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Professional Staff

FYS Staff

Dr. Kevin Correa, Director

Kevin Correa

Dr. Kevin Correa has enjoyed working as a higher education professional for over thirteen years. He is passionate about helping students succeed and making a positive impact in their lives. Nearly his entire career has been devoted to the engagement, retention, and success of diverse student populations at large public universities, and much of his work has been in leadership capacities.

Dr. Correa has been with the First-Year Success Center since its inaugural year; he was part of the leadership team that led the center's growth from an initiative with about 35 staff to an award-winning center with nearly 90 staff conducting over 16,000 coaching appointments per year. While at ASU, Dr. Correa has also served as a mentor for the Obama Scholars Program, a facilitator for Access ASU's Future Sun Devil Families program, a facilitator for the university's SafeZONE program, and a board member of the Chicano/Latino Faculty & Staff Association. Dr. Correa's previous positions have included: Program Manager for Institutional Inclusion in the ASU Provost Office, Assistant Director of the University of Colorado Boulder GLBTQ Resource Center and Administrative and Programming Coordinator at the University of Michigan Spectrum Center.

Originally from the east coast, Dr. Correa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree, with an emphasis on race, class, and gender, from the University of Michigan as a first-generation out-of-state student. He earned a Master's degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education and a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Innovation from ASU. Dr. Correa's dissertation work was focused on out-of-state freshmen at ASU. As part of his research, Dr. Correa designed a large-scale intervention to address the specific needs and challenges of this substantial population; the intervention had a positive association with co-curricular engagement and homesickness frequency reduction.

In addition to leading the First-Year Success Center, Dr. Correa serves as a Faculty Associate in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, where he teaches graduate-level courses such as Organizational Theory and Diversity in Higher Education. Dr. Correa has also earned a certificate in personal development coaching from the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute.

Fun fact: Dr. Correa is an avid outdoor runner who is proud to have more than a 100-degree temperature range. He has run in the middle of Michigan winters in temperatures as low as three degrees, and he now regularly runs during the Phoenix summer, even when the temperature soars past 105!

Top five strengths: Strategic, Achiever, Analytical, Responsibility, Arranger.

Marisel Herrera, Director, Training and Development

Marisel Herrera

Marisel is a proud, long-time member of the ASU Sun Devil family who has spent more than 20 years educating, motivating youth, and coaching college students and emerging professionals at a variety of higher education institutions. She has worked at ASU for over two decades in a variety of roles in both academic and student affairs, always with the commitment to ensure that students are well equipped to not only "survive" their university experience but to thrive in it as well. Marisel is a certified personal and executive coach, and she is the Founding Director of the ASU First-Year Success Center, which has impacted tens of thousands of Sun Devils' lives.

Her passionate belief in the power of education to transform lives has led her to extensive volunteerism and motivational speaking on both local and national levels. She speaks extensively on personal development and leadership, student success and other empowerment topics to diverse audiences including youth, educators, professional groups and leaders.

Marisel holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Marist College and a Master's in Education in Higher and Adult Education from Arizona State University. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Educational Leadership.

Marisel is the recipient of multiple awards in recognition of her leadership and service to the community including the Phoenix Business Journal's “Top 40 Under 40” and the City of Tempe Human Relations Commission “Diversity Award”. She was also one of 22 fellows chosen nationally for the National Hispana Leadership Institute, an elite institute focused on developing ethical world leaders.

Marisel has received leadership training from the Harvard University JFK School of Government and Center for Creative Leadership and advanced coach training and certifications from the Certified Coach Federation (CCF) and the Coaching & Positive Psychology (CAPP) Institute. Marisel has earned Facilitator Certificates in Strengths-Based Advising and Mentoring from Gallup. Lastly, Marisel is also the owner of a motivational speaking/coaching/consulting business and is an author of two books.

Fun college memory: Being trapped inside of an ancient castle in Southern Spain while studying abroad as an undergraduate. I didn't know about the tradition of shutting down businesses for a siesta but definitely enjoyed the opportunity for a once in a lifetime fiesta!

Top five strengths: Activator, Connectedness, Input, Woo, Communication.

Mercedes Amador, Coordinator Senior

Mercedes Amador

Mercedes is a Sun Devil alumna who is ecstatic to partner in the success of her fellow Sun Devils. Her passion in higher education stems from her own personal journey as a student at ASU. As a first-generation and multicultural student, Mercedes understands the importance of an education and the hard work that a college degree requires. To assist paying for her undergraduate degree, she worked as a Community Assistant, a Peer Mentor, a Desk Assistant, and a New Student Orientation Leader. Currently, Mercedes is pursuing her Master’s of Education in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Mercedes is ecstatic to continue to partner in the success of her fellow Sun Devils so that they can take full advantage of their time while here at ASU.

Fun fact: Mercedes was one of the very first First-Year Success coaches for the center’s inaugural year in 2012.

Top five strengths: Individualization, Relator, Maximizer, Command, Activator.

Joy Leslie, Coordinator Senior

Joy Leslie

Joy has worked in higher education and academic affairs since 2006. She is a strong believer in student service and care. Before becoming a Coordinator Senior with the First-Year Success Center, she worked with the W. P. Carey School of Business as both an Academic Success Specialist and Retention Coordinator. Her passion for working closely with students has fueled her enthusiasm for higher education and student affairs. Not only does she work closely with the First-Year Success Coaches for W. P. Carey students, she is a staff advisor for the Business Communication Students Association and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Her family is originally from the Caribbean with multi-ethnic backgrounds, and is deeply rooted in work with The Salvation Army. Because of this connection, Joy has never lived in any location for longer than 5 years. She has lived all over the United States and even lived for a while in Europe during her childhood. Her family has always stressed the importance of education and this led Joy to skip her senior year in high school, earn her GED and go directly to college. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, and then later went on to earn her Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California.

Fun college memory: I sang in the all-girls A Cappella group at UC Berkeley called the California Golden Overtones.

Top five strengths: Harmony, Achiever, Learner, Restorative, Communication.

Brandon Sours, Coordinator Senior

Brandon Sours

Brandon is originally from New Mexico and holds a Bachelor’s in Agricultural Education with an emphasis in Ag. Communications from New Mexico State University. Inspired by his academic advisor and mentor, he felt empowered to support and impact students in a college environment. Brandon has worked in higher education in various roles, most recently as a Coordinator with New Student & Family Programs at Arizona State University.

Brandon earned his M.Ed. in Higher & Postsecondary Education from ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. In all areas of his life, he seeks to help build others up and encourage positivity among those he comes in contact with. He is dedicated to helping others make a difference in our world, and enjoys connecting people with their passions to create real change.

Fun college memory: During my junior year of college, I was selected to be a social media and videographer intern for a week-long agricultural leadership summit in Puerto Rico. The food, beautiful scenic views and culture were incredible!

Top five strengths: Individualization, Relator, Futuristic, Strategic, Arranger.

Julia Bates, Coordinator Senior

Julia Bates

Julia has worked in Higher Education for four years. Originally from Illinois, Julia moved to sunny Southern California to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Biola University. Julia was active in student leadership as a Resident Assistant and Resident coordinator during her collegiate experience. After graduating, Julia made the decision to move to Arizona to pursue a career in Higher Education. She worked at Grand Canyon University for a total of four years as a Resident Director and then as a Student Activities Coordinator prior to becoming a Coordinator Senior at the First-Year Success Center.

Julia is currently in the Master of Arts in Communication Studies program at ASU and will graduate May 2018. She loves working with students and hopes to teach communication at ASU someday. Julia was positively impacted by mentors while in college and believes in giving back to students because of her transformative experience. She is excited to be a part of the FYS team and walk alongside students this year!

Fun college memory: Emceeing the annual dodgeball tournament her senior year at Biola University in front of thousands of her peers!

Top five strengths: Woo, Positivity, Developer, Input, Communication

Jesús Villa, Coordinator

Jesus Villa

Jesús is a third-generation New Mexican who earned his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Arizona State University in 2011 and his Master's degree in Religious Studies (Anthropology of Religion) from ASU in 2016. During his time as a Master's student, Jesús worked as a VIP Suite Success Coach with the First-Year Success center, where he found his passion for helping students grow and thrive at ASU and beyond. Inspired by his time as a coach, he rejoined the FYS team in 2016 as a Coordinator and plans on beginning his PhD program in 2017.

As an anthropologist, Jesús is dedicated to helping people of diverse and seemingly disparate backgrounds connect and relate on a personal and socio-cultural level, as well as fostering understanding and greater awareness of one's self and of others. Through its implementation of positive psychology and student advocacy, the FYS Center provides a perfect opportunity to promote these anthropological values while also empowering students and coaches to achieve their goals and realize their personal, academic, and professional dreams. Jesús is thrilled to be part of the FYS team again and serving the Sun Devil community!

Fun college memory:: It's really difficult to choose just one...so I won't! My top three experiences at ASU were studying abroad in Yucatán, México; working on 9,000 year-old human remains from Gobero, Niger as a student intern; and working as a lab assistant to forensic anthropologist Laura Fulginiti, PhD D-ABFA, at the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner.

Top five strengths: Connectedness, Ideation, Input, Intellection, Learner.

Stephany Romero, Student Support Specialist

Stephany Romero

Trading in her beach life for a desert one, Stephany is a proud Californian now enjoying everything Arizona has to offer. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned her Master’s of Education in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Arizona State University.

As a first-generation undergraduate and graduate student, Stephany understands and has experienced many obstacles students face throughout the college journey and wishes to use her background to help future students have a successful and enjoyable college adventure.

Stephany has worked with an array of students, including international students (through Global Launch) and student athletes (through the Office of Student-Athlete Development at ASU).

Fun fact: Stephany is an overjoyed mother to a little hedgehog.

Top five strengths: Achiever, Deliberative, Consistency, Individualization, Responsibility.