About the StAAR Center

The StAAR (Student Accessibility and Academic Resource Center) values the diverse educational and cultural experiences of every student and promotes access to an inclusive and collaborative learning environment. As a team and as individuals, we foster students’ educational growth and awareness, self-advocacy and resiliency as it relates to their Tufts academic experience and beyond. Our initiatives engage students, faculty and staff to proactively support the learning needs of the Tufts community.   The StAAR Center offers a variety of resource support to all students in the Schools of Arts and Science, Engineering, the SMFA and Fletcher.

The StAAR Team
Kirsten Behling

Kirsten Behling Associate Dean of Student Accessibility and Academic Resources
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kirsten oversees the day to day management of the office. She also is responsible for determining reasonable accommodations, working with students and educating faculty. Ms. Behling also fosters collaborative relationships across campus, working to ensure that each aspect of the collegiate experience is inclusive for all. 


Kristina Aikens

Kristina Aikens Program Director, Writing Support
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kristina received her PhD in English from Tufts and oversees the writing support programs through StAAR. Kristina loves working with the writing fellows and graduate writing consultants to help them reach their goals and potential as educators. She also specializes in working with graduate students, multilingual writers, and students with writing blocks or anxiety.


Hazel Cheng - Disability Specialist Fletcher

Hazel Cheng - Disability Specialist-The Fletcher School

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hazel Cheng is the Disability Specialist for the Fletcher School. Hazel received her Master’s in Special Education from Bridgewater State University. She is originally from Hong Kong, and immigrated with her family to the U.S. 20 years ago but has been in Boston ever since. She has lived in Chicago, IL and Madison, WI. Hazel is fluent in Cantonese and can write in Chinese.


Lee Friedman - Office Coordinator
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

From answering phones and emails to greeting new arrivals to the center, Lee will likely be your first point of contact at the StAAR Center. They come to the center with experience in program coordination and administration, and informal education. Lee is excited to help connect students with all the resources available at StAAR!

Julie Gagliardi

Julie Gagliardi Academic Coach
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Julie works with undergraduate and graduate students across campuses to help them develop academic skills. She can help you with study strategies, managing your time, and a variety of other topics. Julie also leads workshops at the StAAR Center.


Hannah HerndonHannah Herndon Writing Resources Specialist
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hannah provides individual writing support to students and coordinates the Writing Fellows Program. At Tufts, she has served as a Graduate Writing Consultant and taught in the First Year Writing Program while earning her PhD in English. She has also taught literature at other local institutions. Hannah enjoys helping students find empowerment through the collaborative process of writing.


Catherine JohnsonCatherine Johnson Academic Coach
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Catherine is passionate about helping guide students on their paths to success. At Tufts, she assists both undergraduate and graduate in creating academic goals and developing the academic skills necessary to reach those goals. 



Albert "A.J" Lyman

Albert "A.J." Lyman - Office Administrator
Pronouns: He/Him/His

A.J.’s primary role at the StAAR Center is to provide support for students looking to register for housing, academic, dining or parking accommodations. He is happy to assist students with registration, as well as to answer any questions prospective students or their parents have about the StAAR Center or the services we offer. He is also responsible for running the exam proctoring center at the StAAR Center. Despite growing up in Connecticut, A.J. is an avid Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins fan – feel free to stop by the office any time to talk about last night’s win! 

Monica MorinMonica Morin Academic Coach
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Monica works with students to find balance through building fundamental skills in time management, study strategies, exam stress, and much more! Monica is passionate about helping students unlock their full potential to reach their academic goals. 


Jesse Neikrie – Accessibility Specialist
Pronouns: Sher/Her/Hers
Jesse is the Accessibility Specialist for the School of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. She works with undergraduate and graduate students with documented disabilities, providing accommodations and supporting them throughout their time at Tufts.

Katie Swimm

Katherine Swimm - Associate Director of Academic Support
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Katie received her PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at Tufts. Katie has worked at Tufts as a Graduate Writing and Public Speaking consultant and most recently managed the subject tutoring and study group program. She is excited to assist students across the university in meeting their academic goals!

Accessibility Student Support


Jocelyn Arroyo






Community Health

Location and Hours

The StAAR Center Main Office:

  • Tufts University, Dowling Hall- Suite 720
  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm

*Please note the StAAR Center will be Remote on Fridays.

The Writing and Academic Coaching Centers

  • Tisch Library- Rooms 128 and 130 (One Level from the Main Entrance)
  • Hours: Monday-Sunday, Reservations Required

Please see the accessibility map, the interactive campus map, and the parking map for more information.

Contact Us

Phone: 617-627-4539

Fax: 617-627-5447

Email: StAARCenter@Tufts.edu

Social Media:



Student writing a equation wearing a Tufts shirt.