Meet Our GOLD Leader Mentors

GOLD Leader Mentors are student leaders who volunteer their time to work with the GOLD program. Mentors staff the GOLD Leadership Center in MacVittie College Union Room 114 weekday afternoons & evenings, participate in GOLD events and complete certificate programs, serve as role models for other student leaders and campus organizations, provide information on campus activities and organizations, and help students to make connections and get involved in campus life.

The mentor staff introduce speakers at workshops, oversee student Personal Development Sessions and provide support and assistance for all GOLD programs, including Leadership Certificate Programs. Student leaders and students enrolled in the GOLD Leadership Certificate Program are encouraged to apply for the leader mentor positions in the spring semester. Become a GOLD Leader Mentor.

Looking to complete your personal development (PD) session with a GOLD Leader Mentor for Bronze Certificate credit? Register online at

2018-2019 Mentors


Angela Kubik

is a Senior Biology major, Biomathematics minor from Long Island, New York. She likes to get involved on campus and in the community by volunteering her time in the admissions office as a tour guide at Geneseo and off campus as a piano teacher for Keyboard Kamp. Angela also serves as the President for the Geneseo Pep Band, a TA for the classes Biological Data Analysis and Biology of Insects, and a ULI for the General Biology laboratory. She is currently conducting research on the anti-fungal abilities of carnivorous plants and hopes to pursue a career in the field of biomedical engineering. Angela believes that the GOLD program is a fantastic way to instill important life lessons and skills that aren’t taught in the classroom while also preparing students for life after college.

Fun fact about Angela: She has never broken a bone!

Favorite Leadership Quote: “Never get tired of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault.” (Louisa May Alcott, Little Women)



Austin Mann

is a senior Biology major with a minor in Conflict Studies from Brockport, New York. In addition to being a GOLD Leader, Austin is the Vice Archon of the Kappa Eta chapter of Pi Kappa Phi and a biology tutor for the Access Opportunity Program. Austin has a passion for Servant Leadership and has completed two AmeriCorps service projects working with sustainability and rural youth. After transferring to Geneseo, Austin took several GOLD workshops and set his sights on becoming a mentor because he liked what the program had to offer students. After graduation, Austin plans on pursuing a JD in Environmental Law and then joining the workforce in the nonprofit sector.

Fun fact about Austin: He has a pet alpaca named Ricky and a pet goat named Sheamus.

Favorite Leadership Quote: “It sticks in the head if there is glue from the heart.” (Mike Brandwein)


Briana Kubik

Briana is a Senior Biology major/Biomathematics minor from Long Island, New York.  In addition to being a leadership mentor in the GOLD program, she is the vice president of the Geneseo Pep Band and Secretary of Geneseo’s Programming and Data Science Club.  She also is interested in biomedical research and hopes to pursue that as a career. She believes that the GOLD program provides students with the opportunity to cultivate a deeper understanding of many leadership concepts that could otherwise not be learned in an ordinary class setting.

Fun fact about Briana: She has seen 14 musicals on Broadway!

Favorite leadership quote: “Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” (The Imitation Game)


Colleen Steward

is a senior Biochemistry major from Gowanda, NY. She enjoys sharing her passion for science with others and serves as a Supplemental Instructor for organic chemistry, Biology Undergraduate Lab Instructor, and general chemistry tutor. In addition to being a GOLD Mentor, Colleen is engaged in the campus community through Colleges Against Cancer, Circle K, the Undergraduate Alumni Association, Golden Key, and Festival Chorus. She was awarded the Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow and 2017 CAS Ambassadorship in Entrepreneurship. Currently, Colleen works in a research lab using algae to produce biodiesel and after Geneseo, she has aspirations of becoming a biomedical researcher. 

Colleen believes the GOLD Program provides an exceptional opportunity for students to enhance traditional coursework with workshops that enable personal discovery, community connections, and professional development, all while fostering open-mindedness, growth, and ultimately leadership.

Fun fact about Colleen: She enjoys outdoor exploration, be it running, hiking, biking, white water rafting, or zip lining! 

Favorite leadership quote: “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves” (Eleanor Roosevelt). 


Dilynn Livesey

is a Business Administration major and Public Administration minor from Rhinebeck, NY. She is the service chair for the sorority Sisters Making a Change. She is also the treasurer of both the Geneseo Campus Activities Board and Gestures: Organization for Deaf Awareness. Additionally, she is interning as a Community Service Assistant as the Livingston Cares Coordinator. She loves the GOLD program and being a GOLD mentor, and would recommend that every student gets involved in the GOLD program in some way. 

Fun fact about Dilynn: She was on an episode of Sesame Street as a kid.

Favorite leadership quote: “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader” (Dolly Parton)



Emma Trolley*

*On leave for Spring 2019

is a junior Communication major with a double minor in Psychology and Conflict Studies from Rochester, NY. Apart from being a GOLD Mentor, she is the Blood Drive Coordinator for the Red Cross Club and an active member of the National Residence Hall Honorary. Emma believes that GOLD is a valuable resource for self-growth and a great way to try out new things and meet new people on campus. 

Fun fact about Emma: She has studied abroad in Spain and hopes to study in the Netherlands for a semester. She also loves cookie dough more than cookies.

Favorite Leadership Quote: “I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head.” (Princess Diana)



Erin Sheehan

is a senior History and Theatre double major seeking Adolescent Education Certification. She is from Alden, New York which is in the Buffalo area. Erin has been a sister of Sigma Kappa National Sorority since 2016 and is currently serving as the Vice President of Community Engagement for Inter-Greek Council. She is involved with the Theatre department at Geneseo both through performing in productions and through working in the costume shop. Erin came to the GOLD Program as a second-semester junior and has loved every second of her time both as a student attending workshops and as a GOLD Leader Mentor. Her advice for students interested in GOLD is to take a risk and attend a workshop you’re interested in! Who knows who you may meet or what you can learn.

Fun fact about Erin: She has a love lock on the Pont-Neuf lock “bridge” in Paris!

Favorite leadership quote: “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” (Malala Yousafzai)


Evan Burr

is a junior Biology major with a minor in Environmental Studies. He is originally from Spencerport, NY. On campus, he is involved in undergraduate student research, Between the Lines Acapella group, and Tri beta Biology honor society. Evan loves GOLD because it gives people the opportunity to discover what they are passionate about.

Fun Fact about Evan: His room is decorated to look like a forest!

Favorite leadership quote: “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader” (Aristotle)



Gage Matyasovszky

is a Junior Psychology major with a minor in Mathematics and Cognitive Science from Rochester, NY. In addition to being a GOLD Mentor, Gage is a member of Emmelodics, one of the five acapella groups on campus. He is currently working in the Attention and Perception laboratory in Bailey Hall with Dr. Mounts. Gage believes that the GOLD program is more than a simple way to learn about leadership and reflect on your own qualities, but rather it helps you foster and understand a sense of community and trust that can stay with you for a lifetime.

Fun fact about Gage: He has owned and helped home over 20 different cats and brings one of them to Geneseo!

Favorite leadership quote: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same” (Nelson Mandela)



Isabella Ovejero

is a junior childhood with special education major with a concentration in math. She is from Fairport, NY. In addition to being a GOLD mentor, she is involved in the Alpha Beta Xi chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, is the vice president of the Ghana Project, is involved in YCC, and works for a professor in the math department. In her free time, Isabella enjoys playing guitar, spending time with friends, and running. Isabella believes that GOLD is a program that is beneficial to all students. The GOLD program offers seminars to educate students on a variety of subjects related not only to leadership but related to life skills that are important to an individual’s personal and professional life that are not necessarily taught in the classroom. It allows students to make connections with each other and gives students a safe place to discuss their ideas about a variety of different topics. There are so many specialty topics that are offered as GOLD seminars that everybody can work toward a certificate that interests them.

Fun fact about Isabella: She has been stung by a jellyfish and bitten by a poisonous spider and yet still enjoys adventures in nature!

Favorite leadership quote: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” (John Quincy Adams)

Jenna Smolinski

Jenna Smolinski

is a freshman Business Administration major and Spanish minor from Rome, New York.  One day, she hopes to become a business lawyer. Besides being a GOLD mentor, she is also involved in the Student Conduct Board, Spanish Club, and the School of Business Dean Student Advisory Board.  In her free time, she likes going to GOLD workshops, doing photography around campus, and going to hockey games. Jenna loves GOLD and hopes everyone at Geneseo can get involved with it in some way during their time here.

Fun fact about Jenna: She loves traveling and is studying abroad in Italy, Greece, and Spain this summer!

Favorite leadership quote: “One who makes no mistakes makes nothing” (Giacomo Casanov)


Jessica Brockway

is a junior Business Administration and Mathematics double major, Finance minor. She is from Spencerport, near Rochester, NY. In addition to being a GOLD mentor, Jessi is an RA for Eco House in Monroe Hall, on the club Rugby team, and an analyst for the Student Managed Investment Fund. She believes that GOLD is a great way to not only develop leadership skills but also explore a variety of topics from sustainability to career development. Jessi recommends that all students participate in GOLD because there is always a workshop that will appeal to you.

Fun fact about Jessica: She recently interned in the marketing department of a living history museum.

Favorite leadership quote: One who cannot be a good follower, cannot be a good leader. (Aristotle)

Kiersten Colvin

Kiersten Colvin

Kiersten is a sophomore Economics major and Communication minor from Rockville Centre, NY. She is on the Geneseo Varsity Volleyball team in addition to being Athletic Outreach chair for Colleges Against Cancer and a member of Fed Challenge. Kiersten recommends that all students sign up for GOLD workshops even if it is not required. She believes that it is important to develop your personal self, outside of friends and classes. Furthermore, the GOLD workshops make you a more well-rounded and open-minded individual. She thinks it is imperative to take the time out of your schedule to sign up for and reflect on GOLD workshops.

Fun fact about Kiersten: She is a huge Ruth Bader Ginsburg fan!

Favorite leadership quote: Sit at the table. (Sheryl Sandberg)


Leah Christman

is a senior English Literature major and College Honors minor from Wellsville, NY, who understands what it's like to come from a small town in the middle of who-knows-where.  She aspires to expand her horizons and join the Peace Corps, hoping to travel the world while also fulfilling her passion to give aid to those who need it. She has an affinity for elderly people, volunteering at the Teresa House on weekends and interviewing community members for the Geneseo Memories Campaign to hear all about their life stories. She also volunteers at the soup kitchen and works to improve voter registration on campus, with hopes to become an Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere Ambassador. Leah loves the GOLD program because of its universal usefulness to all students regardless of their interests, and firmly believes that an hour spent in a workshop is one of the most productive ways she can think of to spend 60 minutes (that might otherwise be spent on Netflix).

Fun fact about Leah: She is a fraternal twin who was born right before midnight: as such, she and her twin (who was born right after midnight) have different birthdays that also happen to be in different months.

Favorite leadership quote: "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." (Ray Kroc)



Madeleine Brilling

is a senior Accounting major. Originally from Queensbury, NY, she is involved in Colleges Against Cancer, Sigma Kappa, and Livingston Cares. She thinks GOLD has taught her some of the most important lessons throughout college. Madeleine has gotten involved in all of her organizations as a result of the people she met in GOLD and for that, she is so grateful!

Fun fact about Madeleine: Two summers ago she walked El Camino in Spain! 

Favorite leadership quote: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." (Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.)


Matthew DeSimone

Matthew DeSimone


a freshman Business Administration Major and Communication Minor. He is from Holley, N.Y.,  and is planning on studying abroad in Italy. He thinks that GOLD is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn valuable skills and he recommends it 100%. For those in the Business School, he suggests using these workshops as a way to learn, but also to network!

Fun fact about Matt: He wants to climb all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks!

Favorite leadership quote: “A leader can’t lead unless he knows where he’s going” (John Locke, LOST)


Mary Pezzimenti

is a Senior Childhood with Special Education major and an Urban Studies concentration from Olean, NY.  She is in Alpha Phi Omega, and Club Softball. Mary will be student teaching in the fall but will be returning to the GOLD Leader-Mentor staff in the spring. Mary also was a Student Orientation Coordinator over the summer and last year. She enjoys being outside and hiking. Mary is very passionate about the GOLD Program and believes everyone should become involved in the program. She thinks it is important for you to choose the workshops that interest you the most.

Fun fact about Mary: She rode a float in the Mardi Gras Parade in Universal Studios.

Favorite leadership quote: “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” (Bill Bradley)

Morgan Hernandez

Morgan Hernandez

is a Junior Sociology major from Harlem, NY. They enjoy getting involved on campus with social justice related issues. They like to volunteer their time to Safe Zone training, the Diversity and Inclusion Community Educator (DICE) program under the Office of Diversity and Equity, being a Student Representative for Gestures: Organization for Deaf Awareness (GODA), and interns for the LGBTQ+ Coordinator in the LGBTQ+ Office of Programs and Service. They work full-time as a student and part-time as an Academic Peer Mentor (APM) - Outreach Specialist under the Department of Academic Planning and Advising (DAPA). They are currently finding ways to provide the student body platform for their voices and approaching more of their work in an intersectional way. They strive to improve the Geneseo community to recognize their underrepresented students. Morgan believes the GOLD program to be a place of learning about yourself, becoming a well-rounded person, and being the best leader you can be. They believe in the students and has a strong desire for them to all success in their own individual way.

Fun fact about Morgan: They have chipped their front left tooth three times!

Favorite leadership quote: “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” (Sam Walton)


Nikhil Reddy

is a junior Biology major from Jamesville, NY. In addition to being a GOLD mentor, Nikhil is a Supplemental Instructor for general biology, Treasurer of the Biology Club and a member of Sigma Alpha Mu. Nikhil is on the pre-med track and aspires to attend medical school after graduation.

Being involved in the GOLD program is a great way to build leadership and life skills in a variety of different applications that can be used for personal and professional development. It not only helps you in college but can help prepare you for life afterward.

Fun fact about Nikhil: Michael Scott is his hero.

Favorite leadership quote: "To add value to others, one must first value others." (John Maxwell)


Ousmane Sam*

*On leave for Spring 2019

is a junior Communication major with a minor in Urban Studies. Born and raised in Washington Heights, NY, he traveled around the city’s subway independently to get to school. Ousmane is also Vice Chairman of M.I.L.E.S, an organization geared toward developing students through professionalism and service. He contentedly partakes in volunteer initiatives to cope with the hardships of growing up.

Fun fact about Ousmane: He is teaching himself how to produce music through DAW software, and loves to express himself poetically.

Favorite leadership quote: “Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow." (Malala Yousafzai)


Patricia McCasland

is a Junior Childhood with Special Education Major with a Concentration in Environmental Studies. Patty grew up in Fairport, NY but was born in Ithaca, NY. This semester, she is starting an internship as the Student and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Center of Community. She looks forward to bringing more service opportunities to the campus and fostering a stronger relationship between the campus and the community. She also volunteers for Special Olympics where she is an assistant coach for Floor Hockey and Basketball. Patty recommends really taking advantage of the opportunity that is given to all students at Geneseo. She has made lasting friendship through her time as a GOLD Mentor. She says that GOLD helps you grow as a leader and a person, and it may become your second home someday.

Fun fact about Patty: She went skydiving above the Finger Lakes two summers ago.

Favorite Leadership Quote: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller)


Patrick Buckley

is a senior Biochemistry major and College Honors minor from Horseheads, NY. He is an Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere Ambassador and is passionate about voter registration on campus. Patrick served as the 2017 James Houston ’80 Ambassador in Innovation and is working to bring scientists and the public together to break down barriers of mistrust. He involves himself in research on campus with Dr. Travis Bailey studying Zebrafish and aspires to be a virologist one day, studying emerging and publically-relevant viruses. Patrick thinks that the best aspect of the GOLD Program is its accessibility and encourages everyone to look for and attend GOLD workshops that they think they might find interesting.

Fun fact about Patrick: He can wiggle his ears!

Favorite leadership quote: “Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” (Astronaut Chris Hadfield)


Rachel Wallisky

Rachel Wallisky

is a sophomore political science and history major from Horseheads, NY who hopes to become a prosecutor. She swims distance on the Swimming and Diving team, is a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, and is a member of BASIC. In her spare time, Rachel likes playing piano and watching bootlegs of Broadway shows. Her favorite part of GOLD is the opportunity to learn in a community with other Geneseo students.

Fun fact about Rachel: She can play the piano upside-down!

Favorite leadership quote: “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” (Dolly Parton)


Sakura Hamazaki

is a sophomore biology and mathematics major from Westchester NY. Aside from the GOLD program, she is part of the Geneseo Women’s Swim Team. She is also doing research under Dr. Yokoyama, looking at the hinging and unhinging of a protein predominant in the formation of fibers in neurons of patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc. During the summer, she was able to do educate young visitors about neurons and brain anatomy at the American Museum of Natural History’s Sackler Education Lab, driving her hopes to become a pediatric neurologist. Her favorite aspect of GOLD would be the student to student mentorship it fosters and how it brings the campus closer together.

Fun fact about Sakura: She can ride a unicycle!

Favorite leadership quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)


Sara Wendell

is a junior Psychology major and Human Development minor from Binghamton, NY. She is the Vice Chair and head of Membership on the Campus Activities Board and serves as an ambassador at the Office of Admissions. She is currently involved in research in the Psychology department and would like to be a Clinical Psychologist one day. Sara thinks that the GOLD Program is a wonderful addition to our campus and is a great way for students to learn more about themselves and better their academic careers. She encourages everyone to look for workshops that interest them and sign up.

Fun fact about Sara: Her favorite show is Parks and Rec

Favorite Leadership Quote: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other” (John F. Kennedy)


Sophia Farchione

is a junior year biology major from Syracuse, New York. She one day hopes to be a nurse practitioner specializing in orthopedics. Outside of Gold Sophia competes for the Geneseo Swim Team swimming butterfly and backstroke. If she’s not swimming, studying or having a blast at Gold, Sophia is guaranteed to be eating, sleeping, or catching up on her vine compilations. Sophia wants you to always remember that GOLD is GOOD!

Fun fact about Sophia: Every spring her family makes their own homemade maple syrup right in their own backyard.  After two weeks of collecting sap from their own trees, the family boils it for up to 8 hours in their makeshift fireplace resulting in fresh warm syrup for a year's worth of pancakes.

Favorite leadership quote: “Leadership has been defined as the ability to hide your panic from others” (Lao Tzu)


Sydney Ng

is a senior Applied Mathematics major and a Biology and Communication dual minor from Staten Island, NY. Outside of being a GOLD Mentor, Sydney is also a captain of the Geneseo Women’s Swimming and Diving team and a TA for Dr. Hartvigsen’s Biological Data Analysis class. If you don’t catch her in class, at practice, or in office hours, you can probably find her studying in Crickets or at a gear table. Her best advice to those interested in GOLD is to try anything and everything that interests you! She believes that the greatness of GOLD comes from the different workshops you choose to attend as well as the personal growth you go through as you pursue certificates.

Fun fact about Sydney: She can do a split and studied abroad in Ghana over the summer!

Favorite leadership quote: “True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.” (Sheri L. Dew, President & CEO of Deseret Book Company)

Vika Juskiewicz

Vika Juskiewicz

is a junior biology major on the pre-vet track, hoping to one day become a marine veterinarian. Her hometown is Webster, NY. In addition to being a GOLD mentor, she is a part of Sigma Kappa, tennis club, and pre-vet club. Vika believes that GOLD is a great way to get involved on campus and a fun way to learn more about leadership.

Fun fact about Vika: Elephants are her favorite animal.

Favorite Leadership Quote: “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” (Henry Ward Beecher)

Zara Shah

Zara Shah

is a sophomore Business Administration major from Niskayuna, NY. She is interested in marketing and hopes to pursue a career in International Marketing. In addition to being a GOLD mentor, she is the Coordinator of Business Administration for the Women’s Leadership Institute. She encourages all students, especially freshman, to get involved in the GOLD program because it is a great opportunity to learn important life skills for the future outside of a normal class setting. She also believes it is a great way to get further involved on campus while meeting new people

Fun fact about Zara: She knows or is learning 5 languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, Urdu, and Chinese)!

Favorite Leadership Quote: “Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it.” (Stephen Hawking)