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
Kristina Aikens

Kristina AikensProgram Director, Writing Support
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kristina received her PhD in English from Tufts, during which time she taught English 1 and 2 and tutored as a graduate writing consultant. She has also tutored and taught classes in academic and creative writing at several local colleges. Kristina loves working with the writing fellows and graduate writing consultants to help them reach their goals and potential as educators.


Kirsten Behling

Kirsten BehlingAssociate 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. 


Tobias BennettTobias Bennett - Academic Resource Advisor, SMFA at Tufts
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Tobias is the on-site liaison for any student with a disability enrolled in courses at SMFA at Tufts. He also serves as an academic advisor for BFA students and coordinates academic resources for undergraduates at the SMFA campus. BFA students may also contact Leah Gadd, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Advising, or any other member of the StAAR team for assistance.


Samantha BrumerSamantha Brumer - Accessibility Services and Assistive Technology Specialist
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Samantha offers students one-on-one support by determining and implementing accommodations, and by collaborating with students to find assistive technology that works for them. Sam also collaborates with staff and faculty regarding digital access and universal design for curriculum. 


Kimberly DoanKimberly Doan - Associate Director, Accessibility Services
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

A former Jumbo, Kimberly currently advocates for accessibility needs across campus while providing individual support to students through implementation of reasonable accommodations. She encourages student growth through disability counseling and academic skill-building to students, while supporting the StAAR Center administrative team.


Julie GagliardiJulie 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.


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. 


Jeannine LenehanJeannine M. Lenehan Administrative Coordinator
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Jeannine has over 15 years of experience working with students and faculty in a university and community-based education setting. Jeannine studied the interrelation of the psychological and social health of children, media & child health, and how a child’s healthy attachments positively influence them and help foster their resilience. She enjoys working with the StAAR team, helping students and all members of the Tufts community.


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! 


Kate Pillette

Kate Pillette - School Psychology and Learning Specialist
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kate provides direct service to students in one-on-one and small group settings. She assists StAAR students as they transition to postsecondary education by helping them enhance their academic skills, with an emphasis on self-advocacy. She also collaborates with faculty and staff to develop inclusive learning environments and campus-wide programming.


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!


Mary Ellen Vigeant

Mary Ellen Vigeant - Student Accessibility and Academic Resource Specialist, Fletcher School
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Mary Ellen supports students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy as an academic resource coach and as a point of contact for students with disabilities. She meets with students to provide time-management support and organize workshops (including for test strategies and paper writing), and determine what accommodations a student may need.



Academic Mentors
Name Program
Meghan Butler School Psychology (MA)
Mikaila Christopher School Psychology (MA)
Sarah Elahi Child Study and Human Development (MA)
Stephanie Engel Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (PhD
Gabby Gutierrez Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MA)
Samira Manzur Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MA)
Stefan Tschauko Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (PhD)



Academic Skills Consultants
Name Program
Meghan Butler School Psychology (MA)
Mikaila Christopher School Psychology (MA)
Sarah Elahi Child Study and Human Development (MA)
Stephanie Engel Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (PhD
Gabby Gutierrez Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MA)
Samira Manzur Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MA)
Stefan Tschauko Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (PhD)



Accessibility Student Support


Jocelyn Arroyo






Community Health

Graduate Writing Consultants
Name pronouns Program
Rebecca Aberle   English
Isa Aguirre-Kelly   Diversity and Inclusion Leadership
Neela Cathelain   English
Gabriela Garcia   Biology
Genevieve Hay   English
Hannah Herndon   English
Sarah Iuli   English
Patrece Joseph   Child Study & Human Development
Gina Mantica   Biology
Matt Messer   English
Amy Meyer   Theatre and Performance Studies
Lee Nevitt   English
Emily Palermo   English
Taylor Parrish   English
Jared Pence   English
Zoë Perot   English
Jana Purington   Studio Art
Alex Ruggeri   English
Neelum Sohail   History
Nicola Solly   English
Bekah Waalkes   English
Subject Tutors
Name Program
Meghan Butler School Psychology (MA)
Mikaila Christopher School Psychology (MA)
Sarah Elahi Child Study and Human Development (MA)
Stephanie Engel Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (PhD
Gabby Gutierrez Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MA)
Samira Manzur Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MA)
Stefan Tschauko Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (PhD)




Writing Fellows
Name pronouns Year Major
Luke Allocco he/him 2021 Political Science
Florence Almeda she/her 2022 Community Health
Joel Appel-Kraut   2022 Music, Sound, and Culture
Sara Barkouli she/her 2022 Sociology
Melanie Becker she/her 2021 Cognitive Brain Science
Nina Benites she/her 2021 Biology and English
Kamille Bernard she/her 2021 Political Science
Devina Bhalla she/her 2022 Sociology
Tobias Broucke he/him 2022 Political Science and Economics
Ruby Belle Booth (Head Fellow) she/her 2021 History and WGSS
Tim Chiang he/him 2021 Economics and English
Casey Cummings she/her 2023 Undeclared
Lauren Daukaus she/her 2021 Political Science and Economics
Paloma Delgado she/her 2023 Undeclared
Jake DePinto he/him 2023 Undeclared
Sophie Elia she/her 2023 Undeclared
Litzy Gastelum Arguelles   2022 Film and Media Studies
Gabrielle (Gabby) Garland she/her 2023 Undeclared
Grant Gebetsberger he/him 2021 International Relations
Nicholas Gourley he/him 2022 Economics and International Relations
Joseph Harmon he/him 2022 Biochemistry
Emily Henrich she/her 2023 Undeclared
Stephanie Hoechst (Head Fellow) she/her 2021 English
Anna Houston she/her 2022 Biopsychology
Olivia Lewis she/her 2023 Undeclared
Riya Malhotra she/her 2023 Undeclared
Kate Mulvehill (Head Fellow) she/her 2021 Peace and Justice Studies
Haruka Noishiki she/her 2021 International Relations and Psychology
Jessica Parillo she/her 2022 Political Science
Quinn Pham she/her 2021 International Relations
Raksha Ramanan she/her 2023 Undeclared
Gloria Revanche she/her 2021 International Relations
Andrew Rodgers he/him 2022 Religion
Eliana Rosenzweig she/her 2022 Biology
Jesse Ryan they/them 2021 Anthropology and American Studies
Gregory Saccone he/him 2023 Undeclared
Ana Salazar she/her 2022 International Relations
Evan Schwartz they/them or he/him 2021 English and Sociology
Meghan Smith she/her 2022 International Relations
Jada Sullivan she/her 2021 English
Cana Tagawa she/her 2022 Political Science and English
Madeira (Maddi) Thayer she/her 2021 Economics
Eli van der Rijn he/him 2022 ILVS
Katherine Wang she/her 2022 WGSS
Rachel Wang she/her 2022 Psychology
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.