Staff Directory

ADMINISTRATION AND PLANNING

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Kavita Sharma
Dean
As the Dean of the Center for Career Education, Kavita holds overall responsibility for the work of CCE! She works closely with the entire staff at the Center to provide career programs and services that are tailored to the needs of Columbia students, alumni, and employers interested in hiring them. Born in London, England, Kavita moved to New York in 2002 for a couple of years, and years later, is still here. Educated at Southampton University and the London School of Economics and Political Science, Kavita began her career working for Voluntary Service Overseas, an international development agency. She moved to the US after working for the University of London Careers Service for seven years advising students at Goldsmith’s College, University College London, and King’s College London. She also established and ran the Graduate Careers Shop, a service designed to help graduates develop or change their career paths. Kavita lives in Brooklyn and, when not at Columbia, can be found keeping up with her two children enjoying the cafes, restaurants, and movie theatres of her Carroll Gardens neighborhood. She is also only too happy to talk football (soccer) and her recent trip to the World Cup Finals in South Africa with just about anyone who will listen.
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Al Spuler
Executive Director
Administration and Planning
As Executive Director, Al leads a team of seven who coordinate the Center’s financial management, budgetary planning and reporting, human resources, data management and information technology; marketing, and facilities and operations. Al has worked at Columbia since 1997; prior to joining CCE in 2007, he served as Senior Associate Director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Al holds an M.A. from the University of Michigan in Higher Education Administration with a focus on student development and academic affairs, and a B.A. in Political Science and History from Rutgers College.
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Katie Taflan
Senior Associate Director
Marketing
Katie Taflan is the Associate Director of Marketing at CCE where she oversees marketing and communications for the schools served by CCE. Prior to coming to Columbia, she worked at Duke University recruiting patients for clinical trials in nicotine and smoking cessation research. In her spare time, she continues to design logotypes and collateral materials for freelance clients. She is also an avid independent movie goer (recommends “Tell No One” if you haven’t seen it) and has an uncanny ability to remember pop trivia. Katie graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Psychology. She holds an Advanced Certificate in Art Direction from the Portfolio Center in Atlanta.
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David Slotnick
Senior Associate Director
Research and Technology
David joined CCE in the summer of 2010 as the Assistant Director of Research and Technology. As the Associate Director of Research and Technology, he leverages IT processes, applications, and data to support and enhance the mission of CCE. Prior to this role at CCE, David spent over nine years managing web marketing and IT at New York University. He also has a Master's Degree in Urban Planning & Policy, and can hold forth for quite some time on the subject.
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Elizabeth Wang
Senior Associate Director
Administration and Planning
Elizabeth is on the administration and planning team at CCE, where she has worked since 2007. She works with finance, human resources, and operations. She also manages the Work Exemption Program, which provides grants to Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science students to pursue unpaid semester and summer internships, volunteer and research opportunities. Elizabeth loves living in New York City and biking, walking, and exploring Central Park.
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Bernadette Maxwell
Coordinator
Experiential Education and Student Enterprises
Bernadette, along with her colleagues on the Administration and Planning Team, shares responsibility for the financial and operational management of the Columbia Student Enterprises for the Center for Career Education. She provides overall support and maintenance of the student enterprises and their work environment, which includes the processing and distribution of the payroll for those students. Bernadette particularly enjoys student discussions regarding the issues and new projects that arise within the businesses.
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Dana Mondesire
Career Resource Center Coordinator
Dana joined the Administration and Planning team in January of 2015. In her role, she coordinates all activities pertaining to the Career Resource Center, the intake hub of the Center for Career Education. Prior to first joining the CCE’s Employer and Alumni Relations team in September of 2014, Dana completed her BA in Psychology at Columbia College. As a student, Dana greatly utilized CCE’s programming and resources and loves encouraging students and alumni to do the same! She enjoys helping Columbia University students and alumni navigate the many valuable resources that the CCE offers and looks forward to learning more about career development in this role. Dana has always had a strong interest in pursuing a career in education and is excited to be part of the CCE team! Dana is originally from New York and enjoys all that the city has to offer. In her free time, Dana enjoys reading up on social science research and news, watching movies, travelling, playing trivia games, learning new languages, and playing with her two dogs.
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Lauren Kohari
Associate Director
Event Management & Social Media
Lauren joined CCE in March 2013 as the Assistant Director of Event Management and Social Media. In her role, she plans and executes Center events and helps shape the social media strategy for the Center’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. With a background in non-profit event management and student support, Lauren is committed to creating opportunities for student and alumni development. Lauren completed her BS in human services, education, and public policy at the University of Delaware, and recently received her MSEd in higher education administration from Baruch College.
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Thomas D’Onofrio
Associate Director
Administration and Planning
Thomas is the Associate Director of Administration and Planning where he supports the financial, administrative, and operational needs of the CCE. He also manages the Alumni & Parent Internship Fund (APIF) and the Columbia Engineering Internship Fund (CEIF). Thomas received his M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University in Higher Education, concentrating in academic and developmental analysis in student affairs. He is currently pursuing his Ed.M. in the same field. Prior to joining the CCE, he worked in administration at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and at Cornell's NYC Tech campus. When not at Columbia he can be found skiing in the Adirondack Mountains or listening to opera from the Bel Canto repertoire.
Christopher Cheung
Assistant Director
Research & Technology
Chris joined CCE as part of the Administration and Planning in June of 2015. In his role, Chris supports technology initiatives and the day-to-day technology needs of CCE staff. In addition to providing IT-related support, Chris also assists with CCE's Graduating Student Survey, helps maintain content on the CCE website, acclimates new employees with CCE technology and more. Prior to joining CCE, Chris worked at a Stony Brook University as an educational technologist, helping students, faculty and staff improve their academic and professional lives with the help of technology. He has a B.A. in Political Science and History, and is working on a M.S. in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology.

UNDERGRADUATE CAREER DEVELOPMENT

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Niamh O'Brien
Associate Dean
Career Counselor
Niamh is Assoc. Dean of Undergraduate Career Development at the Center for Career Education. Niamh thoroughly enjoys her work, her colleagues, and the students at Columbia, and directs her energy to enhancing the framework of support and access to opportunities for students of Columbia. Before coming to CCE, Niamh worked with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she served as Assistant Director of the Office of Career Services. Prior to that, she was the Program Coordinator of NYU’s National Center on Philanthropy and the Law, which exists to explore a broad range of legal issues affecting the nation's nonprofit sector. Niamh holds a B.A. in Economics from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and an M.Sc. in Management from NYU. When Niamh is not working, she likes to dance, do crossword puzzles, and take advantage of the arts in NYC with her family.
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Rebecca Schramm
Senior Associate Director
Career Counselor

Rebecca has a passion for helping people find their professional fit. In her current role, she provides counseling and creates innovative programs to foster the career success of undergraduate students. Rebecca enjoys building relationships with students that provide support for growth and independence in making career decisions, creating personalized internship/job search strategies, and interviewing.

After obtaining a B.A. in Art History and Magazine Journalism from Syracuse University and working in PR/Communications at The Museum of the City of New York and SIRIUS Satellite Radio (now SIRIUS XM), Rebecca completed an M.A. in Mental Health and Wellness at New York University. From there, she worked at Pace University, career counseling undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni, and instructed on career-related topics at schools including NYU. Rebecca is a member of professional organizations, including the National Career Development Association, and a volunteer with one of her favorite non-profits, City Harvest.

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Tracy McGarry
Senior Assistant Director
Tracy works in partnership with students to identify work congruent with their values, create effective resumes and cover letters, and develop professional contacts. She creates a welcoming environment to explore and build confidence. Her goal is for students to articulate skills and communicate their purpose clearly, in an authentic manner. Tracy previously worked in student services program design and development, homeless services, community mental health and arts programming at organizations including The New School, Sarah Lawrence College and The Partnership for the Homeless. She values cross-disciplinary alliances and social impact. Tracy holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and an M.A. in Anthropology from University of California, San Diego; she earned her B.A. in Anthropology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). She enjoys travel and history, and aspires to establishing a regular meditation practice.
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Alicia Schiller
Associate Director
Career Counselor

Alicia joined the undergraduate counseling team in March of 2012, and is committed to helping students prepare for and develop their career plans through one-on-one counseling and group programming. She previously was a member of the Center’s employer relations team, working to connect students and employers through the on-campus recruiting program, LionSHARE job database and large-scale events.

Alicia began her career in public relations at a mid-sized New York PR firm. It was during this time that she led her company’s internship program, sparking her desire to work with students to help them pursue their career goals. She holds a Masters in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College at Columbia University and a Bachelors in Communications from Marist College, and likes to spend time crafting, cooking and enjoying the city.

Peter Bridge
Career Counselor
Pete joined the Center for Career Education in June of 2015 and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals during and after their time at Columbia. After obtaining a B.A. in Print Journalism from Point Park University, Pete completed an M.Ed. in College Student Affairs at Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, Pete was a Residence Hall Director where he oversaw a residence hall of first-year Engineering students. Pete also worked at Princeton University in the Office of Career Services as a graduate intern where he worked with students through resume reviews, mock interviews and general career advising sessions. He enjoys running, photography, and rooting for his favorite team- the Pitt Panthers.
Carrie Pennoni
Career Counselor
Carrie joined the Center for Career Education in June of 2015 and provides counseling and professional development programming to undergraduate students at Columbia. She is committed to offering students a supportive and encouraging environment to explore their skills and interests, navigate the job search process, and create individualized plans to achieve their career goals. She is also passionate about educating students on how to expand their professional network through online and social media channels. Carrie holds an M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan. She previously served as a graduate intern and counselor at New York University’s Office of Financial Aid and as a graduate assistant at John Jay College’s Center for Career and Professional Development. Carrie also has ten years of experience working in public relations and marketing, and still consults with industry clients on a freelance basis. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting with family, going to the theater, and cheering on her favorite sports teams.

GRADUATE STUDENT CAREER DEVELOPMENT

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Vyju Manian
Senior Associate Director
Graduate Student Career Development
Vyju Manian is the Associate Director of Graduate Student Career Development at the Center for Career Education. A native of India, Vyju grew up in Bengaluru and Mumbai. She started her professional career as a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Labs at Holmdel, NJ. Following a move to West Lafayette, IN, she worked as an academic adviser to international freshman engineers at Purdue University and subsequently as the Chair of the Math department at Ivy Tech Community College, Lafayette, IN. Upon her return to New York City, she worked with undergraduates as an Advising Dean at Columbia University before joining Center for Career Education to serve the growing needs of the graduate student population. Vyju has an M.A. in Mathematical Statistics from University of Pittsburgh and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University. Her interests include traveling, cooking and reading.
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Donald Goldstein
Associate Director
Career Counselor

Don joined the Center for Career Education team in January, 2011 as the Assistant Director of Alumni Career Development. As a lifelong consultant, he brings a wide variety of personal job experience in almost every sector of the economy and this naturally led him into Career Counseling. As a Career Counselor, Don has worked previously in the academic sector in the Career Centers of Brooklyn College and the College of Staten Island; in the not for profit world in the Career Services Department of the Metropolitan Council; and in the private sector as a Career Consultant and Education Advisor for JPMorgan Chase.

Don holds a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College and an M.A. in Sociology from York University in Toronto. He also has a Certificate in Adult Career Planning and Development from NYU. Don grew up and still lives in Brooklyn, so he has plenty of time on the long Subway commute to read at least a book a week and catch up on all his favorite teams in the sports section - the Mets, Giants, Rangers, Knicks and West Ham United.

Alice Kim
Career Counselor
Alice is an educator and a counselor who is passionate about helping students make the most out of their educational experiences. With extensive work and volunteer experiences in the field of education, she has worked with students from a wide range of backgrounds to help them get closer to their dreams. Alice joined the Center for Career Education in January 2015, after completing her master’s degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She was born in South Korea and grew up in Canada, before moving to New York City in 2013 for her graduate study. Prior to her role at CCE, Alice worked as a high school Mathematics teacher in Vancouver, Canada, and also interned in Columbia School of Social Work’s admissions office and Columbia Engineering School’s IEOR office. Her undergraduate studies were in Mathematics and Psychology from University of British Columbia, Canada. In her spare time, Alice loves to explore different parts of NYC and travel.

EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION AND STUDENT ENTERPRISES

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Heather Perceval
Associate Dean
Career Counselor

Heather joined the Center for Career Education in 2007, making her own career change from the corporate sector. Her background includes spending the previous six years at a bulge-bracket investment bank, specializing in Campus Recruiting, Training and Development, and Talent Management specifically for junior populations at the firm (interns, analysts and associates). Realizing her passion for working with students, she made the decision to pursue her Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. Since she has made the transition to CCE, she spends her time working closely with students, employers, and alumni building dynamic international and domestic experiential opportunities for the Columbia community.

In her free time, Heather dreams about scuba diving the globe after getting certified in 2007 and pretending to be an expert foodie, eating her way around the newest and most diverse restaurants in NYC and specifically Brooklyn, her new home. Her allegiances will always be to Queens, the borough where she grew up and, most specifically to the New York Mets, her home team and her first employer (working their events and games when she was 15!)

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Jennifer Preis
Senior Associate Director
Career Counselor
Jennie joined the Center for Career Education in the summer of 2011 and is very happy to be a part of the Columbia community. In her current role, she works with developing and managing experiential learning programs for students and also serves as an undergraduate career counselor. Prior to Columbia, Jennie worked at an investment banking firm in the Campus Recruiting and Training area and then had her first experience in higher education at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. as Manager of Recruiting Programs. At Georgetown, Jennie worked to build meaningful connections between the campus, students, alumni and employers. She is delighted to have made her way into a field where she is able to help students explore the opportunities available to them and develop an understanding of how to build a fulfilling career. In her spare time, you will find Jennie with her nose buried in her Kindle, running in Central Park, and traveling as much as she can possibly afford with family and friends.
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Jill Burya
Associate Director
Career Counselor
In the summer of 2011, Jill joined the Center for Career Education. Her role involves managing various international and domestic experiential education programs, as well as career counseling undergraduate students. Jill completed a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication at Miami University and a Masters of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina. As a student, Jill completed an internship at Ming Chuan University in Taoyuan, Taiwan where she worked directly with study abroad students in the International Education and Exchange Division. In addition, she interned at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India, where she supported local students who participated in Duke University’s Talented Identification Program. Prior to joining CCE, she spent time working in the international education field as the Graduate Assistant in the University of South Carolina Study Abroad Office as well traveling to Asia extensively on behalf of the Georgia Institute of Technology Work Abroad Program to meet with employers interested in hiring interns. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the National Society of Experiential Education (NSEE) and is also involved in NAFSA (Association for International Educators). In her free time, you can find Jill running through Central Park, enjoying the many sights and sounds of NYC, or trying out new recipes in her kitchen.
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Emily Rosenberg
Associate Director
Career Counselor
Since joining CCE in 2010, Emily has enjoyed working closely with the Columbia student community to provide career counseling support, coordinate educational programs, and collaborate with student groups. In addition to advising students on career opportunities and interests, Emily manages several CCE internship programs, including CEO London, CEO Beijing, the Columbia Exploration Externship (CEE), and the Virtual Internship Program (VIP) and serves on the Student Enterprises Advisory Board. Prior to joining the Experiential Education & Student Enterprises team, Emily worked on the Administration & Planning team where her responsibilities ranged from supporting and strategizing center operations to coordinating the Graduate Assistant program.
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Laura Maltz
Assistant Director
Career Counselor
Laura joined the Center for Career Education in December of 2012 and is excited to be part of such a dynamic community. As a member of the Experiential Education team, Laura manages several domestic and international internship programs including programs which focus on civic engagement and the not-for-profit sector. Additionally, Laura serves as a career counselor for the undergraduate student body and sits on the advisory board for Columbia’s three student-run enterprises. Before coming to Columbia, Laura worked as program manager and director at several non-profit organizations including New York Cares and StreetWise Partners managing broad portfolios of adult education and job-readiness volunteer programming. She also completed an internship at Barnard’s Office of Career Development and volunteered at NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development. Laura completed a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Binghamton University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Higher and Post-Secondary Education at Teacher’s College. In her free time, Laura can be found playing her guitar, putting ridiculous sweaters on her dog, George, and seriously considering going for a jog.
Alison Smith
Program Counselor
Alison joined the Center for Career Education in the summer of 2015 as a Program Counselor. After spending the last five years in the Midwest, Alison returns to the East Coast excited to work with the students at Columbia University. Alison’s passion for career development was discovered during her undergraduate education where she worked as a peer advisor for the Career Development Center at the University of Richmond. Prior to joining the CCE, Alison worked at the University of Chicago in the Dual Career Office and most recently, at Indiana University Bloomington in the Career Development Center/Arts & Sciences Career Services where she counseled students majoring in the Natural & Mathematical Science majors. She has a M.S. Ed. in Counseling & Counselor Education from Indiana University Bloomington and a B.A. from the University of Richmond. In her free time she enjoys traveling the world, exploring new restaurants, and spending time running throughout the city.

EMPLOYER AND ALUMNI RELATIONS

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Courtney Murphy
Director

Courtney joined the Employer and Alumni Relations team in the fall of 2009. Along with her colleagues, Courtney’s primary responsibilities are focused on building and maintaining relationships with employers and alumni interested in recruiting Columbia students and alumni. Courtney provides guidance for the On-Campus Recruiting program and new employer outreach to ensure effective, meaningful connections can be made between students, alumni, and potential employers.

Courtney’s previous experience includes management of the Global Markets campus recruiting program at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Director of Student Activities and Orientation at Fordham University.

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Emily Newman
Senior Associate Director
On-Campus Recruiting

Emily joined the Employer Relations team at Columbia University Center for Career Education in October 2009 and is now the Interim Associate Director. Emily partners with employers across all industry groups to assist them in recruiting Columbia students. Along with the EAR team, Emily manages the on-campus recruiting program and several recruiting events. Prior to Columbia, Emily worked in campus recruiting in the financial services industry for several years. Emily graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. in English and Spanish Literature and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Teachers College, Columbia University in Organizational Psychology.

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Vernon Gibbs II
Outreach Specialist
Outreach

Vernon Gibbs joined the Center for Career Education in April 2010, but he is no stranger to Columbia University. As an alumnus of the College, Class of 2000, he has always maintained ties to the school through classmates and his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. He is excited to be back at his alma mater helping both students and alums in their careers. As the Outreach Specialist, Vernon focuses on a variety of industries including Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, and Government, finding companies in these fields and helping them use CCE as a tool for their various recruiting needs. Prior to working at Columbia, Vernon spent nearly 10 years in both marketing and sales. After two years as an Account Executive for Paychex Payroll Services and three years in Product Education at In Demand Pay-Per-View, he spent four and a half years at the National Basketball Association as Coordinator and then a Manager for NBA TV and NBA League Pass. In his free time, Vernon enjoys playing video games, reading comics, and making custom action figures for toy enthusiasts.

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Jeanine Daley
Assistant Director
On-Campus Recruiting
Jeanine joined the Employer Relations team in May of 2012. She helps to connect students and employers through the on-campus recruiting program, employer events and information sessions, and the LionSHARE job database. As a member of the On-Campus Recruiting team, she conducts trainings at new orientations and student group meetings to teach students how to participate in the on-campus recruiting program. She is currently earning a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Prior to Columbia, Jeanine graduated from Pace University with a Bachelor’s degree in English and worked in non-profit PR for several years before making the switch to higher education. Jeanine enjoys traveling and reading.
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Ashley Kera
Coordinator
On-Campus Recruiting
Ashley joined the Employer and Alumni Relations team in January of 2014. She assists students, alumni and employers in the use of the online recruiting system, LionSHARE. She supports the On-Campus Recruiting program (OCR), which includes on-campus interviews and information sessions. Additionally, she assists in the preparation and organization of career fairs, events and Center for Career Education Employer & Alumni Relations initiatives. She also serves as the initial point of contact for all inquiries from students, alumni and employers pertaining to jobs, internships, alumni relations, and career fairs & events. Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Creative Writing from Muhlenberg College, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She was also a National Harry S. Truman Scholar candidate. Prior to working at Columbia in higher education, she worked in the legal field at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and in marketing at a global association management company. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Psychology in Education in the field of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College. In her free time, Ashley enjoys staying busy with outdoor activities, city life, reading, traveling, being active, comedy, Netflix, and spending time with family and friends.

ALUMNI CAREER SERVICES

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Rose Sterling
Director
Rose Sterling is the Director of Alumni Career Services where she oversees career counseling and programming for alumni of the five schools served by the Center for Career Education. Prior to joining CCE, Rose served as the Associate Director of Employer Relations at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering where she led strategic employer outreach and recruiting initiatives for the NYU engineering student population. She also led innovative workshops with a focus on professional branding and connecting one’s culture and identity to his/her career decision-making process. Rose holds a Master of Education degree in Human Services and Counseling from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Education from the University of Florida. She is an active member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), American College Personnel Association (ACPA), and the National Urban League Young Professionals (NULYP). She enjoys playing chess, organizing spontaneous road trips, and convincing colleagues and friends to join her for a fun evening of bad karaoke. Rose is very excited to join the CCE team, and looks forward to working with Columbia University students and alumni.
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Leigh Sylvia
Associate Director
Career Counselor
Leigh is the Associate Director of Alumni Career Services where she advises and counsels Columbia alumni in areas of career development and management. Leigh possesses a passion for assisting others with their career journeys and generating successful self-promotion strategies to get to their final destinations. Leigh began her professional career in the world of advertising and marketing, but soon decided to pursue her passion for counseling and supporting others with their self-discovery. Prior to joining CCE, she dove into higher education career services at Loyola University Chicago and was more recently the Assistant Director of Career Services at New York Institute of Technology. Leigh holds an M.Ed. in Human Services and Counseling from DePaul University and a B.A. in Advertising/Public Relations from Pennsylvania State University. She has certifications in SHRM Essentials of HR Management and Mentoring Program Management (MPM). Leigh also serves as the Secretary for the executive board of the Metropolitan New York College Career Planning Officer’s Association (MNYCCPOA).In her free time, Leigh enjoys jogging around NYC, Bikram yoga, any excuse for a traveling excursion, live music, and pretending to be a film critic.