Professional Recruitment

Housing and Residence Life Staff

The Housing and Residence Life staff work together to provide an outstanding on-campus experience for you!

In collaboration with one another under the guidance of the Executive Director, the Associate Directors direct the day to day activities of Housing and Residence Life Office in two distinct areas: Operations and Residence Life. This includes oversight of the contract process, assignments and the overall condition of our residence halls, as well as engaging students in the residence halls, creating an inclusive residential environment, and providing a safe home away from home.

The Residence Life staff is composed mostly of Student Staff (Service Assistants and Resident Assistants), Assistant Community Directors (ACDs), and Community Directors (CDs), who live with the residents in the halls. They are responsible for creating programs for their communities, counseling residents through roommate conflicts, and policy enforcement.

Mission Statement

The Office of Residence Life, in collaboration with other key University resources, is committed to providing a quality residential experience through our facilities, administration, counseling, dining services, and developmental programs that are engaging and beneficial to our residents’ academic success, safety, and personal growth.

Our Values

Transformative Experience

We are committed to creating experiences that transform a student’s knowledge of self and prepares them to successfully engage in activities that benefit and contribute to society; to pursue and excel in career paths that are aligned with their personal goals; develop career expertise and the capacity for life-long learning; and to establish lifelong connections with their peers, the community, and university.

Diversity

We are committed to creating and sustaining an inclusive environment where all members have the opportunity to thrive and which embraces and celebrates the diversity of all of its students and employees, provides economic affordability, and full equitable access to all the resources of the University.

Knowledge

We are committed to creating an environment that drives innovation, increases knowledge, and provides solutions for the social, economic, educational, and health care challenges of the culturally diverse communities of New Jersey and beyond.

Living In Montclair, NJ

About Montclair

Montclair State University is just 12 miles from all the excitement of New York City! Hop on a train from one of our two campus stations to catch a play, shop, visit a museum, or hit a hot new restaurant or club. Newark – New Jersey’s largest city – is minutes away and a hub for pro-sports within the Prudential Center along with big-name rock concerts, where the commencement ceremonies for our graduates are held every year and much more.

What’s To Love About Montclair

Downtown Montclair has a wide variety of offerings that span shopping, art, entertainment, and more. Check out the website below to explore what’s around our area!

Visit Montclair!

Transportation

With on-campus stops for several major bus lines, students can connect to the Big Apple just 15 minutes away as well as explore opportunities in their own neighborhood. The township of Montclair is well regarded for its arts programming, cultural attractions, small independent shops, and restaurants. NJ Transit buses provide immediate access to its three major commercial areas: the Upper Montclair Business District, Watchung Plaza, and Bloomfield Avenue.

The buses with on-campus stops include:

  • Decamp #66 to New York City
  • NJ Transit #28 from Newark to the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne
  • NJ Transit #191 from the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne to NYC via Little Falls
  • NJ Transit #705 from Passaic to the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne

Students can access the NJ Transit Midtown Direct service to NYC from the Montclair Heights train station at the South end of campus or the Montclair State University train station at the North end of campus.

Senior Management


Headshot of Jeanine Stroh.

Jeanine Stroh

Executive Director, She/Her/Hers

  • St. Peter’s University, Jersey City, NJ – B.A. in Elementary Education/American Studies
  • St. Peter’s University, Jersey City, NJ – M.A. in Education, Administration and Supervision Concentration
  • They Spend Their Time By: My family brings me joy! I enjoy watching my children grow and develop into strong and independent individuals. Watching them dance, act, sing, run, or just laugh make all of the hard times that come with parenting fade away. My favorite part of my job is working on the budget. I enjoy coming to work and sharing ideas and thoughts with members of my team! It is an added bonus when a student staff member wants to chat and learn more about me and share about them!

Kevin Schafer

Associate Director for Residential Support Services, He/Him/His

  • Siena College, Loudonville, NY – B.A. in Psychology
  • Montclair State University, Montclair NJ – M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling
  • They Spend Their Time By: Free time HA! I spend my free time with my two boys and enjoy every minute of it. There is so much to do in this area from hiking, fishing to go down the shore it depends on what you feel like doing today. I can help with students of concern, emotional support animals, housing occupancy management, team development and how to learn to laugh at oneself. The ResLife team is one of the hardest working teams on a college campus but we are also a group of people that can depend on one another and laugh and have fun!

Tara Melor

Tara Mellor

Associate Director for Residence Life, She/Her/Hers/They/Them/Theirs

  • SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY – B.A. in Communication Studies
  • Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY – M.Ed
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN/Peabody Online – Ed.D in Leadership and Learning in Organizations (Expected Completion – December 2021)
  • They Spend Their Time By: Most of my time is spent with my family. I have an awesome partner, Ian, two children, Evan (5) and Ainsley (1), and a cat named Kona (8). The rest of my time is spent reading/writing/studying. I also love to travel, cook, eat, read, and play games. I love living in this area, the restaurants are amazing and it is easy to get into the city. Brookdale Park is a great place to be active or just chill with a book. They also have some great concerts and craft fairs. Favorite restaurants in the area include Mesob, Laurel and Sage, Fin, De Novo, and The Crosby. I love all the different aspects of residence life and appreciate the exposure we get to so many pieces of student affairs, human resources, leadership development, etc. Within our department, I have a lot of institutional knowledge and I am open to helping with anything.

Thea Dyer

Assistant Director for Residence Life – Facilities, She/Her/Hers

  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – B.A. in Fine Arts Education
  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – M.Ed. in Special Education
  • They Spend Their Time By: In Residence Life, you can find me following up on work orders, facilities issues, and planning future residence hall projects. I enjoy having the opportunity to propose and help implement projects and renovations for our buildings that greatly improve a resident’s experience in our halls. Outside of work, you can often find me around town in areas where people walk their dogs as I live vicariously through them as a hopeful dog owner one day. When I’m not swooning over someone else’s dog, I enjoy spending time with my two cats, Theodore and Oliver, traveling, getting lost in NYC, and checking out some cool art in museums.

Tory Elisca

Assistant Director of Residence Life, She/Her/Hers

  • Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ – B.A. in Biological Sciences & Psychology
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA – M.A. in Student Affairs in Higher Education
  • They Spend Their Time By: Residence Life related, I focus a lot of my time on professional staff recruitment, selection, training, and development. I also supervise the Residence Life live-on team for the West Neighborhood. I’m actively involved with MACUHO. Outside of work, I’m either baking something from scratch in the kitchen, visiting with family, or spending time outside. Being outside is my favorite: taking walks with my children, time at the playground with them, gardening, jumping in puddles, and looking up at the stars.

Genicka Voltaire

Assistant Director of Residence Life, She/Her/Hers

  • Cabrini College, Radnor, PA – B.A. in Psychology and Political Science Double Major
  • Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV – M.A. in College Student Development and Administration, Multicultural Issues Concentration
  • They Spend Their Time By: I love musicals. For almost two years now, I have tried to see a broadway musical once a month since we have such easy access to New York City. In my free time, I enjoy reading, being outside, and watching Netflix and Hulu. I was born and raised in Philly and it is where most of my family resides, so I visit my niece Chloe and my friends in that area. I like breakfast places in this area and a few lunch/dinner spots. My thirst for knowledge makes me a library of random information. So ask and I’ll try to answer.
Central Office and Administrative Secretaries


Headshot of AJ Primavera.

A.J. Primavera

Housing Assignments Coordinator, He/Him/His

  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – B.A. in Communication Studies
  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – M.A. in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Concentration
  • They Spend Their Time By: I have been a Red Hawk for almost 8 years (student and professional staff member) and every academic year I learn more about myself and this institution that makes me excited to keep going. I love learning from not only my co-workers, but also all of the students that I interact with. It makes me happy that I can contribute to their overall experience. Personally, I love spending time with my little family, my dog Parker, my cat Selena, and my partner Nick. I love exploring new places and traveling as much as I can while learning about history, culture, and fun things about the places I’m seeing!

Headshot of Stacy Robinson-McConnell.

Stacy Robinson-McConnell

Professional Services Specialist, She/Her/Hers

Linda Purn

Business Administrator, She/Her/Hers

  • They Spend Their Time By: I have been at Montclair State University for eight years! Most important to me is the time I spend with my family and friends. I like reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, and traveling. My favorite vacation spots are Myrtle Beach and Aruba. Most recently I started ballroom dance lessons, which I’m really enjoying.

Headshot of Lorraine Thierry.

Lorraine Thierry

Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, She/Her/Hers

  • They Spend Their Time By: I have been working at Montclair State University as the Assistant to the Executive Director for nine years. “Gammy” loves spending time with family, especially my granddaughter, Olivia. I love spending time at the beach, especially Palm Beach in Aruba which I visit every year. In my spare time, I love putting on my jammies and curling up with a good book!

Headshot of Isabel Iparraguirre.

Isabel Iparraguirre

Administrative Assistant, East & West Campus, She/Her/Hers

  • Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY – B.A. in History 
  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – M.A. in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Concentration
  • They Spend Their Time By: In Residence Life, I like to consider myself a jack of all trades knowing a little bit about each area within our department and the people to connect students and professionals alike. Outside of work I enjoy reading a good book, spending time with family or trying a new restaurant or experience with friends. 
Community Directors

 


Headshot of Nicole Fiore.

Nicole Fiore

Community Director, She/Her/Hers

  • University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL. – B.S. in Interpersonal/Organizational Communications, Hospitality Management Minor
  • Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL – M.A.in Higher Educational Leadership
  • They Spend Their Time By: I was born and raised in New Jersey and moved to Florida when I was 13. I lived all over in Florida, and I am a huge fan of Disney! I have a small obsession with Star (Starbucks). I am an avid sports fan: New York Yankees and Giants fan all the way. I have a cat named Dexter who wears bowties. I love going to the movies, sporting events, Broadway shows, and watching Netflix or Hulu. In Student Affairs, I am passionate about recruitment, selection, training, and leadership. I love working with graduate students and mentoring students about housing and residence life.

Paige Hammond

Community Director, She/Her/Hers

  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ – B.A. in Political Science
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ – M.Ed. in Education
  • They Spend Their Time By: In my free time, I like to go to spend time in nature and with family and friends. You can often find me taking walks, going to the beach, playing games, and having picnics. My favorite hobby is absolutely cooking. I love trying new flavors, recipes, and sharing food with my colleagues and friends. On a Residence Life team, I enjoy the opportunity to mentor and help students develop both professionally and personally. I always like to try and find ways to connect what we are doing in the residence halls to things happening in current events. It helps keep the work interesting and is a reminder of how important and impactful this work is.

Kerri L. Johnsen

Community Director, She/Her/Hers

  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ – B.A. in History
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ – M.Ed. in Education
  • They Spend Their Time By: In my free time, I like to go to movie theaters, work out, play with my dog, and spend time with family and friends. Movies are definitely my thing; especially horror and superhero. I am new to the area, so I look forward to eating at new restaurants and finding my favorite spots for a night out.  When I am not out eating, I love to bake macaroons, cookies, and try out new recipes. In terms of Residence Life, I can be the go-to person when looking for leadership development and honing in on a variety of different skill sets related to interpersonal and community engagement.

Jahkahli Johnson

Community Director, He/Him/His 

  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – B.S. in Business: Marketing/Management
  • Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ – M.A. in Organizational Leadership: Higher Education
  • They Spend Their Time By: In my free time, I love to expand my mind by reading or watching documentaries, playing and watching basketball, and writing poetry. I aspire to publish two books by 2023. I also enjoy spoken word and watching amazing movies, such as Love Jones, Shawshank Redemption, The Man from Nowhere, Malcolm X, and YES Man—to name a few. My areas of expertise in Residence Life revolve around social justice and diversity, community building, programming, and selflessly assisting students on their paths towards their present and future goals. I truly believe that helping someone identify and embrace their true self brings them closer to their purpose on the journey. My motivation to lead grows by seeing the amazing efforts the RAs and SAs put towards their leadership roles and by being surrounded by genuine energy and good people. 

Garry Jones

Garry Jones

Community Director, He/Him/His 

  • Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ – B.A. in Theatre
  • Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ – M.A. in Counseling in Educational Settings
  • They Spend Their Time By: In my free time, I am all about music. I listen to it, create it myself, and study it. I am a permanent student of rap music and hip-hop culture. My favorite thing to do in the area is to explore the many hidden gems and restaurants. What brings me the most joy is creating things that will outlive me. This is why I make music and follow any creative passions that grab me. My area of expertise in Residence Life is connecting with students, understanding their path, and determining how I can be a resource or figure of support in their personal/academic journey. I have a knack for guiding people to see concepts that they think they already understand from a different perspective. On a Residence Life team, I enjoy the opportunity to mentor and mold young minds as they grow and discover themselves. It is what keeps the work fresh and fulfilling.

Jason Smith

Community Director, He/Him/His

  • Felician University, Lodi/Rutherford, NJ – B.S. in Accounting
  • Felician University, Lodi/Rutherford, NJ – MBA
  • They Spend Their Time By: I like to play golf/basketball or watch sports. I workout as a way to decompress from work. I like to visit breweries and restaurants in the area. As far as residence life I feel like I am above average in the areas of student conduct and community building. I enjoy spending time getting to know the staff as people outside of the job.

Rebecca Stringham

Community Director, She/Her/Hers

  • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD – B.A. in Writing Seminars
  • The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. – M.A. in Higher Education, Student Affairs Concentration
  • They Spend Their Time By: One of my favorite ways to spend my free time is to take a long walk outside with my camera and my phone. A little fresh air, a little photography, and a little Pokémon Go are enough to destress me after a long week. I also love listening to music, watching end-of-the-world themed movies, reading, and being with my dog Missy. I was born and raised in New Jersey, then spent nine years in the Maryland/D.C. area until I recently returned to work here. I chose Residence Life as my career because I love working with college students to help them figure out who they are and what they want to succeed on. I most enjoy those 1on1 conversations and I’ve been told I’m a good listener, so if you ever need someone to chat with, let me know!
Assistant Community Directors


Karla Chicas

Assistant Community Director, She/Her/Hers

  • Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD – B.A. in Social Work, Spanish Minor
  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – M.A. in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Concentration (Expected Completion – May 2021)
  • They Spend Their Time By: My name is Karla, but my family and friends call me Karlita and I think it has to deal with the fact that I am 4’10. One of my favorite things to do in my free time is to go to museums, whether it’s art or history, I am a sucker for learning something new. I also love going to coffee shops and writing in my journal. I find joy in the simple things like re-watching old Disney channel movies or doing a face mask after a long hectic day. My faith also brings me a lot of joy. Furthermore, I feel like my “expert” area within Residence Life is building interpersonal relationships. I said before that I am a sucker for learning new things and that also applies when it comes to people. I enjoy learning about people and what makes them who they are and it always comes from a place of trying to understand because I realize that I am living one human experience out of a million. I think what I enjoy the most about working with the Residence Life team is the camaraderie that begins to form when you are among people who spend a lot of time together. I love knowing that I am not alone in this line of work and when a team of people grow together, enjoy each other’s company, and support each other’s strengths, it can only grow stronger.

Evan Griffin

Assistant Community Director, He/Him/His

  • Montclair State University, Montclair NJ – B.A. in Theatre Studies
  • Montclair State University, Montclair NJ – M.A. in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Concentration (Expected Completion – May 2021)
  • They Spend Their Time By: Hi! My name is Evan Griffin and I feel like I’m very creative! So I’m willing to step outside the box and try out new ideas! I’m into fashion (I feel joy when trying different outfits), I like taking walks to explore my surroundings, I enjoy a good laugh, I enjoy delicious food (especially when it’s free haha), and watching sports along with so many other things. When it comes to Residence Life, I enjoy being able to play a role in creating a safe and welcoming environment for undergraduate students throughout their time in college; especially at a place that nurtured me. Some ways of doing that include programming, great customer service skills, etc. I like to serve the needs of other people well, even sometimes above meeting my own needs.

Victoria Resto

Assistant Community Director, She/Her/Hers

  • Kean University, Union, NJ – B.A. in Psychology, Health Minor
  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – Master of Social Work
  • They Spend Their Time By: In my free time, I enjoy shopping, listening to music, car rides, spending time with friends/family, participating in yoga, and dancing salsa. My favorite things to do in the area would probably have to be getting Playa Bowls or picking up some crab legs. It brings me joy when I see others genuinely happy and comfortable in their own spirit and when I see crab legs. I feel that I am an expert in providing comfort when one may feel upset or confused in a situation as well as maintenance concerns. I always follow up with individuals who have expressed issues because I would want the same for myself. Many individuals usually go to me to vent about their day, if they need a laugh, or they have questions. I enjoy learning new things and making connections with people to share that wisdom with. I also love making sure everyone is comfortable in the environment which is what I enjoy most about working with Residence Life.

Maria G. Vasquez Garcia

Assistant Community Director, She/Her/Hers

  • Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ – B.S. in Psychological Sciences, Child Behavioral Services Concentration, International Studies Minor, and Certificate of Undergraduate Studies in Italian
  • Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ – M.A. in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • They Spend Their Time By: Hello! My name is Maria Guadalupe but you can call me Maria! I’m in the Counseling program which is a three-year program, so I’m here for a good time and a long time. During my free time, I love to dance and karaoke! I’m not the best singer, but I definitely love to be expressive and live a happy life. I also enjoy playing volleyball, and most other sports. I’m competitive, so card games and board games are easy ways to become my friend. When I get stressed out or overwhelmed, I love going for a drive and listening to music. I listen to honestly everything because most songs I listen to are associated with memories. My love language is expressed by sending songs or suggesting new places to visit. I’d consider myself an adventurer because I truly enjoy discovering new places and trying new foods! All in all, I’m a bubbly person who enjoys making connections. I chose to work in Higher Education while pursuing my master’s degree because I find value in contributing to an experience. Living on campus was an invaluable experience for me and I hope to promote that same feeling!
Graduate Testimonials

Thomas Armstrong

Previous Assistant Community Director, Dinallo Heights, He/Him/His

  • Where are you now?
    • I am currently located in Boston, Massachusetts at Berklee College of Music.
  • What do you do?
    • I’m working as a Resident Director in Housing & Residential Education.
  • What did you take away from your grad experience at Montclair?
    • Montclair gave me the opportunity to create the experience I wanted. After my two years with the department, I feel confident saying that I left as a more competent and compassionate professional. My experience was so rich with lessons that I felt more than adequately prepared for my role as a full-time professional.