Learn about our leadership, operations staff and Area Coordinators.
Learn about our leadership, operations staff and Area Coordinators.
Scott HelfrichDirector of Upper Division HousesPronouns he/him/his
Scott joined the Brown University community and the Office of Residential Life in October 2021 as the Director of Upper-Division Houses with 23 years of experience in higher education. As Director, Scott works with the Community Coordinators (CCs), Area Coordinators (ACs), and Residential Coordinator (RC) to develop living-learning communities where students participate in fostering a sense of belonging and connectedness.
Before joining Brown, Scott worked at Columbia University from 2005 to 2021 and Cornell University from 1999 to 2005. Scott strategically bridged the curricular and co-curricular student experience at these universities by partnering with faculty and alumni to substantially participate in the residential communities. Scott also worked and traveled around the world with the Semester at Sea Program in spring 2002. Scott spends his time outside of work with his family and skiing whenever the weather permits.
Scott is a current doctoral student at Columbia University, Teachers College focusing on Organizational Learning-Adult Learning & Leadership. Scott earned his Masters of Science in Higher Education Student Personnel from the University of Rochester in 1999 and a Masters of Science in History from Misericordia University in 1992.
Brenda IcePronouns She/her/hers
Brenda Ice joined the Brown community in September 2021 as the inaugural Senior Associate Dean/Senior Director of Residential Life. She will lead Residential Life at a pivotal moment for Brown as we reimagine the undergraduate residential experience. With the implementation of an expanded and redesigned professional staff organization, Brenda will lead the development of a shared, coordinated set of structures, practices, and outcomes to support undergraduate students’ experience of inclusive communities that promote wellness, growth, development with a greater connection to the curricular and co-curricular experience.
Brenda comes with an impressive and extensive track record, having served in a variety of leadership roles in higher education for over 25 years. Her focus at all times is on advancing students’ belonging and learning as members of the university community. Prior to Brown, Brenda served as the Assistant Dean/Director of Campus Life at Scripps College (CA) and Assistant Dean of Students at the University of California – Riverside. She has also worked at Colgate University (NY) Towson University (MD), Wilkes University (PA) and Salisbury University (MD). She also has a background in Information Technology, having served as Director of Telecommunications at Salisbury University for 8 years before pursuing her career in student affairs.
Brenda earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Washington College (MD) and her Master of Education in Post-Secondary Education from Salisbury University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Education in Student Affairs Administration & Leadership from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse.
Terrance SandersDirector of Program and Theme HousesPronouns he/him/his
Terrance joined the Office of Residential Life as the Director of Theme and Program Houses in August 2021. As the Director, Terrance is responsible for the development of the living-learning experience for returning students bringing a relational, strategic, and coordinated approach to a residential area of 1700 students. Terrance is from Rochester, NY but working in Student Affairs, Terrance has had the ability work across the United States as well as the Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Terrance received his Bachelors of Business Administration from Plattsburgh State University in 2011 and went on to receive his Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management from Walden University.
Prior to transitioning to Brown University, Terrance worked at Santa Fe University of Art & Design, New York University Abu and the University of Vermont. In which all roles have focused on the enhancement of residential operations, residential student experience and department vision. Outside of work, Terrance enjoys spending time with his family, friends and traveling.
Amanda SurgensDirector of Residential Operations & Strategic PlanningPronouns She/her/hers
Amanda joined the Brown University community and the Office of Residential Life in August 2022 as the Director of Residential Operations and Strategic Planning with 20 years of experience in higher education. As Director, Amanda works with the Housing Operations team (consisting of the Associate Director, Assistant Directors, the Facilities & Operations Coordinators, Program Manager, Housing Assignments Coordinator, and Operations Assistants) to ensure that students are assigned on campus in locations that promote feelings of safety, comfort, are conducive to learning. Her focus remains student centered and she takes pride in helping her students find themselves at home on campus.
Before joining Brown, Amanda served as the Director for Housing at University of Massachusetts Lowell for seven years. Her career in Student Affairs, however, began at her undergrad as a Resident Assistant at Bridgewater State University where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics. She later earned her Masters of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies with College Student Personnel at the University of Rhode Island. Amanda is a current doctoral student at UMass Lowell focusing on Leadership in Education.
Amanda's free time is spent with her middle-school-sweetheart husband and their two daughters. She enjoys running, shopping, and spending time with friends.
Sean ThompsonPronouns he/him/hisSean joined the Office of Residential Education in May 2021 as the Director of First Year Experience & Houses. As the Director, Sean is responsible for the development of the living-learning experience for first-year students bringing a relational, strategic, and coordinated approach to a residential area of 1700 students.Sean earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 2008 from the University of Hartford and his Master of Science in Counseling with a specialization in Higher Education & Student Development in 2011 from Central Connecticut State University."I am very proud of the impact that I’ve had on campus ecosystems. I am a fierce supporter for building communities through grassroots efforts with a focus on social justice, empathy, advocacy, and mentorship. I am also very proud to use my own cultural background to inform my work and inspire the campus communities I've had the honor of being a part of."
The Housing Operations team (Ops team) are staff who support the residential experience by making housing assignments, organizing housing processes, and controlling secure access to residential facilities. Ops team members oversee the Fall and Spring opening and closing of the residence halls, Housing Selection, Commencement & Reunion Housing, and all extended housing processes. Facilities and Operations staff on this team contribute to the physical, environmental, security and general maintenance conditions for the residence halls by partnering with Facilities Management to manage over 25,000 residence hall keys and 1.9 million square feet of living space on campus.
Rosália BenarFacilities and Operations CoordinatorPronouns she/her/hers
Rosália (rose-AH-lee-ah) joined the Office of Residential Life on Halloween 2022 as a Facilities and Operations Coordinator. The FOC position includes overseeing the management of a quarter of the residential buildings on campus, as well as having knowledge of the inner workings of the key office.
Rosália previously worked for Brown in the School of Public Health, where she was the Student Affairs Coordinator for the Biostatistics department. Before coming to Brown, she spent a decade in various operational roles at Brandeis University, the Austin Film Festival, and the University of Texas at Austin. She also served a term with AmeriCorps in Texas.
When she's not working, Rosália loves watching good rom-coms and bad horror movies with her wife and their English bullpug rescue, Katie. She's a trans woman, a dual US/Portuguese citizen, and loves motorcycles, tattoos, and anything pink.
David CavallaroPronouns he/him/his
David joined the Office of Residential Life in March 2020 as the Assistant Director of Administrative Operations. The Assistant Director of Administrative Operations manages housing assignments, housing lottery, commencement housing, and the Residential Life website.
David previously worked as a Residence Hall Director for the University of Connecticut from July 2015 where he supervised Graduate students and student leaders in the residence halls. David also worked closely with professional staff training and onboarding for the Department of Residential Life at UConn, student leadership staffing processes, and summer housing and programs. Prior to his work at UConn David was a live on professional in Residence Life for Providence College and worked closely with facilities and operations.
David earned his M. Ed in Counseling with a focus on Higher Education from Providence College and his B.A. in History from Saint Michael’s College. Outside of work David is the parent of two daughters and enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Andre joined the office of Residential Life in May 2021 as a Facilities and Operations Coordinator. The Facilities and Operations Coordinator position includes overseeing the management of a quarter of the residential buildings on campus and also having knowledge of the inner workings of the key office.
Andre has been involved with Brown for over 20 years working with various organizations including Student Activities, Alumni, and Athletics including such events as Campus Dance, Spring Weekend, and Commencement. Prior to working with Residential Life he was a part of the service industry for over 30 years as a pest control professional.
When he is not working Andre likes to spend with time with his family, three grown children and his wife. He has been a resident of Rhode Island for all of his life.
Nick GreeneAssociate Director of Residential Operations and CommunicationsPronouns he/him/his
A first-generation college student, Nick earned his B.S. in History at The College at Brockport before earning his Ed.M. in Student Affairs Administration at the University at Buffalo. His first experience at Brown was in the summer of 2017 when he served as the Housing Manager for the Summer@Brown program as part of his ACUHO-I graduate internship. Nick returned to Brown in July of 2018 to work as the Program Manager for Operations, where he oversaw housing assignments for Brown’s pre-college programs, as well as the early arrival and extended housing processes. In his current role, Nick oversees housing operations policy and communications as well as managing the department’s housing management system, StarRez. Nick was awarded the SAS Sarah Volante Facilitator Award and the 2020 Rising Star Excellence Award. Outside of work, Nick enjoys playing video games, reading, and spending time with his partner and their Boston Terrier, Gus. Contact Nick with questions about: ResLife policy and StarRez.
Jessica HerisseOperations AssistantPronouns She/her/hersJessica Herisse joined Residential Life as an Operations Assistant in the spring of 2021. As an Operations Assistant she addresses student lockouts, ensuring residents are able to safely access campus after-hours. She also helps with key inventory of the dormitory buildings and other projects in the Key Office.Before taking time away from work to be a stay-at-home mom to her five children, Jessica worked as event planner in Human Resources as well as the insurance industry. She is a proud homeschool parent who teaches high school math at the co-op her children attend. She also serves on the Board of Rhode Island's oldest homeschool organization. A rural area in the East Bay is where her family raises puppies, chickens, and ducks. In her spare time she can be found spending time with her family and frequenting the movies.
Sarah joined the Office of Residential LIfe in May of 2021 as a Facilities and Operations Coordinator. The Facilities and Operations position includes overseeing the management of a quarter of the residential buildings on campus, and having knowledge of the inner workings of the Key Office.
After graduating from URI with a BA in Economics and a Minor in Business in 2016, Sarah worked at Chamberlain International School, a therapeutic boarding school in Massachusetts. Sarah managed a dorm, provided both physical and emotional support and planned events and activities for the students to participate in campus wide, encouraging positive youth interaction and healthy boundaries.
Outside of work Sarah is a huge supporter of music and art, visiting museums when the chance arises and creating day long playlists for the perfect occasions. Sarah also enjoys painting, photography, Anime, Manga, reading, and writing poetry.
Steven LewisPronouns he/him/his
Steven has been with Brown since August 2007 and with the Office of Residential Life since June 2017. Steven has spent many years in various Customer Service Management positions. Steven now serves students, parents, faculty and staff in all dorm room related matters. He is the main liaison between residents and the Facilities departments. He manages all dorm furniture, room renovations and health and safety inspections. Steven also works closely with Student Conduct and the Fire Marshall in regards to room concerns and code violations. Outside of work Steven is a very proud single parent of an accomplished son. Steven enjoys cycling, golf, photography, long drives and all types of racing!
Stephanie NorrisProgram Manager of Residential OperationsPronouns She/her/hers
Stephanie Norris joined the Office of Residential Life in November 2020 and transitioned into her role as Program Manager of Residential Operations in April 2022. As the Program Manager of Residential Operations, Stephanie oversees early arrival and extended housing processes, in addition to summer program and winter break housing processes.
Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Science in Justice and Law Administration in 2013 from Western Connecticut State University and her Master of Public Administration in 2019 from Penn State University. Prior to Brown, Stephanie was Director of Student Services at EF Academy, a private international boarding school. She was responsible for the overall functioning and performance of the department of Student Services which served 700+ international students in matters related to housing, maintenance, and travel.
Outside of work Stephanie enjoys traveling to tropical and historical destinations. She loves reading, writing, eating spicy food and playing tennis. She also enjoys spending time with her adventurous toddler, family, and friends.
James joined Residential Life in May 2021 as a Facilities and Operations Coordinator. James transferred from Brown Dining Services where he had worked as an operations manager since 2011. As a Facilities and Operations Coordinator James is responsible for overseeing the physical, environmental, security and general maintenance conditions for over a dozen student housing properties across campus. Prior to coming to Brown James had a career in residential construction. Outside of Brown James enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids.
Alex is part of the new acquired FOC, the team contributes to the physical,
environmental, security and general maintenance conditions for the residence halls
by partnering with Facilities Management to manage over 25,000 residence hall keys
and 1.9 million square feet of living space on campus.
In 2001 Alex moved from his native Guatemala, to settle in on Cambridge
Massachusetts. Same year he was introduced to the food and beverage industry
where he held different positions. Alex’s commitment to provide high quality
customer service carried him to Brown University in 2007 as a Retail Dining
Supervisor and later as Supervisor at the Faculty Club in 2010. Alex’s diverse
background supports his daily goals to deliver service excellence in every aspect of
In his spare time Alex enjoy cooking for his family and friends while spending time
on different DIY projects on his house.
David moved from South America to Queens, NY at age 15. He earned his B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Higher Education Administration at Stony Brook University. During his time at Stony Brook David served as a Resident Assistant as well as an Assistant Coordinator for Residential Community Standards.
Prior to joining the Office of Residential Life at Brown David worked at Adelphi University as a live-in Residence Hall Director and later as an Assistant Director. Both roles combined responsibilities for residential education as well as operations and management. David also supervised student staff and leaders in the residence halls.
While not at work David enjoys video games, watching movies and tv series as well as going for bicycle rides. He is also known for watching YouTube videos on widely varied topics such as history, travel gear, automobiles, lockpicking, technology, and personal finance among others.
Area Coordinators (ACs) comprise the team of staff who support the residential experience. ACs facilitate all aspects of the daily operations of the residence halls and supervise approximately 25 paraprofessional staff members each. ACs coordinate campus-wide and regionally-based programming efforts to cultivate community and foster and student development. ACs provide individual student support, assist with crisis intervention, serve in a regular on-call rotation, and address facilities concerns.
maisune joined Brown University as an Area Coordinator in August 2021. She graduated with a Master of Science in Higher Education and Bachelor of Arts in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. Previously, maisune has held roles in career services, residence life, multicultural affairs, student government organizations, research and assessment, non-profit management, and public service at both public and private institutions. Her student affairs philosophy draws on racial and cultural identity development theories, community narratives, and role modeling vulnerability. Born and raised in Southern California, maisune seeks opportunities to engage in globalizing experiences through higher education, government, and non-profit settings. In her free time, she loves cooking, playing with her kitty Nyla, and getting her nails done.
Bethany HolmesPronouns She/her/hers
Bethany joined Brown as an Area Coordinator in July of 2022. She grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida and moved to Tampa to pursue her education. She graduated with a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in College Student Affairs from the University of South Florida where she also earned her Bachelor's degree in English Education. Her previous position was in the Office of International Services at USF where she facilitated programming and events for International and Domestic students. During her time in higher education, she has discovered a passion for helping international students find their second home in the United States. She believes that every student deserves to feel at home at their university. Some of Bethany's favorite things are rollercoasters, traveling, and her pet cat, Asher.
Tariq JamalPronouns he/him/his
Tariq joined Brown University as an Area Coordinator in June 2022. He graduated with his Masters of Arts in Communication Arts along with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies concentrations in Math/Physics, Life Sciences, and Computer Sciences from New York Institute of Technology. Tariq was extremely involved within the community at New York Institute of Technology and that is where his passion for Student Affairs and Residential Life began and ignited. Ever since then, Tariq has continued to climb up the ladder in the HigherEd field. Having served as the Hall Director, President of the Graduate Student Association, Orientation Leader, Student Ambassador, and also having been President of numerous organizations in different years. Tariq was originally born and raised in Saudi Arabia and lived there for 18 years and then moved to the United States in 2014. Tariq continues to excel in the field as much as he can and continues to make new connections with anyone he meets and make those connections last a lifetime. A fun fact about Tariq is that he can speak six languages and loves cooking new dishes along with baking.
Brandon RomanoPronouns he/him/his
Brandon joined Brown University's Residential Life team as an Area Coordinator in June 2022. He grew up in Waterbury, CT, and attended Southern Connecticut State University for his undergraduate studies, majoring in Interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in Exercise Science and Public Health: Wellness. He continued his education at Central Connecticut State University, completing a Master’s degree in Counselor Education with a specialization in Student Development in Higher Education. While pursuing his Master’s Degree, Brandon gained experience in accessibility services, academic coaching, orientation programming, and social justice programming. Before coming to Brown, he worked as a Graduate Intern at Southern Connecticut State University in the Center for Academic Success and Accessibility Services (CASAS). Brandon’s goal is to create a sense of belonging in an inclusive and supportive community where all students build long lasting relationships and succeed academically and socially. Brandon’s hobbies and interests include playing and watching sports, watching movies, and exploring new places.
Lori SillPronouns She/her/hers
Lori joined Brown University’s Residential Life team as an Area Coordinator in June 2022. She grew up in metrowest Massachusetts and attended the University of Massachusetts Lowell for her undergraduate studies, completing a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and STEM Teaching. Lori continued her education in Lowell, completing a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration. While at Lowell, she gained experience in greek organizations, orientation programming, hospitality and event planning, residential life, and facilities management. Through her experiences in higher education, as a student and professional, Lori has developed passions in creating transformative experiences for student growth, community building through authenticity, and fostering inclusive and supportive environments. Her top five CliftonStrengths are communication, woo, strategy, positivity, and developing. In her spare time, Lori enjoys reading, playing video games, traveling to new places, cooking, and spending time with close-knit family.
Aliya SyedPronouns She/her/hers
Aliya (aa-lee-ya) joined the Brown community in July of 2022 after graduating from New York University with her Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs. She served in the Office of Residential Education at Stevens Institute of Technology during graduate school, where she developed an interest in the first-generation student experience and residential curriculum. Aliya published the 18th edition of the Journal of Student Affairs while serving as Co-Editor-in-Chief, which led to her appreciation of research. Aliya earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with minors in Psychology and Islamic World Studies from Loyola University Chicago in 2020. Her Muslim identity shapes her values, work ethic, and ambitions. Outside of work, Aliya enjoys reading books, thousand-piece jigsaw puzzles, and flying home to Chicago to visit her family.
Léhi ValladaresPronouns he/him
Léhi was born and raised in Honduras and moved to the United States in 2003 for the purpose--as has been the case for many immigrant families--of pursuing an education. He received his Bachelor's in Democracy and Justice Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and his Master's in College Student Personnel Administration from the University of Central Arkansas. Prior to joining Brown, Léhi worked as an Area Coordinator at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Through his experiences in higher education, both as a student and as a student affairs professional, Léhi has developed a passion for experiential learning and social psychology. In his spare time, Léhi enjoys reading, writing, and crossing off streaming shows from his interminable "Friend Recommendations" list.
Sean Wilder Jr.Pronouns he/him/his
Sean is the eldest of 3 and a first generation college student from Connecticut. He received his Bachelor's degree in Business Management from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master's degree in College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island. Outside of Residence Life he has also worked in Orientation, University Access, and Leadership Development. Sean has a commitment to enhancing students' sense of belonging at colleges and dismantling oppressive concepts. His Student Affairs philosophy stems from his self-authorship values, personal experiences, and the influence he strives to leave in the spaces he encounters.
In his free time Sean enjoys being a father to his family, trying out new restaurants, playing basketball, and listening to music. He loves kangaroos and collecting sneakers. If you see him around campus say hi!
Stephanie ZielinskiPronouns She/her/hers
Stephanie joined Brown University's Residential Life team as an Area Coordinator in August 2021. She grew up in Rochester, NY, and attended St. John Fisher College for her undergraduate studies, majoring in Business Management. She continued her education at the University at Buffalo, completing a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. During her time at Buffalo, Stephanie gained experience in career coaching, academic advising, orientation programming, student government organizations, and residential life. Before coming to Brown, she worked as a Resident Director at SUNY Brockport, specializing in the first year experience. Stephanie’s goal is to create an inclusive community where all students can find a home away from home to explore new relationships and discover their passions. Some of Stephanie’s hobbies and interests include playing board games, watching the Food Network, and exploring new places.
Sarah BallmanPronouns She/her/hers
Sarah joined the Office of Residential Life as the Assistant Director of Theme and Program Houses in October 2021. As the Assistant Director, Sarah is responsible for supporting and developing the living-learning experience of returning students in specific themed residential communities.
Sarah received her M.A. in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Southern California with a focus on Corporate Communication. In addition, she obtained a B.A in Finance and B.A in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.
Sarah is from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has worked in numerous Student Affairs roles over the years. However, it all started many years ago when she worked as a RA during her undergrad at Michigan State University. Prior to joining the Brown University team, she was working at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas implementing and developing its Residential Commons system. Sarah believes that collegiate residential programs should be student-driven, with a focus on creating a sense of belonging for residents.
In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with family, watching and discussing film and television, and baking. Sarah also has a passion for travel, having visited six of the seven continents (just missing Antarctica).
Kris TangenPronouns he/him/his
Kris joined the Office of Residential Education in August of 2021 as the Assistant Director of First Year Experience & Orientation. As the Assistant Director, Kris is responsible for supporting and developing the First Year Experience for Residential Education as well as the overall execution of the Orientation program, welcoming in all first time students at Brown University.
Kris earned his Bachelor of Arts in History in 2015 from Bridgewater State University and his Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in College Student Personnel in 2017 from The University of Rhode Island. His research for his Master of Science involved engagement of students in transition to their University and solidified his passion for working with incoming college students. Through all of the career milestones he has accomplished, the First Year Experience has always been present in his work.
Kris believes in creating an equitable student-centered experience that is both thought provoking and engaging. All of the work he does is inspired by the proverb "A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit". His top 5 Strengths through CliftonStrengths are Responsibility, Empathy, Positivity, Achieve, Belief. In his spare time Kris practices cooking, running Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, or listening to podcasts while riding his bicycle. Kris loves taking the time to listen to the stories of others, please stop by and say hello!
Sue joined the Office of Residential Life in August 2021 as the Residential Life Coordinator. She is responsible for front office reception and coordinates student staff recruitment and selection. She also supports major Residential Life projects, and coordinates the office’s DIAP efforts.
Sue comes to Residential Life from the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) where she was Executive Assistant to the Vice President of OIED. She previously worked in both Global Brown supporting international students and visitors, and the Office of the Dean of the College supporting Transfer, Visiting and RUE students, and Academic Support Services.
Sue graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor's degree in Psychology, and is currently completing a Master's degree in Higher Education Administration at Providence College. Outside of work, she enjoys nature, hiking, reading and theatre, and is passionate about social justice.