Student Development Staff
Dean of Students
B.A. Nyack College; English
M.P.S. Alliance Theological Seminary
Wanda Velez has been employed by Nyack College since 2001, beginning her time as the Director of Alumni Relations and then transitioning in 2003 to work for Student Development. With the positions Wanda has held, her role at Nyack has ranged from fundraising, community engagement, and leadership development to crisis intervention, mentorship, and spiritual formation. As the Associate Dean of Students, her present role which began in 2010, Wanda leads Student Development-- a branch of the college responsible for overseeing all aspects of a student's life.
Wanda received her B.A. in English Studies from Nyack College after which she then received her Master of Professional Studies from Nyack's Graduate Program. Prior to her employment at Nyack College, Wanda has gained experience working as a youth director, a staff developer, a trainer in the C.I.T. program for the Salvation Army Greater New York Youth Division, and as a mentor in the Metro Women's EMPOWER Program.
During her time at Nyack, Wanda has been instrumental in changing the culture of Residence Life to hold college age students to higher standards of maturity, responsibility, and community; has created and implemented a leadership selection and mentorship process; has represented the student body in board matters; and has directly supervised student policies and programs. Going above and beyond her title, Wanda has invested in the lives of hundreds of students via numerous ministries. She is a facilitator and mentor for a women's rites of passage program entitled "Woman" and has been a spiritual formation director for eight years. The passion to see students mature is what keeps Wanda pushing for the best from herself, and her staff.
One Example of How Your Personal Ethnic Identity Development and/or Multi-Cultural Understandings Have Influenced Your Leadership Journey (positive or negative)
Wanda is a Bronx native, the first in her family to attend college. It was during her time as an undergraduate student in which Nyack embarked on a journey of intentional diversity. Wanda is one of the few faculty members to witness the flood of students who came to Nyack from urban communities. This is why it has been so impactful for Wanda to serve in her role in student life. It is because of Wanda’s seasoning and roots amongst communities which struggle academically and financially that she is able to connect to the students who have come to Nyack College over the years.
Leadership Principles that Have Guided You
Wanda’s ethnic identity is one of the many principles that allow her to be the effective leader she is. Her passion for “story” has been the driving force in her leadership. Wanda believes we are most effective when we are willing to share our own stories of failures, as well as successes, to help shape others. According to the Clifton StrengthsFinder, Wanda’s top strength is “Maximizer.” As she comes in touch with others she is able to connect and see the potential within them. Using her natural ability to speak life and her willingness to be honest about her story, Wanda has had the opportunity to develop hundreds of student leaders during her time at Nyack College.
Favorite Quote: “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple
Resident Director of Simpson and Bethany Hall
Ami Martinez has been working at Nyack College since 2009, when she was first hired as an Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Students on the Rockland Campus. Then in 2013 Ami was hired for her current role as the Resident Director for Simpson, Bethany and Harmony Hall. As the Resident Director, Ami has the privilege of supervision a team of 2 graduate area coordinators and 11 resident Assistants. Together they supervise the female student living in their spaces, plan programs, and create an environment where each woman feels safe and welcomed.
During her time at Nyack, Ami has served our students through participation in the PAVE mentoring programming. Leading leadership workshop during student leader training. Ami has also spent much time participating in campus activities, serving as a part of the student of concerns committee, and working with the new student orientation committee. Ami is passionate about creating spaces that are beautiful, functional, and welcoming for all. Ami and her team have offered a variety of programming to their residents, programming designed to enrich their time here at Nyack.
Ami earned her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education in 2009 from Nyack College. Then in 2013 Ami graduated with her Master’s Degree in Special Education.
Resident Director of Moseley and Dunbar Hall
Louis Sanchez graduated Nyack College in May 2009, earning a Bachelor’s of Arts in Philosophy. While a student, he served as a Resident Assistant for three years, taking one semester off while studying abroad at Oxford University in the Fall of 2008. Upon graduation, he married Jessica Verderame, whom he met while a student. Since 2009, Louis has served as an Area Coordinator for three years while simultaneously teaching classes such as Academic Life Skills, Critical Thinking, and Intro to Philosophy as an Adjunct Professor. Louis earned his Master’s in Philosophy and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014. He is entering his third year as the Resident Director of Male Undergraduate housing. He and his wife live in Moseley Hall and have been blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Rosemaria Zoe Sanchez, on August 29th, 2014.
Louis Sanchez has been employed at Nyack College since 2009, when he was first hired as an area Coordinator for Residence Life. While serving as an area coordinator Louis was simultaneously teaching as an adjunct professor in the areas of Academic Life Skills, Critical Thinking and Introduction to Philosophy. In 2011 Louis hired as the Resident Director for the male residence halls. In his role as a Resident Director Louis has been intentional to learn the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the male students on the campus.
During his time at Nyack, Louis has established programs designed to help the students mature, be held accountable and become successful students. Working with other departments such as Career services, counseling services, and spiritual formation Louis offers a wide variety of programming for his residents. Louis has also served as a Spiritual Director for one of our classes, a Pave Mentor, and can often be seen walking around interacting with our students along with his wife and his beautiful baby girl!
Louis received his B.A. in Philosophy from Nyack College, which included a semester of study at Oxford University. Recently he earned his Master’s in Philosophy and Education from Teachers College, at Columbia University.
Resident Director of Christie Hall
Heather Butcher has been working at Nyack College since 2011 when she was first hired as the Resident Director for Christie Hall. Prior to joining the residence life staff at Nyack, she served as a missionary for over 10 years with a ministry that focuses on bringing the gospel to youth and families in NYC. She has a passion for discipling and mentoring young women on their journey of spiritual growth and development. Heather also worked for three years in the substance abuse field and has obtained her CASAC-T.
While serving at Nyack, Heather has been a PAVE mentor. Since its inception in the Spring of 2012 Heather has seen the value and the effect that the PAVE program has had on our students and plans to continue to support the program. This past spring Heathers support of the Cross Country Team and in general our athletic department was recognized as Heather was awarded the SUPER FAN AWARD. This is an award given to a member of community who goes above and beyond to show their support for the athletic program and our athletes. In the dormitory, Heather has worked hard to create a culture of community amongst the residents in Christie Hall, through her hands-on leadership style as well as events such as “PJs and Girl Talk”.
Heather received her B.S in Intercultural Studies with a concentration in Pastoral Ministry and Sociology. She recently completed the first year of the Metro Women’s EMPOWER Program.
Director of Student Leadership and Student Activities
Sarah Samson has been employed by Nyack College since 2009; working with the seminary assessment team, as an intern coordinator in the office of Spiritual Formation, as an adjunct professor for the College of Bible and Christian Ministry,. While also serving in Residence Life as an Area Coordinator and is serving the college presently as the Director of Student Leadership and Student Activities. In this role Sarah oversees our Student Leader Development Program, along with planning our student activities, and giving oversight to our student run clubs and organizations.
While working at Nyack College Sarah has participated in the development of the Intro. Spiritual Formation curriculum, college and community events (such as Fall Fun Fest, Welcome Back Weeks, Cokes and Clubs). As a member of the Orientation team she was a part of the redesign and re-launch of the orientation program. In 2013 she was awarded the web engagement award, for her creative and expansive use of the web for her department.
Having earned her B.S in Education from SUNY Fredonia, and her M.Div from Alliance Theological Seminary, Sarah is currently enrolled in the D.Min program to continue her education in developing global leaders.
Administrative Assistant to the Associate Dean of Students
Vanesa Alcantara has been employed at Nyack College since 2013, when she was hired as the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Students on the Rockland Campus. In her role Vanesa has the opportunity to interact with a wide base of students and the parents as well, which she really enjoys. Outside of her job at Nyack, Vanesa along with her Husband Ernesto serve as the campus pastors for Fervent Church North, right here in Nyack, NY.
During her time here at Nyack, Vanesa has served not only the dean but many student and guest, through facilitating space reservations, directions, and even offering a listening ear. Vanes is passionate about mental health, counseling and mentoring and have enjoyed serving as a mentor for the campus Woman Program. In which she walks alongside young women and helps them discover health in order to see their true beauty and potential.
Vanessa earned her BA in Psychology in 2012 from Nyack College. Currently she is perusing her Master in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliance Graduate School of Counseling.
Drusila Figueroa Nieves, DCC, LCSW
Director of Counseling Services
Drusila Nieves has been employed by Nyack College since 1998, holding the position as the Director of Counseling Services. The Department is well known for its confidential individual and group sessions, and workshops. Since 2000 she has been supervising 8-10 Mental Health Interns from the Nyack Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, as they serve our students. In 2010, she also began to supervise an Administrative Assistance/MH Counselor.
While at Nyack College throughout the many years, Drusila has served in several student clubs and collaborations such as the ALAS Club, SW Connection, Judicial Board Consultant, President’s Advisory Panel on Cultural Enrichment Meetings, Student of Concern Team, New Students Orientation Weekend Team, Health Fair, Internship Fairs, etc. Drusila also has served as an Adjunct Faculty for the Social Work Department for 10 years, from 2001-2011. In 2004 in collaboration with the Social Work Department Drusila began to hire 1 social work student a year to serve as an intern in her department gaining them valuable experience and a wonderful internship opportunity.
Drusila earned her BA in Sociology and Psychology from Brooklyn College in 1977, and her MSW from Fordham University in 1991. She became a Certified Social Worker in NYS in 1992, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in NYS, in 2005. She has been a psychotherapist with a P/T private practice, since 1993. Furthermore, she obtained her Doctorate in Christian Counseling from Christian Leadership University, in 2014. Her motivation for remaining at Nyack College after so many years is that she loves to see lives be transformed and empowered to serve others.
Maggie Labocki, MA, LMHC
Maggie Labocki has been employed by Nyack College since 2010, holding the position as administrative assistant/counselor. Maggie provides assistance and support to the director of Counseling Services and the 8-10 staff interns. Maggie and the other members of the Counseling Services Department share a common desire to see our students thrive in their emotional well-being. On top of her role as the administrative assistant to the department and a counselor she is also supervises the undergraduate social work intern, who is selected each year to work with the department.
While working at Nyack College, Maggie has served on the New Students Orientation Team, Health Fairs, Internship Fairs for both Rockland and NYC campuses and has been a speaker for graduate classes on Domestic Violence. Maggie also has private practice located downtown Nyack, where she services the Nyack College Community. Maggie earned her BA in Psychology at Kean University, and her MA in Counseling at Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. In 2010, she became NY State Mental Health Licensed.
Director of Career Counseling and Services
Tiffany Austin has been employed at Nyack College since 2009 serving as the Director of Career Counseling and Services. As the institution-wide Director of Career Counseling and Services, Tiffany provides individual career counseling; workshops and classroom presentations; graduate school and internship resources; job postings; and resume/cover letter assistance at the Rockland undergraduate, Rockland Alliance Theological Seminary/Alliance Graduate School of Counseling, and the New York City campus. Prior to her current position in Career Services, she owned an interior decorating business.
During her time at Nyack Tiffany has taken the initiative to revamp the Career Services office on the Rockland undergraduate campus, in addition to facilitating a new space at the New York City campus. In Career Services, she is passionate about assisting students and alumni in making informed decisions and providing them with the support they need at every stage of their career development. Tiffany, together with her staff, work to host an annual job fair in the fall semester and a summer camp fair in the spring semester at the Rockland undergraduate campus.
Tiffany has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from SUNY Old Westbury, and a Master of Arts degree in Higher and Adult Education with a specialization in Student Personnel Administration from Teachers College/Columbia University. Tiffany is a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers and completed her certification for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment in May 2014.
Director of Spiritual Formation - Student Development
Wanda Walborn has been employed by Nyack College since 2000, beginning her time at Nyack working as the Resident Director of Satellite Housing and then transitioning in 2003 to become the Director of Spiritual Formation. With the positions Wanda has held, her role at Nyack has ranged from community engagement and leadership development to preaching, pastoral counseling and mentorship. As the Director of Spiritual Formation, Wanda oversees all chapel and worship ministries, small groups, Freedom Prayer, PAVE mentoring program and several seminary interns. Prior to her employment at Nyack College, Wanda was a church planter with her husband, a stay-at-home mother for their four children and a reading curriculum developer for the Connecticut public school system. Training, equipping and releasing strong leaders to advance the kingdom of God is her passion.
During her time at Nyack, Wanda has been instrumental in changing the spiritual ethos of Nyack by creating the Introduction to Spiritual Formation class curriculum which all new incoming students take their first semester on campus. Coordinating class topics with chapel speaker topics affords students the opportunity to hear and respond to the voice of God in their lives. Wanda is an adjunct professor in the Pastoral Ministries department and team-teaches with her husband at Alliance Theological Seminary. Wanda also coordinated a team of women for the Metropolitan District of the CMA to create the Empower Certificate Program for women. She is a conference and retreat speaker for multiple age groups and has invested in many students’ lives in the last 15 years on campus.
Wanda received her B.S. in Education from Nyack College, a M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Alliance Theological Seminary and has recently completed her Doctorate of Intercultural Studies from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.
Administrative Assistant – Spiritual Formation
Heather Garcia has been employed by Nyack College since 2002, beginning her time at Nyack working as the Director of Database Operations and then transitioned in 2009 to working as the Administrative Assistant for the Office of Spiritual Formation. With the positions Heather has held, her role at Nyack has ranged from database operations and fundraising to administrative duties, prayer, mentorship, and spiritual formation. As the Administrative Assistant, Heather oversees chapel attendance and daily office needs as well as coordinating the workflow and communication for ministries provided by the Office of Spiritual Formation.
During her time at Nyack, Heather has been instrumental in combining the Nyack and ATS databases into one, streamlined database; re-starting the President’s Council; and assisting in giving students opportunities for life transformation through spiritual formation. Going above and beyond her title, Heather invests in the lives of students via the campus mentor team and as a spiritual director for the Personal Spiritual Formation class offered every Spring semester.
Heather earned her B.S in Organizational Management from Nyack College where she has also taken several Pastoral Ministries courses. Heather has gained experience serving on the leadership team and as a mentor in the Metro Women's EMPOWER Program. She is accredited through the Christian and Missionary Alliance and is also a certified trainer/facilitator for both the Leading from Your Strengths assessment and the Strengths Deployment Inventory.
Siobhan Seaman - Worship Ministries Coordinator (OSF)
Pedro Reis - PAVE Mentoring Coordinator (OSF)
Emmanuel Jean-Pierre - Creative Arts Coordinator (OSF)
Paul Shen - Small Groups Intern (OSF)
Marco Pazmino – Moseley Hall Area Coordinator (Res. Life)
Waldy Rodriguez – Moseley Hall Area Coordinator (Res. Life)
Selene Gonzalez – Christie Hall Area Coordinator (Res. Life)
Madelyn Badillo – Simpson Hall Area Coordinator (Res. Life)
Felicita Ruiz- Simpson Hall Area Coordinator (Res. Life)