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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.
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: Achiever, Strategic, Relator, Responsibility, Analytical
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.
Eleni is the Assistant Director of the First-Year Success Center, and is managing the center’s Game Changers program for first-generation freshmen as well as the center’s overall outreach and marketing efforts.
Eleni has spent more than 20 years working in higher education with a focus on financial aid and student success initiatives. She has a passion for working with diverse students, especially first-generation and former foster care college students, and she has published an article in the Journal of Student Affairs, "Former Foster Care Youth: Experiences in the Pursuit of Higher Education."
Originally from Texas, Eleni earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree with minor in Communications from the University of Texas at Arlington. She then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University.
Fun fact: Eleni is an avid music lover, especially live music, and has attended over 50 concerts across the U.S.
Top five strengths: Connectedness, Relator, Developer, Achiever, Ideation
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.
Mark is from southern California and completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology and Biology at the University of California, San Diego, where he was involved as an Orientation Leader, College Ambassador, and Resident Assistant. Before living on campus as a Resident Assistant, Mark was a commuter and became highly invested in creating an experience for both on- and off-campus students, making sure they felt connected to the university.
Mark earned his Master’s degree in Postsecondary and Higher Education from San Diego State University, and he continued to build upon his love for student development by working in residence life as an Assistant Residence Hall Coordinator and later as an Assistant Resident Dean through a summer high school outreach program. Prior to starting at the First-Year Success Center, Mark served as a Community Director with University Housing at ASU working with first-year students in the W. P. Carey School of Business.
Mark is excited to be a part of the FYS team and working with students to help them create and live out their Sun Devil story here at ASU!
Fun Fact: I have more food allergies than I can count on both hands, but it doesn't stop me from being adventurous with trying out different foods.
Top five strengths: Arranger, Individualization, Developer, Relator, Empathy
Amanda is originally from South Dakota and holds a Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from South Dakota State University. During college, Amanda worked as a Community Advisor, Desk Assistant, and Summer Conference Staff to assist paying for her undergraduate degree. The passion to support students in a college environment led Amanda to continue her education at Arkansas Tech University for graduate school immediately after completing her bachelor’s degree.
After completing her Master’s degree, Amanda accepted a job in Lubbock, Texas to work as a Residence Life Coordinator at Texas Tech University. Amanda continued to enjoy assisting students and decided to take an opportunity working as an Academic Advisor for the College of Education. When working with students, Amanda views each student as having their own puzzle they are completing to graduate with their degree. Each piece is specific organizations and interests that the student will explore in their journey.
These experiences working in Residence Life and Academic Advising has led Amanda to Arizona State University working in the First-Year Success Center. Amanda’s overall goal is to ensure all resources are given to students to assist them in succeeding and graduating with their degree to complete their individual puzzles.
Fun Fact: I am going on my 13th year of living on campus in the past 14 years due to my previous jobs and now my fiance’s job.
Top five strengths: Strategic, Relator, Positivity, Connectedness, Responsibility
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.
Jesús is a third-generation New Mexican and second-generation Sun Devil who is thrilled to serve the ASU community. His passion for higher education and student retention comes from watching his grandfather (a fellow Sun Devil), his grandmother, and his parents work tirelessly their entire lives to educate and empower students, especially those from marginalized communities. As an out-of-state and multicultural student who spent most of his academic career as an off-campus commuter, Jesús learned firsthand that earning a higher education required not just hard work, but a growth mindset and a community of care to lean upon when challenges inevitably arose. Inspired by the community of care he found at ASU, Jesús joined the First-Year Success Center as one of the inaugural coaches in the FYS VIP Suite sophomore success coaching initiative. He had the privilege of rejoining FYS as full-time staff in 2016 and since then has supervised coaches serving multiple colleges and campuses.
Jesús is a two-time ASU alum who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s degree in Religious Studies. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Anthropology. As an anthropologist and scholar of religious studies, Jesús is dedicated to empowering people of all backgrounds through advocacy, education, mutual understanding, and a greater awareness of one's self and others. The First-Year Success Center provides a perfect opportunity to promote these values through its implementation of positive psychology and its mission of empowering students to achieve their personal, academic, and professional goals. Jesús is elated to be part of the FYS team again and serving the Sun Devil community!
Fun college memory: My research and internship opportunities were definitely my favorite part of my time as an ASU student! Between my undergraduate and graduate programs, I had quite a variety: I helped reconstruct 9,000 year-old human remains from the Gobero site in Niger; I worked as a forensic anthropology & odontology assistant for a major medical examiner’s office; I partnered with the Phoenix Zoo to study birds of prey; I made dental casts for the ASU Dental Anthropology System; I sorted osteological material for the Center for Archaeology and Society Repository; I worked with curanderos (traditional healers) from all over Mexico and the Southwest at the University of New Mexico; and I helped carry out a major nutrition study for the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. Whew!
Top five strengths: Context, Input, Intellection, Learner, Empathy.
Alainah is from Michigan. She has a strong enthusiasm for the advancement of all students, and she is excited to work to provide resources for underrepresented students here at ASU. Alainah is a believer for the development of educational opportunities and facilitating daily responsibilities to maintain an efficient office here at FYS to serve our students.
Alainah is a graduate of Western Michigan University and a very proud first-generation college student, former TRiO SSP student, Benjamin A Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship Alumna, and a Founding Sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. Zeta Lambda Chapter. She holds a B.A. in Political Science- Public Law and a B.A. in Spanish. She is currently working on her M.A. through Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, in Educational Leadership and Management with a focus on the use of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Educational Settings.
Fun fact: Alainah is a devoted traveler and loves to try all different types of food from different cultures.
Top Five Strengths: Learner, Restorative, Futuristic, Significance, Context