Fall 2019: AUx1 (CORE-100) Instructors and Peer Facilitators
This page will continue to be updated over the summer with additional bios for the AUx1 Instructors and AUx1 Peer Facilitators.
Rachel Brown (she/her/hers) is a proud double alumna of The College of William & Mary, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and English, followed by her master’s degree in counseling from the William & Mary School of Education. Prior to working as an AUx Instructor and Advisor at American University, Rachel was a Career Advising Fellow at the Elon University Student Professional Development Center, in which she was also a co-instructor for a Transition Strategies class to aid students in transitioning out of college. In her graduate assistantship through the William & Mary Dean of Students Office, Rachel led workshops about study skills, final exam preparation, and note-taking. She was also a counseling intern in William & Mary’s New Leaf Clinic, coming alongside students through using motivational interviewing techniques. For two summers, Rachel worked as a Cognitive Psychology Teaching Assistant at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. In her free time, Rachel enjoys reading novels and poetry, playing guitar, listening to Hidden Brain podcasts, exploring the best coffee places in the District, and hiking nature trails.
Matt Bruno (he/him/his or they/them/their) is a double graduate of George Mason University (B.A.I.N. in Community Studies in 2005 and a M.A.I.S. in Higher Education in 2009). Currently, Bruno is an Assistant Director of First Year Advising, where he advises first year students and teaches in the AUx Program in addition to managing AUx Instructors / Advisors. Before their work in First Year Advising and AUx, they served as the Assistant Director of Education & Training in the Center for Diversity & Inclusion. In this position, they oversaw peer education groups, workshops, and trainings offered through the Center. They also worked with the other center staff on center-wide programming and other initiatives that support and advocate for better inclusion of women, students of color, LGBTQ students, and first generation college students. Bruno has been working towards making AU more inclusive since 2009. In addition to teaching in AUx, Bruno has taught a course on LGBTQ identities through the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at AU. At George Mason University, he taught an Introduction to Integrative Studies course and in a first-year program through the Integrative Studies Department. Outside of American University, they have served on the Executive Board of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. The Consortium supports staff on college campuses advocating for LGBTQ inclusion, consults with administrators and staff at universities to improve the campus climate for LGBTQ people, and advocates for institutional change and program development that recognizes the needs of LGBTQ people. Bruno has a strong passion for incorporating social justice practices that create more welcoming environments on college campuses. He also loves watching the newest crime/mystery/thriller drama, playing with his dog, and cheering on the Washington Capitals!
Camille Clark (she/her/hers) earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kansas. Prior to her position as an AUx Instructor and Advisor, she served as the Coordinator of First-Generation and Multicultural Programs in the Center for Diversity & Inclusion. As a Coordinator, she worked with center staff on center-wide programming initiatives and diversity workshops that support and advocate for better inclusion of women, students of color, LGBTQ students, and first-generation college students. Before her time at AU, she worked as a Retention Specialist in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at The University of Kansas. There, she oversaw multicultural and first-generation academic initiatives. She taught UNIV 101 and 102, freshman orientation seminars, and facilitated several social justice education workshops and retreats. In her spare time, Camille participates in events held by her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She also enjoys arts and crafts, a good meal, Netflix and Hulu and hanging out with her dog, Oliver.
Nicole Cox (she/her/hers) is a writer who teaches. She holds an BA in English from Yeshiva University and an MFA in Poetry from Emerson College. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, she taught in the First-Year Writing Program for over a decade. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Nicole ran pilot programs, served as Assistant Director in the Writing Center, advised hundreds of first-generation university students, served as liaison for new academic support programs, observed fellow lecturers’ classrooms, evaluated placement exams, and helped revise curricula for English and Composition courses. Nicole trained and supervised student tutors in the Writing Center, led and participated in a university-wide writing coach mentorship program for students from underserved communities, co-taught community-oriented writing courses, and conducted various professional development seminars. When she’s not doing any of these things, Nicole writes and publishes poetry, plays, and creative nonfiction. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, supported by writer’s residencies, and awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Grant. Nicole loves musical theatre, all dogs, and the Oxford comma.
Steven Crudele (he/him/his) holds a Bachelor of Science in History Secondary Education from Towson University and a Master of Science in Higher Education, Student Affairs from Florida State University. Currently, he serves as AUx Instructor and Advisor at American University. Prior to this position, Steven was the Staff Assistant with University College, a first-year living learning community at AU. Before starting at AU, Steven worked for three years at Texas A&M University in the Department of Student Activities where he coordinated organizational development efforts for student organizations and advised a country western exhibition dance team. Steven has experience teaching social studies in secondary schools and leadership studies courses to undergraduate students and facilitating workshops on allyship in the LGBTQIA+ community, leadership development, accountability, academic success, time management, communication and conflict management, decision making and delegation, and goal setting, among other topics. Steven is passionate about helping students with goal setting, academic success, and organizational skills. In his spare time, Steven enjoys exploring DC, volunteers at a local museum, and follows current events and politics.
Caroline DeLeon (she/her/hers) received her B.A in History and Spanish from Alfred University and her M.A. in Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University. Caroline’s professional and teaching expertise focuses on the experiences and needs of multicultural, immigrant, LGBTQ, and first-generation college students in addition to varying socio-economic status identities, topics, and advocacy needs. Her teaching experience has included instruction at UMass Boston and Northeastern University where she has taught and worked with underserved student populations that come from backgrounds that have limited access to college transition needs and knowledge with a focus on college success, race, and financial aid literacy. Caroline initially joined the AU community in September of 2011 as part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs which merged with other campus resources to create the Center for Diversity & Inclusion (Est. 2012). As a Program Coordinator with CDI, she developed campus events, collaborated with campus partners, and advocated on behalf of multicultural and first-generation students on campus. Her passion for working with students has taken her abroad with Alternative Breaks to both Havana, Cuba and Mexico City, Mexico. In her current role as Assistant Director of First-Year Advising, Caroline continues to provide guidance to AU students through academic planning and AUx curriculum development and instruction. A native of Massachusetts, Caroline loves all things New England, the ocean, live music, baking, and discovering local unique art instillations and site that will hopefully make her Insta famous. #doitforthegram
Ashley Dorsey (she/her/hers) graduated with a B.A. in English/Secondary Education from Lyon College in Batesville, AR, and an M.A. in College Student Development from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Her master’s capstone work focused on best practices for building a sophomore year experience program. Prior to her time at AU, she taught high school English in rural Arkansas, instructed students in ACT prep for Upward Bound Math and Science, and tutored students in diverse subjects as a center instructor at Sylvan Learning Center. She has also worked in various capacities in higher education including admissions, residence life, student transitions, and of course, advising. Ashley began working at American University with the academic advising office in the School of Public Affairs in 2017, and has been teaching with the AUx program since Spring 2018. Ashley is particularly passionate about the liberal arts as a foundation not only for a strong career, but a lifelong passion for learning. She also cares strongly about the environment and environmental justice, and thus loves hiking and exploring outdoors. If you want to easily strike up a conversation, your best bet is to discuss the brilliance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the movie!). Her dream is to someday begin a PhD where her research could focus on spiritual identity development of college students.
Amanda Dowd (she/her/hers) is a two-time graduate of The University of South Florida having earned a B.A. in Humanities and an M.L.A. in Humanities and Film Studies. Currently she serves as an AUx Instructor and Advisor. Dowd previously held a position as an Associate Instructor of Humanities at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg VA, where she taught courses such as 20th Century Western Culture, Greek Mythology, Women in the Humanities and Survey of Western Culture I & II. In addition to her role as an instructor, she also served as an Academic Advisor at Germanna Community College. Prior to leaving her home state of Florida, she held the position of Adjunct Humanities Professor at the University of South Florida, teaching courses such as The Arts, English Composition and 20TH Century Western Culture. While at the University of South Florida, she also taught international students through the INTO pathways program and facilitated the first online course for the Humanities and Cultural Studies department. Amanda’s teaching experience began in her role as the Education Specialist at the Tampa Museum of Art where she created and instructed education programs that provided students the opportunity to engage with featured artwork through studio experiences, teacher education programs, and lecture series. Her research interests include Soviet-era film and censorship, and the relationship between trauma and artistic expression. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys hiking in and around Shenandoah National Park and DC's Rock Creek Park. As an art enthusiast, she often frequents local galleries, museums and music venues.
Joseph DuBose (he/him/his) serves as AUx Instructor & Advisor. He studied Human Resources at the University of Toledo where he later completed an M.A. in Higher Education. While at the University of Toledo he worked to develop an international living and learning community, advised an affinity group for students of color, and managed a peer mentoring program that supported first generation students. He continued his work at Texas A&M University-Commerce where he assisted with development of a residential curriculum, instructed a first-year seminar and managed a residential community. Proceeded to work at Notre Dame College developing a first-year experience, designing curriculum, and in various roles in Residence Life and Housing. He began work at American University in 2017 as a Community Director, where he facilitated residential programming and supported students with their transition to the university. Passionate about creating holistic learning opportunities for students his work with AUx is a natural fit. In his free time, he enjoys doing agility training with his dog Kam. He is also passionate about fitness and overall well-being.
Samantha Hutchison (she/her/hers) received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from American University Dec. 2014 and received her Master’s degree in Education and Human Development from George Washington University with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Samantha takes a holistic and multicultural approach to counseling and advising. She is passionate about trauma-informed care, mental health awareness, and diversity and inclusion. Samantha has extensive experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic status in primary, secondary, and higher education. Her research/professional interest include providing early intervention and prevention support to students of color, domestic violence and rape prevention and specialized mentorship for students of color in higher education. In her free time, she loves singing, writing music and poetry, trying new foods and traveling.
Eric Jackson (he/him/his) received his B.A in Legal Studies from the University at Buffalo. He received his M.S. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration and Graduate Certification in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State. He is currently a Doctoral candidate at Morgan State University in the Higher Education program. Eric serves as an AUx Instructor and Advisor at American University. Prior to this position he assisted the Department of Labor-National Office of Job Corps in the effective implementation and management of new web-based tools and resources to address three distinct but inter-related work areas which focused on student service. These tools were selected to provide support in three areas: pre-enrollment, academics, and structured evening studies. Having worked in Student Affairs for many years and in different capacities, Eric has facilitated workshops and trainings surrounding Diversity and Cultural Competency and Student Development and Leadership. As a military veteran, he has conducted workshops and presentations surrounding the needs of Student Veterans as well as delivered a keynote on resiliency to college students in New York City. In addition, he co-facilitated a graduate level course entitled: Moral Reasoning in Higher Education at Buffalo State. His professional and research interests include: men and masculinities, identity development, minority males and higher education, leadership development and social justice movements. In his free time, Eric enjoys movies, traveling, working out and spending time with family and friends. He’s a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.
Sarah Jones (she/her/hers) holds a BA in Psychology and Modern Foreign Languages: Spanish from James Madison University and an MA in International Education from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, Spain. Prior to her position as an AUx Instructor and First-Year Advisor, Sarah worked with first year international students at American University through the International Accelerator Program. Sarah served as an undergraduate student advisor for IAP where she practiced holistic advising helping undergraduate international students adapt culturally, academically, and socially to AU and DC. Before teaching AUx, Sarah aided in creating the curriculum for IAP’s First Year Experience course for IAP students which she taught from Fall 2016 to Summer 2018. Sarah has experience in curriculum design, international student development, orientation logistics and planning, student development and leadership programs, and intercultural dialogue and exchange programs. In her free time, Sarah enjoys cooking, baking, trying new restaurants in the DC area, playing soccer, running, and traveling any chance she gets.
Andrea Malamisura (she/her/hers) holds a BS in Psychology from Virginia Tech and an MS in Counseling Psychology from Radford University. Currently she serves as an Assistant Director of First-Year Advising and an AUx Instructor at American University. Prior to this position, Andrea was the Senior Academic Counselor in the College of Arts and Sciences at AU where she was named Undergraduate Advisor of the Year in 2015-2016. Andrea has been passionate about student development since the onset of her career in higher education at Virginia Tech where she worked in recruitment, career counseling, and ultimately student advising. In this role, Andrea finds great joy in helping students along their journey to personal growth and academic success. In her spare time, Andrea loves to be a local tourist; exploring monuments, museums, exhibitions, shows, and everything that DC has to offer! She is a foodie novice and loves trying out new restaurants in the area. Andrea is also an avid sports fan - you can find her cheering on all the local DC teams and, of course, the Virginia Tech Hokies!
Jorge Maldonado (he/him/his) currently serves as First-Year Instructor & Advisor at American University. He joined AU in 2017 as an Academic Advisor with the College of Arts and Science. Prior to joining AU, Jorge served as a Residence Life Coordinator with the Office of Residence Life at the University of South Florida, where he assisted in the development and implementation of a Residential Curriculum. In this role, Jorge instructed the Leadership in Residential Communities course, which was charged with training student leaders on topics of academic engagement, interpersonal skills, wellness, and global citizenship. He is deeply passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Favorite life experience positions, Trio Upward Bound Tutor Counselor, Varsity High School soccer coach, and Faculty/Staff leader for the medical relief effort: Kerolle Initiative for Community Health, Sosúa, Dominican Republic. He holds an M.A. in Counseling and College Student Affairs, and a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Morgan Maxwell (she/her/hers) graduated with her M.Ed from Clemson University’s Counselor Education: Student Affairs graduate program. She worked in Clemson’s Center for Career and Professional Development office, where she was able to assist students in creating and further developing their professional and personal goals. She also innovated and facilitated numerous workshops engaging students to focus on their success not only as a student but as a future professional. Before her time at Clemson she graduated from Florida State University with her Bachelor of Science in Political Science. She is passionate about a range of topics buts specifically first year experience, leadership development, and student’s sense of belonging. Off campus you can spot her watching and participating in a variety of sports, going on adventures, and playing the role of a D.C. tourist!
Marianne Norman (she/her/hers) is the Director of Undergraduate Academic Advising in the School of International Service and has been a member of the AU community since 2011. She holds a BA in Integrated Studies from California State University Monterey Bay and an MA in Leadership in Higher Education from West Virginia University. Her passion for student development stems from her own non-traditional journey through higher education. She is a daily practitioner of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, and brings the awareness and attention she continues to grow into her advising and the classroom. You can also find Marianne facilitating mindfulness sessions across campus through the AU Mindful Eagles program. Finally, don’t let her love of fried chicken and churros fool you- she’s a certified health coach.
Jason Ottley (he/him/his) holds a BA in English and Ph.D. in Higher Education - Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from West Virginia University. In addition, he earned a MA in Special Education from George Mason University. Currently he serves as an Assistant Director of First-Year Advising and an AUx Instructor at American University. Prior to this position, Jason was a Visiting Assistant Professor at California University of Pennsylvania. Jason is passionate about student development and enjoys helping students discover their authentic voice. In his spare time, Jason loves to explore the forever evolving spaces in D.C., read a riveting novel and watch classic movies - Coming to America, Pretty Woman, Top Gun - to name a few!
Esther Philip (she/her/hers) currently serves as an AUx Instructor and Advisor. She is a Michigander who attained her B.S. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in “Women and Leadership in Healthcare” and a minor in “Women and Gender Studies” at Grand Valley State University. After working in the medical field and corporate world for seven years, Esther realized she valued the empowerment and development education provides. Therefore, she attended Clemson University in South Carolina for her Masters in Education in Student Affairs. At Clemson, she worked in their multicultural center for social justice education, where she found her true passion in dialogue and creating inclusive learning environments. During this time, she developed and taught curriculum for peer dialogue facilitators and fostered conversations for all freshmen students surrounding social identities and using the tool of dialogue to talk about difficult subjects. Esther also is obsessed with shoes, trying new food, exploring new places, and her cat child Theo who thinks it’s a dog.
Aja Simpson Zulfiqar (she/her/hers) serves as a First Year Instructor & Advisor at American University. She holds a BA in Psychology and Spanish from Emory University, a MS in Psychology from Capella University, and a MA in Sociology and Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Georgia State University. Prior to AU, Aja directed a college access program for a nonprofit organization in Maryland, advising and supporting students with less access in and knowledge of the college application process. She has a long-standing passion for and commitment to wholistic educational support, equity, and social justice that is rooted in her previous experience as a Teach for America corps member. In her current role, Aja is excited to help students grow, explore, and create their own paths to success. When enjoying her free time, Aja loves to cuddle with her dog, try new cuisine with her family, and hit the softball field for some recreational (but slightly competitive) fun.
Darien Smith (he/him/his) holds a B.S. in Psychology from Clemson University and an M.Ed. in Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy from the University of Maryland College Park. Darien is excited to serve as the AUx Instructor and Advisor for all first-year student athletes in the inaugural year of the AU Core Curriculum rollout. He hopes to combine his understanding of the first-year student experience with his dialogue facilitation skillset to foster the holistic identity development for his advisees and student-athletes. A fun fact about Darien is that he is a “higher education baby” as he was born in Normal, Illinois, home of the Illinois State Redbirds, and grew up in the college town of Clemson, South Carolina. As his parents were college sweethearts and are now collegiate educators, themselves. In his spare time, Darien volunteers as the Social and Community Outreach Chair with the DC Sentinels, the city’s first GLBT friendly basketball league.
Dr. Arthur Stallworth (he/him/his) has a dynamic background in Higher Education. He has earned an Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Interdisciplinary Leadership, Masters of Biomedical Sciences (MS), and Bachelors of Arts in Psychology (BA) all from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. He views himself as a scientist at heart and believes the scientific method can be used in all fields to garner novel ideas and results. He has made it his goal to help eliminate barriers to higher education for all those that want to take part in expanding their education. He has done so from being a part of grants that address the paucity of unrepresented students in the health sciences to serving as an advisor for students of all ages, creeds, and backgrounds.
Michelle M. Swiger (she/her/hers) is an AUx Instructor and Advisor. Previously, she worked in the Center for Community Engagement and Service. In this role she managed large-scale community engagement projects and service-learning programs. Additionally, she supported a team of student leaders, and facilitated trainings and workshops on key topics in social justice for students to develop skills to be equity-minded professionals. She is committed to supporting students as they explore their interests, make connections across AU and DC, and develop a plan to meet their needs. She is focused on making sure all students have opportunities for life-long learning and success. Michelle graduated with both her Bachelors and Masters degrees from American University. She loves exploring DC, especially trying new restaurants, and traveling whenever she has the chance.
Wim Taylor (he/him/his) is a two-time graduate of the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) having earned a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and a M.Ed in Higher Education. He has served the AU community for more than 12 years holding positions in two schools. He has served as the Director of Career Engagement and Mentorship, the Director of Alumni Engagement and as the Associate Director of Employer Relations in Kogod’s Office of Career Engagement connecting alumni with Kogod students for career exploration and engaging employers to recruit Kogod students. He has also served as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs in Kogod where he served as an academic advisor and managed the advising team. He also served in a similar capacity as an academic advisor and eventually leading the advising team in the School of International Service. Wim has worked in several other industries outside of higher education throughout his professional career. He has work experience in the consulting, real estate and financial services industries. He brings each one of those experiences and the life lessons learned along the way to the work that he does at AU. Wim is passionate about ensuring that students maximize their time spent at AU by ensuring that they make informed decisions as it relates to their academics and extra-curricular activities and that they take full advantage of all the resources available to them. When he is not extolling the virtues of his latest professional development book to the students with whom he works, Wim enjoys running…typically after his two sons, although he has completed two marathons, watching college basketball, cheering for his UVA Cavaliers and reading on topics ranging from social psychology, human behavior, decision-making, effectively building relationships to grit, resilience and perseverance.
Briana Weadock (she/her/hers) is the Director of First-Year Advising and an AUx Instructor working with first year students from across the University. In addition to her work with the American University Experience Program (AUx), she has taught courses for the Department of Sociology and the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Program on topics such as Gender in Society and Feminist & Gender Theory. Her dissertation research focused on the way in which knowledges of intersecting identities are produced within Third Wave Feminisms using cultural artifacts such as Queercore punk music, feminist 'zines, blogs, and popular non-fiction writings (books and traditional magazine formats). Having worked at AU for over 20 years in many different positions within the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Public Affairs, and the Office of Undergraduate Studies, as well holding multiple AU degrees (BA and MA in Sociology), she has extensive knowledge of campus, faculty, staff, and services available to students. She has worked closely with the Office of Campus life through committees and collaborations with the Academic Support & Access Center, the International Scholar Support Services, and the Center for Diversity & Inclusion to name only a few. She has also received multiple awards recognizing her service to the university and her dedication to student success. When not working with students on campus, you can probably find her at one of the many theaters in DC (most likely watching one of her former students perform!), live music venues, art galleries and museums, or cheering for the Washington Spirit - DC's professional women's soccer team. In addition to culture and learning, she is also passionate about her rescue cat, Spiderman.
Kyle Whitaker (he/him/his) currently serves as a First-Year Advisor and AUx Instructor at American University. He holds a BA in English Literature from Elon University and an MEd in Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. Kyle previously served as the Coordinator of New Student Programs at the University of Maryland, where he taught a first-year transition course, trained faculty and peer teaching assistants, and developed campus-wide curriculum and assessments. He also facilitated intergroup dialogues through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Maryland and worked in sexual violence prevention and health promotion. Before beginning his graduate studies, Kyle taught English to secondary school students in Malaysia as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, using music, pop culture, and current events to enhance students’ fluency and comfort with English as a second language. This approach speaks more broadly to his educational philosophy, which centers students’ lived experiences, interests, and identities in all aspects of the learning process. Outside of the office, Kyle spends his time singing with a small vocal ensemble in Woodley Park, arranging a cappella music for groups across the country, and exploring local coffee shops in the DC area.
Kiran Ahluwalia (she/her/hers) is originally from the San Fransisco Bay Area and is a junior in the School of International Service, majoring in International Relations and is also a member of AU Honors. She is passionate about social justice and civil rights and plans on attending law school following undergrad. On campus, she is an Art Editor for AmLit, the student-run arts and literature magazine that she's been involved with since her first semester freshman year. She is also a captain and choreographer for American Bhangra, a traditional Indian folk dance team. Off campus she enjoys frequenting art museums around DC or taking her own sketchbook or easel somewhere sunny to draw or paint. She is excited to work with the incoming freshman and in the AUx program and to help push for positive change on AU's campus!
Gwendolyn Bishop (she/her/hers) - grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, but is originally from Charleston, South Carolina. Gwendolyn is a rising junior, double majoring in Public Health and Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Gwendolyn’s decision to major in public health was influenced by her passion for safe access to women’s healthcare, dismantling stigma against drug use and addiction, and harm reduction techniques. Additionally, Gwendolyn’s passion for food security inspired her to intern as a data collector for a study conducted by DC Public Schools and the Department of Health Studies on food consumption in public schools. Gwendolyn is also deeply interested in the psychology of communication, and has published research on psycholinguistics, with a focus on online dating and the nuances of emoji usage in texting. Gwendolyn enjoys working with younger students and facilitating conversations about complex questions, which has led her to work as a team advisor for the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. Gwendolyn’s past work as a tutor for students from first grade to 11th has taught her that education and instruction must be adaptable and inclusive. The method by which material is taught should not be “one size fits all”, rather, it should be student-focused. Outside of academia, Gwendolyn is a DJ for WVAU, AU’s student-run radio show, and enjoys sharing her love for alternative rock and 80s music. In her spare time, Gwendolyn enjoys playing piano, painting, cooking vegan food, hiking, and curating playlists for her friends.
Grace Chitam (she/her/hers) is a junior studying Anthropology with a minor in Education Studies. Home for Grace is South Portland, Maine and she chose AU for its proximity to downtown and campus environment. Aside from AUx, she is involved in AU Ambassadors, EagleTHON, AU’s dance marathon, and Alpha Phi Omega, a professional service fraternity. In her free time Grace can be found watching reality television, eating ice cream, or going out to eat with friends! She is really excited to be working as a peer facilitator this semester!
Zshekinah Collier (she/her/hers) is a New Haven, Connecticut native and a junior in the School of Public Affairs. She is studying Justice and Law and Communications. She hopes to one day combine her passion for social justice and love for broadcast journalism into a career. On-campus Zshekinah is the news editor of The Blackprint, an anchor for American University Television (ATV) and was in the Community-Based Research Scholars Program, 2016 cohort. She will also serve on AU’s Conduct Council this academic year. In her free time, Zshekinah enjoys watching TV and movies, singing and hanging out with friends. She is excited and looks forward to being a Peer Facilitator!
Rianna Cranberg (she/her/hers) is a junior in the School of Public Affairs, majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Studies. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Rianna is passionate about social justice and equity. She has previously interned at Environment America and hopes to have a career as an advocate for immigrant and women's rights. In addition to AUx, Rianna is involved in American University's improv comedy group: Mission Improv-able, and works with the Office of Orientation, Transition, and Retention as an Orientation Leader. In her free time, you can find Rianna at the Davenport Coffee Lounge playing Club Penguin, watching reality TV, or exploring DC's food scene. Rianna is so excited to be an AUx1 Peer Facilitator and can't wait to meet the Class of 2022.
Alexander Csanadi (he/him/his) is a rising junior in the School of International Service (SIS) with a double major in economics through the College of Arts and Sciences. Originally from New Mexico, he now has family spread throughout the country, and hesitates to call any one place home. His passion for activist research is reflected by his membership in the Community-Based Research Scholars, and the Olson Scholars research programs. He has worked with a number of local nonprofits focusing on relieving the burdens of housing insecurity. Currently he is leading an eight-month research project on behalf of another nonprofit which services the Haitian diaspora living in the United States. He is a member of the SIS Honors program, and a 2019 Truman Scholarship nominee. He plans to join the Peace Corps following graduation, and has been preparing for this experience through an internship at the Peace Corps headquarters, and as a member of the SIS Peace Corps Preparatory program. He is a member of the DC Delta chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and when he’s not in class, he can be found on the quad playing Spikeball with his brothers.
Edmée Marie Faal (she/her/hers) is a sophomore studying Performing Arts as a Theatre major. As a third culture kid, she’s been lucky enough to have experienced different people, cultures, and places. She took those experiences and worked to try to better her different communities. Other than theater her passions are community organizing, community service, and finding interesting, engaging and creative ways to make changes in communities. She founded and ran Bring the Fire a school community-based service program to discuss diversity, acceptance, and tolerance. She helped organize and run various community service summits locally and also internationally. Edmée additionally led a program called Drama Connect that uses theatre not just as a means of entertainment but as community service. At AU Edmée has been involved the Performing Arts department production of Overture 2017, and in the Rude Mechanicals student productions of Hamlet as Hamlet, and of God of Carnage as Alan. This Fall she will be playing Tituba in the department's production of The Crucible. She will also be serving as the Class Council President for the Class of 2021. The AUx program supported Edmée tremendously in her freshman year. She is excited to have new opportunities for facilitation, engaging conversations, and helping new members of the AU community as an AUx1 Peer Facilitator.
Samm Francucci (she/her/hers) is a rising Junior in the College of Arts and Science, majoring in Elementary Education with a double minor in Special Education and Public Health. She plans to stay in the D.C area after she graduates to teach. She is also a member of American University’s Women’s Soccer Team playing at Center Midfield - come out and support AUWS this Fall! Samm is a New York native from Long Island. Her favorite part about where she is from is the beaches. She spent the past summer in D.C interning with The Grassroots Project, a nonprofit based in D.C that trains student-athletes to become peer health educators for 6th graders in local D.C middle schools. She has been involved since her Freshman year of college. Her internship also took her to South Africa for 10 days; they visited the Nike Center in Soweto, Robben Island, and hiked Table Mountain! Samm lives with a teammate and their newly adopted cat, Nala. She loves Marvel and Harry Potter trilogies. Woodstock is a beloved place in NY for her and wishes she was born in the 70’s. Samm loves to explore D.C, especially museums and coffee shops. She is excited to be a Peer Facilitator!
Samantha Frank (she/her/hers) is a junior majoring in Public Health. She has a passion for working with children and participating in community service. After graduating from American University, she plans to pursue a graduate degree. Whether that be earning an MPH or attending Speech Pathology school, she wants to give back to society through the realm of health care. During her time at AU, she has become engaged in the community in many ways. She serves as a teaching assistant for the SPA Leadership Program, mentoring first- and second-year students as they develop and execute social action projects that impact the DC community. During her first two years in the program, she completed two social action projects. The first included a book drive and fundraiser to donate school supplies to incarcerated youth. Her sophomore project involved a food drive for a Ward 8 food pantry in hopes to alleviate the food insecurity that plagues the District. She is also the AU Catholics treasurer, a member of the Public Health Honors Program, and has served in a multitude of leadership positions for her sorority, Sigma Kappa. When she’s not in Don Meyers reading up on the latest advancements in medicine, you can find her hanging out with friends at the Georgetown Waterfront eating Baked & Wired cupcakes.
Danielle Germain (she/her/hers) is originally from Long Island, New York. She is a rising junior in the School of Communications (SOC), majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Political Science from the School of Public Affairs (SPA). She partakes in various activities on campus, serving on 6 different executive boards. Danielle is the Vice President of Programming for Caribbean Circle, The Social Media Director and Web Manager for The Blackprint, Programming Coordinator for Founder's Week Committee, Senior Communications Strategist for AUSG Center for Advocacy and Student Equity or CASE, Secretary of the Junior Class Council and a Club Consultant for American University Club Council. After taking the AUx course her freshman year, Danielle became deeply interested in pushing diversity and inclusion forward. Since then, Danielle has started The Purpose, a bible study for students of color at AU. By creating a safe space on our campus, she hopes that the voices of those who feel underrepresented are heard and also valued. In her free time, Danielle enjoys going to brunch, watching Gossip Girl and writing for two of her favorite media platforms, College Media Network and Fansided. This past summer, Danielle served as the Corporate Communications Intern for Macy's Inc. Danielle has a passion for politics and a love for writing, and one day hopes to become a political commentator for CNN.
Jamie Gottlieb (she/her/hers) is a junior originally from Cherry Hill, NJ. She is majoring in Jewish Studies, and working toward a minor in leadership and management. During Spring 2018, Jamie interned with the Adas Israel Community Mikvah where she was able to facilitate educational programming about the ritual of Mikvah for AU students and the surrounding community.This past summer Jamie interned on the conferences and events team with Hillel International, where she helped plan and attended Hillel International’s professional development conference serving around 300 Jewish professionals from across the country, as well as their Engagement Institute which provides training for current Jewish college students on how to connect other Jewish college students to Hillel on campus. Jamie is passionate about pluralism and religious inclusion for people of all faith backgrounds and identities. On campus Jamie has been involved in many different groups. Jamie is a proud member of Sigma Delta Tau where she currently serves as the chapters President. Jamie is also a member of Pitches Be Trippin’ Acapella where she sings Alto II and beatboxes! In her free time, Jamie can be found sitting outside the bridge with a bagel and iced coffee. She is so excited to get to know the incoming freshman class and can’t wait to begin working with AUx!
Maria Gramajo (she/her/hers) is a rising junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a minor in Sustainability Studies from the Kogod School of Business. Maria grew up in the Bay Area and will not let you forget it! Maria is passionate about social justice, and chooses to focus her studies on the intersections of what it means to be Central American, queer, and from a religious immigrant family. On campus, Maria is also involved with Students Against Sexual Violence, League of Latin American Citizens, and Student Government’s Women’s Initiative. She is also a student in the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership and Ethical Development Program. For fun, Maria enjoys going to different farmer’s markets with her friends and reading on the national mall. You may also see her studying or dancing to “Danza Kuduro” with her friends in Battelle Atrium. She looks forward to working with the incoming students!
Ofonime Idiong (she/her/hers) is a Junior double majoring in CLEG and Journalism. Ofonime was born and half raised in Nigeria and then she moved to the states when she was seven. She speaks two languages one which is a native Nigerian dialect called Efik. Her passions lie in Humanitarian work and her biggest goal right now is to spend her life travelling and writing about the people she encounters and the stories they share. Ofonime is obsessed with the art's specifically poetry and writing in general. Her favorite spots on campus are Kay Spiritual at night and the Quad at night. In fact, Ofonime finds AU to be a beautiful place at night. Ofonime is excited to be a part of the first-year experience for the incoming students, and excited to meet everyone.
Esther Jensen (she/her/hers) is a junior in School of Public Affairs, majoring in Political Science on a Pre-Medical track with a minor in Biology. Raised on Long Island, New York, Esther is an adopted child from South Korea but finds her identity in her New York roots and culture. Her passion lies in justice and advocacy for others, this passion was inspired by her family who is active in law enforcement and the military. Her favorite part about her education is that political science and medicine are two completely different fields which share commonality in their goal to advocate for others. At American University, Esther is the Vice President of Finance for the professional pre-medical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon, is on the Executive Board for Relay for Life at American University, and is a member of the Conduct Council. In her spare time, Esther enjoys trips to the beach, eating pizza, making music, and spending time with friends and family.
Meghan Lewis (she/her/hers) is from Raleigh, North Carolina and is a rising junior majoring in Communications, Legal Studies, Economics, and Government (CLEG) in the School of Public Affairs and Public Relations in the School of Communication. As a Community-Based Research Scholar, she was able to participate in research on the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the District in conjunction with a local non-profit, ThriveDC. She is also on the executive board of PRIDE, an organization serving the LGBTQ community on campus, and the Student Historical Society. She is passionate about LGBT history, storytelling, and social media. She has interned at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, where she worked to collect the stories of community members. She can be found working as a Desk Receptionist for the office of Housing and Residence Life on campus. In her free time, she loves to find new brunch spots, watch Critical Role, and root for the Washington Capitals.
Brazil McCray (she/her/hers) is a rising junior majoring in Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. She was born and raised in Long Island, New York and has always been interested in medicine and the issues that plague minority communities. She is the former Secretary and Co-Freshmen Liaison of AU’s Black Student Union, as well as a former AUx2 Peer Leader. This past summer, she gained clinical and shadowing experience at Howard University Hospital as a medical scholar of the Summer Health Professions Education Program. She is currently an Undergraduate Research Assistant at American University's Center of Behavioral Neuroscience where she aids in conducting experiments focused on energy homeostasis and cognition. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring DC and watching Netflix. This upcoming spring, Brazil plans to study abroad in Australia.
Noor Shater (she/her/hers) is currently a Junior enrolled in the School of Public Affairs as a Law and Society Major. Noor is originally from New Jersey and has lived in Washington D.C for the past 3 years. In addition to serving as an AUx1 Peer Facilitator on campus, Noor is also currently serving as the Director of Responsive Programming for WI on Student Government, the Vice President of the Muslim Student Association, and the President of the AU Pre Law Society. Off-campus, Noor interns on Capitol Hill as well is with non-profit organizations. In her free time, Noor enjoys reading, catching up with friends, and exploring D.C. Noor is passionate about social justice issues, as well as making AU a more inclusive campus for students of all identities.
Morgan Soudry (she/her/hers) is a junior from Baltimore, MD studying CLEG in the School of Public Affairs. She is part of the SPA Honors Program which enables her to explore her interests in education policy and voting rights in the United States. While at AU Morgan has been the VP of Programming and President for the campus chapter of She’s the First, an organization which empowers girls by providing them with a quality education in areas where most women do not have access to schooling. Morgan loves learning and is always finding time to read one more news article or listen to a few more minutes of her favorite podcasts (if you have any podcast recommendations please tell her!!). The only thing she likes more than absorbing information is sharing it and she had the opportunity to do so as a TA for Politics in the US last year, which inspired her to become a Peer Facilitator. Morgan is incredibly excited to be working with AUx and is eager to work with first year students through the program.
Rick Tyrrell (he/him/his) is a rising junior in the Kogod School of Business, majoring in Business Administration with a dual specialization in Marketing and Information Systems & Technology. He is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At AU, Rick is involved in Club Cross Country, Club Track & Field, Catholic Student Association, Kogod Honors Program, and Kogod Ambassador Program. For fun, Rick enjoys exploring new places, watching his favorite tv shows (American Horror Story, Walking Dead), and spending time with friends. His favorite place in D.C. is Georgetown, and some cool things that Rick has done since starting at AU were seeing Seth Meyers at a live taping of his show, going to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, and trick or treating on Embassy Row.