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Advisor Biographies

Cathy Carlson - Associate Dean, Academic Services

  • Campus Address:  Jennison Hall, 3rd Floor
  • Phone Number:  781.891.2803
  • Email

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.


  • Campus Address:  Jennison Hall, 3rd Floor
  • Phone Number:  781.891.2903
  • Email Address:

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:  Jennison Hall, 3rd Floor
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 enjoys spending time with her daughter and two sons, one of whom has four legs and fur.  She loves reading, working out, dancing, and relaxing on Cape Cod.


Stephanie Bohler- Assistant Director, Disability Services

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 is a loving wife and enjoys spending time outdoors.  In particular, she is a big fan of kayaking, biking, 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 & New Student Academic Programs

  • Campus Address:  Jennison Hall, 3rd Floor
  • Phone Number:  781.891.2898
  • Email Address:

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, an enthusiastic uncle and godfather, and a very happy dad.

  • Campus Address:  Jennison Hall, 3rd Floor
  • Phone Number:  781.891.2090
  • Email Address:

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, spinning, dancing, singing, and spending time with her daughter, extended family, and friends.


Amy Weber- Senior Academic Advisor

  • Campus Address:  Jennison Hall, 3rd Floor
  • 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: Jennison Hall, 3rd Floor
  • 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. 


Susan Acton -Academic Advising Graduate Intern

  • Campus Address: Jennison Hall, 3rd Floor
  • Phone Number: 781.891.2803         
  • Email:

Hometown: Lexington, MA

Undergraduate Degree & Institution: B.S. Cellular & Molecular Biology, University of Michigan

Graduate Degree & Institution: Ph.D. Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco

Sue joined the Academic Services team this fall as a graduate intern.  She is a master’s student in the Higher Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Last year she was a Career Assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she assisted students in their internship and job search processes. She has also been a resident advisor, an admissions team member, and a dissertation committee member. She also currently volunteers at BreakThrough Greater Boston helping urban high school students apply to college.  In her previous career, Sue was a scientist in biotechnology. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing with her Golden retriever, reading, binge-watching Netflix, and eating chocolate. Sue is delighted to be at Bentley and is eager to support the undergraduates with their academic questions. Fun Fact, she has 32 issued U.S. patents and was the discoverer of the good cholesterol (HDL) receptor.

Peer Advisors

Lama Alshamri

Year: Junior

Major: Corporate Finance and Accounting 

Minor(s): Entrepreneurship 

Hometown: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 


How did you pick your major: During the summer of my first year in college, I took the initiative to work in the Research department of Ithraa Capital, an investment bank based in Saudi Arabia. I gained experience using Bloomberg database to find information pertinent to the global crude oil sector and Saudi stock market. Through this research, I developed strong analytical skills directly related to the fields of Corporate Finance and Accounting. I drew from this experience a basic understanding of financial markets as well as strategies for managing my time and the ability to work collaboratively. Based on this experience, I decided to major in Corporate Finance and Accounting.

Favorite Class you have taken at Bentley: My favorite class at Bentley was Issues & investigations in Sociology (SO 132). This course allowed me to see the world differently and view it in a different way. In the class, we discussed different interesting topics about culture, gender, race etc. In which as an international student I was able to see different point of views from people that have different backgrounds.

Internship: Financial Analyst Intern, Ithraa Capital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Bentley Student Activities you have been involved in: Young Arab Leadership Association (YALA).

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor: A student should visit a peer advisor so they can understand how to meet all their academic goals. Choosing the right course at the right time might be confusing, so a peer advisor is here to help you see your options and choose the best fit for your time at Bentley.

One piece of advice you have for students: Get involved! There are many organizations and events that you can join at Bentley, It’s a great way to meet new people, learn from new perspectives, and develop leadership skills. 


Austin Burlone - Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
Major: Accountancy

Hometown: Foxboro, MA

How did you pick your major: Having always been more interested in math classes growing up as opposed to other subjects, accountancy had always been the logical path. With three accountants in the family, I was exposed to this field far before I was able to take my first accounting class in college. After taking GB 112 and 212, I became confident that accounting was the career that I wanted to pursue. People label accounting as “The Language of Business” which makes it a great field to study!

Favorite Class you have taken at Bentley: One of my favorite classes was GLS 116 (International Relations). After enjoying a GLS course that I took during my sophomore year, I decided to take another course within this field. Because of the enthusiastic personality of the professor and the direct relation of the material to current world events, I was consistently drawn to the information being taught. I walked out of GLS 116 feeling that I had learned a great amount of material that I can apply to real world issues and every day discussions. 

Internship: Assurance Intern, EY, Boston, MA

Bentley Student Activities you have been involved in: EY Campus Ambassadors, Intramurals.

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor: The Peer Advisors understand many of the experiences that students are going through each and every day on campus. Their ability to share past experiences and give helpful tips will help students in enhancing all aspects of their academic journey.

One piece of advice you have for students: While classes and grades are important, try to limit your stress level! Be happy, always do your best work, and everything will work out in the end.


Ryan Cadorette- Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
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 my first 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: Compensation Intern, TD Bank, Portland, ME, 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. 


Lauren Giacomazzi- Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
Major: Accounting
Minor: Law
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

How did you pick your major: When I came to Bentley, I wanted to keep an open mind regarding what my major would be. I enjoyed taking GB 112 and 212 during my first year, but I still wanted to go one more semester undecided and explore more of the GBs. During the first semester of my sophomore year, I started working in the ACELAB as a tutor and found that I really enjoyed accounting and missed learning it in class, so I knew that accounting was the right major for me.

Favorite class you have taken at Bentley: My favorite class I took at Bentley was LA 108, or Moot Court. I took this class to fulfill one of my Arts/Science electives and as one of my minor courses. I loved this class because it gave me a small insight of what it would be like to be a student in law school. It greatly improved my research and writing skills and also made me significantly more confident in my public speaking skills.

Internship(s): Business Risk Intern at Deloitte

Bentley student activities you have been involved in: ACELAB Tutor, Service-Learning, Student Government Association, Dresses to Dreams, Studied abroad in Florence.

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor:  A student should visit a peer advisor because a peer advisor can best understand what the student is going through. Peer advisors have gone through the stress of course registration or having to balance schoolwork with extracurricular activities. We not only want to help other students, but also are well-trained to do so. We are here to make students aware of their options and help them make the best decisions for their time at Bentley!

One piece of advice you have for students: My one piece of advice to a student would be to get involved on campus as early as possible. Being involved in different clubs and organizations makes your college experience way more fulfilling! I also would recommend for students to take risks. Some of the best experiences I’ve had at Bentley thus far have been times where I have stepped outside of my comfort zone and took a risk, knowing I had the support of the Bentley community behind me.


Eric Kerstens- Peer Advisor

Year: Junior
Major: Marketing; Liberal Studies Manor in Quantitative Perspectives
Minor: Computer Information Systems
Hometown: Southborough, MA

How did you pick your major: In High School, I began studied business my first year and continued throughout graduation. Junior year I had the opportunity to operate the school store and complete a business plan for the Learn and Earn category in DECA. After receiving exposure to various business concentrations, both academically and in practice, I found that I loved Marketing and the array of available paths within the major. I’ve also always had a passion for mathematics and computer science, and I have found that Marketing can tightly incorporate these topics.

Favorite class you have taken at Bentley: My favorite class I have taken at Bentley was MA 309 – Game Theory with professor Hadlock. I loved taking a primarily discussion based math class, and the underlying logic and method of thought taught through the material was fascinating, engaging, and very different from anything else I have taken at Bentley.

Internship(s): Insights Analyst, My-Take; Summer Database and Application Developer Intern, MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Bentley student activities you have been involved in: Delta Sigma Pi, Conversation Partners, one semester of Service Learning.

Reasons why students should visit a peer advisor: A student should visit a peer advisor to better understand how to achieve their academic goals while balancing other elements of life. 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. Meeting with a peer advisor might key you in to options you never knew existed, or help you navigate your options when you’re struggling.

One piece of advice you have for students: My one piece of advice to a student would be to come to Bentley with an open mind. Explore various majors and pick the one best suited for you; you might find a passion for an area of study completely different from what you expected when you first came to 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. Keep an open mind and find something to love on campus. 


Tymber Long- Peer Advisor

Year: Junior

Major: Managerial Economics with a Concentration in Law

Minor: Finance

Hometown: Lincoln, NE


How did you pick your major: My high school economics classes were interesting to me, so I knew that was an area I wanted to pursue at the collegiate level.  I went back and forth between Economics-Finance and Managerial Economics, but ultimately decided I liked the ability to declare a concentration and the managerial element.

Favorite classes you have taken at Bentley: One of my favorite classes was ID 306-Community Service in a For-Profit Organization.  This class is unique because of its Service-Learning and “externship” components.  I feel like the networking element that this class provided me has opened so many doors for me and my classmates.

Internships: Compliance/Legal Intern, Loomis Sayles & Co.; Customer Relations Intern, U.S. Home Mortgage.

Bentley student activities you have been involved in: Ambassadors, Service-Learning, Student Conduct Board, Phi Sigma Sigma, Women in Leadership Floor, Bentley Cheerleading Squad.

Reasons why you should visit a peer advisor: Peer advisors are students just like you!  It can be helpful to talk to someone who has been in your shoes.

One piece of advice you have for students: Get involved early on!  Join any clubs and activities you think you might be slightly interested in.  Later on you can tailor your interests to what best suit you.

Manushi Patadia- Peer Advisor

Year: Senior
Major: Actuarial Science and Business
Minors: History
Hometown: Glastonbury, CT

How did you pick your major: I have always enjoyed math classes and decided to look into careers in the math field. A career counselor mentioned Actuarial Science and I shadowed actuaries to learn more about what they do. I found the career both interesting and mentally stimulating, the perfect balance between math and business, and therefore decided to take actuarial classes in college.


Favorite class you have taken at Bentley: My favorite class that I have taken at Bentley is MA 307, or Math of Computer Graphics. Though this was a math course, it allowed me to develop my creative skills by creating computer images and animations, while also gaining programming experience. I would recommend to math majors who want a more creative class, and non-math majors who want to take a fun elective.

Bentley student activities you have been involved in: Bentley Chamber Orchestra, Bentley South Asian Student Association, Bentley Microfinance Group

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 can 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: There are so many great resources on campus that are available to you. If there is anything for which you need some help and guidance, academically or not, Bentley has resources dedicating to making sure you succeed. Be sure to take advantage of all these resources!