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Seton Hall University


In addition to their assigned Peer Adviser , students meet their assigned Mentor from the Freshman Studies program at Pirate Adventure orientation.

  • The Mentor is a professional adviser who serves as a professor in the University Life course, as a resource for many questions about the curriculum, and as a counselor to help freshmen plan their course of study.
  • The Mentor helps students clarify personal, academic and career goals.
  • Together, the Mentor and the student examine these goals and use them to shape an academic plan and semester coursework.
  • As a student's academic and perhaps personal issues arise, Mentors are available to counsel the students.
  • Mentors make students aware and encourage students to take advantage of the many Seton Hall University resources available on campus, such as the Academic Resource Center , the Career Center , Health Services and Counseling Services , and the Campus Ministry , to make the first year of college a great success.

Our program's goal is to assist students in fulfilling their potential while making realistic choices when choosing their major. The students' choices should always reflect both their interests and abilities.

Meet our Mentors

Nicole Battaglia
Nicole BattagliaNicole A. Battaglia earned both her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A.E. in College Student Personnel Administration from Seton Hall University. While attending Seton Hall, Nicole worked as a Peer Adviser for Freshman Studies and was a Brother of the Service Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Continuing her passion for service Nicole traveled with DOVE to El Salvador where she learned the meaning behind, "the best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others"- Gandhi. After completing her M.A., Nicole went on to Wagner College where she was the Academic Resource Coordinator for Student-Athletes and then the Assistant Athletic Director for Student Services.

Professor Battaglia has returned to Seton Hall as the Mentor for the Fast Forward Program. She is so excited about returning to her Alma Matter and looks forward to helping students reach their goals. Professor Battaglia encourages her students to constantly challenge themselves to be better than they were yesterday. In the words of Pelé "Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing." Professor Battaglia can be reached by phone at (973) 275-4809 or by email at

Joan Brennan

Joan Brennan An employee since 1991, Joan Brennan joined the Freshman Studies Program in 1999. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social & Behavioral Sciences from Seton Hall University. Joan is the designated adviser for the Academic Success Center for students in the College of Arts & Sciences who are tracking a major and have earned 30 or more credits. She helps students with understanding the curriculum and assists in course selection. She also provides academic support to Veterans. What is Joan's advice to students? "Whatever you do, make it count!" Joan can be reached by phone (973) 275-2595 or e-mail at to answer questions and to discuss goals and strategies for success. Her office is located in Mooney Hall 14.

Marisa Case

Marisa Case
Marisa Case is delighted to be a team member of the Department of Freshman Studies at Seton Hall University. Professor Case earned her B.A. from Glassboro State College and her M.F.A. from the Catholic University of America. During a recent trip to Rome, while in a classroom, a wise lecturer instructed, "Every moment of your life there is a choice to be a better person or not. What choices do we make?" It makes you think, doesn't it? You can contact Professor Case at (973) 761-9614 or

Kayla Castillo 222

Kalya Castillo
Kalya Castillo earned a BA from Bard College, where she majored in Sociology with a concentration in Multiethnic Studies. After graduating she taught character education to 7-12th grade students through a non-profit organization based in public schools within Westchester County and the Bronx, NY. The experience inspired her to enter the counseling field and in 2011 she obtained an MSEd in School Counseling/Counselor Education from CUNY Lehman College. While Kalya had planned to become a K-12th grade school counselor, she ventured into and found passion in counseling and advising first-generation college students. As the first in her family to obtain a college degree, she has a vested interest in helping students by comprehensively focusing on their academic, social and personal development. In addition to her role as a counselor, Kalya serves as an adjunct professor for undergraduate and graduate programs in Special Education and Counselor Education within the NYC CUNY system. She is also a field consultant to first and second year special education teachers in NYC.

Currently Kalya is pursuing a PhD in Counseling Psychology at Seton Hall University and is excited about working as a mentor in the Freshman Studies Program. Integral to student achievement is the support of individuals vested in their growth and potential to succeed. Kalya looks forward to her role in this process with her students as they embark on a new chapter of their lives at Seton Hall. Her office door is always open to students and families at Mooney Hall, room 19. She can also be reached through email at or phone at 973-275-2456.

Thomas Conte

Thomas Conte
Thomas Conte graduated from the University of Scranton with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Although he was expecting to be a high school teacher, after two years teaching and being a special needs paraprofessional, he realized that he would prefer to work with college students. Tom completed his Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel Administration at Seton Hall and plans to pursue his Ed.D in Higher Education in the near future. Tom’s favorite quote comes from William Shakespeare’s Henry V: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.” For Tom, it signifies the fights we face and victories and failures we encounter academically, professionally, and personally. Tom’s outlook on school and life is that no matter where we end up, we must consistently move forward through the good and the bad. Tom is excited to be working with college students as both an advisor and an instructor to better serve the community and students at Seton Hall. Tom can be found in Mooney Hall room 15, reached through e-mail at and by phone at (973)-275-2761.

Robin Cunningham

Robin Cunningham
Robin Cunningham graduated from Seton Hall with a B.A. in English, a M.A. in Counseling and an Ed.S in Secondary Education. From 1984 to 2003, Dean Cunningham was the Director of Academic Support Services for student athletes at Seton Hall. In 2004, she moved over to Freshman Studies to work with the general freshman population. In 2006, Dean Cunningham became the Director of the Seton Summer Scholars program, in 2010 she was named Associate Dean of Freshman Studies and she is now the Associate Vice President of Freshman Studies. She enjoys working with students, and teaching is one of her great passions.

Dean Cunningham has been recognized numerous times for her service to the university with such honors as the retirement of her basketball jersey, her induction into the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame, receiving the Alumni Association's Many Are One Humanitarian Award and most recently receiving the university's McQuaid Medal. Dean Cunningham's favorite saying is: "It's not where you start; it's where you finish." Dean Cunningham can be reached at (973) 275-2159 or

Jacqueline DeBenedettoJacqueline DeBenedetto 
Jacqueline DeBenedetto earned her B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from Seton Hall University. She specialized in with working with students with disabilities and taught in a Pre-School Special Education classroom for one year. She recently graduated from Seton Hall with her M.A.E in Instructional Design and Technology while working as a Freshman Studies Mentor and Placement Test Coordinator in the Freshman Studies Department. Currently, Jacqueline is working towards her Doctor of Education in Higher Education, Administration and Policy. Working with undergraduate students is a passion of hers as she hopes to inspire students to take full advantage of the many opportunities that Seton Hall has to offer. Aside from working as a Freshman Studies Mentor, Jacqueline enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading, and traveling. She can be reached at or at (973) 275-2762.

Megan Gottlieb

Megan Gottlieb
Megan graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in History. She joined the Freshman Studies program as an adviser in the Sophomore Center. Through the Sophomore Center, Megan provides students with support and guidance during their second year at Seton Hall. Sophomore year is a time for students to focus on academics, to plan ahead, and to continue to stay involved on campus. With events both social and academic in nature, the Sophomore Center offers a community in which students can reach their fullest potential. Megan is dedicated to helping students succeed and to prepare them for their future by connecting them to a variety of campus resources. She also advises students with 30 or more credits who have yet to declare their major. Megan can be reached at or (973) 275-2105.

Tracy Gottlieb

Tracy Gottlieb
Tracy Gottlieb, Ph.D., former Dean of Freshman Studies, was named Vice President of Student Services in January of 2012. She began her academic career as a professor at Seton Hall in 1988, but it was a homecoming - she is a 1975 graduate of the university with a degree in Communication. After commencement, she worked as a reporter and editor at the Associated Press for five years. She moved to Brussels, Belgium, in 1980 and worked as editor of the monthly magazine, Commerce in Belgium. Dr. Gottlieb returned to the United States in 1984 and began graduate school at the University of Maryland. She graduated with her doctorate in Public Communication in 1992. She is an expert in journalism history, specifically the role of women in journalism. She is the author of several books and dozens of scholarly articles.

Maggie Hernandez

Maggie Hernandez
Maggie Hernandez graduated from Berkeley College in West Paterson, NJ where she majored in Business Management and Administration. She is a recent graduate of Seton Hall University where she earned a master's degree in College Student Personnel Administration. Maggie is the Operations Coordinator for Freshman Studies and has recently taken on advising responsibilities. She is so excited to make a difference in the lives of Seton Hall students. Maggie can be contacted at (973) 275-2286 or

Lauren Mitchell Profile photoLauren Mitchell
Lauren Mitchell graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in Anthropology and English, and came to Seton Hall University to earn her M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Lauren has a passion for working with students in transition, empowering them to utilize resources and support to reach their highest potential. Lauren strives to instill within her students an appreciation for possibility: possibility within their SHU community, and possibility within themselves. Herein lies the first step toward achievement and innovation. Lauren’s door is always open to students. She can also be reached at (973)275-6483 or

Brittany Morris 222

Brittany Morris
Brittany Morris earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Seton Hall University. Brittany is currently at the University pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Service. During her time as an undergraduate student, she was an active member of the National Council for Negro Women and Seton Hall Dance team. Brittany aspires to make a great impact in the legal field after obtaining her Masters. Brittany is excited to join the Freshman Studies department and share with the new freshmen the many opportunities that Seton Hall has to offer. Brittany wants to help her student have a smooth transition from high school to college and encourage her students to push past their limits and achieve bigger and better dreams in their four years at Seton Hall. One thing that Brittany wants her student to remember is “Don’t fake it till you make it. Believe in yourself until the world catches up.” (Chris Brogan) Brittany Morris can be contacted via e-mail at or by phone at (973) 275-2743.

Hezal Patel

Hezal Patel
Hezal Patel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University and a M.A. in Counseling from Teacher's College, Columbia University. Having joined the Seton Hall Community in 2001, Professor Patel is the Assistant Dean of Freshman Studies and the Director of The Transfer Center. With a background in Counseling, Professor Patel finds it most rewarding when she is able to help students realize their dreams and the ability to achieve them. She really enjoys working with students and getting to know them beyond the classroom. Her door is always open and visitors are always welcome to her office. Professor Patel's advice to students is to find what makes them happy and follow their dreams. "YOU create the life you want to live." Outside of work, Professor Patel enjoys being a mom of three children and spending quality time with her family. Some of her hobbies include cooking, baking, crocheting, and reading. Students can contact Dean Patel by phone (973) 313-6008, e-mail, or stop by Mooney Hall 14a.

Forrest Prichett

Forrest Pritchett
Rev. Pritchett joined Seton Hall in 1978. During that time, he functioned as the following: Assistant Dean of the Black Studies Center; Faculty Mentor in Freshman Studies; Adjunct Professor in the departments of Africana, Interdisciplinary and Religious Studies; Program Director of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Program and the SHU Gospel Choir; and he currently serves, or did serve as an adviser to numerous student organizations.

Rev. Pritchett has been recognized several times for his contributions to the University. He was awarded the University McQuaid Medal in 2003, Employee of the Year in 2008, the University Faculty Pirate Pride Award in 1999-2000 and the University Human Relations Citation in 1997. Rev. Pritchett has been also been acknowledged for his involvement in the community. Rev. Pritchett was awarded by the New Jersey Association of Black Educators the "Black Educator of the Year Award," by the Association for the Study of Afro American Life and History the "Frederick Douglas-Sojourner Truth Award," by the Jersey City Library the "Paul Robeson Award," by the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Programs the "Educational Champion Award," and by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: New Jersey Convention the "Distinguished Educator Award." In 2016 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooperation for National and Community Service and office of the President of the United States.

Rev. Pritchett's personal philosophical paradigm is drawn from Holy Scripture and the following great observations:

" Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove…" Matthew 10:16.

"If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself…" Confucius.

Rev. Pritchett can be reached at (973) 275-2760 or Rev. Pritchett is a 2003 McQuaid Medalist, Program Director of the MLK Leadership Program and Faculty Adviser to the Gospel Choir.

Lisa Robinson

Lisa Robinson
Lisa Robinson earned her Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from Oklahoma State University. She specialized in the areas of English and Social Studies and taught high school English before joining the Freshman Studies team.  Lisa went on to earn her Master's degree in Strategic Communication from Seton Hall University. Working and interacting with students has always been a passion of hers, and she really enjoys mentoring and advising Seton Hall's freshmen students. Lisa also works as a Transfer Student advisor in the Transfer Student Center, and her door is always open. Her main goal is to help all students transition successfully and become part of the SHU Pirate family. Lisa's favorite quote to live by is: "Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it." Lisa can be reached through e-mail at or her office phone at (973) 275-2763

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Sarah Tabat
Sarah Tabat graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.S. in Diplomacy and International Relations, with an additional major in Sociology and two minors in French and Economics. Presently, Sarah is pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. As an undergraduate at “The Hall”, she was involved from the beginning. Sarah was a Brother of the Service Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, a Founder and a Sister of Zeta Tau Alpha and worked in Freshman Studies all four years as a Peer Advisor and then a Peer Advisor Coordinator. Sarah understands the parallel goals, passions, and values of the Freshman Studies Department which she strives to incorporate as she helps students on a higher level. Her multi-discipline background provides her with the skill set to assist the diverse cultures of students at home as well as drive changes needed to accomplish national successes abroad. As she took on internships in the non-profit sector, Sarah devoted herself to helping others and getting others involved. Sarah hopes to continue her passion in helping women and children within the non-profit sector focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. For now, Sarah knows that working in Freshman Studies will continue her mission of helping others as they once did for her. Sarah Tabat can be reached at (973) 761-9578, at and in Mooney Hall room 12.

Brittany White

Brittany White
Brittany White graduated from Seton Hall University with her B.A. in English and Creative Writing and a minor in Legal Studies in Business. After making the decision to not attend law school, Brittany realized how much she loved and missed working with college students as a Peer Adviser and decided to follow a new career path. She returned to Seton Hall and earned her M.A.E. in Higher Education and Student Affairs and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy. Outside of school, Brittany enjoys spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, reading, and making unforgettable memories. Her favorite quote and one she believes all students should keep in mind is, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." – Henry David Thoreau. Brittany encourages all students to take advantage of every opportunity and resource Seton Hall has to offer. She also believes students should remember that it's OK if the original plan falls apart; pick up each piece one by one and create a new path. Your possibilities are endless. Brittany can be reached by phone at (973) 761-9407 or by e-mail at

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