Associate Dean of Students, Off Campus Student Life and Community Engagement
I grew up on Cape Cod, working in my family’s lawn, garden, and marine business from a young age. I earned a BS in Healthcare Administration from the University of New Hampshire and both a MS and PhD in Public Health from UMass Amherst. As Associate Dean, I lead Off Campus Student Life, providing support, programming, resources, trainings, and social events for campus community members who live in area neighborhoods. I enjoy working with diverse groups of stakeholders to promote campus safety, civility, UMass pride, and community involvement, and I have over 25 years of experience in substance abuse prevention and teaching in higher education.
This past year, Off Campus Student Life welcomed the opportunity to expand our role to include a new and exciting area of focus: supporting parents in our campus community who are working towards their educational and professional goals at UMass while simultaneously doing the difficult work of raising young children. My approach to overseeing the Student Parent Programs has been to discover, assess, and build upon the unique strengths of our already existing programs, to foster the long-term sustainability of our operations, and to advocate for a family-friendly UMass in which students who are navigating the complexities of parenthood are valued and celebrated, and have all the tools they need in order to thrive.
CCAMPIS Program Coordinator
After living in NYC for more than 20 years, I am thrilled to be back in Amherst! Prior to joining the staff in Student Parent Programs, I worked in a variety of non-profit organizations focused on addressing the complex social, emotional and systemic challenges facing young people, families, and the organizations that serve them. I am excited to bring my experience to the work here at UMass supporting student parents. I received my B.A. from Hampshire College and my M.S.W. from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. I am excited to be a part of a team committed to ensuring that UMass is a place where parenthood is not a barrier to achieving academic success.
Associate Director, Off Campus Student Life and Community Engagement
I grew up in Amherst and have always loved the area and community, which is why working in Off Campus Student Life has been so rewarding. I feel lucky that I'm able to work with students and community members to create a place we can all be proud of and enjoy. Over the last few years, I have been able to see the success of initiatives like Party Smart Registration and Walk This Way, and most recently, my role has expanded to include working to support student parents and other young families in the community. While a student at Smith College I was able to work at Sunnyside, an early childhood center, as well as take courses in child development and I am so excited to return to this world. It's also hard not to enjoy working events where little kids are participating in arts and crafts or singing and dancing!
Prior to my work in Off Campus Student life, I earned a BA from Smith College, a MPPA and M. Ed from UMass Amherst, and I worked at Brandeis University for four years in the planning and institutional research department.
Amherst Family Center Coordinator
I have always had a keen interest in how people learn. This has informed my work through many years of teaching, creating curriculum, and coordinating educational programs in both formal and informal settings, and with people of all ages - from babies to baby-boomers.
My connection with the Amherst Family Center began in 2008, with the birth of my son; we were frequent visitors throughout his early years, and we loved the inviting play-space, the warmly supportive staff, and the opportunity to make new friends with other parents of young children. Serving as the AFC Coordinator since the fall of 2016 has only deepened my appreciation of what an engaging and enriching environment the Amherst Family Center offers to visiting families.
Graduate Assistant, Student Parent Programs
Crystal Keldun is a first year graduate student in the College of Education School Counseling Ed. S. Program. She has a BA in Social and Global Studies with a concentration in Educational Studies from Antioch College in Yellow Springs Ohio. Crystal has experience working with children in a variety of settings and domains. She has worked as a case manager with children with mental health diagnosis in an in home therapy program and as a behavioral technician helping children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Crystal is the mother of sweet and theatrical 5 year old boy and she deeply enjoys using creative arts, and pro-social games with young children.
Graduate Assistant, Student Parent Programs
Emily Laufer is the parent of an active seven year old boy and is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy. She sits on the Board of Northampton Housing Authority as a Resident Commissioner, is a Tapestry Board member, and has worked for the last 4 years to support families pursuing higher education. She is passionate about helping families use resources available to them to help them achieve their educational goals and meet financial stability.