AUx1 Instructors & Peer Facilitators
Fall 2018: AUx1 Instructors and Peer Facilitators
Marcus Bell (he/him/his) earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and a Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) from East Carolina University. Prior to being an AUx Instructor and Advisor at American University, Marcus first worked as a Guest English Teacher at Jungri Middle School in Daejeon, South Korea. His curiosity stimulated by interactions with non-native speakers of English, Marcus began dedicating his life to assisting English language learners to adjust to American culture. He worked as an English as a Second Language Instructor at his alma mater, UNCP; afterward, he served as an English as a Second Language Instructor and Advisor at Murray State University. During his time at Murray State, his understanding of diversity was further broadened through study and involvement with international, multicultural, and underrepresented student groups across campus. Marcus enjoys yoga and meditation and adding loads of hot sauce to everything he eats. Above all else, he possesses a unique passion for caffeine, and he spends most of his time outside of the office gallivanting the streets of DC in search for the perfect cup of coffee.
Spencer Bonahoom (he/him/his) is a proud graduate of Marquette University, where he earned a BS in Business Administration. He also holds a MA in Sport Administration from Ball State University. After serving as an AUx1 instructor in Fall 2017, he will fill the role of alternate instructor in 2018. Currently, Bonahoom serves as the Academic and Life Skills Counselor for Student-Athletes at American University. In this role, he works to support the academic needs of students from five Division I athletics teams. In addition, he implements and facilitates programs designed to help all AU student-athletes develop and strengthen skills that will help them on and off the competition field. These include efforts to develop leadership skills through the AU Eagles Leadership Academy, and a focus on career preparation through events like the student-athlete resume clinics and the Student-Athlete Alumni Panel. Born and raised in Indiana, Bonahoom is an avid sports fan, most notably cheering on his Chicago Cubs and Bears. He loves staying active by playing almost any sport and being outside, especially on the lake. In addition, he enjoys attending concerts, reading and playing ukulele, and his favorite day of the week is Monday!
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
Mitali Dave (she/her/hers) earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Media, Culture, and Communication and her Master of Arts degree in International Education from New York University. Mitali served on various student groups and boards throughout her undergraduate and graduate career, which led to her current role at a Student Services Advisor for the International Accelerator Program (IAP) at American University. She advises undergraduate international students to ensure a smooth transition culturally, academically, and socially to life at AU and DC. In her free time, Mitali loves reading, traveling, tennis, hiking, going to the movies, and searching for the best ice cream and gelato spots in DC.
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.
Becky Karlin (she/her/hers) earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and her Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina. Becky has served in many different advising, career center, and international education roles since graduating college which has led her to her current position as an undergraduate Student Services Advisor for the International Accelerator Program (IAP) at American University (AU). In this position, Becky provides holistic advising to international students to ensure a smooth transition for them to life at AU and DC. Additionally, she currently teaches IAP’s First Year Experience course, Live, Learn, & Grow, oversees the Mentor Program, and plans and coordinates all of the Progression Workshops and Progression Ceremony for students progressing out of IAP in to AU. In her free time, Becky loves spending time with her mini golden cocker doodle dog, Gus, trying new restaurants, traveling, and attending sporting events.
Gene Logan (he/him/his) is the Associate Director of AU Central, the one-stop student services center for financial aid, student accounts, registration and Veterans services. He received his BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland College Park, and his MA in Educational Administration from American University. He loves working with students - and their parents - as they navigate the college experience, and has over 20 years' experience in higher education. Gene has previously held positions in financial aid, and is especially passionate about financial literacy. He has been active in local and regional financial aid and student services associations, and has presented at the Eastern Association of Financial Aid Administrators (EASFAA) and National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) conferences. Gene has also taught a course on College and Career Advancement at University of Maryland. When not at work, Gene enjoys 80s music, binging shows on Netflix, and spending family time with his husband, two daughters, and black lab Zurie. Gene served as an AUx1 Instructor in Fall 2017 and an Alternate AUx2 Instructor in Spring 2018.
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!
Kelly McGrath (she/her/hers) earned her BA in Communications & International Studies from Boston College and MA in International Education from New York University. Kelly’s passion for higher education was sparked during her time as a Teaching Assistant for BC’s freshman seminar course, Courage to Know, through the Office of First Year Experience. While she pursued her MA at NYU, she served as a Co-Instructor for NYU Steinhardt’s International Graduate Student Seminar and served as a Graduate Assistant for the University of Notre Dame’s New Student Engagement Programs. Kelly now serves as a Student Services Advisor for the International Accelerator Program (IAP) at American University (AU), where she provides holistic advising to international students throughout their first year. She has taught and helped build curriculum for IAP’s First Year Experience course, Live, Learn & Grow, on topics such as major exploration, goal setting, and personal reflection. Kelly was a competitive swimmer at Boston College and loves spending time at the beach, traveling, and practicing photography.
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!
Abdullah Alaskar (he/him/his) is a junior studying finance. He was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. He wants to work and get experience from one of the big 4 accounting and financial firms in the US either in Washington DC or New York. At AU, he has previously served as a peer mentor for the New IAP students and is a member of the Finance and Entrepreneurship club. He enjoys going to concerts, playing sports, traveling, and exploring DC to find new food spots.
Jozette Allah-Mensah (she/her/hers) is a senior in the School of Communication studying Journalism and Marketing. Originally from Germantown, Maryland, Jozette is the child of two Ghanaian immigrants and as such, has developed a multifaceted view on culture and its many depths, as well as how that plays into one’s identity. Jozette wholeheartedly believes in the power of effective communication and its role in diplomacy and development in global and multicultural spheres. This past spring semester, she studied abroad in Greece, solidifying her adoration for international and intercultural communication, and her efforts to foster the importance of global comprehension. And this summer, Jozette interned for National Geographic in their expeditions department. Right before her freshman year, Jozette participated in STEP - a summer transition enrichment program - which cultivated her interest in assisting first year students adjust to the college climate. On campus, she also works with the office of admissions as an AU Ambassador for prospective families and students. She also was the editor for the AU chapter of the Odyssey Online and is a contributing writer for True Culture University—a pan-African collegiate platform for African and African-American students to publish their works. Jozette’s favorite place on campus is the bridge - it gives off Zoey 101 vibes - and off campus, you can find her scarfing down a red velvet cupcake from Baked Wired or taking a stroll through the National Arboretum. Jozette is so excited to be a Peer Facilitator with AUx this fall!
Sara Ameen (she/her/hers) is a junior in the School of International Service with a primary thematic focus in Global Peace and Conflict Resolution and a secondary focus in Identity, Race, Gender, and Culture, as well as a minor in Chinese language. Having grown up in the suburbs of Bristow, Virginia, she has found her time in the busy and beautiful city that is DC to be a highly rewarding experience. During her first semester as a freshman, Sara had the privilege of studying abroad in Bath, United Kingdom, with 24 other students as part of the Mentorship Program at AU. This experience solidified her passion in global relations as well as her pride as an AU student. On campus, you may find Sara studying in SIS, reading a book on the Amphitheater steps, playing violin with the AU Symphony Orchestra, and helping out as a Mentorship Program Ambassador. Off campus, you may see her working at the Audio Tours desk at the National Gallery of Art or exploring this city that she can’t get enough of. Her passions include reading books, binge-watching TV shows, listening to music, stargazing, and being of help to others. She is very happy to be a Peer Facilitator and lend a helping hand to ensure all students can have a remarkable freshman year!
Alexis Arnold (she/her/hers) is pursing a journalism major in SOC and a minor in graphic design. She is originally from Westchester, NY, but has come to love DC during her time at AU. Alexis is an SOC Dean's Intern, and she just finished an awesome summer working at NPR. She also enjoys being very involved in her campus community. Since freshman year, Alexis has been apart of the Blackprint, a publication run by students of color on campus. She started as a staff writer, but she is excited to start this semester as the BP's co-editor-in-chief. Last year she served as co-chair of student media, and this semester she will be a logistics producer for the ATV show College Nation. Alexis has also been a part of the tennis team and loves to go to the group exercise classes offered on campus. When she is not working or exploring the city, you can find her shopping for the latest trends and hanging out with her friends. Alexis was part of the original AUx pilot program and is proud to be a peer facilitator in the program she helped shape.
Sydney Bartel (she/her/hers) is a senior from Rumson, New Jersey. She is in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Psychology with a minor in Justice. Sydney is excited to pursue a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology following her graduation from American University. Outside of AUx, she looks forward to her internship as a Peer Health Educator in the Health Promotion & Advocacy Center and Assistant New Member Educator for Sigma Delta Tau in Fall 2018. When she is not in class or at work, she likes to spend her time binge-watching Game of Thrones or re-reading Harry Potter! Sydney loved her freshmen year experience at American, and hopes through AUx she can help others gain a great freshmen year as well!
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.
Jenna Caldwell (she/her/hers) is a senior in the School of International Service. Majoring in International Studies, Jenna’s thematic focus is Identity, Race, Gender and Culture coupled by a regional focus in Latin America. Jenna is also a BA/MA candidate thus simultaneously earning a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a master’s degree in Global Media from the School of Communications. This is her first year serving as a Peer Facilitator for AUx1. Originally from Newark, New Jersey, Jenna currently serves as the Co-President & Editor-in-Chief of The Blackprint, American University’s sole magazine dedicated to students of color by students of color. During the 2017-2018 school year, Jenna has served on the executive board of the School of Communication’s Undergraduate Council, led an Alternative Break to San Francisco studying mass incarceration and has served as a participant on the Alternative Break to Guyana studying racial and sexuality in the Caribbean. Professionally, Jenna worked as an intern for Voice of America and Capitally DC during this time. Awarded the Nina Baker Feinberg Fellowship by the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, Woman of the Year by Her Campus and the Women’s Empowerment Award by She’s the First, Jenna’s long term professional goals are to study misrepresentation (and underrepresentation) in the mass media of minorities and historically marginalized groups influencing change through her work and findings. If she isn’t somewhere re-binging Game of Thrones, you will likely find her in the student media room working on The Blackprint’s next issue so be sure to stop by if you’ve ever wondered what really goes on in there!
Maddie Caywood (she/her/hers) is a rising senior in the School of Communications and is originally from Buffalo, New York (Go Bills!). Maddie is majoring is Public Relations and Strategic Communications, with a minor in Leadership Management. On campus Maddie is also involved in PRSSA, SOC Ambassadors, and is a member of Delta Gamma Sorority. Maddie has taken advantage of AU’s study abroad program, living, traveling, and studying in Copenhagen, Denmark for five months in Fall 2017! Maddie has interned for CBS News, a Social Media start up, Clear View Social, a boutique PR firm, Seven Oaks Media Group, during her time at AU and has enjoyed each experience immensely.
Maddie is a coffee and all things food enthusiast! Off campus she enjoys exploring unique parts of DC, going on runs by the Georgetown waterfront, binge watching Netflix, and picking up a good book. Maddie is looking forward to a new experience being involved with AU x this semester!
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!
Yazan Hanouneh (he/him/his) is a Junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in International Service. Although he was born in Bethlehem, Palestine, Yazan has lived in the United States since he was two years old, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Outside of various jobs and internships, Yazan has been very involved on campus, currently serving as Director of the Kennedy Political Union and as an SPA Peer Advisor. Previously, he was President of the AU College Democrats and President of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. He's excited to help incoming students find their place on campus through AUx1. In his free time, you can find Yazan hammocking, playing video games, or taking photos.
Heather Healey (she/her/hers) is a junior with a joint major in French Studies and Secondary Education. Having grown up in the Maryland D.C. area she has a love for other cultures, languages, and educational equality. She pursued these passions when she volunteered along with the Alternative Break to Tamil, Nadu India where she learned about social and educational issues in India and worked alongside Communities Rising with their annual summer camp. She also has a love for music and arts at the Hirshhorn Museum being her favorite place to visit in D.C. When she is not there she can be found across campus with headphones listening to music. If you see her feel free to say hi and ask her what she is listening to. For the future she hopes to study abroad in France and after graduation to work as an English teacher abroad with programs such as TAPIF, EPIK, JET or Communities Rising.
Amber Hess (she/her/hers) is a senior in the School of Public Affairs studying Justice, Law and Criminology with a focus in Terrorism and Security Studies. In May 2017, Amber graduated with an Associates of Applied Science: Criminal Justice from Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she has had a passion for law enforcement, politics and public service from a young age. Amber has interned with her hometown, Easton Police Department, and The City of Bethlehem Police Department. During the 2017/2018 school year, she interned on Capitol Hill with Former Congressman Charles W. Dent (R-PA15). Amber is currently the 2018 Cherry Blossom Princess of Pennsylvania, representing her state during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. She joined her fellow princesses on meetings/events at the White House, Capitol Building, Embassy of Japan, The Embassy of the Russian Federation, The Embassy of Lithuania and on a float in the National Cherry Blossom Parade. Amber loves spending her time studying on or exploring the National Mall and Capitol Hill. She loves getting off at random metro stops and walking until she hits the White House or National Mall. What a great way to soak in all that Washington, D.C. has to offer!
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.
Yamai Jack (she/her/hers) is a junior in SIS, majoring in International Studies with a focus in International Development and a minor in Public Health. Born and raised in Silver Spring Maryland, Yamai is no stranger to the DMV. As a first generation African, Yamai’s identity has played a crucial role in the trajectory of her academic studies. Although she hasn’t quite figured out how she is dedicated to improving the livelihoods of those in Sub-Saharan Africa. This past summer, she was given the opportunity to conduct research on plant-based medicine in Dakar, Senegal. The experience has reinforced her interest in development, and she plans to take these experiences with her to Nairobi when she studies abroad in the Spring. When she’s not in class, you can find Yamai on the second floor of Club Lib, out trying new foods with friends, or at home spending ridiculous amounts of time on YouTube. She’s looking forward to being a Peer Facilitator this semester!
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.
Hannah Kim (she/her/hers), born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and raised in South Korea, is a junior in the School of International Service. Her primary thematic focus is in the Global Economy. She is interested in defense and cyber security. Hannah is also minoring in Information Systems and Technology in the Kogod School of Business. During her time at AU, she had worked with the SIS Mentorship Program and SIS Diplomatic Core. Along with the many activities she had been involved in at AU, her favorite experience thus far was being an International Orientation Leader, as she loves to meet new people and build connections. Her most memorable internship experience was her recent participation at the United States Department of Commerce (DOC), Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Office of Technology Evaluations (OTE) as a data analyst. Prior to that internship, she had the opportunity to intern under the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA) as a Language Access and Outreach Intern. Some of her hobbies include shooting hoops, playing the violin (having a jam session), and exploring new places for all different types of food. Hannah is particularly a huge fan of noodles and spicy food.
Jacqueline Lantsman (she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in Public Health and minoring in Education Studies and Justice. Identifying as a low income, first generation college student, raised in Brooklyn, New York, she witnessed the inequity in education and health care across socio-economic status. Since then she has committed her time to equitable access to culturally responsive education and healthcare. Her previous experience includes interning with NextGenVest, an education literacy tech startup in NYC; working with American University Experience (AUx) on curriculum development; interning with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries; leading an Alternative Break to New Orleans intersecting Education Equity and Environmental Justice; and conducting research with two of her professors on topics of education inequity and the death row community in the United States. She currently works on legislative policy with the Drug Policy Alliance and coalition-building programing with the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. This upcoming year, in addition to co-facilitating two American University Experience (AUx) courses, she is serving as the Alternative Break Student Coordinator, training 30 program leaders. If interested, as her about Alternative Breaks!
Maris Laughton (she/her/hers) is a senior from Hudson, Massachusetts majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communication with a minor in Psychology. She is a member of AU’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and a few days a week you can find her smiling behind the desk in the Office of Student and Academic Affairs in SOC. On top of that, she is a special events and marketing intern at Blackfinn Ameripub in Farragut North. She studied abroad in Melbourne, Australia last semester and hopes to move there after graduation for a few years. She loves spending time on the National Mall and trying new restaurants around the city. She also enjoys watching Netflix, going out with friends, and traveling. Next Maris hopes to travel to New Zealand and the Fiji Islands.
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.
Elana Lipkin (she/her/hers) is from New York and is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, double majoring in Sociology and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. Elana intends to dedicate her life to working on prison reform and abolition. During her time at AU, she has worked in the Sociology Department and worked various jobs off campus. Elana spent a semester abroad in Amsterdam and Morocco, culminating in a research project on how hip-hop makes minorities (racial/ethnic/gender/sexual) feel about their bodies and positionality in Dutch society. She has a radio show on WVAU that features - you guessed it - lots of hip-hop. She loves astrology, puns, and wholeheartedly believes that everyone should be taking sociology courses. She loves writing poetry in her free time and recommends Busboys and Poets for poetry nights. Elana is really excited to meet incoming Freshman and help them maneuver through their first semester. She is very excited to learn people’s stories and foster spaces of love and acceptance on campus.
Nickolaus Mack (he/him/his) is a senior double majoring in Political Science and International Studies. He is a national two-time United Negro College Fund (UNCF) scholar from Naples, Italy. At AU, Mack is the managing opinion editor at The Eagle, receiving recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, Washington Post, WUSA9, WAMU 88.5 and other media outlets. Most recently, university President Burwell affirmed his research and work in pushing the university to rectify its history with the institution of slavery. The Working Group to Study the Influence of Slavery, of which he is a member, will share its findings in September 2018. Mack is also the founder of Swipes, a meal swipe exchange program competitively hosted in AUCI Incubator, that employs over 30 students and aims to reduce waste and food insecurity. Outside of AU, Mack currently interns at the Jack & Jill of America Foundation. He also works seasonally as a program coordinator for the Black upStart. In this role, he has assisted dozens of black entrepreneurs across the US operate their own small business, employ at least one person and gross $50,000 in their first year. In the 2017-18 school year, he performed substantive community service in Houston, TX in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, successfully advocating for fully-funded renovations of at-risk sites in black communities. One of his prized possessions is a private letter from former President Barack Obama, praising his continued work and dedication to community service. His favorite spots are the Don Meyers Incubator and the DC Wharf, avoiding questions about his post-graduation plans.
Katie Malone (she/her/hers) is a student in the BA/MA combined program studying Political Science with a concentration in race and gender and Communications. She is from a small town in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but has fallen in love with life in DC. She works for the AU Museum in the Katzen Arts Center and tries to take on at least one internship per year. On campus, she is a member of the ATV News community and a section editor for Her Campus. Her favorite places on campus to study are the third floor of McKinley and patio behind SIS. Off campus, she’s usually exploring the new exhibits at one of the many free art galleries in DC. Katie had the opportunity this summer to do one of AU’s Alt Breaks and she’s always ready to strike up a conversation about life in DC.
Matthew Matos (he/him/his) is a junior studying Public Relations and Psychology from Mahwah, New Jersey. He has a passion for community service, and has done numerous service projects in his native New Jersey as an Eagle Scout and in DC with his involvement in the Community Based Research Scholars. He is working toward earning his Community Based Research Certificate out of the School of Public Affairs, and has completed the Educating Allies and Generating Leaders for Equity (E.A.G.L.E) Certificate Program out of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. While in DC, he has served as a tutor for the Latino Student Fund at the National Cathedral School, and he has recently completed an internship with the United Planning Organization homeless shelter. He hopes to be able to branch out and complete more service projects both nationally and globally in the coming years. Matthew is a member of both the Latinx American Student Organization and the Puerto Rican Student Association, and does work with both to promote latinx pride, equality on campus, and aid in creating a safe space for latinx students. Matthew is a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, and works at the Davenport Coffee Lounge as a barista. In his free time, you can often see Matthew either relaxing in his hammock, running around AU and DC, or learning new songs to play on the saxophone and piano. He is excited to get to know the incoming freshman class and work to make their experience at AU the best it can be.
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.
Samantha Miller (she/her/hers) is a rising junior studying Environmental Studies and International Relations. Samantha is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership and Ethical Development Program and is doing a fellowship with the non-profit solar company Re-Volv. During her time so far at American, Samantha has volunteered at Common Good City Farm, worked as a barista at The Bridge, and as a teaching assistant at the Childhood Development Center. Samantha is hoping her education can provide her with the skills and knowledge to become a successful environmental advocate. Samantha is excited to be a peer leader because she wants to help elevate and inspire the incoming class of AU Eagles! During her free time Samantha loves to listen to music, explore dc with her friends and spend time with family.
Emily Murtaugh (she/her/hers) is a rising senior from Long Beach, CA, majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Statistics and International Relations. She has a deep interest in understanding how people learn outside of formal education and the cultures within different education systems. Emily found her home away from home at AU in the Center for Community Engagement and Service (CCES). She has been engaged in various programs including being a Team Leader for DC Reads, leading an Alternative Break focused on education and equity in Tamil Nadu, India, and serving as a board member for the Eagle Endowment. Her work with the CCES office led her to an internship last semester with the non-profit, Brainfood, which uses food to engage, empower, and employ DC teens and young adults. This past summer, she is continuing to do research with Brainfood, through the AU Summer Scholars program, to emphasize the value that after school programs have on a student’s trajectory and advocate for programs that are accessible to students of all socio-economic backgrounds. In her spare time, you can find Emily in museums across DC, cooking, or catching up on her zzz’s. Her favorite food to make and to eat is sushi.
Trinh Nguyen (she/her/hers) is a junior majoring in International Relations at SIS with a minor in Economics. She is interested in the interplay between rapidly developing countries, international business and the global economy, and how it highlights opportunities for investment. Being an IR major, her professional goal is becoming a global conscious individual who can utilize cultural understanding to promote international collaboration and optimize public diplomacy. She has served several positions in the International Accelerator Program as a student diplomat, peer mentor and now a peer facilitator. Choosing AU to pursue her degree is her best decision as of now. Besides the great academic environment with full of supports and opportunities, what makes AU stand out is its cultural dynamics alongside with cultural sensitivity. AU is not an international school, but the open-minded environment it creates offers the greatest chance for her to fully develop her skills and overcome cultural differences.
Matt Pedretti (he/him/his) is a senior majoring in Public Relations/Strategic Communication with a minor in Political Science. Matt is from Yorktown Heights, NY. Matt's main involvement on campus has been through the Office of Orientation, Transition, and Retention working as both an Orientation Leader and an Orientation Chair. Matt is also an Ambassador for the School of Communication and a member of the AU Honors Program. Last fall, he studied abroad in London and interned at Little Black Book Lab, an advertising trade publication that did press work for small production companies and studios. Matt can almost always be found watching reality TV, drinking lemonade, and dancing to "The Middle".
Anji Persaud (she/her/hers) is a rising junior studying International Studies and Business. She was born and raised on Long Island, NY but found a new home in DC. Pursuing a career in International Service, Anji hopes to one-day work for the United Nations Children’s Fund. Therefore, Anji interned at the World Federation of United Nations Association at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, as an intern she worked on an initiative to increase youth involvement. On campus, Anji works at the American University Child Development center as a teacher’s assistant where she works with her students to improve motor skills and early childhood development. She is also an avid participant of the American University Model UN team where she chairs high school conference held by the University. As the event coordinator of the South Asian Student Association, Anji is always on campus planning new events to bring the AU community together. In her spare time, Anji loves to explore all that DC has to offer, her favorite spots thus far have to be the Smithsonian National Zoo and the National Mall.
Ammarah Rehman (she/her/hers) is a rising Senior studying International Studies, with a focus on Identity, Race and Culture. Ammarah is a Newman Civic Fellow and has served as a Student Representative for the President’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion. She was born and raised outside of Boston, MA and originally from Karachi, Pakistan. As a first generation college student, Ammarah is interested in how the intersection between race and class plays a role in the education system. Ammarah co-led an Alternative Break trip to New Orleans to focus on the lack of equity intersects with poverty and race. She is also the founder of The Muslim Project, an online platform highlighting Muslims from an array of backgrounds in order to fight Islamophobia and the negative stigma around Islam. While on campus, Ammarah is the President of the Muslim Student Association and has led a dialogue about the Muslim American experience through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Ammarah has also been awarded SIS women of the year and the Black Eagle award. Over the years, she has interned at National Parks Conservation Association, Peace Corps, AUx and has worked at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Ammarah studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco to learn Arabic. If she's not perfecting her latte art while working at the Dav, you can find Ammarah hanging out in MGC!
Diana Sanchez (she/her/hers) is a rising senior from Newbury Park, CA majoring in International Studies and minoring in Arabic. This is her second year returning as an AUx1 Peer Leader. She is interested in human rights and international law as well as equity in education. While at AU, Diana has been a part of D.C. as a team leader and tutor. Though DC Reads, she has been able to work in after school programs and D.C. Public schools to offer tutoring to students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Through her work in DC Reads, Diana has become familiar with the intersectionality of race and socioeconomic status in education. This past semester, Diana studied abroad in Jordan. In her free time, she like exploring new places, visiting museums in DC, and watching foreign films.
Riddhi Sarkar (she/her/hers) is a senior in the School of International Service and School of Communication, pursuing a double major in international studies and journalism. Riddhi has served as a reporter and editor for American University’s student newspaper, The Eagle, and been involved with AU’s Student Government and the Center for Community Engagement and Service. She was a co-leader for the 2018 Summer Alternative Breaks Program to India, focused on education access in underserved communities of rural Tamil Nadu, after having been a participant in the program in 2016. She has also served as a reviewer for AU’s undergraduate research journal, Clocks and Clouds. Outside of campus activities, Riddhi has had the opportunity to work for NBC, AFP, the International Center for Journalists and the Wilson Center. She has also conducted interviews as a citizen historian for the 1947 Partition Archive, a nonprofit oral history organization collecting stories of witnesses of the 1947 Partition of India, an issue she is close to since her grandparents were deeply affected by the mass migration that resulted from the event. Riddhi loves to travel and has lived in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Boston prior to attending college in Washington, D.C. She is looking forward to working with the AUx team and hopes to pass on her love of studying in the heart of the nation to incoming students.
Noelle Serino (she/her/hers) is a sophomore from Valatie, New York. She is a former AU Scholar and current member of the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program. She belongs to both the School of Public Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences as a Justice and Law and Public Health double major. Her interest in these areas stems from her curiosity regarding the complex dynamics of the criminal justice system as well as the expansion and analysis of effective procedures and actions that promote the overall health and safety of the general public. Through her upcoming roles as both an AUx Peer Leader and Interclass and Community Coordinator in the SPA Leadership Program, she hopes to build a stronger and more inclusive community here at AU, particularly for incoming freshman experiencing the exciting, yet nerve-wracking, transition to college life. Outside of the academic sphere, Noelle thoroughly enjoys exploring the D.C. area, particularly to visit each and every coffee shop in order to satisfy her caffeine addiction. As a peer leader, Noelle aspires to impart advice from the academic and social spheres in order to ease the college transition for incoming freshman.
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.
Rohan Singh (he/him/his) is a senior studying in the School of International Service. He was born in Cortlandt, New York and is from London, England. He is majoring in International Relations with a thematic focus on Comparative Global Governance. As a student-athlete and member of the Varsity Swimming and Diving Team at AU, Rohan has pursued excellence in both the classroom and the pool. This resulted in Rohan being individually honored for maintaining the highest cumulative GPA among all male athletes at AU, while he has also earned spots on three Patriot League Honor Rolls and helped the team to two Scholar All-America awards from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). In the classroom, Rohan has been a member of the AU Scholars Program and the prestigious Olson Scholars Program, while presenting research on Indian Nationalism and Indian Education at the 2017 and 2018 SIS symposium conferences. Since 2017, Rohan has been a part of the effort to fix declining levels of civic engagement among college aged students while interning at Democracy Commons, and will continue this avenue of work throughout the fall semester of 2018. Rohan has deep subject matter expertise in the sports domain and is passionate about sharing his vast knowledge with his college peers. Rohan always seeks the pursuit of justice and equality and intends to continue this journey in his long term goal to work for the Office of the Attorney General.
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.
Minori Takahashi (she/her/hers) is a junior in Kogod School of Business and majoring in Business Administration with Information Technology and Management specializations. Minori was originally from Aichi, Japan and went to a boarding school in Pennsylvania. She has worked with CLEAR as a Japanese coach last year and enjoyed teaching the language as well as about the cultures. On campus, Minori is a co-director of Event coordinators in ZARON: Student Research Institute on the Asia-Pacific and desires to raise awareness on the topics related to the Asia-Pacific within AU community. In addition to these activities, she interned with Washington CORE, a consulting company last year as a research intern and Protiviti, Tokyo this summer. Throughout these internships, Minori was inspired by how technology has been and will be changing business more efficient and innovative, which is why she also hopes to have my career in the technology consulting field. Lastly, Minori loves drinking coffee and traveling around the world. Her goal is to visit countries in every region before she graduates.
Chandni Thakkar (she/her/hers) is a senior in the School of International Service, majoring in International Studies. She is also minoring in Leadership and Management in the Kogod School of Business. Chandni has been a part of Residence Hall Association, as well as South Asian Student Association in her past few years. She is also a member of Phi Mu and DPE, the professional foreign service sorority. She has served as an Orientation Leader as well as an Explore DC Coordinator over her summers at AU. In her free time, Chandni loves to explore different coffee shops and bookstores around DC! Around campus she can always be found in the SIS atrium or the Dav! Chandni is very excited to be a Peer Facilitator this semester!
Cynthia Turcios (she/her/hers) is a DC native and a Senior majoring in Justice and Law with a Spanish Translation certificate. I am also going to begin working on my Masters of Science in Justice and Public Policy this fall. I am a part of the combined BA/MS program in the School of Public Affairs. She has been involved across campus with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, SPA Ambassadors, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and at The Washington College of Law as an Administrative Assistant. She has interned at various law firms, worked as a Paralegal and a STEP Assistant. She served as an AUx1 and AUx2 Peer Leader last year and is excited to return because she wants to help first year students with their transition into college. I want the students to feel like they have peers they can connect with and assist them through their journey in college. When Cynthia's not in the classroom or at work, she's watching anything funny or scary or going out with friends. Her favorite spot on campus is Starbucks! You can always catch her there.
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.
Caecilia Wardani (she/her/hers) is a student from Indonesia. She is currently a Junior studying Film and Media arts with minor in Marketing. Before studying in the United States she studied German to go to Germany for Med School. After getting a scholarship from the government of Indonesia, she decided to go to school in the United States. She actively involved in the IAP program for mentoring and Intercultural Event leader. In her free time she likes to listen to music, watching films or photo hunting with her friends, and during the weekends she likes to go to Botanical Garden or National Gallery to read.
Katie Wood (she/her/hers) is a Junior CLEG major (Communications, Legal Studies, Economics, Government) in the School of Public Affairs, as well as a member of the American University women's lacrosse team. One of her biggest areas of interest is healthcare in the developing world after spending the summer in Nairobi completing an internship with AU Abroad. While in Kenya she worked as a community health outreach volunteer for the organization Carolina for Kibera with a specific focus on nutrition interventions in young children. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Katie enjoys running, exploring DC museums and restaurants, and cheering on the Washington Capitals.