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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

Kalya Castillo
Kayla Castillo 222Kalya 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 ConteThomas 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 CunninghamRobin 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 DeBenedetto
Jacqueline DeBenedettoJacqueline 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.

Christopher Gbogi
Christopher GhogiChristopher Gbogi graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Marketing. He is now at the university to pursue a Master's in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business and Marketing. As an undergraduate, Chris was the President of the Student Activities Board, Lead Founder of the Seton Hall Gaming Sector, President of the Animation club, a Freshmen Studies Peer Advisor, and Freshmen Dorm Resident Assistant. Chris aspires to make a great impact within the tech industry and become a thought leader within it. Chris pushes students to get involved no matter what and to not fear failure. “The difference between a master and a beginner is the fact that the master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.”  By getting involved Chris has met his best friends, deepened his passions, impacted the lives of others and have created new futures. The various opportunities that can change your life for the better are usual found for those who are proactively seeking. Read, research, talk to people, line up your options, select your likes/dislikes and keep searching. If you fall, just get back up. Chris can be found in Mooney Hall room 12, reached by phone at (973) 275-2160 or by e-mail at

Cassandra Germana
Cassandra GermanaCassandra Germana graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. After completing her degree, Cassandra pursued her passion of public service as an Assistant Program Director at a non-profit immigration center, before working as a Director of Constituent Services with the New York State Senate. During her time with the Senate, Cassandra had the unique opportunity to work on healthcare related policies, utilizing the skills and knowledge she obtained as an undergraduate biology student. After four years in government, Cassandra has returned to her alma mater to pursue her Masters in Healthcare Administration. During her time at Seton Hall University, Cassandra was a Peer Adviser with the Office of Freshman Studies and the President of H.O. P. E., both roles in which she attributes to her love of working with students and the importance of being a student leader. Cassandra is excited to return to Seton Hall University and join the Freshman Studies Department. If there is one thing that she would like her students to remember it is that "with every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice." (Oprah) Cassandra Germana can be contacted via e-mail at or telephone at (973) 275-2541.

Megan Gottlieb
Megan GottliebMegan 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 GottliebTracy 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 HernandezMaggie 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

Joseph Martinelli
Joseph Martinelli 2222Joseph Martinelli earned his Bachelor of Science from Seton Hall University in Elementary and Special Education, with a concentration in Environmental Studies.  Prior to joining the Freshman Studies Department, Joseph spent a year as a Special Education Teacher at Somerville Middle School in New Jersey, teaching 6th and 8th-grade math, science, and history. He is now at Seton Hall pursuing a degree in Public Relations. As an undergraduate, Joseph was a four-time Big East Conference Academic All-Star, competing as a member of Seton Hall’s Division 1 Cross Country team, that received numerous academic honors. Joseph was also heavily involved on campus as President of the Pirate Blue Student Club, Senator in the Student Government Association, Ambassador for the College of Education and Human Services, a Leadership Fellows Student, a and member of Kappa Delta Pi National Honor Society. Joseph even spent time as the Seton Hall University Mascot for various sporting events, special appearances, and national television campaigns. Carrying his philosophy of being a lifelong learner, Joseph strives to make a difference for the students that he works with by providing support and guidance so that all develop into the best that they can be. Joseph Martinelli can be reached by email at, by phone at (973) 275-2351, or his office in Mooney Hall room 12.

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
Brittany Morris 222Brittany 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 Pritchett
Forrest PrichettRev. 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 RobinsonLisa 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

Ryan Stetz
Ryan StetzRyan Stetz graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and minor in Legal Studies. Ryan is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Service: Leadership, Governance and Policy. Throughout his years as an undergraduate, Ryan was a member of the Gerald P. Buccino Center for Leadership Development. Ryan also worked as both Promotions Director and Staff Representative of Seton Hall's nationally recognized radio station, WSOU. Seton Hall University provided Ryan with many skills and opportunities, which helped him secure internships at Sony Music Entertainment, PepsiCo, and MSNBC. Ryan is excited to be working with freshman at Seton Hall University and encourages students to take a step outside their comfort zones while exploring all the opportunities available at the university. Ryan's favorite quote that he thinks all students should remember is, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ryan can be contacted through e-mail at or his office phone at (973) 275-2091

Sarah Tabat
Sarah Tabat 222Sarah 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.

Ryan Westman
Ryan WestmanRyan Westman is extremely excited to join Seton Hall after spending much of his collegiate career at Rutgers. While at Rutgers, Ryan earned his B.A. in Psychology as well as his M.E. in Elementary Education while running with the Men's Track and Field team. Upon completion of his Master's degree, Ryan trained professionally in track and field for a year in Eugene, Oregon before returning home to pursue a Master's in College Student Affairs which he recently completed in the spring of 2011. Besides working with Freshman Studies, Ryan is also extremely excited to be working in the office of Academic Support Services for student athletes.

Ryan's advice to his students is to be proactive rather than reactive, and to make the most of the best four years of your life at Seton Hall! Ryan can be reached through his email, or his office phone (973) 761-9159.

Brittany White
Brittany WhiteBrittany 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

Jarvis Williamson
Jarvis WilliamsonJarvis Williamson graduated from Seton Hall University with a double major in Philosophy and Classical Studies. As an undergraduate at Seton Hall, Jarvis traveled to Rome and Greece, witnessing the effect the financial crises had on its natives. His work in the Newark community and service trip with DOVE to El Salvador strengthened his resolve to become an attorney and make a positive difference. After a year in law school, Jarvis realized that is not the path he wants to take to achieve his goals. He is now at Seton Hall University pursuing his Master's in Public Administration. Jarvis is excited to serve as a Mentor for Freshman Studies and looks forward to helping students transition from high school to college. Jarvis can be reached at or by phone at (973 ) 275-6458

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