her friends and cat named Dash!

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Dean Rebecca Reynolds
(848) 932-3026
rreynold@echo.rutgers.edu

Rebecca Reynolds received her M.A. in English from Rutgers University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Michigan. She has published two books of poetry, The Bovine Two-Step, New Issues Press, Western Michigan University; and Daughter of the Hangnail, New Issues Press. Daughter of the Hangnail received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her poems have appeared in a number of literary journals and online reviews. She has taught creative writing and women’s and gender studies. An Assistant Dean, she works as the Director of Mentoring at Douglass. In her spare time, she is a cat owner, gardener, avid reader, Netflix consumer, jewelry designer and silversmith. She is also an LGBTQ Liaison, committed to social justice, especially as it relates to educational equity and students’ varied or intersecting identities.

 

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Merylou Rodriguez
(848) 932-3025
merylou.rodriguez@echo.rutgers.edu

Merylou is the Director of Scholarships, Housing, and Student Engagement at DRC. She earned her bachelor's, Ed.M, and is currently earning her Ph.D. here at Rutgers. #ScarletPride
Community service and volunteering has always been a priority for her. Coming from a humble upbringing, the generosity of caring individuals helped her in times of need. Now she's in a position to help others and give back.

As an EOF alumna, she has always been a heavy advocate of diversity and college access programs and working at Douglass allows her to continue that advocacy for DRC women. She wants to provide the support students need to maximize their time here and help them make their undergrad and intentional and memorable experience.

 

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Courtney Teryek
(848) 932-2543
ctery@echo.rutgers.edu

Courtney is the Senior Student Programs Coordinator for the Office of Recruitment, Scholarship, and Housing here at Douglass Residential College and the current advisor for the Douglass Student Recruitment Network (DSRN).  She is a current graduate student in the Graduate School of Education, here at Rutgers University, pursuing her Ed.M. in learning, cognition and development.  However, she has been here “on the banks” since 2009 when she started my undergraduate coursework.  In 2013, she graduated from the Rutgers Business School with a degree in supply chain management and market science.  She has worked with Rutgers Athletics Marketing and Rutgers New Student Orientation and Family Programs, prior to joining Douglass Residential College.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, running and continuing to cheer on the Scarlet Knights!    

 

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Nicole Wodzinski
(848) 932-1051
nicole.wodzinski@echo.rutgers.edu

Nicole Wodzinski is the Director of Research Programs in STEM at Douglass Residential College. In addition, she teaches Introduction to Scientific Research: A hands on STEM experience and the Douglass Course, formally known as Knowledge and Power. Nicole earned a B.S. in biology & chemistry from St. John’s University, an M.S. in microbiology from Rutgers University, and an M.S. in molecular genetics from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), now Rutgers Medical School. Her experience includes traumatic injury research with Staten Island University hospital and NYU, with over 10 years of experience in emergency medical research. Nicole has worked in academic research with the OB/GYN department of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as well as research and development with the Merck pharmaceutical company.  As a genetic engineer, she concentrated her studies on cloning techniques used in glycoprotein hormone academic research and women’s health issues. You can find Nicole on the Douglass Campus for mentoring meetings or on the Busch Campus through the Reilly Douglass Engineering Living Learning Community, which she also directs.