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If you are interested in learning more about ASAP at CSI, please contact our recruitment team by emailing or calling 718.982.3200.

Program Leadership
Ronald J. Oliva, Academic Program Director, Interim
Mary Quezada, Associate Director, Interim
Michael Lepore, Assistant Director of Recruitment

Student Support and Advisement
Agnes Dixon, Academic Advisor
Brittany Jost-Sinodinos, Academic Advisor
Damany Higgs, Academic Advisor
Damaris Hipolito, Academic Advisor
Natasha Lauriston, Academic Advisor
Lauren Merenda, Academic Advisor
Matthew Navarria, Academic Advisor
Melissa Scafiddi, Academic Advisor
Christen Trapani-Kern, Academic Advisor
Sheila Harris Ph.D., Financial Aid Specialist

Program Recruitment
Akeem James, Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator

Career Support and Student Engagement
Caitlin Garcia, Coordinator for Student Engagement and Persistence
Phil Cameron, Career Specialist
Joshua Sosa, Senior Student Leader and College Mentor 
Zion Dacosta, Student Leader and Mentor 
Zeinab Cisse, Student Leader and Mentor
Rayhan Yahya, Student Leader and Mentor 
Gabriela Gonzalez, Student Leader and Mentor 
Santo Borello, Student Leader and Mentor 

Administrative Support
JeanaMarie Ventrone, Administrative Coordinator
Rosanna Cashin, College Assistant
Nancy Aponte, College Assistant 
Alissa Chiaruttini, College Assistant 
Betzaidi Perez, College Assistant 

Contact Information

Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Building 5N, Room 112
Email Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Monday - Friday
9AM - 5PM

RonaldRonald J. Oliva, Academic Program Director, Interim
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Science in Communications: Media Studies. CUNY College of Staten Island, Master of Arts, Cinema and Media Studies.
What college success tips do you have? When I was a CSI student I always felt that I was being "annoying" by asking questions. This is not true. Asking questions shows that you are proactive and care. Never stop asking questions.
Favorite Quote: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky
MaryMary Quezada,  Associate Director, Interim
Education: CUNY Baruch College, Bachelor of Business Administration: Finance. CUNY College of Staten Island, Master of Arts, Liberal Studies.
What college success tips do you have? Participate! Just showing up is a great start but the more active you are in class, the more information you will retain.
Favorite Quote: There is no secret to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. – General Colin Powell
AgnesMichael Lepore, Assistant Director of Recruitment
St. John’s University, Bachelor of Science in Business: Management; St. John’s University, Master in Business Administration.
What college success tips do you have?
Get involved on campus! Effective time management will be key during your time in college as well. Giving yourself enough time to complete your course work will open the opportunity to make connections and network during your free time. Meet as many people as you possibly can – professional connections are everlasting.
AgnesAgnes Dixon, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY Hunter College, Bachelor of Arts in Woman Studies and CUNY School of Professional Studies, Master of Arts in Youth Studies.
What college success tips do you have? Remember to be open and determined to learn, grow, make mistakes, and be stretched. You will become a better, wiser, and stronger individual as a result but you must not give up. You are embarking on your very own metamorphosis. You don't have to be perfect for no one is. Self-advocate, take notes, have a system of organization, and be curious. Be unstoppable.
Favorite Quote: The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. - Amelia Earhart

Brittany Jost-Sinodinos, Academic Advisor
: CUNY Macaulay Honors College (College of Staten Island), Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Gender Studies
What college success tips do you have?: College is a time to explore and ask questions! Be open-minded in your classes because you never know what new information will inspire you. Take advantage of all your resources from classmates to professors to advisors. The more you open yourself up to new relationships and opportunities, the more prepared you will be to take new steps into jobs, internships, and graduate school.

DamanyDamany Higgs, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY Lehman College, Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies.
What college success tips do you have? College is a journey. On a journey no person knows the actual final destination; nobody knows who they will be when they finish the journey. Explore your capacity for change. Explore your capacity for all things.
Favorite Quote: Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. – Langston Hughes
DamarisDamaris Hipolito, Academic Advisor
Education: New York University (Undergraduate) and Teacher's College-Columbia University (Graduate).
What college success tips do you have? Always ask questions! Growing up, I was always afraid to ask questions, but if you don't ask questions, how would you know the answer. It is okay to be curious, and learning how to find the right answer. In a class, if you are not understanding a professor, or if the content is too difficult to understand, or simply if you want to learn more information, it does not it hurt to ask.
Why did you decide to work in Higher Education? My passion for higher education grew after my experiences with the Alternative Breaks Community Service Program at NYU where I was a participant and a Site Leader. I travelled to Ecuador and Costa Rica to serve underrepresented populations and to fully understand the influences of other diverse cultures. In addition, as a former NYU HEOP student brought up in a Puerto Rican, single-parent, low-income household, my aspiration was to become a role model to others and help them strive for excellence in order for them to obtain an education as their golden ticket to overcome struggles that stood in their way.
NatashaNatasha Lauriston, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY Brooklyn College, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: Sociology and CUNY Brooklyn College , Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
What college success tips do you have? I wish more students knew more about the benefit of seeking help. In the case of my work, I am here to help. Also, the resources available on campus are there to help you. Independence and pride are great qualities, but don’t let them discourage you from attending your advising sessions, career employment sessions, campus life events and other opportunities. Yes, we live in a digital world where you may find it simpler to get advice and information online, but simpler isn’t necessarily better. The impact of communicating with people who are here to help is far greater than trying to do it all on your own.
Why did you decide to work in Higher Education? I believe there is a true value in taking the influence you’ve earned and sowing it back into the ground you came from. This is why I work in higher education. I look forward to being a great source of support and encouragement during my student’s proud and challenging moments.
LaurenLauren Merenda, Academic Advisor
Education: University of Connecticut, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; Business Minor. Central Connecticut State University, Master of Science in Counselor Education: Student Development in Higher Education.
What college success tips do you have? Get involved on campus! It is a great way to explore current interests, learn something new, and meet other students. Getting involved can also introduce you to potential careers and is a great addition to a resume.
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy running and will be participating in my first New York City Marathon this fall.
MatthewMatthew Navarria, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and CUNY College of Staten Island, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.
What college success tips do you have? The key to success in college is preparation, hard work, love of learning/open mindset and utilizing all of the resources available (especially advisement and career related services). Its important to balance both day to day items ( studying, tutoring, attending classes etc) while also keeping in mind the "big picture" and long term academic/ career planning. Set realistic, short term and long term goals--- work hard and consistently to achieve them. Take advantage of resources, support services and extracurricular opportunities as well. Lastly, it's very important to have a personal support system ( family, friends, peers etc) to provide motivation and encouragement during challenging times.
Favorite Quote: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin
MelissaMelissa Scafiddi, Academic Advisor
Education: Arizona State University: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations in Business and Asian Studies.
What college success tips do you have? Don't be afraid to ask for help and don't wait until it's too late. The CSI staff and professors have all been in your shoes at one point. Even if you are not having difficulties in your class, you should still attend the tutoring centers. The centers not only help you to review class material, but they also offer workshops and opportunities to further develop the skills you already have. It is also important to communicate with your professor if you don’t fully understand something in class.
Favorite Quote: Only do what your heart tells you. – Princess Diana
ChristenChristen Trapani-Kern, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Arts Psychology. CUNY Brooklyn College Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Human Relations.
What college success tips do you have? A tip that I can offer students for college success is to ask for assistance when you are unsure about something.
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy cooking and baking.
SheilaSheila Harris, PhD. Financial Aid Specialist
Education: CUNY York College, Bachelor of Arts; New York Institute of Technology, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration; St. John's University, Doctor of Philosophy.
What college success tips do you have? Know the tools you need for your success in school. Understand your Financial Aid requirements. Know your academic requirements, and most importantly, know the people in those areas who you can go to for advice. Never be afraid to ask, and never assume anything.
Why did you decide to work in Higher Education? To pay it forward. I use to tell students in my caseload, "It is your job to do well in class, knowing I am working behind the scene trying to make sure your financial aid is sound". I love to see the students that struggle semester by semester financially finally graduate; to watch the joy on their families faces.
Akeem JamesAkeem James, Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and minor in Philosophy. CUNY School of Professional Studies, Master of Arts in Youth Studies (In-Progress).
What college success tips do you have? Time management and prioritizing are major functions of achieving academic success in college, this comes along with making sacrifices which can help get you closer to your desired goals in both college and within life. I think it’s important to know what courses/tasks deserves critical attention, and for others which might need less. Lastly, it’s always important to establish connections to help foster relationships with faculty, staff and other students, these relationships can last a lifetime, and be very impactful.
JoshuaCaitlin Garcia, Coordinator for Student Engagement and Persistence
Education: CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Arts in International Criminal Justice, Interdisciplinary Studies Minor.
What college success tips do you have? Connect with your professors! Professors not only teach your class but are professionals and experts within their field. Having conversations with them can not only help you better understand your course but strengthens your network as a student. Networking can happen organically and is very useful as you continue your journey after graduation.
Phil CameronPhil Cameron, Career Specialist
Education: CUNY Kingsborough Community College, Associate of Applied Science: Liberal Arts. Stony Brook University, Bachelor of Arts: English. CUNY Brooklyn College, Master of Arts: English.
What college success tips do you have? Talk to people. Ask questions. Network. Take advantage of all the amazing opportunities that CSI and CUNY have to offer!
JeanaMarieJeanaMarie Ventrone, Administrative Coordinator
Education: LIM College, Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising.
What college success tips do you have?Don’t procrastinate! If you have the time, complete the task. College and daily responsibilities are on-going, and can be fast moving. Don’t let the work and projects build up to avoid burnout.