Academic Advising

Tomi Abayomi​Tomi Abayomi

B.A., University at Buffalo, Psychology and Social Science Interdisciplinary Studies
Ed.M., University at Buffalo, Higher Education Administration

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, for most of her childhood Tomi grew up in Nigeria.  Tomi was a student–athlete (women’s basketball) at the University at Buffalo where she earned her BA in Psychology and Social Science Interdisciplinary Studies, and went on to complete her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. While at Buffalo, Tomi worked with the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) in various capacities and also worked with the athletics department as Assistant Academic Advisor.  Tomi later moved to Schenectady, NY where she worked as a Residence Director at Union College.   During her time at Union, Tomi worked in various capacities with the community engagement center, academic advising and volunteered as an assistant women’s basketball coach. Tomi joined the CLA advising team in January 2014, and is excited to work with Temple’s diverse population and also assist students in making the most of their college experience. When Tomi is not working, she enjoys playing recreational league basketball, working out, traveling, hiking, reading, watching T.V, and being a diehard Miami Heat fan.

Favorite books: Making the most of college: students speak their mind by Richard J. Light , A Father First by Dwyane Wade , A Hope in the unseen by Ron Suskind, The color of water by James McBride

Advising interests: Student-athletes, ROTC, access, low-income, at-risk students, and developmental advising.

Jennifer CarrollJennifer Carroll

B.A. Howard University, Political Science
Ed. M., Temple University, Educational Administration

Jennifer grew up in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia and spent much of her life swimming. She attended Howard University on a partial athletic and academic scholarship and found her passion for education while working with a human rights education program through Amnesty International at a Washington, D.C. high school. Since earning her undergraduate degree, Jennifer has worked primarily with low-income, first generation college students to support them in earning their high school diploma and successfully transitioning into a post-secondary option. Prior to joining the advising team, Jennifer worked in undergraduate admissions at Temple, as the Associate Director of College Retention at Philadelphia Futures and as a Student Success Specialist for Developmental Education at Community College of Philadelphia. She believes in the power of education to transform lives and change communities. She hopes to help students in CLA to create graduation plans that help them to successfully move through degree requirements, connect to experiential learning opportunities essential for success and critical thinking skills. Away from Temple Jennifer is engaged in the work of her church and is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. She recently discovered a love of running and became a member of Black Girls Run! Philadelphia. To date, she has successfully completed two half marathons and two triathlons.

Favorite Books: Animal Farm by George Orwell, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, Expect to Win By Carla Harris, PUSH by Sapphire, The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

Advising Interests: Assisting students in navigating the campus community, persistence, student development, student engagement

Abby CohenAbby Cohen

B.A., Temple University, Psychology, Honors Program Certificate
M.Ed., Temple University, Counseling Psychology – School Counseling Track

Abby was thrilled to return to Temple as an academic advisor in CLA in 2014. She graduated from Temple twice, earning her BA in Psychology with Summa Cum Laude Latin Honors, and M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology with school counselor certification. Abby’s favorite class at Temple was “Political Protest and Culture of the 1960’s”. Abby’s Temple blood runs deep, as her grandfather, mother, aunt, husband, father-in-law, and several cousins are also alumni. After completing her Master’s degree Abby was employed as a Student Success Advisor at Walnut Hill College where she advised, counseled, and taught First Year Seminar courses. Abby developed her interest in helping undergraduate students through her student job experiences. As a student, Abby served as an academic tutor and classroom assistant in the Russell Conwell Center, participated in the Diamond Peer Teachers program, and worked in the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic. She has also interned in several public high school guidance departments, including Central High. In her spare time, Abby enjoys reading memoirs, shopping, eating Chinese food, and hanging out with her husband.

Favorite Books: The Awakening by Kate Chopin, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, The Liars Clubby Mary Karr

Advising Interests: Orientation, developmental advising, at-risk students, psychology majors, academic planning for post-graduate and career success

Nicole ConleyNicole Conley

B.F.A., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Studio Art
M.S., West Chester University, Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs

Nicole grew up just outside of the city in Boyertown, PA. She ventured to western Pennsylvania, where she attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and earned her degree in Fine Arts. With a minor in Art History and major concentration in Ceramics, Nicole spent much of her time in Indiana seated at the potter’s wheel. While attending graduate school at West Chester University (WCU), Nicole worked in the WCU Career Development Center, as well as the Office of New Student Programs and Orientation. It was at WCU that she discovered her true passion: helping students navigate the exciting, yet challenging, road to college graduation. Nicole is very excited to be a part of the CLA Advising Team at Temple. When she isn’t on campus, you can find her spending time with family and friends, reading, cooking and exploring the city.

Favorite Books: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, House Rules, The Storyteller, Nineteen Minutesand many more novels by Jodi Picoult, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Tuesdays with Morrie byMitch Albom, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

Advising Interests: New Student Orientation, Major and Career Exploration, Study Abroad

Beth LawsonlBeth Lawson

B.A. with Honors, University of Georgia, Athens, Anthropology
M.A., University of Georgia, Athens, Religion

Beth was raised Alpharetta, GA. Growing up, she had many experiences traveling abroad, which ultimately inspired a love of archaeology and historic preservation. She attended the University of Georgia, Athens, where she studied abroad in Verona, Italy and received her degree in Anthropology. After working as a field archaeologist in South Carolina, she returned to Athens and received her Master of Arts degree in Religion, concentrating on Islamic Studies. She left the (much warmer!) south for Philadelphia in 2005 to join Temple’s Department of Religion as a Ph.D. student and study religious conversion. After becoming ABD in her program, she realized that her enthusiasm for working with Temple students had overtaken her love of lengthy academic tomes. She is excited to be the newest member of the CLA academic advising team, though she will likely never get used to the Philly winters or lack of quality cheese grits. Beth enjoys knitting, badminton, video games and reading biographies of 80's hair bands.

Christopher McClainChristopher McClain

B.A., Bloomsburg University, Communication Studies- Interpersonal Relationship Management
M.Ed., Bloomsburg University, Guidance Counseling and College Student Affairs

Chris is excited to be a part of the CLA Advisement Team and looks forward to connecting students’ passion and purpose with their studies here at Temple! A native to the “City of Brotherly Love,” Chris attended Central High School and is a proud member of the class of 266! Chris grew up with a love for playing sports, which continues today as he still plays in competitive tennis tournaments/leagues in the PA region. Previously at Bloomsburg University (BU), Chris worked in different capacities, such as Diversity & Retention, Student Orientation, and Residence Life.  During his time in higher education, Chris has been an advocate for multicultural and diversity initiatives as he values the holistic development that is associated with different cultural engagements and Study Abroad (studying abroad in Africa and China were amongst the most rewarding experiences of his life). Ambitious and supportive in nature, Chris assisted in establishing, and serving as president for 3 years for Men of Intelligence, Notability, and Desire (M.I.N.D), which is a student organization designed to develop successful inner city male students socially and academically as they transition to higher education. He also served as the founding charter member and treasurer for the Chi Sigma Alpha National Student Affairs Honor Society on BU’s campus.

Favorite Books: The Purist of Happyness by Chris Gardner; The Pact by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt; Letters to a Young Brother, and The Wealth Cure by Hill Harper

Advising Interests: Student retention, mentoring, major/minor exploration, and study abroad

Elizabeth ReynardElizabeth Reynard

B.A., Cornell University, Psychology
M.A., Teachers College, Columbia University, Developmental Psychology

Prior to joining the CLA advising center in 1999, Libby worked in education, counseling, and administration.  She enjoys academic advising because it provides her with an opportunity to work with a tremendous variety of students, and to explore their individual interests, needs, and abilities.  She loves hearing about the courses her students are taking and what they are learning, and she often imagines herself learning right along with them—without all the work!  Libby is a lifelong reader of The New Yorker and an ardent fan of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  She also loves to travel and play bridge, and has recently taken up soul line dancing.

Favorite booksThe Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky; Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris; Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy; and The Maneaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett.

Advising interests: Pre-law advising, developmental advising, and major exploration.

Erin SpiottaErin Spiotta

B.A, State University of New York at Cortland, History
M.A, Long Island University, School Counseling

Erin grew up on Long Island, New York.  As an undergraduate student, she took advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in London and travel throughout Europe.  The experience of living and learning abroad sparked an interest in culture and travel that has remained with Erin ever since, and she now has many big travel plans in her future.  After completing her Master’s degree, she married her high school sweetheart, and the newlyweds moved to Philadelphia in 2005.  After working initially as a financial aid counselor at Drexel University, Erin joined the Temple family as an academic advisor in June 2008.

Favorite books: Beach House by James Patterson; Twilight by Stephanie Meyer; Jemima J by Jane Green; Where There’s Smoke by Sandra Brown.

Advising interests: Student-athletes, study abroad, and pre-law advising.

Jocelyn Tutrani HensslerJocelyn Tutrani Henssler

B.A., Lock Haven University, Journalism and Mass Communications
M.Ed., Widener University, Student Personnel Services & Counseling in Higher Education

Jocelyn was born and raised in Royersford PA, a suburb about forty-five minutes outside of Philadelphia. Jocelyn attended Lock Haven University where she studied Journalism and Mass Communications and received a four year Athletic Scholarship as a member of the universities’ Division II Softball team. While attending graduate school at Widener University, Jocelyn also worked in Student Leadership & Activities at Saint Joseph’s University and completed a graduate internship at West Chester University in the Career Development Center. She then moved on to Cabrini College in Radnor, PA where she was an Academic Advisor and Career Counselor. After experiencing multiple facets of higher education, Jocelyn came to Temple to join the CLA Advising team. Jocelyn is excited to work with Temple’s diverse student population and finds great reward in assisting students with their career exploration and journey to graduation. In Jocelyn’s free time, she enjoys participating in intramural sports, spending time with friends and family, reading, and attending sporting events.

Favorite books: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls; When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Advising interests: Career Exploration and student athletes

Melissa ValdesMelissa Valdes

B.A., Flagler College, Spanish
M.A., Florida State University, Spanish (Literature)
M.Ed., Florida Atlantic University, Higher Education Administration

Melissa was raised in Sarasota, Florida.  Her whole life including her undergraduate and graduate education,  as well as her career,  had been spent in the Sunshine State.  However, she recently left the glow of the sun and flew north to start a new chapter of her life here in Philadelphia.  Melissa is extremely well traveled. She has studied abroad in Costa Rica, Argentina and Chile, where she devoted her time to learning about Spanish literature and South American wines.  In her spare time, Melissa enjoys reading, hiking, seeing live music, and hanging with her dogs, Thoreau and Belle.  She is also one of the eight diehard Tampa Bay Rays’ fans.  Melissa is happy to be an Owl and is looking forward to working with Temple’s diverse and challenging student population.

Favorite books: Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau. East of Eden by John Steinbeck. El árbol de la ciencia by Pio Baroja. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov