Lisa Brandes, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Graduate Student Life

A Graduate School alumna, Lisa Brandes now serves as Director of the McDougal Center and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She received her B.A. in political science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and earned her M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale, specializing in international relations.

Since 1996, Lisa has worked with graduate student fellows, student leaders, administrators, and staff to develop a wide range of social and cultural events that enhance graduate student life. She provides recruitment assistance to departments and programs, oversees New Student Information and Orientation Week, plans school-wide dean’s events, and helps coordinate Commencement activities. Lisa also serves on working groups and projects to enhance student services and coordinates the graduate affiliate program with the residential colleges.

Lisa has served as an officer within regional and national political science associations and women’s groups. More recently, she has been active in graduate education issues and graduate student services networks within NASPA & NODA, writing articles, conducting research, and making conference presentations on graduate student life, especially student services, mental health, parenting, and orientation.

Lisa lives in the Westville neighborhood of New Haven with husband Scott McLean, son Charlie, and one elderly cat. She is active in local political, church, and community groups and enjoys gardening, baking, arts and scifi. Read more

Barbara Botti, Assistant to the University Secretary

Barbara Botti came to Yale in 2006 and joined the Office of the Secretary in 2014 as Assistant to the Secretary. She provides oversight for the diploma process and diploma-related inquiries. In addition, she coordinates inaugurations and provides support for the Associate Secretary and Director of Corporation Affairs. She worked previously for the Yale School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine. Prior to joining Yale, Barbara was employed as an Administrative Assistant to the Director of a Pharmacology Research Institute at Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

Heather Samson Calabrese, Director of Communications and Director of University Events

Heather Samson Calabrese joined the Office of the Secretary in October 2013. She oversees communications initiatives within the Office of the Secretary; major university events including Commencement; and university lectures including the Grand and Terry lectures. Prior to joining Yale, Heather was an independent nonprofit consultant and the chief operating officer of United Way of Greater New Haven. She is active in Greater New Haven civic efforts and serves on several community boards, including New Haven Reads and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s Fund for Women and Girls. She is a fellow in Ezra Stiles College.

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Sarah Scott Chang, Director of the Resource Office on Disabilities

Sarah Scott Chang joined Yale in 2017, prior to becoming the director of the Resource Office on Disabilities, she served as Associate Director. Sarah manages the office that is responsible for coordinating services for all students with disabilities at Yale. The office partners with others throughout the University to ensure that guests with disabilities have the accommodations needed for a safe and robust experience while visiting on campus. Before coming to Yale, Sarah has worked in a number of settings dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities including serving as a disability advocate in Joplin, Missouri, as a support coordinator for a number of residential facilities, and as a resource coordinator at Washington University in St. Louis. Sarah has a bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Missouri and her juris doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill.

Ryan Croteau, Program Coordinator

Ryan joined the Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life in March 2017. In her role she supports various communications initiatives, including website development and social media; major University events, and manages the Baccalaureate Ceremonies. Ryan has been at the University since 2011, and previously served in various administrative and communications roles at the Office of the Vice President for West Campus and Human Resources.

Andrew Forsyth, Assistant Secretary for Student Life

Andrew Forsyth joined the Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life in August 2017, and principally supports Secretary Kimberly Goff-Crews in her work involving students and student life. This work includes: diversity, equity, and inclusion, Yale Well, Yale Connect, and the Schwarzman Center. Andrew’s ongoing duties include support for the Secretary’s advisory committees, Woodbridge Fellowship, Terry Lectures, Porter & Field Prizes, university calendar committee, and trustees’ engagement with students.

A 2017 Yale Ph.D. graduate, Andrew previously studied in his native Scotland, at Harvard as a Fulbright scholar, and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He has taught courses on law, morality, and religion in Yale College and Yale Divinity School, and is a fellow of Saybrook College. His first book was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019.

Kimberly M. Goff-Crews, Secretary & Vice President for Student Life

Kimberly M. Goff-Crews reports directly to the president and provides vision and management for three facets of the Yale experience – institutional governance, university traditions and events, and student life.  She was appointed to her position in August 2012. Read more

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Valentina Guerrero , Woodbridge Fellow

Valentina Guerrero graduated from Yale College in 2019 as an American Studies major with a concentration in Politics and American Communities. Valentina proudly served Pierson College as its Head First-Year Counselor, Head Aide, and Public Service and Social Justice Fellow. Valentina was a 2018 Domestic Policy Fellow at the Yale Institute for Social and Policy Studies. She also served at the U.S. Department of Labor - Civil Rights Center, writing federal policy papers on equal pay and national origin discrimination for the Director and Chief of Staff as a 2017 Women in Government Fellow.

As a Woodbridge Fellow, Valentina focuses primarily on student life with Secretary Goff-Crews and Andrew Forsyth. 

Burgwell Howard, Senior Associate Dean of Yale College, Associate Vice President of Student Life

Dean Burgwell “Burgie” Howard joined the Yale College Deans Office in August 2015, and serves as the Dean of Student Engagement within Yale College and Associate Vice President of Student Life at the University.

Dean Howard has made a career supporting students at colleges and universities, including those at Bowdoin College, Colgate University, Santa Clara University, Dartmouth College and, most recently, Northwestern University where he served as Asst. Vice President and Dean of Students.

He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford University. He loves dogs, lacrosse, tennis, skiing and meeting, and helping students. He never ceases to be amazed at the creativity and capacity of students. He enjoys exploring and contributing to the Yale community.

Sharon Kugler, University Chaplain

Sharon M.K. Kugler became the seventh University Chaplain to Yale in July of 2007. She came to New Haven from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where she had served as the University Chaplain since 1993.  Sharon has over two decades of experience in ministry in higher education, interfaith collaboration, pastoral and social ministry. Her main focus at Yale is to further cultivate a chaplaincy for students, faculty and staff which defines itself by serving the needs of the richly diverse religious and spiritual traditions on campus allowing for deeper dialogue, increased accessibility, personal growth, creative educational opportunities and pastoral leadership.  Sharon holds the appointment of Lecturer of Inter-Religious Engagement and Chaplaincy at the Yale Divinity School and is a contributing author to the recently published College & University Chaplaincy in the 21st Century: A Multifaith Look at the Practice of Ministry on Campuses across America.  She is the first woman, first lay-person and first Roman Catholic to hold this position at Yale.

Sharon is the past president of both the National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC) and the Association of College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA).  She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chaplains in Higher Education (IACHE).  In June of 2012 she hosted the Global Conference of Chaplains in Higher Education at Yale University welcoming over 450 participants from 25 countries and 11 religious traditions.  Sharon received her Masters degree from Georgetown University and is a member of the Theta Alpha Kappa National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology. Her masters thesis, “The Limits and Possibilities of Building a Religiously Plural Community” was used by the United States Department of Defense Office of the Chief of Chaplains as a training tool for new chaplains in the military. Sharon has received honorary doctorates from St. Joseph University in West Hartford, CT, Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA and Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT. She is married to Duane Isabella, has two daughters and four grandchildren.

Gena McGuire, Senior Administrative Assistant

Gena McGuire joined the Office of the Secretary as Senior Administrative Assistant in February 2018.

In this role she supports the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life while working on special projects as needed.  Before joining the Office of the Secretary Gena spent over a decade in New York City enjoying a successful career in hospitality management.

Gena is a professional musician and enjoys spending time with her husband, three sons, and dog.

Shannon McMahon, Executive Assistant to the Secretary & Vice President for Student Life

Shannon joined the Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life in January 2017. In her role as executive assistant, she reports directly to Kimberly Goff-Crews, supporting student life initiatives as well as the work of the Yale Corporation.  Shannon began her career at the University in 2011 at the School of Nursing.  Her previous experience spans over 20 years assisting high level executives in both the private and corporate arenas.

Elizabeth Quercia, Assistant Secretary for Governance

Liz Quercia joined the Office of the Secretary in June 2013. In her current role, which she assumed in December 2016, she supports the work of the Yale Corporation and the University Council. Previously she served as Communications Associate, speech writing and developing student-centered websites  in addition to supporting other communications activities of the office and division. In this role, she also helped manage various university events in support of the Director of University Events and staffed student life initiatives, including pilot programs of The Wellness Project. Prior to working at Yale, Liz was a writing tutor at Ithaca College, served as a mentor to high school students, and worked in various capacities at several non-profit arts organizations. She received a B.A. in English from Ithaca College in 2012.

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Kristine Rubano, Senior Administrative Assistant

Kristine Rubano joined The Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life in March 2016. In her role, she assists with the logistical operations of meetings and events for the Yale Corporation and University Council. She is responsible for all Yale Corporation and University Council related travel arrangements. In addition, Kristine coordinates university inaugurations, the distribution of regalia, and serves as the primary contact regarding application for the use of Woolsey Hall Rotunda.

Prior to joining Yale, Kristine worked in a variety of office settings in higher education, including admissions and residential life.  She earned a B.S. in Liberal Studies from Southern Connecticut State University.

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Christen Ruff , Assistant Secretary for Corporation Affairs

Christen Ruff joined the Office of the Secretary in December 2018 and supports the volunteer work of the Yale Corporation and University Council. She is responsible for designing and executing annual board meetings as well as supporting certain aspects of university events. Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary, Christen was Chief of Staff and Administration for the Department of Urology at Yale School of Medicine. In that role, she worked closely with the leadership team to lead, manage, and enhance department priorities, initiatives, and staff while also supporting the strategic growth of the department. One key initiative she created while in this role was the development of a resident wellness curriculum, the purpose of which focused on nurturing skills and creating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. Christen received her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Tennessee and her Master’s in Education from the University of Georgia.

Martha Schall, Deputy Secretary and Senior Director of Corporation Affairs

Martha Schall joined the Office of the Secretary in February 2015. In her role, she supports the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life in the areas of institutional governance, and university traditions and events. Martha leads the teams that support the work of the Yale Corporation, the University Council and University-wide events. 

Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary, Martha was President of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation. Previously, Martha served in a variety of roles in the Yale Office of Development, including as an Associate Vice President for Development and as the Managing Director of the Yale Alumni Fund. She earned a B.A. in History from Yale University, and an M.B.A. in Finance and Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Maria Trumpler, Director, Office of LGBTQ Resources

Maria Trumpler is the founding Director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources which has recently moved into new space in Founders Hall at 135 Prospect St. The Office of LGBTQ Resources provides education, outreach, and advocacy around issues of gender identity and sexual orientation.  Maria came to Yale in 1983 as a graduate student, and after receiving her PhD in 1992 in History of Medicine and Life Science, was an assistant professor in the History of Medicine.  After a few years making artisanal cheese in Vermont, she returned to Yale  in 2005 and also serves as Senior Lecturer in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, teaching the courses “Women, Food and Culture” and “History of Sexuality.”