Assistant Vice Provost, Executive Director
Jim Lowe was appointed as Assistant Vice Provost, Executive Director for the Center for Career Development of the University of Connecticut in February of 2013. Prior to his appointment to the Provost Office, Lowe served as Assistant Dean, Executive Director, External Relations and Outreach, of UConn’s School of Business, overseeing the Undergraduate and MBA populations’ career development programs and initiatives, Veteran Affairs, Diversity Initiatives, Marketing/Communications, and External Relations Departments. Before joining UConn, Lowe spent 10 years with Lee Hecht Harrison, a human capital solutions firm, primarily in their Manhattan, NY offices. During that time he was a Senior Vice President and General Manager overseeing all operational, financial, HR and marketing/sales functions at the firm’s international headquarters practice office and was SVP, Regional Sales Manager where he developed and executed strategic sales initiatives for the firm’s professional services, focusing on Fortune 1000 and mid-tier companies.
Lowe held senior level executive positions at a number of international companies such as: Leslie’s Poolmart, controlling all sales and operational functions of $350 million national business; Warner Bros., where he was Director of Training and Organizational Development addressing the talent needs that came with an expansion from 26 domestic locations to over 100 domestic and 16 international locations; and Linens ‘N Things, where he created sales, leadership and management development programs.
Lowe has been a frequent guest lecturer at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business Administration, New York University’s Stern School of Business, and Fairfield University, from which he received his BA degree. He is also a Certified Career Management Professional, and is certified in multiple individual and 360 organizational assessment tools.
Nancy Bilmes is currently the Director of the Center for Career Development. Some of her responsibilities include supervising staff, overseeing the day to day operations of the department and managing all departmental activities. Previous to being director Nancy was responsible for departmental programming, supervising the Peer Career Advisors, developing new programming initiatives, and overseeing experiential learning opportunities. She also works one-on-one with students and presents workshops and presentations on all career related topics. Some of Nancy’s previous roles in the Center for Career Development (formerly Career Services), included Associate Director, Assistant Director for Experiential Learning, Career Counselor and Cooperative Education Coordinator.
Prior to coming to UConn, Nancy received her Master of Arts Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Higher Education from Central Connecticut State University where she worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Alcohol and Other Drugs. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Communication from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York where she was a Peer Career Counselor. Nancy developed her passion for Career Services while serving in this role as an undergraduate and has devoted her life’s work to helping students manager their careers and find their own passions.
Assistant Director of Programming
Amelinda Vazquez is the Assistant Director, Programming at the Center for Career Development. Amelinda is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the programming initiatives for the CCD. The career development programs offered by the CCD serve as a resource to students to enhance career readiness during and after college. In addition to career development programs, Amelinda works on internal relations, which focuses on building and sustaining relationships with internal organizations within UConn’s community.
Amelinda earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Eastern Connecticut State University and a Master of Science in Communication from Central Connecticut State University. Amelinda has worked in Higher Education in various capacities. Prior to her beginning at UConn, she worked at both Eastern Connecticut State University and Assumption College in Residential Life and also served as the Communication Chair for the NASPA Region I Latino Knowledge Community.
Ana Clara Blesso
Assistant Director of Experiential Learning
Ana Clara Blesso is the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning at the Center for Career Development, where she serves as the department lead for internship and cooperative education programming, resources, and information. Ana Clara assists with various internship-related activities; including facilitating the center’s internship classes and developing the on-campus internship program. In addition, she organizes the annual Internship Showcase and Experiential Learning awards program.
Prior to her role at UConn, Ana Clara served as Assistant Director of Fairfield University’s Career Planning Center. She has held graduate internships in career counseling, substance abuse prevention, student leadership development, and mental health counseling at Wake Forest University and High Point University in North Carolina. She received a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Assumption College.
Corporate Partner Relations Manager
Ashley Browning is the Corporate Partner Relations Manager at the Center for Career Development where she develops and enhances internship and co-op experiences for students while partnering with employers looking to hire UConn’s talent. Ashley manages experiential learning opportunities including UConn Co-Op enrollment, Career Expedition programs, and the annual Internship & Co-op Fair. A conduit between future UConn interns and employers, Ashley connects recruiters to campus through annual events, partnerships with faculty/staff, and presentations.
Ashley is a UConn alum with bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and English. Before joining CCD, Ashley was a congressional press aide for U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and managed the UConn Alumni Association’s Connecticut Chapters and Advocacy programs. Ashley is president of the Connecticut Cooperative Education & Internship Association (CCEIA) and is a member of the New England Knowledge Corridor Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership.
Beth Settje has been working in higher education for more than 25 years and at UConn since 2001. She has held a few different roles in the department, currently serving as the Associate Director, overseeing the Career Coaching program. Beth is a strong advocate for students figuring out their academic and career paths, understanding the route is not always clearly marked and that detours often lead to new, unexpected discoveries. Her favorite career theory is Planned Happenstance, which emphasizes creating or taking advantage of the different opportunities that present themselves each day. She encourages students to trust and believe in themselves, as they figure out their choices.
Beth earned her Bachelor of Science in Business (Marketing major/English minor) from Beaver College (now Arcadia University) and her Masters of Education in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her favorite undergraduate course was Business Writing and she uses elements of that course in her daily work at the CCD. She is also a proud mom to a UConn student and wife to a UConn alum.
Assessment & Technology Coordinator
Darlene Reynolds works on Assessment & Technology, this includes being the main administrator for multiple Center for Career Development technologies such as HuskyCareerLink and the Husky Mentor Network. She assists students, employers and alumni in utilizing these platforms effectively.
Darlene came to the university in 2000 and began as the front desk receptionist in the Center for Career Development. Then worked with many of the department programs such as Co-op program, and Human Services Career Fair now known as the Careers for the Common Good Career Fair.
Career Consultant, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Emily Merritt joined the Center for Career Development staff in 2014 as the Career Consultant to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She partners with CLAS faculty, staff, and students to develop programs for this population. Emily also provides one-on-one career counseling by appointment and during walk in hours.
Prior to starting at UConn, Emily earned her Master’s degree in Higher Education from Boston College where she worked as a Career Center Graduate Assistant. She has previously interned at Northeastern’s Career Development Office. Emily received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Vermont in Sociology and double minored in Women and Gender Studies and Human Development and Family Studies.
Eran Peterson is a Career Consultant, assisting students in all colleges in both major and career decision making. With expertise in job and internship search strategies, résumé and cover letter development and interview preparation, Eran can help identify and tailor career development to meet individual needs. Additionally, Eran regularly provides workshops to classes and campus organizations on all career related topics.
After completing a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Leisure Management from ECSU, Eran deployed to Iraq in 2006 and returned to complete a Master of Science in Counselor Education with a specialization in Student Development in Higher Education from Central Connecticut State University. Before joining the Center for Career Development at UConn, Eran counseled in both the community college and private college settings.
Francesca Crivello is the Operations Coordinator for the Center for Career Development. Francesca manages and assists in the performance of programs and events; evaluates supplemental resources; supervises student employees; assists in the preparation of budgets and monitors expenses; and directs departmental workflow. Prior to her role at the Center for Career Development, Francesca worked for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, compiling application materials and processing them through the online system. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Linguistics, and Psychology and a Minor in Business Administration from UConn.
Assistant Director of Graduate Student Career Programs and Services
Kay Kimball Gruder has been a career counselor for over 25 years, joining UConn’s Center for Career Development in 2014 to create and deliver graduate career development programming to graduate students, postdocs, and alumni of graduate programs. Kay’s role, as Assistant Director – Graduate Student Career Programs & Services, includes building connections and relationships with colleagues within and beyond the University to support graduate student and postdoctoral fellow success. Kay is a member of The Graduate School’s student affairs team. She provides one-on-one career counseling to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and graduate school alumni. She is an active member of the Graduate Career Consortium, where she keeps informed about current trends and resources relevant to graduate students and postdocs. Kay is also a selected member of NACE’S (National Association of Colleges and Employers) Principles for Professional Practice Committee. Kay earned her B.A. in Music and Social Sciences from Bennington College and received a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Lesley College.
Kelsey Keefe has worked at the University of Connecticut since April 2013 and joined the Center for Career Development staff in April 2017 as a Career Consultant with Programming. Kelsey assists with the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the CCD’s programming initiatives, particularly with respect to virtual programming. Additionally, she provides one-on-one career counseling by appointment and during walk-in hours.
Kelsey earned her Master of Arts in Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut and her Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Psychology with a minor in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Kelsey enjoys crafting and DIY projects as well as hiking and other outdoor activities.
Assistant Director for Corporate Partner Relations
Lisa McGuire is the assistant director responsible for corporate partner relations, connecting employers to UConn students and alumni. She manages the external relations and corporate functions and is responsible for maintaining and expanding the hiring of UConn students and alumni; and supports fundraising efforts for career-related events and programs. She recruits and consults with employers on best strategies for establishing and developing effective recruitment programs for both full and part-time employees.
She joined UConn after spending more than 25 years with the business community in Connecticut. Most recently, she was with the Ct. Business & Industry Association (CBIA), working with large and small businesses on public policy, communications, and community relations. Prior to joining CBIA she was with People’s Bank, managing their community relations and public policy programs, which included working extensively with small businesses and other lenders to maximize business potential in the state. Lisa has also been active in the UConn Alumni Association, serving on the Board of Directors for 2 terms and she is currently the Vice President of the Greater Hartford Chapter. She lives in South Windsor with her husband and daughter, and is also the proud parent of their son, a recent UConn grad living on his own.
Administrative Services Specialist
Pam Zagami is the Fiscal Officer and Administrative Services Specialist to James R. Lowe, Assistant Vice Provost, Executive Director of the Center for Career Development. Pam provides department-wide support including program development, data collection/analysis/reporting, project management, event planning, and travel coordination. She oversees the department’s financial accounts as well as Human Resource and Payroll activities, and serves as liaison on behalf of the CCD with the Parent’s Association. She is responsible for day-to-day inquiries, correspondence, and coordination of communications on behalf of the CCD. She also monitors and manages communications for the Assistant Vice Provost, directly responding on his behalf and/or making referrals as appropriate.
Prior to joining UConn, Pam was a Senior Manager with Deloitte’s Office of National Immigration, overseeing the Tax Practice’s immigration program and was the Firm’s I-9 Specialist for Human Resources in the United States. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA
Career Consultant, College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources
Paul Gagnon is a Career Consultant embedded within the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources. Paul advises and counsels students and alumni on selecting an academic major, gaining admittance to graduate school and the career planning, development and management process.
Paul earned an AS in turf management and BS in plant and soil science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; an MBA at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY; and an MA in public policy from Trinity College in Hartford. The first ten years of Paul’s career were devoted to learning everything he could about the golf industry, and that experience included holding positions of assistant greens keeper and assistant golf pro. Then, after earning an MBA, for the next 14 years he worked in strategic planning, financial research and analysis, new business development, mergers and acquisitions and product marketing for three Fortune 500 international food, beverage and agri-genetics organizations.
Since that time and over the past 17 years he diversified into roles in higher education where he has designed curricula for and taught numerous college courses in entrepreneurship, business and management, advised executives of small businesses, counseled students on career management, launched Wesleyan University’s Social Entrepreneurship Center – which helps students and alumni create organizations that address a public need in areas such as healthcare, education and sustainable agriculture – and even served as the interim associate dean at Central Connecticut State University’s School of Business. Additionally, Paul established and operated for a decade a management consulting firm where he helped initiate business process redesign and revenue-generating services for a wide variety of private sector firms, NGOs, and government agencies.
Assistant Director, Assessment & Technology
Lee Hameroff is an Assistant Director in the Center for Career Development (CCD). Lee joined the CCD team in August of 2014, his primary focus is in the area of Assessment and Technology. This includes responsibility for managing all aspects of department technology as well as assessment of internal services, programs and first destination data.
Lee earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Previous to UConn, Lee worked as Director of Career Services at Goodwin College in East Hartford, CT helping to establish and grow all functions of the department. Prior to beginning his career in higher education, Lee worked in various roles for an education management firm in the Washington DC area.
Corporate Partner Relations Coordinator
Marisa Tatiwong is the Corporate Partner Relations Coordinator at the Center for Career Development, and focuses on providing administrative, logistical and technical support for on-campus interviews and special events, including UConn’s career fairs. Working with employers to ensure their visits to UConn are successful, Marisa assists with marketing on-campus interviews to students and serves as the main contact for employers while they are on campus.
Marisa graduated from UConn in 2008 with a B.S. in Business Administration, and worked with socially-minded enterprises in southeast Asia for eight years before joining the Center for Career Development.
Program Director Regional Campuses
As Program Director Regional Campuses, Bob Volle is focused on building career services support and programs for UConn’s four regional campuses. Bob spends the majority of his time on the regional campuses providing onsite support services such as delivering comprehensive career-related programs and activities; ensures consistency of services provided across all regional campuses with necessary customization based on the academic and cultural diversity of the specific regional campus demographics; provides individual counseling session to review resumes, cover letters, your overall job search; promotes online resources such as CCD On Demand, HuskyCareerLink, and HuskyCareerPrep; organizes, coordinates, and/or assists as necessary with administrative responsibilities including regional campus interview programs, job fairs, job opening information, the marketing of program offerings to students and faculty, and other special projects as determined by assessing regional campus needs.
Before coming to the CCD, Bob spent four years developing and delivering career services in UConn’s School of Business working with students in the MBA, MS HRM and the MS BAPM programs. Prior to joining UConn, Bob spent his career working in various corporate roles which focused upon career management, leadership development, team building and executive coaching.
Monique Cooper has worked at the University for over four years and joined the Center for Career Development staff in March 2017 as the Career Consultant to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She partners with CLAS faculty, staff, and students to develop programs for this population with a focus on CLAS students majoring in STEM. In addition, Monique provides one-on-one career counseling by appointment and during walk in hours.
Monique received her undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies from UConn and, also, earned her Master’s degree in School Counseling from Cambridge College. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Counselor Education from UConn’s Neag School of Education. Her research interest includes examining the lived experiences of women across the African and Latina diasporas who are pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Lisa Famularo is the Graduate Assistant for Career Development in the Center for Career Development. In this role, Lisa coordinates the practice interview program, works with the undergraduate Career Interns in the office preparing them to give career-related presentations to other students on campus, and performs both practice interviews and resume critiques.
Lisa is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Higher Education Student Affairs through the Neag School of Education at UConn. She graduated from Ithaca College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration concentrating in Management. At Ithaca College, Lisa worked as a Peer Career Advisor in the Office of Career Services, a Student Leadership Consultant in the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, and an Orientation Leader in First-Year Experience.
Corinne is the Programming Graduate Assistant. She assists in the coordination of the Center for Career Development program team, who collaborates with various departments such as First Year Programs, Honors Programs, etc. She is pursuing a Masters in School Psychology, through the Neag School of Education. Previously, Corinne graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology where she double majored in Psychology and Communications.
Emily is the Careers for the Common Good Graduate Assistant. Careers for the Common Good is a collaborative program through the Center for Career Development, Community Outreach and the Human Rights Institute. The program fosters the pursuit of socially responsible career paths that positively affect the community and society at large. Prior to coming to UConn to pursue her Master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Emily worked in Ghana for more than 5 years in community and business development across the business, education, technology and agriculture sectors. Emily received her Bachelors of Arts Degree in International Development and Political Science from Calvin College.