Get to know the faculty and staff who have recently joined Geneseo. This is part three in a continuing series welcoming the newest members of our family and introducing them to the campus.
Aquella Deskov, licensed mental health counselor and national certified counselor, has joined Student Health and Counseling as a triage counselor. She also collaborates with student groups and promotes counseling services to students from diverse backgrounds. Deskov earned both her bachelor’s and graduate degrees from the University of Rochester. Her professional experience includes serving as a mental health clinician at the Catholic Family Center, where she provided counseling and support to adults from diverse backgrounds, and as an addictions counselor at George C. Simmons Counseling Center, where she provided individual and group counseling to those struggling with substance abuse disorders. In her spare time, Deskov loves to travel.
Kristen Ersley, secretary in Alumni Relations, organizes and handles administrative details for the alumni relations director and related committees and assists with alumni relations events. She earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Corning Community College and took a range of English classes at Mansfield University. Prior to joining the Geneseo community, Ersley worked at Glovehouse Children and Family Services as a residential counselor; at the Willard Drug Treatment Campus in Ovid, NY, as an office assistant and health benefits administrator; and at Willard as a volunteer NARCAN trainer and alcohol and substance abuse treatment program aid. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering at the Chemung County SPCA; spending time with her boyfriend, friends, and family; and being around her two dogs, Lennon and Lola.
Amanda Lewis-Nang’ea is a new assistant professor in the history department. She earned her doctorate from Michigan State University, her master of arts from East Tennessee State University, and her bachelor of arts from King University in Tennessee. Prior to Geneseo, Lewis-Nang’ea taught at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, Utah State University, King University, and Michigan State University. Her teaching and research interests include African History, African Slavery in a Global Context, African Nationalism, African Environmental History, World and Environmental History, Modern World History, History of Science, and Conservation Social Science.
Olaocha Nwabara is a new assistant professor in the English department. She holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, an M.S. from Grand Valley State University (MI), and a B.S. from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Prior to Geneseo, Nwabara taught at The College of William and Mary, Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, and Purdue University. Her teaching areas include Major African Women’s Writers, Modern African American Literature, African Identities in Literary Works, African Diasporic and Transnational Literature and Film, African Diaspora Studies, African Studies, Africana Cultural Studies, Diversity in America, and The Immigrant Experience. Her research examines global African cultural productions and cultural thought as African-centered artifacts and methods to correctively represent cultural identities as they engage the realities of race, ethnicity, and gender amongst transnational Africans.
Alessandra Otero is research instructor librarian/liaison librarian to arts and humanities in Milne Library. She earned her M.I.S. from the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras and her B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Previously, Otero served as research services librarian in the Graduate Research and Innovation Center, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez; and librarian in the Marine Resources Center of the Sea Grant Program, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. Her professional interests include digital humanities librarianship, library instruction, digital scholarship, promotion and marketing strategies for libraries, diversity and inclusion practices in instruction, community outreach, visual literacy, and mindful librarianship.
Christopher Smith, director of development in College Advancement, leads major gift fundraising to support the School of Business. He holds bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism and political science from Syracuse University and earned an M.B.A from Rochester Institute of Technology. Before coming to Geneseo, Smith spent six years in higher education fundraising at the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as eight years as a financial advisor, managing $40 million for high net worth families, corporations, and endowments. At various times before that, he was an award-winning journalist, a news/talk radio station operator, and an internet programmer and database administrator during the dot com bubble. In his spare time, Smith enjoys running and will complete in his 10th marathon in NYC in November. He also likes to read and write (and write about reading and running). He is a huge fan of Walt Disney World, the New York Mets, and peanut butter.
Megan Syfrett, principal administrator in Student Health and Counseling, oversees all aspects of the health and counseling department, assisting with advocacy for students, faculty, and staff, and ensuring that policy and procedure is followed. Syfrett earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice from Niagara University and a master’s in community and counseling psychology from Sage Graduate School. She is also a licensed mental health counselor. Before joining the Geneseo community, Syfrett served as house manager at Vanderheyden Hall in Wynantskill, NY, and as group home supervisor at the Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth in Ancram, NY. She was also a clinical case manager at the Northern Rivers Family of Services in Hudson, NY, and primary therapist and addiction therapist supervisor with Rochester Regional Health. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, baking, and catching plays and musicals (her favorite is Wicked).