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Student Engagement

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Student Engagement

In our Jesuit tradition, Student Engagement seeks to promote the development of the whole person. We empower students to work together to build community, lead ethically, and value differences in one another. Our collaborative efforts connect students to curricular and co-curricular experiences that encourage civic responsibility, personal growth, and lifelong learning.

New Students

The Office of Student Engagement introduces both first-year and transfer undergraduate students to the developmental resources, unique opportunities, and engaging experiences afforded them while attending Ƶ University. Through a comprehensive and collaborative effort, we welcome you to a community of active and service-oriented learners who are eager to assist you in the understanding and appreciation of the unique experience Ƶ University offers as a Catholic university in the Jesuit tradition.

Programs & Events

The Office of Student Engagement offers a number of programs and events throughout the year. Some of our programs and events are rooted in religion and reflection while others give us a chance to celebrate our accomplishments. And many are just plain fun!

International Student Life

The Office of Student Engagement (OSE) works with student organizations, faculty, and other University offices to further integrate diversity into developmental and social programs for students. As a result, the office establishes meaningful relationships with students in order to effectively address their needs, interests, and concerns. We Discover and join the hundreds of student clubs, events, and programs that Ƶ has to offer!

Clubs & Organizations

At Ƶ, we have over 100 student-led clubs and organizations—ranging from honor societies to academic-focused clubs to political and cultural clubs—where students gain first-hand experience in leadership, organizational development and management, decision-making, diversity, and event planning.

Lucy Katz Dialogue & Resolution Program

Lucy Katz, JD, former professor of business law and former holder of The Robert C. Wright Professorship in Business Law, Ethics and Dispute Resolution, left an indelible imprint on the Ƶ community. Her creation, along with Dr. Thomas Pelligrino, of the student peer mediation program provides mediation training and certification for students who go on to serve their peers and the University.

Meet the Staff

Meet the staff at the Office of Student Engagement.

Jeremy Kaler headshot

Jeremy Kaler

Director of Student Engagement
Get To Know Jeremy

Educational Background

  • M.A. in History, Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • B.S. in History, Frostburg State University

Areas of Focus

  • Student Life & Development
  • Student Government & Advocacy
  • Student Organizations & Clubs
  • Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement
  • Deliberative Pedagogy
  • Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging
  • Community Engaged Learning
  • Leadership Development
  • International Student Support & Advocacy
  • Policy Development
  • Title IX Advisor
  • Student Conduct & Community Building
  • eGaming/eSports

Teaching

  • First Year Experience (FYE), Transfer, Ƶ University, Fall 2020
  • Leadership Academy, Ƶ University, Spring 2020
  • Club Development Webinar Series, Ƶ University, Spring 2020
  • First Year Experience (FYE), Leadership through Service, Ƶ University, Fall 2020
  • First Year Experience (FYE), Leadership, Ƶ University, Fall 2019
  • Exploring Leadership, Ƶ University, Spring 2019
  • COMPASS Leadership Society, Spring 2019 Cohort
  • First Year Experience (FYE), Civic Leadership, Ƶ University, Fall 2018
  • COMPASS Leadership Society, Spring 2018 Cohort
  • Redefining Leadership, Ƶ University, Spring 2018
  • First Year Experience (FYE), Civic Engagement, Ƶ University, Fall 2017
  • First Year Experience (FYE), Exploration, Ƶ University, Fall 2016

Presentations

  • “CliftonStrengths 101” at Council for Advancement & Support of Education: Affiliated Student Advancement Programs (CASE ASAP) District 1 Conference (February 2020)
  • “Gen Z: Understanding & Adapting” for Ƶ University Professional Enrichment Society (April 2019)
  • “Moral Foundations: Understanding Self & Others” for Ƶ University Student Leadership Conference (August 2019)
  • “Challenging Others: Disrupting & Reframing Assumptions to make Positive Change” for Ƶ University Student Leadership Conference (August 2018)
  • “Free Speech & Hate Speech at Jesuit Institutions” Roundtable Discussion at Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA) Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA (March 2018)
  • “Free Expression & Demonstrations: A Workshop” for The Breakfast Club, Ƶ, CT (December 2017)
  • “Male Engagement: A Study” for Ƶ University Professional Development Series, Ƶ, CT (August 2017)
  • “Free Expression & Student Affairs” for Ƶ University Professional Development Series, Ƶ, CT (August 2017)
  • “Work-Life Balance for Student Affair Professionals” for Ƶ University Professional Development Series, Ƶ, CT (August 2017)
  • “#WordsMatter: Free Speech v. Harmful Speech on College Campuses” at Ƶ University Student Leadership Conference, Ƶ, CT (September 2017)
  • “Civic Engagement: Make America Civil Again” at Ƶ University Student Leadership Conference, Ƶ, CT (September 2016)
  • “The Art of Branding” at National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference at Regis University, Denver, CO (July 2016).

Committees

  • Leadership Development Committee
  • Community Engagement Committee
  • Committee on Free Expression
  • Student Support & Relief Fund Committee

Professional Organizations

  • NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
  • ACPA, America College Personnel Administrators
  • JASPA, Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Campus Compact of Connecticut (CCC)

Service

  • JASPA Chair, Member Services (2018-2020)
  • JASPA Liaison, Ƶ University (2016-2020)
  • Community Associate, First Year Experience program (2016-2020)
  • Town of Ƶ Election Day Registration (EDR) Host Organizer (2016 General Election & 2018 Mid-Term Election)
  • Voter Registration & Mail-In Ballot Drives (2008-2020)
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive Host Organizer (2008-2015)

Hobbies

  • Learning
  • Reading
  • Computers & Technology
  • Video Games
  • Movies

Favorite TV Shows(s)

  • Futurama
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Big Bang Theory

Favorite Movie(s)

  • 12 Angry Men

Favorite Book(s)

  • But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman

Favorite Quote

  • “I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them.” — Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus, 1676

Advice for Students

  • Challenge everything, but challenge for the right reasons.  
Tom Balestracci headshot

Tom Balestracci

Associate Director
Get to Know Tom

Education

  • University of Rhode Island – M.S. College Student Personnel
  • Eastern Connecticut State University – B.S. Sport & Leisure Management

Areas of Focus

  • FUSA Advisor
  • Clam Jam
  • Alumni Family Weekend

Profession Organizations

  • NACA – National Association for Campus Activities
  • NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Hobbies

  • Exercise
  • Sports
  • Reading
  • Family Time

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • One Tree Hill
  • Friends

Favorite Movie(s)

  • Harry Potter films
  • Fever Pitch
  • Big Daddy

Favorite Book(s)

  • Harry Potter series

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • Community – Everyone is so welcoming in Stag Country.

Favorite Quote

  • “The most important this is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” — Kobe Bryant

Advice for Students

  • Get involved.
  • Make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Make new friends.
Marissa Lischinsky headshot

Marissa Lischinsky

Associate Director
Get to Know Marissa

Education

  • Master of Education in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education, Springfield College
  • Bachelor of Arts in German and English (majors), Judaic Studies and Women’s Studies (minors), Ƶ University
  • Summer Semester at Stuttgart University in Germany

Areas of Focus

  • Onboarding & Transition Communications
  • Fall Welcome
  • First Year Experience
  • First Year & Transfer Orientation
  • Parent/Guardian Engagement
  • Retention Initiatives

Professional Organizations

  • National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)
  • Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education (NODA)

Hobbies

  • Hiking
  • Reading
  • Watching TV
  • Walking my dog
  • Knitting/crocheting
  • Seeing Broadway shows
  • Spending time with family and friends

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • Schitt’s Creek
  • The Good Place
  • House M.D.
  • Grace and Frankie
  • The Golden Girls

Favorite Movie(s)

  • Dear Evan Hansen
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Beauty and the Beast (animated and live-action)

Favorite Book(s)

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
  • Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • The sense of community—once a stag, always a stag!

Favorite Quote

  • “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” — Anais Nin

Advice for Students

  • Transitions and the unknown can be stressful and difficult, but try to stay positive, focus on your strengths, and don’t be afraid to reach out for support!
Madisyn Longdin headshot

Madisyn Longdin

Graduate Assistant
Get to Know Madisyn

Education

  • University of Connecticut ’21 – BA (Honors) in Psychological Services
    • Minor: Gerontology
    • Minor: Human Development & Family Studies
  • Ƶ University ’25 – MA in Marriage & Family Therapy
    • Certificate in Queer & Trans Mental Health

Areas of Focus

  • Graduate & International Student Life

Hobbies

  • Hiking
  • Traveling
  • Baking
  • Decorating cookies & cakes
  • Volunteering at Everybunny Counts Rabbit Rescue
  • Watching anime
  • Attending renaissance fairs
  • Spending time with friends & family

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • One Piece (NOT the live action)
  • Hunter x Hunter
  • Vox Machina

Favorite Movie(s)

  • Anything from The Conjuring cinemaverse
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Favorite Book(s)

  • Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bich
  • Faith No More by Phil Zuckerman

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • How warm and welcoming the staff and faculty are. The Ƶ University community is truly like a family :)

Favorite Quote

  • “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” — Robin Williams

Advice for Students

  • Be kind to yourself.
Casey Murray headshot

Casey Murray

Assistant Director
Get to Know Casey

Education

  • Master in Education in Higher Education with Student Affairs concentration from Merrimack College 2018
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with Crime and Society concentration from Western New England University 2017

Areas of Focus

  • First Year Experience Program
  • Transition & Retention
  • New Student Leader team

Hobbies 

  • Reading
  • Watching TV
  • Yoga
  • Working out

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • Merlin
  • 911
  • 911: Lone-Star
  • NCIS
  • Chicago Universe
  • The Bachelor/Bachelorette

Favorite Book(s)

  • Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

Favorite Movie(s)

  • Tangled
  • Beauty and the Beast

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • The people!

Favorite Quote

  • “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever.” — Walt Disney

Advice for Students

  • Embrace every moment. College is a time for self-discovery and you never know what you will discover until you take each moment in.
Danielle Parisi headshot

Danielle Parisi

Assistant Director
Get to Know Danielle

Education

  • M.Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Merrimack College, 2018
    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Anna Maria College, 2016

Areas of Focus

  • Ƶ@Night Late Night Programming
  • Senior Week
  • FUSA Advisor
  • Student Life Financial Assistance

Profession Organizations

  • National Association of Student Affairs Personnel Administrators (NASPA)

Hobbies

  • Playing the drums
  • Trying new restaurants
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Going on walks

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • The Bachelor/Bachelorette
  • Chicago Fire
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Mostly all reality TV shows

Favorite Movie(s)

  • Fever Pitch

Favorite Book(s)

  • Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • The community – it immediately feels like home.

Favorite Quote

  • “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.” — Steve Jobs

Advice for Students

  • Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, this is your time to create your own journey.
Zachary Quinones headshot

Zachary Quinones

Program Coordinator
Get to Know Zachary

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of the Arts, Political Science, Ƶ University, 2018

Areas of Focus 

  • Civic Engagement
  • Leadership Development
  • Graduate Student Life

Presentations/Programs

  • “The Leadership Paradox” Student Leadership Conference
  • Leadership Academy
  • Club Development Webinar Series
  • COMPASS Leadership Seminar
  • Strengths 101 Learning Strengths
  • Strengths Basements and Balconies

Committees

  • University Programming Committee
  • Student Leadership Conference Planning Committee

Hobbies

  • Reading
  • Pretending to not be a foodie
  • Playing video games
  • Watching TV

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • The Office
  • VEEP
  • The Sopranos
  • Trailer Park Boys
  • Avatar: the Last Airbender
  • Naruto
  • Watchmen
  • Scandal

Favorite Movie(s)

  • The Princess Bride

Favorite Book(s)

  • The Trouble with Being Born by E.M. Cioran

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • Ƶ University has the best collegiate swag.

Favorite Quote

  • “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” — Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Advice for Students

  • Get to know yourself before you get to know others.
Jane Aquino headshot

Jane Aquino

Program Coordinator
Get to Know Jane

Education

  • Connecticut Business Institute
  • Ƶ University, Real Estate Paralegal Certificate
  • Ƶ University, Real Estate Principles/Practices
  • IETS F-1 SEVIS Essentials-Level II and Level III
  • NAFSA – Spring Immigration Workshop

Areas of Focus

  • Graduate and International Student Onboarding
  • Orientation

Professional Organizations

  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators (related to former immigration advising)

Hobbies

  • Spending time with family and friends (especially my granddaughter)
  • Baking and cooking
  • Shopping
  • Traveling

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • Hallmark Channel movies
  • Magnolia Table
  • Food Network/Cooking Channel
  • HGTV

Favorite Movie(s)

  • It's a toss up between The Wizard of Oz, Dirty Dancing and Mamma Mia! - all are great!

Favorite Book(s)

  • Any books by Elin Hilderbrand

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • The amazing level of support that both staff and faculty provide for students.

Favorite Quote

  • “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Advice for Students

  • You never know what battles people are fighting. Always be kind.
Sarah McGough headshot

Sarah McGough

Project Manager
Get to Know Sarah

Education

  • Ƶ University – Bachelor’s in Nursing
  • Ƶ University – Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (in progress)

Areas of Focus

  • Transition & Retention

Professional Organizations

  • American Counseling Association
  • American Nursing Association
  • Chi Sigma Iota

Hobbies 

  • Reading
  • Traveling
  • Running
  • Watching TV

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • Gilmore Girls
  • Superstore
  • Night Shift
  • Chicago Fire
  • Parenthood
  • New Girl
  • Derry Girls

Favorite Book(s)

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Favorite Movie(s)

  • Legally Blonde

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • The community.

Favorite Quote

  • “You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.” — Sophia Bush

Advice for Students

  • Holding the door or a smile can go a long way!
Rosalinda Rodriguez headshot

Rosalinda Rodriguez

Operations Assistant
Get to Know Rosalinda

Education

  • Institute of Culinary Education – Pastry & Baking certificate
  • Housatonic Community College – AA in Fine Art
  • Ƶ University – BA in Art History
    • Minor: Anthropology

Areas of Focus

  • Office support
  • Student services

Hobbies

  • Baking
  • Nature walks
  • Crafty projects
  • Being a foodie

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • Doctor Who
  • Great British Baking Show
  • Frasier (original series)
  • Mandalorian
  • Schitt’s Creek

Favorite Movie(s)

  • Airplane!

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • The strong sense of community, especially within Student Life.

Favorite Quote

  • “It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have.” — Mister Rogers

Advice for Students

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Stephanie Rodgers headshot

Stephanie Rodgers

NWS Graduate Assistant
Get to Know Stephanie

Education

  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering (2023)
  • Ƶ University – Master’s in Business Administration (in progress)

Areas of Focus

  • Undergraduate student programming
  • Office social media
  • The Weekender
  • Senior Year Experience advisor

Hobbies 

  • Reading
  • Travel
  • Hanging out with family and friends
  • Adding items to my cart then not buying anything

Favorite TV Show(s)

  • Gilmore Girls
  • One Tree Hill
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Ted Lasso

Favorite Book(s)

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Favorite Movie(s)

  • Thelma & Louise

Favorite Thing About Ƶ

  • The people I’ve met – and keep meeting! – along the way.

Favorite Quote

  • “She saw the world not always as it was, but as it could be, with perhaps a little bit of magic.” — Cinderella

Advice for Students

  • Embrace all the opportunities available to you. You never know where they will lead, so follow your heart and you’ll end up where you should be.

Contact Us

Office of Student Engagement

Barone Campus Center Lower Level

Suite 96

(203) 254-4053

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