Brandon Bjertnes, EdM
Lead Academic Advisor
Brandon transferred to Stony Brook University as a non-traditional student after graduating
from Suffolk County Community College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
and Sociology. His involvement and education at Stony Brook University inspired Brandon
to pursue a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University
and a license in Mental Health Counseling.
Brandon currently coordinates the ADV 101 transfer student seminar which helps transfer
students acclimate and succeed at Stony Brook University and beyond. Additionally,
Brandon is the liaison with our Veteran Affairs office and assists veterans with navigating
academic issues. His passions include student development, academic success, identity
development, violence prevention education, and advocacy.
Stephanie Kiara Caban, M.S.
Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Literary Studies at Stockton University and
a Master of Science in Higher Education at the Pennsylvania State University. She
began her journey as a Seawolf at the Office of Student Orientation and Family Programs
as the 2014 Family Program Graduate Intern. Shortly after, Stephanie returned to Stony
Brook University serving as the Coordinator of Family Programs and Services and as
an instructor for GLS 101 (Introduction to Stony Brook) in 2015.
With the goal of encouraging students to become owners of their own educational and
professional opportunities in mind, Stephanie joined ATAS as an Academic Advisor.
Stephanie is incredibly excited to be a part of the team and looks forward to helping
students feel welcome, and successful, at their home away from home!
Tiana De Jesus, Msw
Tiana earned her Bachelor's and Master's Degree from Stony Brook University in Sociology,
with minors in Women’s and Gender Studies as well as Business Management. She then
returned to Stony Brook to complete a Master’s Degree in Social Welfare, with a specialization
in Student Community Development.
Most recently, Tiana has worked in Residence Life as an Interim Residence Hall Director
at Southern Connecticut State University and an Assistant Resident Director at Western
Washington University. As a two time graduate of Stony Brook, Tiana is excited to
join the Academic and Transfer Advising Services team.
Diane DeSimone, M.A.
Lead Academic Advisor
Diane started her academic journey as an adult learner at Suffolk Community College.
After earning her Associate of Arts degree she was encouraged to transfer to Stony
Brook University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in History with a Judaic Studies
minor. During her undergraduate years, she served as an Academic Peer Advisor intern,
student assistant and president of the Non-traditional Student /Adult Learner Association
'13-'15. These experiences connected her to a variety of campus-wide professionals
and resources that supported her passion to advise and help students. Diane continued
as a graduate assistant in Academic and Transfer Advising Services and the Office
of the Registrar while also co-chairing the Transfer Student Advisory Board, instructor
for ADV 101, Dean of Students intern, Higher Education Administration Association
President and Senator in the Graduate Student Organization.
Diane has earned her Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Stony
Brook. She serves as the Coordinator of the Academic Peer Internship, ADV 101, 488
Instructor, Transfer Student Advisory Board Co-Chair, and advisor for the Association
of Transfer Students. She is honored to continue to serve Seawolves as a two time
alumna and professional with the exceptional team of advisors at Academic and Transfer
Lisa Dimone, M.S.
Transfer Articulation and Data Coordinator
Lisa earned an Associate's in Liberal Arts from Suffolk County Community College,
a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Adelphi University, and a Master's in School
Counseling from C.W.Post-Long Island University. In 2008 she began working at Stony
Brook University in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, specializing in International
student admissions. This experience really connected her to the University and the
importance of helping students throughout the application process.
In November 2012, Lisa began a new position in Academic & Transfer Advising Services
as a Transfer Advisor. She is happy to continue in a role that assists students in
reaching their goals. She is also involved with the transfer articulation process
in order to make transferring credits and transitioning to a new University easier
for our incoming Transfer students.
She is also a veteran of the Stony Brook's unique Roth Pond Regatta, where students,
faculty and staff race across Roth Pond in boats constructed only of cardboard, duct
tape, and paint. Her advice to future competitors: "Use a lot of duct tape and prepare
to get wet!"
Robert Drago M.ED.
Rob graduated from Stony Brook University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree
in Political Science where he was a Resident Assistant and a staff member in the
Dean of Students Office. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 2015 with
a Master of Education degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs
Administration. Rob worked with Residential Life, Community Standards, the Dean
of Students Office, and Orientation at the University of Vermont.
Rob served as a Residence Hall Director at the University of Connecticut from 2015
to 2018 supporting first year students, engineering students, nursing students, pre-
pharmacy students, and helping to develop a residential curriculum. Rob was most
recently an Area Coordinator/Residence Hall Director at Stony Brook University
from 2018 to 2021 where he supported juniors, seniors, and graduate students,
and supervised the Residential Tutoring Center. Rob is recently married, loves to
cook, and is a proud Seawolf!
YESSENIA E. FLORES-HART B.A.
Transfer Articulation Specialist
Yessenia transferred to Stony Brook University after graduating from Suffolk County
Community College with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. She earned a
Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a concentration in Sociology. Yessenia
currently enrolled in the Graduate program at Stony Brook University pursuing her
Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration.
Yessenia held many different leadership positions including Treasurer of Commuter
Student Association, Community Service Representative of the Carribean Student
Organization, an Orientation Leader, an Academic Peer Intern for Academic
Transfer and Advising Services, a Commuter Assistant and a Suffolk County Rugby
Player. Yessenia believes that being involved is the best way to further your
education and success. Yessenia’s favorite Stony Brook tradition is the Roth
Regatta. Watching all the students go across the pond in their boats made of tape,
cardboard boxes and paint is a wonderful way to spend a spring day!
Theresa began her career in higher education at The Berkeley School, and then went
on to Dowling College. In 2008, Theresa was delighted to join the staff of Academic
and Transfer Advising Services.
Theresa supports the director of Academic and Transfer Advising Services in the coordination
and management of daily operations. In addition, Theresa assists students to succeed
at Stony Brook though her role as advisor for newly accepted students during transfer
student orientation, instructor for ADV 101 - Introduction to Stony Brook for new
International transfer students, and as co-coordinator of the Academic Peer Advisor
Shellaná Henderson, Ed.D.
Shellaná Henderson discovered her passion for higher education during her undergraduate
experience at Babson College. While earning her bachelor's degree in Business Administration,
she worked as a resident assistant and an intern in the Campus Life department.
Since graduating from Babson College, she has built a career in higher education;
her experience includes academic advising, orientation, first year experience office,
admissions, residence life, and even undergraduate teaching. She has earned a master's
degree in Higher Education Administration at Baruch College, and a doctorate degree
in Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt University.
ALYSON HERNANDEZ, M.A.
Alyson received both her BA in Sociology and Masters in Higher Education Administration
from Stony Brook University. While attending Stony Brook, Alyson worked in the Athletics
Department, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Undergraduate Transfer
A huge advocate for the Study Abroad programs, her passion for Stony Brook and Higher
Education grew stronger while she studied overseas. Alyson is thrilled to be a member
of the Academic and Transfer Advising Services team!
Tracey Iorio, M.S.
Tracey Iorio is an Assistant Director in the Academic and Transfer Advising Services
Office. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Fairleigh Dickinson
University and her Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling and NY State license
from LIU C.W Post in 2009. Tracey came to Stony Brook University in 2002 and worked
as an advisor in the Transfer Office, which merged with Academic Advising Center in
the summer of 2012. Prior to working at Stony Brook she spent 14 years as Senior Associate
Director of Admissions at The Juilliard School.
Along with her role as an advisor to current Stony Brook University students, she
coordinates the Joint Admissions program to admit students from Suffolk County and
Nassau Community Colleges. Tracey provides these student with one-on-one advising
each semester to ensure a seamless transition to Stony Brook. Another important role
for Tracey is the Opening of School Committee, which provides incoming students with
activities, workshops and community information during the weekend prior to the first
day of school.
Eric Lewis, M.A.
I have a Bachelor's of Communication Arts (State University College at Oneonta), Masters
of Arts in Social Science (Binghamton University), and Masters of Professional Studies
(Alliance Theological Seminary).
My early higher education experience started 10 years ago at SUNY College at Old Westbury
as a Residence Hall Director. At Old Westbury I really enjoyed the opportunity that
I had to develop leaders and start the foundation for the first "Male" organization
titled "Men In Progress" From there I had the opportunity of working as an Academic
Advisor for Student Support Services: TRIO at the College of Mount Saint Vincent,
and then an EOP Counselor at Fashion Institute of Technology, and now it feels like
I have come back full circle to be a member of the Long Island Community, but this
time in Suffolk County serving as an Academic Advisor for the Academic & Transfer
Services at Stony Brook University.
My passions are teaching, counseling, training, facilitating, and leadership development.
My hobbies are reading, going to the movies, and enjoying a great time with family
My mission is to leave a legacy within my family, work, church and community.
Mary Beth Powers, MSW
Mary Beth earned an MSW from Stony Brook University's School of Social Welfare and
a BA in English from LeMoyne College. To date she has over 20 years of experience
in higher education, primarily in residential life and academic advising. Among her
current responsibilities in Academic and Transfer Advising Services, the one she values
and enjoys most is working one-on-one with students to help them achieve their highest
potential. Focusing on students' strengths, interests, and emerging talents, Mary
Beth's proudest moments are when she witnesses students truly "seeing" themselves
for the first time, and finding they like what they see.
Mary Beth is both self-proclaimed Dolphin (LeMoyne mascot) and Seawolf, an avid beach
comber, collector of rocks, lover of antiques, tireless gardener, and pensive poet.
"I just like to look for the beauty in the world...and create it where I can. And
I see a lot of beauty in the efforts and achievements, both great and small, of our
Kimberly Schwartz, M.S.
Associate Director for Transfer Articulation
Kimberly Schwartz earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the
University of Delaware in 2005. She received her Master's degree in School Counseling
at Long Island University/C.W. Post in 2008. While completing her Master's Degree
she worked at CW Post first as Program Assistant and then as a Director in the Continuing
Education department. This is when she realized that working in Higher Education with
college students is where she ultimately wanted to end up.
In 2008 Kim began working at Stony Brook University as an Advisor in the Transfer
Office. She really enjoyed working with the transfer student population and helping
them acclimate to Stony Brook University. In 2011, Kim took on the position of Assistant
Director for Transfer Articulation. In this position, Kim has been able to make the
transition for transfer students easier by creating a database that allows incoming
and current students to view their course equivalencies from their previous schools.
Kim is excited to continue her career path with the Academic and Transfer Advising
Deborah Serling, Ph.D.
Director, Academic & Transfer Advising Services
Dr. Serling earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Cornell University,
her Master's in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public
Affairs (Syracuse University), and her Masters of Arts and Ph.D. in Psychology from
Ohio State University.
Dr. Serling has worked in higher education for over 20 years serving undergraduate
and graduate students as an advisor, a psychologist, a faculty member, and an administrator.
Dr. Serling's research interests have included undecided students, career development,
and self-esteem. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Serling worked for Reading
Is Fundamental in Washington, DC and the New York State Senate.
Randy Thomas, M.A.
Senior Academic Advisor
Randy earned his BFA in Theater from Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri
State University) and completed his Master of Arts degree in Dance from The Ohio State
University. Randy has served as the Interim Director for the Academic Advising Center
and was the former Coordinator for the International Studies minor. In addition, he
was the Coordinator for the campus-wide Mentor Program 1995-2000. At present, Randy
coordinates the Advising Linkage Initiative that pairs an academic advisor with an
academic department to promote a better working relationship between Academic & Transfer
Advising Services and the academic departments. Randy also provides administrative
support for The Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning and teaches DAN 102
- Introduction for World Dance Cultures.
Randy has served as the Director for Interdisciplinary Arts for the Living Learning
Centers and has served on the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Council
and was co-chair for the 2007-2008 academic year. In addition, Randy serves on the
Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee and is a permanent member for the Academic
Judiciary Committee. Randy also served as an academic reviewer for the Phi Beta Kappa
Honors Society, Stony Brook Chapter.
Randy's tenure at Stony Brook has afforded him the opportunity to work within the
academic and administrative areas. Randy enjoys working with the excellent team in
Academic and Transfer Advising Services.