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Advisor Biographies

Cathy Carlson - Associate Dean, Academic Services

Hometown: Paoli, PA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.A. Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA, Communications

Graduate Degrees & Institutions: M.Ed.D. Penn State University, State College, PA, Counseling, Higher Education
                                                         Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), University of Vermont, Burlington, VT,
                                                         Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Cathy has worked in higher education for many years. She started out in Residential Life at the Penn State, Altoona Campus, and then transitioned to working in Career Services at Connecticut College and the University of Connecticut. After ten years in the field, Cathy returned to school to work on her doctorate at the University of Vermont. While in her doctoral program, she worked as the Premed/Prelaw advisor at the UVM Career Center.

After completing her doctorate, Cathy took an administrative role at Community College of Vermont where she directed the operations of five of the college’s sites. Cathy then worked on a Vermont state grant to develop high school career academies in five high schools in southern Vermont. In 2005, Cathy returned to UVM to direct the Student Services office at the School of Business Administration where she worked until coming to Bentley in August, 2013. 

Cathy has two sons who are both current college students, one at UVM and the other at St. Joseph’s College of Maine. She enjoys gardening (flowers more than vegetables), reading mysteries and loves animals and has 7 pets herself.


Hometown: Devens, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.S. in Business Administration, University of Maine

Graduate Degree & Institution: M.S. Adult Education, University of Southern Maine

Leslie Doolittle is an Assistant Dean and Director of Academic Support Services in the Office of Academic Services. During her career in higher education, she has worked in Orientation, Residence Life, and Undergraduate and Graduate Admission. She's been at Bentley for 17 years and has a unique role on campus. She works with students across the academic performance continuum, working with students who are in academic difficulty, as well as coordinating advising initiatives for Honors Program students. Leslie directs the OAS Peer Tutoring Program, oversees Bentley’s Progress Reporting System, and works as a resource for students, faculty, and staff across campus. Among other activities on campus, she teaches Strategies for Academic Success for probationary students, works with our STEP Students in the summer teaching them Life Skills, and is an active member of the University’s LGBTQ Committee. In 2010, Leslie was awarded the Founder’s Day Award, which celebrates and recognizes an employee who has had significant positive impact on the Bentley community and gone above and beyond in her role with the University.

Leslie loves Bentley, our students, and her role on campus. There is little that is more fulfilling to her than assisting Bentley students in developing and realizing their goals.

Outside of her work at Bentley, Leslie loves reading, music, dance, Pilates, and supporting Bentley athletic teams. Leslie lives in Devens and is the mother of two sons.


Campus Address:  2nd Floor Callahan/University Police Building
Phone Number:  781.891.2004
Email Address:

Hometown: Sudbury, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.A. Social Rehabilitation; Assumption College

Graduate Degree & Institution: M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling; Assumption College

Stephanie is the Associate Director of Disability Services in the Office of Academic Services.  She received her master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Assumption College and is certified as well as licensed as a Rehabilitation Counselor.  Prior to Bentley, Stephanie worked at a therapeutic after school program and a day and residential school for students with disabilities.

Stephanie has worked with disability services at Bentley for 7 years.  In addition to directing the academic accommodation process, Stephanie coordinates a mentoring program called Eye-to-Eye and advises the Delta Alpha Pi honor society, which recognizes the academic accomplishments of students with disabilities.  She is interested in issues of disability, diversity, and mental health.

Stephanie lives with her husband and two sons, one of whom has four legs and fur.  She enjoys reading, working out, dancing, and relaxing on Cape Cod.


Stephanie Russo- Assistant Director, Disability Services

  • Campus Address:  2nd Floor Callahan/University Police Building
  • Phone Number:  781-891-2004
  • Email:

Hometown:  Bedford, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution:  B.A. in Elementary Education and English (double major), Stonehill College

Graduate Degree & Institution:  M.Ed. in Higher Education, Student Affairs, Salem State University

Stephanie Russo is the Assistant Director of Disability Services in the Office of Academic Services.  She received her Master’s Degree in Higher Education, Student Affairs from Salem State University in 2012.  Prior to Bentley, Stephanie spent four years working in Accessibility Services at Harvard Law School.  Stephanie is passionate about accessible education and enjoys working with students in a higher education setting.

Outside of her work at Bentley, Stephanie enjoys spending time outdoors.  In particular, she is a big fan of kayaking, hiking, and relaxing by the ocean.  She also loves to cook for family and friends; especially if it involves Italian food. 


PJ Dickson- Assistant Dean/Director, Academic Advising Center

Hometown: Saugus, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.A., Colgate University, Sociology and African American Studies

Graduate Degree & Institution: M.P.S., Cornell University, Africana Studies; M.A., Brandeis University, American History; Ph.D. (A.B.D), Brandeis University, American History

PJ has mixed working in service to students with his personal studies since he was an undergrad himself.  In college, he served as a Resident Advisor and a Head Resident, leading a team of four RAs.  After college, he held professional positions in residence life at Emerson College and Tufts University before enrolling in graduate studies in American History at Brandeis University in 2002.  While taking graduate courses at Brandeis, he served as an advisor and mentor to a group of 10 students selected by Brandeis and the Posse Foundation to receive full tuition scholarships in recognition of their outstanding leadership skills.  In 2007, he began advising full time, serving first as the Advisor to the First Year Class, before being promoted to Director of Class Based Advising.  In December of 2012, PJ accepted the offer to move across town and fill the role of Assistant Dean of Academic Services & Director of the Academic Advising Center.  In addition to his work with Bentley students, PJ is currently working on his Ph.D. dissertation which focuses on the history of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, specifically examining continuity and change at the prison in the wake of the civil rights movement and the federal court's intervention in the governance of the prison in the 1970s.  He is also a novice wood turner, devoted husband, and an enthusiastic uncle and godfather.

Hometown: Billerica, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.A. English/Secondary Education; Merrimack College

Graduate Degree & Institution: M.Ed. in Higher Education in Students Affairs; Salem State College

Melissa Jenkins joined the Academic Advising Center as a graduate intern in the fall of 2007 and spent the academic year immersing herself in the Bentley community.  Following her graduation from Salem State, Melissa accepted a full-time position in the AAC in July, 2008 as an academic advisor and was promoted to Assistant Director in 2011.

Prior to joining us, Melissa spent several years as an adjunct faculty member at Middlesex Community College.  Through her work and graduate program experience, she has developed a passion for advising students and assisting them in reaching their educational, career, and personal goals.  She has embraced the opportunity to continue her work with the students, faculty, and staff at Bentley University and was recently chosen by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) for an Excellence in Academic Advising Award in the New England region.

Outside of her work at Bentley, Melissa volunteers her time working with Robert J. Farrell Jr. Memorial Giving Fund and the American Cancer Society.   She enjoys reading, watching her favorite local sports teams and spending time with her family.

Hometown: Peabody, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.S.W; Salem State College

Graduate Degree & Institution: M.Ed. in Higher Education in Student Affairs; Salem State College

Meghan joined the Academic Services team in September 2009 as a graduate intern specializing in academic support services.  In September 2010 she accepted a position as a full-time advisor, and was promoted to Senior Academic Advisor in February 2014.  In addition to general advising, Meghan enjoys her work with transfer students, facilitating the Strategies for Academic Success seminar, and coordinating the social media platforms for the office.  She is passionate about equal access to resources and ensuring students needs are met.  Meghan enjoys working with each student to find a unique balance of challenge, support, and motivation they need in order to succeed, develop, and flourish throughout their college career.  

Outside of work Meghan enjoys reading, live music, Netflix, yoga, dancing, singing, and spending time with her family and friends.


Amy Weber- Academic Advisor

  • Campus Address:  Lindsay 21
  • Phone Number: 781.891.2832
  • Email Address:

Hometown: Lexington, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.A. Spanish; Tufts University

Graduate Degree & Institution: M.A. Teaching English as a Second Language; Pennsylvania State University

Amy Weber joined the Academic Advising Center at Bentley University in the summer of 2011.  She received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University.  While at Tufts, she took advantage of the Study Abroad program and spent a semester in Spain.  Initially planning on a teaching career, she went to The Pennsylvania State University to earn her Master of Arts in Teaching as a Second Language.  After teaching ESL for three years, she decided that she wanted to work with college students in more of an advising role than a teaching role.  She began work at Salem State College in 1996 as a Program Advisor in the Student Life Division.  Amy spent 9 years working full-time at Salem State, holding several positions within the academic administration.  In 2005, she left her full-time job to care for a new daughter, but she continued to work part-time at the college, as an academic adviser and as the coordinator of the Life Experience Credit program.   Since joining the Office of Academic  Services at Bentley University Amy has worked part-time as an academic advisor and works with the Peer Tutoring Program.  In her free time, Amy enjoys reading, traveling, watching movies, and spending time with her family.


Valerie Como- Senior Academic Advisor

  • Campus Address: Lindsay 21
  • Phone Number: 781.891.2246         

Hometown: Narragansett, RI

Undergraduate Degree & Institution:  B.S. in Management, Bentley University

Graduate Degree & Institution:  pursuing M.Ed., Higher Education in Student Affairs, Salem State University

Valerie officially joined the Office of Academic Services in 2016, after serving as a graduate intern in fall 2015 and collaborating with the advising team for eight years in her transfer admission counselor role.  In addition to her experience conducting the credit evaluation process for new transfer and first-year students, she also served on the university’s curriculum committees.  Since 2011, she has served as a Transfer Seminar instructor, helping students make the transition to Bentley and then serving as their academic advisor.  She enjoys being a resource for students looking to make the most of their time and opportunities at Bentley, and supporting them in their efforts to meet their goals. 

In her free time, she can often be found working out, staying current with both the news and pop culture, and seeing musicals.  She is a fan of all things British and is eager to make another trip to the U.K. with her husband, who is also a Bentley alum.


Amy Player Smith- Academic Advisor

Hometown: Ipswich, MA
Undergraduate Degree and Institution:  BA in Journalism/Advertising, University of Kentucky
Graduate Degree & Institution: M.Ed. in Higher Education in Students Affairs, Salem State University

Amy joined the Academic Advising Center in the fall of 2013 as a graduate intern, where she contributed to the office through one-on-one advising, special program initiatives and assisting students discover and attain their academic and career aspirations.

Amy was excited to return to the Academic Advising Center as an Academic Advisor this summer and is ready to immerse herself back into the Bentley community.

Prior to her graduate degree, Amy lived in Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming an actress. While there, she also volunteered her time as a mentor for at-risk youth where she discovered her real passion of advising and mentoring students.  She also worked in the real estate industry for 10 years. Outside of work Amy enjoys spending time with her family, running, and going to the theater. 

Patrick McIlveen-Academic Advising Graduate Intern

Hometown: North Andover, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.S. in Management; University of Miami

Graduate Degree & Institution: (Come Spring 2017) M.Ed. in Higher Education in Student Affairs; Salem State College

Patrick joined the Academic Services team this year as a graduate intern, specializing in academic support services. A graduate student at Salem State University, Patrick is working towards his Masters in Higher Education in Student Affairs. He will graduate this spring, and is hoping to work as an academic counselor. In addition to working at Bentley, Patrick works as a graduate fellow at Salem State in the Registrar’s office. There, he helps advise fifth and sixth-year seniors who are looking to graduate. Prior to this year, Patrick worked in the First Year Experience office at Salem State, helping welcome and advise first-year students. From putting on events, to meeting with students, to holding success seminars, Patrick worked diligently with students to aid them in their transition to college. He thoroughly enjoys meeting and working with students in an effort to help them accomplish their academic and personal goals while at school.

Outside of work Patrick loves to keep active (tennis is his favorite sport), go on trips, visit new restaurants, and hit the beach or the mountains (depending on the season). Fun fact, prior to his career in higher education, Patrick managed professional tennis events across the world for over five years. 

Ryan Cadorette- Peer Advisor

Year: Junior
Major: Management with a concentration in Human Resources
Minor(s): Finance and Gender Studies

Hometown: Saco, ME

How did you pick your major: I wasn't sure of what I wanted to major in when I arrived but knew it would be in business. I am very analytical in nature and have great people management and leadership skills. After dabbling some in Corporate Finance and Accounting, I found that I still liked Finance enough to minor in it, but was looking for something more hands-on and people-oriented for my major. My friend convinced me to take a class in Human Resources and I fell in love it! In the HR world, change is always occurring which is something that excites me and convinced me to pick that as my major.

Favorite Class you have taken at Bentley: One of my favorite classes was ID 211 (Introduction to Gender Studies). I took this course freshman year because it fit into my schedule. To my pleasant surprise, I loved the class, the professor, and the material that was being taught so much that I decided to minor in Gender Studies. The course taught me to look at people in a different way and that we tend to judge people based society's expectations of gender. I'm hoping to tie in this diversity and gender education to my work in HR to help promote diversity and equality in the company that I work for.

Internship: Human Resources Intern, Employee Relations (ER), TD Bank, Portland, ME.

Bentley Student Activities you have been involved in: Men's Cross Country, Men's Track and Field, Bentley Center for Women and Business, Office of Undergraduate Admissions (tour guide), GESAC, Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Intramurals.

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor: The Peer Advisors can relate to busy schedules, the stress that can come with picking classes and meeting your class requirements. This provides students with an opportunity to voice their concerns and questions with someone who understands what they are talking about and have had similar experiences.

One piece of advice you have for students: First, make the most out of your time at Bentley and take the initiative to become involved. Second, remember to live and enjoy the moment. Lastly, be true to yourself and find happiness from within. If you're happy with who you are, others will be too. 

Sowmya Gadiraju- Peer Advisor

Year: Junior
Major: Economics-Finance
Hometown: Plainsboro, NJ

How did you pick your major: I have always considered myself to be a numbers person and coming into Bentley I wanted to explore that interest. After taking GB112 and GB212, I solidified my interest in interpreting data and finding trends so pursuing a major in finance only seemed natural. It was only after taking my first economics class that I thought a major in Economics-Finance would be a great way to combine theory with analysis. 

Favorite class you have taken at Bentley: So far, my favorite class at Bentley has been Introduction to Econometrics (EC361). It built upon statistical topics from GB213 by incorporating economic theory. I took it along with a finance course and it was really interesting to see how the topics applied to other classes as well.  Aside from my major courses, a sociology course called Human Trafficking & Global Slavery was extremely eye-opening and made me more aware of the pervasive practices that still exist today. 

Bentley student activities you have been involved in: South Asian Student Association, Delta Sigma Pi, CRAZE Hip Hop Dance Crew

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor: Peer advisors have been trained to give quality assistance on academic topics. The fact that we're students who have recently been through the same situations or asked the same questions allows students to relate a little more to what we have to share.

One piece of advice you have for students: Get involved! From my experience, being involved and devoting myself to leadership positions has helped me grow in so many ways. It has been a great way to meet people, learn from new perspectives, and develop professional skills all while having fun! 

Julia Kenney- Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
Major: Management concentrating in Supply Chain & Operations; Liberal Studies Manor in Global Perspectives
Minor: Information Design and Corporate Communications
Hometown: Hubbardston, MA

How did you pick your major:  Growing up, my mom was a consultant for a wireless consulting and systems integrations company. Her passion and dedication to her work inspired me to follow in her footsteps. After talking with Bentley staff and consults in the field I decided that Bentley’s management major was best suited to meet the needs of my future career. Over the past three years I have added a LSM, minor, and concentration to further tweak my skill-set to match my goals.

Favorite class you have taken at Bentley:  My favorite class at Bentley was Global MG Decision Making (MG-3900). This class included many hand-on activities and experiences in the field. We visited local companies to understand their management structure and decision making processes. Additionally, we traveled to Scotland where we visited a local academic retreat as well as attended lectures and explored Scotland’s rich culture.

Internship(s): CVS, Deloitte, Acorio

Bentley student activities you have been involved in:  Bentley Best Buddies, Bentley Circle K, Bentley’s Blood Drive, Studied abroad in Australia, Three semesters of Service Learning

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor:  A student should visit a peer advisor so they can understand how to achieve all of their academic goals while balancing other sports, clubs, and activities. A peer advisor can help a student realize a path that they never knew was possible. We are here to be your sounding board so you can investigate your options and choose the one best fit for your time at Bentley.

 One piece of advice you have for students: My one piece of advice to a student would be to not come into Bentley with preconceived notions on the “best” major or path. Every student will have a completely different experience at Bentley. If you want to do something explore your options and utilize the resources around you. You never want to look back and ask why you didn’t study abroad, or compete in a case competition, or join a club. 

Cara Partridge - Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
Major: Actuarial Science
Minor: Finance and Business Studies
Hometown: Pittsfield, MA

How did you pick your major: Coming into Bentley, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in but I loved math and had heard about the growing Actuarial program. After taking a few math courses and talking with some professors, I found that it seemed like the perfect fit for me.

Favorite Class you have taken at Bentley: MA 215 Math of Sports. It combines my favorite things.

Internship(s): Business Banking Intern, Greylock Credit Union; Actuarial Internship Program, Liberty Mutual

Bentley student activities you have been involved in:  Bentley Women’s Rugby, Service-Learning, Certified Bentley Leaders, Intramurals

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor:  Picking classes can be confusing and it can be difficult to know what your requirements are and how to meet them. Peer advisors can help you with these questions and relate to the stresses and pressures you’re under. They are a convenient resource for any questions that pop up no matter how small.

One piece of advice you have for students: Don’t wait to get involved! There’s a lot of opportunity to grow and meet new people simply by putting yourself out there.

Amanda Pine- Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
Major: Economics and Finance
Minors: Management and Law
Hometown: Suffield, CT

How did you pick your major: I have always enjoyed economics classes ever since I took microeconomics in high school. I also found the financial aspects of GB112 and 212 really interesting. I decided on economics and finance as a major so I could focus on both of these interests and gain a well-rounded knowledge of the factors that influence markets and economies.

Favorite class you have taken at Bentley: My favorite class that I have taken at Bentley is LA402, or Moot Court. This class gave me the opportunity to compete in both a regional and national competition in which I prepared arguments related to constitutional law and argued them in front of judges. This class vastly improved my public speaking skills and my ability to think on my feet. I would definitely recommend moot court to anyone interested in law and academic competitions.

Bentley student activities you have been involved in: Bentley Speech and Debate Society, Moot Court, Adamian Law Club, Residence Hall Association, Colleges Against Cancer, Student Ambassador Program

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor: Selecting majors, minors, and classes is not an easy task, and it can be especially stressful when you think about all of the requirements necessary to graduate from Bentley. Peer advisors are available to help take away some of that stress, and are great resources that can help answer any questions students might have. We are very willing to help out, especially since we are students who know exactly what you are going through!

One piece of advice you have for students: Don’t be afraid to get involved in extracurricular activities in college. Many of my best experiences at Bentley have been related to the clubs and organizations I joined on campus. They can truly help you grow as a person and are a great way to meet people.

Jessica Solomon- Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
Major: Marketing
Hometown:  Washington, CT

How did you pick your major:  Understanding why consumers buy the things they buy has always interested me. After taking both marketing and statistics classes at Bentley, I knew that analyzing trends in the marketing was right up my alley.

Favorite class you have taken at Bentley:  My favorite class was MK 322 (Marketing Research). This class allowed me to pursue my interests and helped me succeed in my internship.

Internship(s): Development Intern, Women’s Center of Greater Danbury; Marketing Intern, Democratic National Committee; Insight Analyst, My-Take LLC.

Bentley student activities you have been involved in:  Bentley Women’s Center, Adamian Law Club, Peer Wellness Educator

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor:  College can be stressful! Being able to talk to someone who knows exactly what you’re going through can really help.

One piece of advice you have for students: Take advantage of every opportunity, but don’t overdo it. I love getting involved with clubs, attending conferences, and participating in campus events, but I also know when I need to take some time for myself. It’s very rewarding when you find the right balance.

Alexandra Thompson- Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
Major: Corporate Finance and Accounting
LSM: Ethics and Social Responsibility
Hometown:  New Gloucester, Maine

How did you pick your major:  The only thing I was sure of when arrived at Bentley (other than knowing I wanted to work in business) was that I liked working with numbers. I enjoyed the concepts learned GB 112 and 212, and after taking a couple of other finance/accounting courses I knew that it was what I wanted to do. As far as my LSM, I found a love for philosophy and learning about ethical principles in PH 101.

Favorite class you have taken at Bentley:  PH 251 (Ethics) is probably my favorite class I’ve taken at Bentley. It was challenging, thought provoking, and taught me the importance of thinking critically while remaining open-minded.

Internship(s): Financial Planning and Analysis, BAE Systems

Bentley student activities you have been involved in:  Women’s Bentley Ultimate Society, Service-Learning 4th Credit, Certified Bentley Leaders, Intramurals

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor:  Course registration can be stressful for many students. Having to choose classes that fulfill several requirements while making sure to complete pre-requisites for future classes, along with many other considerations, is a lot to handle and think about all at once. Peer advisors have gone through the very same stresses and not only want to help other students with this process, but also are well-trained to do so.

One piece of advice you have for students: Class requirements, work commitments, and all other circumstances permitting, I would 100% recommend studying abroad. I spent the spring 2016 semester studying in Dublin, Ireland and traveling throughout Europe, and it was the most amazing, challenging, and eye-opening experience I have ever had. Spending 4 ½ months living in a different country and culture, and traveling to several historical cities made me even more independent and responsible, and helped me grow as a person more than I ever imagined it would.