Dr. Kevin Correa, Director
Dr. Kevin Correa has enjoyed working as a higher education professional for more than 15 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 over 100 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 in higher education. Dr. Correa has also earned a certificate in personal development coaching from the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute, he has completed the Foundations of Positive Psychology Coursera specialization from the University of Pennsylvania, and he is Dare to Lead trained.
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
Brandon Sours, Assistant Director
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 Coordinator Senior in the First-Year Success Center and previously as a coordinator with New Student Programs at Arizona State University
Brandon earned his M.Ed. in Higher & Postsecondary Education from ASU's 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 Fact: Brandon serves on the Board of Directors for Grand Canyon Performing Arts and serves as President of the Phoenix Gay Men's Chorus, the largest LGTBQ+ non-profit performing arts organization in the state of Arizona.
Top five strengths: Individualization, Relator, Futuristic, Strategic, Arranger.
Lauren Alli, Program Manager
Lauren was born in Upland, CA and raised in Tucson, AZ but don’t think she’s a fan of those little kittens. Lauren is an ASU Alumni earning her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. During her time at ASU, she was involved as a community assistant with campus housing, a tour guide with the Devils’ Advocates, and an avid Sun Devil football fan! She loves being immersed in student culture and believes that campus connections are the key to a great college experience.
Her amazing experience with her College of Liberal Arts and Sciences advisors awakened a passion for higher education and wanting others to have that same collegiate experience. After graduation, she became an academic advisor for military students at University of Phoenix. Lauren served on the graduation planning team as well as employee recognition committee during her 8 years at UoP. Also, during her time there, Lauren earned her Masters degree in Administration of Justice and Security. Lauren continued her work in higher education moving to Northcentral University as an academic and financial advisor working with the School of Business.
Lauren’s amazing experience at Arizona State has always been a reminder of her passion for learning and education, where she learned the Sun Devil Service that she brings to every interaction with every student, and has finally brought her back home to the buttes. She looks forward to helping all students thrive during their time here.
Fun Fact: Lauren has been a youth cheerleading coach for the last 12 years (found the position in the State Press as an undergrad) and currently holds two National titles.
Top five strengths: Restorative, Achiever, Relator, Responsibility, Activator
Katie Collins, Program Manager
Katie is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She learned through her involvement in the Student Government Association, Peer Advising program, Student Activities Council and more that she enjoyed working with students in college instead of being in a lab and made the career move to go into student affairs.
Katie earned her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration (Student Affairs) from the University at Buffalo, where she worked within Campus Living doing marketing and assessment, organization advising, and working with the leadership team on major projects. She was able to work across the campus in new student programs and closely with student activities to help make experiences for the students that would continue to shape their college experience.
Because since she can’t stay out of a classroom for long, in 2017 Katie started and completed a graduate certificate in Campus Crisis Management from Colorado State University, gaining knowledge on how to manage human, campus, and global crises from a large to personal scale; a skill that can translate over to almost every experience with students.
Fun fact: I am an online streamer that makes jewelry live while cultivating a community and making a safe place for folks to hang out online!
Top Five Strengths: Achiever, Learner, Individualization, Woo, Empathy
Desirai Browning, Coordinator Senior
Desirai was born in Bronx, New York but was raised in Casa Grande, Arizona. Desirai is a two-time alumna of Arizona State University, earning both her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and her Master’s of Advanced Study in Marriage and Family Therapy. During her time at ASU, Desirai was involved as a community mentor with campus housing, a tour guide with Devils’ Advocates, and a Sophomore Success Coach. Before her current position, she worked in the Admissions office as a First-Year Student Specialist, traveling across Arizona and promoting college as an opportunity for students. Desirai greatly enjoys and looks forward to working with a wide variety of students while providing a supportive environment and lending hand. Her passion for helping students stems from her own personal experiences as a multicultural student as well as seeing the trials and successes that students experience during their time in a university setting.
Fun Fact: I love baking and trying new recipes! Some of my favorite desserts include almost anything lemon flavored, especially lemon bars.
Top Five Strengths: Positivity, Developer, Empathy, Includer, Relator
Susan Nguyen, Coordinator Senior
Susan hails from Virginia where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Virginia Tech as a first-generation college student. She moved to the Sonoran Desert to complete her Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University where she also taught composition and creative writing courses. During her time as a graduate student, she received several fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, one of which allowed her to teach at the National University of Singapore. She remains an active member of the local literary community, and has read her creative work throughout the state.
Before joining the First-Year Success Center, Susan worked at the Success Coaching Center for EdPlus where she worked in student success and retention for ASU’s online student population. She is particularly interested in serving first-generation and other underrepresented students.
Susan is deeply passionate about helping others own their stories, amplify their voices, and grow as individuals, leaders, and changemakers in their communities.
Fun fact: Susan loves the outdoors and hiking, and she is currently on a quest to visit all of the U.S. National Parks.
Top Five Strengths: Input, Achiever, Futuristic, Learner, Intellection
Aimee Sharifi, Coordinator Senior
Aimee Sharifi is a native Phoenician from the West valley that is both a first-generation college student and a first-generation American from an Afghan family. She is a graduate of the Phoenix Union High School District and a proud Alumna of Arizona State University where she earned a Bachelor of Education. Most recently she earned a Masters in Educational Leadership (Community College and Higher Education) from Northern Arizona University. Through these experiences in navigating her educational journey, Aimee found her passion for helping others. She now uses her expertise in helping students navigate and achieve through education.
Aimee joined ASU in the Admission Services office where she worked closely with school districts creating accessible pathways and support networks for students applying to ASU. She then transitioned into an academic college recruitment role as the Student Admissions Specialist with the College of Health Solutions wherein she helped students plan their pathway into healthcare fields. Most recently, Aimee served as a Transfer and Graduate Recruitment Coordinator focused on assisting transfer and graduate students from all over the world.
Her current role as a Coordinator Senior with the First-Year Success Center complements her previous experience in higher education and allows her to use both her personal and professional experience to assist others. As a first-generation college student and first-generation American, she uses her personal story to connect and relate to others. Aimee hopes to continue to make positive impacts in the ASU community and continue her work with students, particularly first-generation college students, and underrepresented populations.
Fun Fact: Aimee’s favorite holiday is Halloween. She loves lighting pumpkin candles and watching Halloween movies all year round. On any given night, you can find her watching the Addams Family or hanging out with family.
Top 5 Strengths: Strategic, Arranger, Communication, Significance, Relator
Tamara Lopez, Business Operations Specialist
Tami was born in Los Angeles, California, but raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She has enjoyed working as higher education for more than 14 years. Before her current position, she worked seven years with Educational Outreach and Student Services (EOSS) at Arizona State University. In addition to working in the department of Registrar, Financial Aid, and Admission at Arizona Christian University.
She is dedicated and passionate about supporting students to make a difference and thrive during their time at Arizona State University. Her passion for helping students originates from being a part of something bigger, working in higher education is unlike any other job. It is an environment that is continually unfolding with innovation, technologies, and creating real change.
Fun fact: I enjoy organizing and planning events, learning new skills and technology, and hiking in the desert
Top Five Strengths: Context, Responsibility, Achiever, Analytical, Discipline