Al Pari is a veteran educator with extensive experience in curriculum design and implementation, classroom instruction, assessment, experiential education, career coaching, academic advising and more. He most recently served as a math teacher, lead teacher and math department head at Paul Cuffee Upper School and as a part-time employee of the Crusade in a key role developing and facilitating our middle school Crusade Adventure and Academic Program (CAAP). He holds master’s degrees in counseling urban teaching, both from Providence College, and he earned his Bachelor of Science in management at Leslie College.
Alexa Morales earned a bachelor's in communications and a minor in leadership in May 2019 from the University of Rhode Island, where she was in the Talent Development Program. She mentored fellow undergrads in the URI 101 Mentoring program and was a SNAP Outreach worker for the URI SNAP Outreach Program, where she helped raise awareness about benefits of food assistance for service agencies. She is a 2015 graduate of Classical High School.
Ana Almeida is responsible for guiding a cohort of Crusaders known as the Honorific Team and their families through the college search, selection, and enrollment process at selective institutions. The mission of the Honorific Team is to ensure the Crusaders have the information and support needed to successfully get admitted and thrive at prestigious colleges/universities. Ana also guides the team in applying for scholarships and grants and maximizing all their financial aid resources. Previously, she served as an academic advisor for the Northfield Mount Hermon Upward Bound Program. Ana graduated from Hope High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Portuguese and Brazilian studies and political science from Brown University.
Andrew Bramson is responsible for setting overall goals and operational priorities that advance the College Crusade’s mission. He is a member of the Governor’s Workforce Board Career Pathways Advisory Committee, the RIDE Individual Learning Plan Committee, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Committee, and the Central Falls School District Board of Trustees. He also serves as a board member of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, is a trustee of Temple Beth-El, and was previously on the Advisory Board for Youth in Action. Prior to joining The College Crusade, Andrew held senior leadership positions at The Providence Plan, serving as development director, deputy director, and director of DataSpark, a cornerstone initiative of the organization that connects data and people to inform, empower, and inspire innovative decision making. He also worked as senior planner for the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission in Duluth, Minnesota. Early in his career, Andrew served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Hungary, where he taught environmental education and advised nonprofit organizations. A graduate of Leadership Rhode Island’s Class of 2015, he holds a Bachelor of Science in natural resources and environment from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Master of Arts in management from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota.
Anthony Mam graduated from Cranston High School East in 2007. He earned a Bachelor of Science in actuarial mathematics from Bryant University in 2011 and a Master of Science in college student personnel from the University of Rhode Island in 2013. Prior to joining the College Crusade as a high school advisor, Anthony worked at the Rhode Island School of Design and Roger Williams University as a residence hall director, and most recently at Brown University as a staff member at the Brown Center for Students of Color.
Antonia Urena serves as primary data entry specialist for data collected as part of the College Crusade’s extensive program survey administration efforts. Other duties include the generation of evaluation survey reports, maintenance of advisor caseload reports, updating Crusader records, and entry of program attendance and admissions data. She previously served as College Crusade admissions assistant.
Ashley Davega graduated from Hope High School in 2011 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Rhode Island in 2017. As part of URI’s Mentor/Tutor Internship program, she served as a student director and has student taught at many local schools. She has also worked as a software/hardware student technician for URI and as a software tester for the state of Rhode Island.
Ashlie Rockwood was born in Boston and graduated from Phillips Academy Andover in 2014. She then received a Bachelor of Science in public health and a minor in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2018. She moved to Providence and, before joining the College Crusade, worked as a counselor for the Girls Empowerment and Mentoring Support Program conducted by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
College Success Coach at Community College of Rhode Island Liston Campus
Belisa Nunez was born in the Dominican Republic, raised in Providence and graduated from Feinstein High School in 2010. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was a college advisor through Brown University for two years before earning her master’s in education in education counseling from Providence College.
Advisor at Central Falls High School and William E. Tolman High School
Bethania Ramos graduated from Woonsocket High School in 2013 and earned her Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies from the University of Rhode Island in 2017. Prior to joining our advisory staff, Bethania was a mentor at the Riverzedge Arts program in Woonsocket, interned as an academic advisor at the University of Rhode Island and worked as a college advisor at Woonsocket High School.
Carmen Vazquez is a former College Crusader and a recent graduate of Rhode Island College, where she earned her bachelor's degree in youth development. Carmen is passionate about helping young people reach their full potential and persevere.
Claire Denault attended Bryant University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in literary and cultural studies and Spanish in 2011. She later graduated from Middlebury College with a Master of Arts in applied Spanish, migration and development. Prior to joining the Crusade team as advisor at Cranston High School East, she taught high school Spanish at La Salle Academy.
In collaboration with the executive team, Dana Ginestet is responsible for setting overall goals and operational priorities that advance the College Crusade’s mission. She manages and evaluates the effectiveness of a comprehensive array of programs and services designed to improve college access and success for Rhode Island students. Dana’s career has been primarily focused in two areas: promoting civically and globally-engaged education and improving the economic health and resiliency of communities. Prior to joining The College Crusade, Dana served as a visiting faculty member at Providence College where she taught in the Global Studies and Public & Community Service Departments. For more than a decade, Dana managed large federally-funded projects to assist communities to rebuild following natural disasters and to promote economic development in low-income communities, locally and overseas. Early in her career, Dana worked as the Economic Development Coordinator for a neighborhood-based nonprofit in Providence. Dana holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science in community economic development from New Hampshire College. She earned a project management professional certification through the Project Management Institute in 2011.
Daniela Monge is a graduate of Wheaton College and earned her master’s in education from Providence College with a concentration in counseling in higher education. Prior to coming to the Crusade, she worked closely with at-risk individuals for four years at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
Advisor at Mount Pleasant High School and Evolutions High School
Emily McHugh is responsible for the College Crusade’s development strategy including special events, grants and individual donors. Emily has been with the organization for three years and has served as a development officer and special projects officer. Prior to joining the College Crusade, Emily served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Paul Cuffee School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rhode Island College, a Master of Professional Studies in legislative affairs from The George Washington University and a certificate of graduate studies in nonprofit management from Rhode Island College.
Erik Rossi is our mobile middle school advisor serving students at Highlander Charter Middle School, Founders Academy, Francis J. Varieur Elementary School, The Learning Community, The UCAP School Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts and Sophia Academy. He graduated from Central High School in 2011 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies from the University of Rhode Island in 2015. Prior to joining our advisory staff, he served as a peer advisor at URI and as a case worker for children and teens with developmental and physical disabilities.
Erin Twomey-Wilson oversees data and evaluation at the College Crusade to inform development, implementation, measurement and communication about the impact of student and parent programs. Prior to joining our staff, she served as an Underwriting Analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield and a Research Analyst for the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Erin holds a Master of Applied Statistics from Penn State University, a Master of Science in physics from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, a Bachelor of Science in Earth science from Bridgewater State University and an associate degree in liberal arts from Bristol Community College. She is a volunteer math tutor helping with high school equivalency test preparation for the Bristol Community College Adult Education Program through the Taunton Literacy Council.
Franshelyne Torres is our mobile high school advisor, serving students at Blackstone Valley Prep High School, The Met High School and Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College. She graduated from Cranston High School East in 2013 and earned a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from the University of Rhode Island in 2018.
Harry Moore III
Advisor at Paul Cuffee Middle School and West Broadway Middle School
Harry, a former Crusader and Rhode Island native, graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 2004. He attended the University of Rhode Island, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in human development and family studies in 2008. He has worked as a site director at the YMCA of Pawtucket and as a behavioral therapist at the Wrentham Development Center. He also served as literacy facilitator at the YMCA of Pawtucket and a study skills instructor for the College Crusade.
Heckerly is Crusade alumna who graduated from Classical High School. She received her associate degree in English from the Community College of Rhode Island, where she worked in the Office of Enrollment Services supporting families and students. She completed her bachelor’s degree in English at Rhode Island College, where she worked as a peer tutor at the Writing Center and in the Office of Academic Support. She joined the Crusade as an advisor at DelSesto Middle School.
Jailene Perez graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and is bilingual in Spanish. She has worked with students of all ages ranging from elementary school through college. She volunteered at RIC as a peer mentor to help assist first-year students with transitioning to college. She also was a teaching fellow at Generation Teach Steam Academy, teaching social studies at Nathan Bishop Middle School.
Jasmine Rivas Corado graduated from Central Falls High School in 2012 and earned her Bachelor of Arts in youth development with a concentration in theater and Japanese culture and a Certificate in Nonprofit Studies from Rhode Island College. Prior to joining the Crusade, where she was a middle school advisor in Central Falls, Jasmine worked for Rhode Island Write on Sports and served as a Warrior Fellow at Veterans Memorial Elementary School.
Jed Foley is responsible for our data systems, which manage student and program records in support of the College Crusade’s mission and objectives. Prior to joining our staff, he served as data manager for the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children, where he supported the BrightStars Quality Rating and Improvement System for early childhood education and care providers throughout the state. Jed holds a certificate in database administration from Northeastern University and a certificate in microcomputer applications from Providence College. He is also a long-serving volunteer at The Literacy Center in Attleboro, Massachusetts, where he leads a weekly class in digital literacy for adults.
Karol Ramirez graduated from the Academy for Career Exploration in 2013. She earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Spanish and sociology with a minor in psychology from the University of Rhode Island in 2017. Prior to joining our advisory staff, she served as an intern at Leviton Dual Language School in Providence, assisting students and teachers in a fourth-grade Spanish classroom.
Kristen Cyr works with the leadership team and key staff to communicate the impact of the College Crusade on students and families and increase the public’s understanding of the importance of college access and success. She previously worked for 12 years at the Community College of Rhode Island, where she coordinated media, developed and implemented communications and marketing campaigns, and helped tell the stories of successful students and college programs. She transitioned to that role after a career in newspapers, primarily as founding editor of the North East Independent, an award-winning weekly newspaper. She has been an adjunct instructor in the University of Rhode Island’s journalism department since 2004. A former president of the Rhode Island Press Association, she was Rhode Island’s representative on the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District 1 Executive Council for six years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from URI.
Advisor at Goff Middle School, Samuel Slater Middle School and Park View Middle School Grade 7
Linda Reyes attended DelSesto Middle School and graduated from Jorge Alvarez High School in 2011. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees in communication and political science from the University of Rhode Island in 2015. Prior to joining our advisory staff, she worked at Chamberlain International School and with the Young Leaders Fellowship at Jorge Alvarez High School, focusing on life coaching and personal development for students.
Lori Brown is responsible for performing general accounting duties for the College Crusade, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, cash management, account reconciliations and grant reporting. Prior to joining our staff, Lori most recently served as assistant to the president and administrative support manager for Children’s Friend, and before that as finance assistant and office manager for Day One. Lori has over 20 years of experience working for various nonprofits.
Advisor at Hugh B. Bain Middle School, Woonsocket Middle School – Hamlet and Villa Nova, and Deering Middle School
Manny Garcia, a former Crusader, attended Calcutt Middle School and graduated from Central Falls High School in 2013. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in human development and family studies, with a minor in Spanish, from the University of Rhode Island in 2017. Prior to joining our advisory staff, she worked as an advisor for our CAAP program and for Rhode Island Write on Sports. She also served as a fellow for the Central Falls School District and for the Rhode Island Secretary of State.
Melissa Giron is a former Crusader who recently graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s degree in health studies with a minor in general business. She previously worked as a case worker at Kaleidoscope Family Services providing one-on-one home and community-based support to her clients. She credits her former Crusade advisors for their support and mentorship during her middle and high school years.
Advisor at Shea High School and Blackstone Academy
Michael Neal graduated from Shea High School in 2012 and then earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass media communications from Rhode Island College in 2016. As a RIC undergrad, he served as clerical advisor for the Office of Academic Support and Information Services.
Monique Collins has 20 years of experience in overseeing the fiscal operations of social service agencies and educational organizations. She served most recently as Director of Finance for Day One, the Sexual Assault and Trauma Center of Rhode Island. She also worked in leadership for the International Institute of Rhode Island and was responsible for the financial systems at Beacon Charter School for the Arts, the International Charter School, and The UCAP School. Passionate about being part of a team that serves vulnerable populations, Monique possesses a thorough knowledge of accounting regulations and brings extensive expertise in federal, state, and local grants management. She has supervised numerous A-133 nonprofit audits and has served as staff liaison to numerous boards comprised of corporate leaders, social service providers, and industry stakeholders. Monique has also served on the board of directors for Warwick Figure Skaters and the Warwick Girls Ice Hockey Association and is a captain of multiple United States Tennis Association teams. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Rhode Island College and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from Johnson & Wales University.
Naglaa Gaafar is responsible for managing our postsecondary success programs and coordinating the work of our campus-based college advisory staff. She comes to the Crusade with more than 15 years of higher education programming, administrative and leadership experience. As a first-generation student, she has a career-long commitment and track record advocating for and supporting first-gen college students.
Naglaa spent 15 years of her career at the Community College of Rhode Island, one of our key higher education partners. In her most recent position as the coordinator of student retention studies/the College Crusade of Rhode Island retention and programming liaison, she revamped and expanded the Crusade Summer Bridge program, supporting our College Success Coaches in managing and monitoring Crusaders’ retention and success, establishing data-driven retention interventions to mitigate summer melt, promoting effective transfer paths for CCRI Crusaders, and establishing a strong network of college personnel to support them.
Naglaa holds a master’s degree in professional writing from UMass Dartmouth and certificate of certificate of advanced graduate study in applied linguistics from The University of Alexandria, Egypt. She is knowledgeable in higher education systems and policies and experienced in program development, management and team building.
Ranika Reyes is responsible for managing our Middle School Success program and coordinating the work of our middle school advisors as well as overseeing the admissions process for the Crusade. She previously served as our associate director of middle school operations and as middle school advisor. Ranika has also worked for the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership as an AmeriCorps volunteer, for the RI Key Program, and for CVS corporate headquarters. A former Crusader, Ranika graduated from Classical High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Rhode Island.
Ryan Durgin is responsible for all aspects of computer setup, installation, troubleshooting, service, upgrades and maintenance for the College Crusade. Prior to joining our staff, he served as IT support specialist for Neighbors Emergency Center and Optum Healthcare. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from the University of Rhode Island.
Sarah Lessard coordinates our advisory reporting system, oversees student program attendance and service data, and plays a key role in our daily communications with families and students. Previously she served as a College Crusade Middle School Advisor at schools in Cranston and West Warwick. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies, with a focus in family and community settings, from the University of Rhode Island. She also earned a T.E.F.L. certification from Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Spain.
Advisor at Esek Hopkins Middle School and Times2 Academy
Sebastian Cardenas, a native of New York, earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Bard College and was a mentor at Brothers at Bard and provided academic and social emotional support, as well as guidance on the college application process, for men of color in high schools from underserved communities. He also interned at the Swearer Center at Brown University and worked with the founding organizer of the Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) Black studies program.
Supriya Chaudhary holds a bachelor’s degree in youth development from Rhode Island College, and has spent the last three years working in community education at Gladstone Elementary School in Cranston and Esek Hopkins Middle School and Mary E. Fogarty Elementary School in Providence. In these roles, she assisted in organizing and facilitating educational plans in STEM programming to elementary-age students and advised middle school students in the LGBTQ community while supporting a safe space for self-expression.
Advisor at Gilbert Stuart and Nathan Bishop middle schools
Tai-Lei Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in justice, law and society from the University of Rhode Island, where she worked as a student mentor, resident assistant, and an undergraduate teaching assistant. Before joining the Crusade, she worked for Upward Bound in Boston creating cultural workshops and providing individual academic and personal counseling and support for students.
Taisha Pepin recently graduated from Rhode Island College with a double major in justice studies and sociology. She in bilingual and has been a translator for students. Taisha has done various volunteer work helping her community.
Tania Hurtado comes to the College Crusade from Roger Williams University, where she was assistant director of admissions for three years. She worked closely with high school guidance counselors and conducted engaging information sessions to prospective students and their parents. She reviewed more than 1,500 applications for admissions decisions each year.
Tania also brings strong coordination, event planning and outreach skills from her work as community development manager for the American Cancer Society, where she mentored more than 3,000 college student volunteers and managed six annual Relay for Life events. She recently completed a Master of Science in leadership at Roger Williams University and is fluent in Spanish.
Tim Costa graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He spent the last two years working for City Year Providence assigned to Roger Williams Middle School in Providence. He initially began as an AmeriCorps member then moved up to a team leader, which shifted his responsibilities from overseeing classroom management to leading a team of his own members and serving as the liaison between City Year and school administrators.
Victor Montanez, a former Crusader, graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 2010. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice and a minor in psychology from the University of Rhode Island in 2015. He first joined the Crusade as an advisor, serving at Esek Hopkins Middle School and Times2 Academy.
Yisel De Oleo is an educator and college access professional who has extensive experience designing, developing and implementing family engagement programs to support parent advocacy and college awareness for diverse, multilingual learner families.
Before joining the College Crusade, she was the MLL/EL family engagement fellow at the Rhode Island Department of Education, where she researched, design and tested multiple approaches to engage parents in activities to support student academics and developed the state’s first multilingual/English learner Student and Family Bill of Rights.
She previously worked as assistant director of college success for the Achievement First Charter Network in Connecticut, where she started her work as a college counselor, and brings several years of college admissions experience from her time at Eastern Connecticut State University
She recently completed her Master of Arts in Urban Education Policy at Brown University. Yisel was born in the Dominican Republic, raised in New York and is a fluent Spanish speaker.