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Staff Bios

Brandon Bjertnes, EdM  

Photo 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.  

Photo Academic Advisor

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  

Photo Academic Advisor

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.

Photo 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 is honored to continue to serve Seawolves as a two time alumni and professional with the exceptional team of advisors at Academic and Transfer Advising Services.



Lisa Dimone, M.S.  

Photo 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!"



Arlene Feldman  

Photo Associate Dean for Transfer Services

Arlene serves as Associate Dean for Transfer Services within the Academic & Transfer Advising Services Office. Arlene began her career at Stony Brook as an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Advising in 1994. Leading up to this, she spent several years counseling and teaching developmental mathematics at Suffolk County Community College.

Shortly after arriving at Stony Brook, the University opened up a Transfer Office to meet the needs of prospective and newly enrolled transfer students. Arlene served as Director of the Transfer Office for seventeen years.  The Transfer Office then merged with the Academic and Pre-Professional Advising Center, forming the new Academic & Transfer Advising Services Office, in order to better service Stony Brook students.

Throughout her tenure at Stony Brook University, Arlene’s concern for students led her to take a very active role in University service. For many years, she served as an elected member of both the Undergraduate Council and College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee. Arlene now holds ex-officio seats on both these committees.



Theresa Frey

Photo Coordinator

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 Internship.

Email: theresa.frey@stonybrook


Shellaná Henderson, Ed.D.

Photo Assistant Director

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.




Photo Transfer Advisor

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 Office.

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.

Photo Assistant Director

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.

Photo Academic Advisor

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 and friends.
My mission is to leave a legacy within my family, work, church and community.



Khanh (Kay) Linh Pham, M.A.

Photo Transfer Articulation Specialist

Khanh Linh "Kay" Pham began her journey at Stony Brook University as an international transfer student from Vietnam. She received her BA in Political Science, minor in Biology then a MA in Public Policy. Kay utilized the services from Academic Advising and Transfer Services as a student and she was inspired to join the ATAS team as a graduate assistant, specializing in transfer articulation and database maintenance.

After graduating, she worked on political campaigns and at non-governmental organizations where she gained experience in project management, community outreach, trends analytics, report and budget drafting. She is thrilled to return to Academic and Transfer  Advising Services as a Transfer Articulation Specialist where she can continue to proudly serve her fellow Seawolves.


Mary Beth Powers, MSW

Photo Associate Director

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 students."


Kimberly Schwartz, M.S.  

Photo Assistant 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 Services team!



Deborah Serling, Ph.D.

Photo 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.



Michelle Setnikar, LMSW

Photo Lead Academic Advisor

I have been a proud member of the Stony Brook University community for many years. As a student at SBU, I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and the experiences I had as a peer educator and Career Center intern motivated me to pursue a career in higher education. I earned a Master of Social Work degree with a specialization in Student-Community Development (Higher Education) and worked as a member of the Campus Residences team before joining Academic and Transfer Advising Services. I'm a New York State licensed social worker and a certified social work field instructor.

In addition to my responsibilities as an academic advisor, I serve as the coordinator of the ATAS Internship program and I enjoy working with the outstanding junior and senior students who participate in the internship. I have also served as an instructor for LDS/ACH 101 (Introduction to Stony Brook), ADV 101 (Transfer Student Seminar), ADV 202 (Academic Success Seminar) and ADV 488 (ATAS Internship Seminar). I appreciate the opportunity to serve as a guide for students as an advisor, teacher, and advocate for their success.



Carolyn Stephenson, M.S.

Photo Lead Academic Advisor

Carolyn received her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University in Child and Family Studies and Psychology before completing her master's degree at Long Island University in School Counseling. She oversaw a number of elementary counseling programs before transitioning to higher education at Stony Brook University nine years ago.

Throughout Carolyn's time at SBU, she has focused her work on academic success and retention. Carolyn ran the BRIDGES Mentoring Program for students on academic probation for five years and now has the privilege each semester to oversee a group of conditionally reinstated students, guiding them on their path to a Stony Brook degree!

Carolyn understands that academic and life challenges are unique for each student and often multi-layered. With this in mind, she strives to create individualized paths back to academic success for all of her students.



Randy Thomas, M.A. 

Photo Senior Assistant Director

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 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.