Center for Career Exploration

Center for Career Exploration Staff

The Brown Center for Career Exploration staff is dedicated to helping students and alumni set the course for their careers. Our staff is divided in to four teams: Career Counseling, Partner Engagement, Student Engagement and Professional Pathways.

Counseling Team

The Career Counseling team meets with students to discuss their individual career plans and help them navigate where they want to go, even if they are unsure of their destination. Many students aren’t sure how, why, or when to get started with career planning; the Career Counseling team supports students who might not know what questions to ask, but want to get started thinking about internships, jobs, and careers. Career counselors also work with students who are interested in pursuing careers in a particular professional pathway. Counselors help students make sense of the various networks, connections, and experiential learning opportunities available both on and off-campus and determine how these might fit into their present and future career possibilities.

  • Ron Foreman

    Ron Foreman

    Director of Career Counseling

    Ron Foreman manages the execution and overall philosophy of career counseling and career education programming. Together with the career counseling team, he works hard to create an environment where all students feel welcome at the Brown Center for Career Exploration. The goal of career education programming is to educate while reducing stress and increasing confidence. As part of that, Ron also hires, trains, and supervises the Peer Career Advisor program for undergraduates. The PCA program significantly expands the Center’s services with weekly Open Hours and Workshops. Although he enjoys working with all students, he especially enjoys helping those that feel overwhelmed to identify future options based on their skills and interests and connect them to the world of work. Ron is a graduate of Boston University and has a Master's Degree in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University. Ron has worked at Brown Center for Career Exploration since 2000.

  • Zhichun Lin

    Zhichun Lin

    Assistant Director of Career Counseling for Graduate Students

    Zhichun Lin joined the Center for Career Exploration with a focus on serving graduate students. Prior to working at Brown University, she worked as an Academic and career advisor at Northeastern University, where she provided career and academic advising to graduate students ranging from Social Sciences to STEM programs. Zhichun is also a former international student who has studied and lived in the U.S. over a decade and is very familiar with international students’ special needs in career development. Zhichun received Ph.D. in Musicology from The Ohio State University and B.A. from Communication University of China.

  • Amy Tarbox

    Amy Tarbox

    Associate Director of Career Counseling for Campus Partnerships

    Amy has been a Career Counselor at Brown since Spring 2013. She also creates programming around wellness, CliftonStrengths, evaluating job offers and preparing for life after Brown. Prior to her work at Brown Center for Career Exploration, she managed the Industrial Partners Program in the Computer Science Department at Brown, where she also advised students on their career exploration. In addition, Amy has substantial experience working in investor relations and public relations for biotech and high-tech companies in the Boston area. She has a BS in Business Communications from Bentley University.

  • Kathy Toro-Ibanez

    Kathy Toro-Ibanez

    Assistant Director of Career Counseling

    Kathy joined the Center for Career Exploration to meet and support students individually to help students discover how to connect their Brown experience with career possibilities. In addition, Kathy will be collaborating with stakeholders in the College and across Brown to develop career development programs and workshops.

    Kathy joined Brown's Pre-Professional Advising office as a Program Coordinator in June 2014 and moved into the Health Careers Advisor role in 2020. Her focus was to provide academic and co-curricular advising to students interested in a career within the health professions.

    As a first generation college student raised in Rhode Island, Kathy holds an M.A. of Education in Counseling from Providence College and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island. Prior to her arrival at Brown, Kathy worked as an admissions counselor and assistant manager at Roger Williams University and as a college advisor at the College Advising Corps at Brown University, where she worked at Tolman High School in Pawtucket, RI, her alma mater.

  • Karen Whittet

    Associate Director of Career Counseling

    Karen works with all undergraduate class years as a general career counselor and enjoys building confidence in students as they reflect on their interests and explore careers. She manages Career PALS (Peer Advising Liaison for Sophomores), a program that supports sophomores as they engage in career development. Prior to her current position, Karen was a Health Careers Advisor at Brown where she focused on advising first year and sophomore students interested in pursuing careers in health and medicine. Before she came to Brown, Karen worked in the Career Services office at Dartmouth College where she served as a general career counselor and the pre-law and graduate school advisor. Her additional experience in higher education includes positions in student activities and admissions. Karen earned a Master's of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Vermont and a B.A. from Fairfield University.

Partner Engagement Team

The Partner Engagement Team develops networks within and beyond the Brown community to provide students with access to mentoring, professional expertise, substantive experiential learning opportunities, and purposeful career pathways after Brown. For virtually all Brown students, making connections and building relationships with members of the Brown alumni and family community and with employer partners is an essential part of the career exploration and discovery process. These connections can help students obtain internship and job opportunities, initiate short and long-term mentoring relationships, and develop professional skills and insider knowledge for specific career pathways.

  • Sarah Brown

    Sarah Brown

    Associate Director of Partner Engagement

    Sarah has been a part of the Brown Center for Career Exploration team since January 2015. She initially joined as a founding member of the BrownConnect initiative, dedicated to ensuring all Brown students have access to experiential learning opportunities by expanding internships opportunities and funding, and enhancing alumni networking opportunities for students. In that role, Sarah also oversaw all aspects of the LINK/SEW Award Program.

    Sarah now serves as the Associate Director of the Partner Engagement team at Brown Center for Career Exploration. She assists in the establishment and management of an alumni and parent mentor and expert community, ensuring students access impactful student-mentor relationships during their time at Brown and beyond. She collaborates closely with the Alumni Relations office and other Brown Center for Career Exploration teams to organize alumni and family networking programs that provide students with access to mentoring, professional expertise, substantive experiential learning opportunities, and purposeful career pathways after Brown.

  • Tiff

    Tiffany Fontaine

    Assistant Director of Employer Partnerships

    In January 2022, Tiffany became a valuable addition to our team. Her role is pivotal in connecting students with job opportunities and internships by facilitating interactions with employers. Additionally, she takes charge of planning employer-hosted events, career fairs, and interviews. Acting as a bridge between our Employer partners and Brown students, Tiffany plays a crucial role in fostering these connections.

    Tiffany's professional journey spans various industries, showcasing her versatility and expertise. Alongside her valuable experience in higher education, she has made noteworthy contributions in presidential field organizing, event planning, recruiting, and financial servicing. Tiffany completed her undergraduate degree at UMass Dartmouth in 2015, majoring in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Political Science and History. Continuing her educational pursuit, she obtained a Master's in Business Administration, specializing in Project Management, from Louisiana State University, Shreveport. Her academic achievements and multifaceted work experiences makes her a valuable asset to the Center.

  • Megan Grzybowski

    Associate Director of Employer Partnerships

    Megan joined the Center for Career Exploration in January 2024 as the Associate Director of Employer Partnerships. Her role is to help build and manage all employer partnerships for student recruitment. Megan's focus is on the development, execution, and evaluation of the overall strategy for employer partnerships/engagement including cultivating, supporting, and tracking employer relationships. She is responsible for organizing employer programs with a special focus on alumni and parent employers through collaboration with Partner Engagement teams.

    Prior to joining Brown, Megan spent close to 20 years working in human resources roles, primarily in talent acquisition. She was most recently with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for 8 years, and led the talent acquisition team for the last 3 of those years. She holds a BBA in Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

  • Aixa Kidd

    Aixa Kidd

    Deputy Director of the Brown Center for Career Exploration, Director of Partner Engagement

    Aixa Kidd is an innovative professional with over twenty years of experience in higher education administration and instruction. She joined the Brown Center for Career Exploration team in June 2014 as the Director of BrownConnect, the President’s initiative aimed at connecting students to the Brown community for enhanced career success.

    As Deputy Director of the Center, Aixa's impact extends beyond BrownConnect. She plays a pivotal role in cultivating meaningful connections between students, alumni, parents, and friends of the university, fostering invaluable mentorship relationships and offering career guidance. Additionally, she oversees employer partner engagement and on-campus recruiting efforts, ensuring students have access to diverse and rewarding opportunities.

    Prior to joining Brown University, Aixa contributed her expertise to various higher education institutions, including Clark University and The Boston Conservatory. Aixa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. With her vast experience and multifaceted skill set, Aixa Kidd continues to drive meaningful change in higher education, empowering students and fostering a dynamic and supportive environment for professional growth and success.

  • Zielinski headshot

    Stephanie Zielinski

    Partner Engagement Manager

    Stephanie joined the Brown Center for Career Exploration in April 2024 as the Partner Engagement Manager. Her role encompasses managing and supporting events and activities for all partner engagement programs including employer recruiting and alumni programs. Stephanie assists with the development of creating new employer and alumni networks to provide increased opportunities and connections for students at Brown. Previously, Stephanie worked within the Office of Residential Life developing and guiding new students in their transition to Brown.

    Stephanie holds a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration degree from the University at Buffalo and a Bachelor of Science degree from St. John Fisher University. Her academic and professional experiences assist with building relationships and supporting the goals of employers, alumni, and students.

Student Exploration Team

The Student Exploration team helps students access year-round experiential learning and professional development opportunities both on and away from campus. For most Brown students, a critical part of the career exploration process is gaining knowledge about career possibilities, developing professional skills, and building confidence through internship, research, and campus employment experiences. The team supports students through the process of securing campus employment opportunities while also helping students understand how these opportunities can enhance their skill development and allow them to explore career possibilities. The team also manages the Summer and Semester Projects for Research, Teaching and Internships (SPRINT) program which provides funded internship, research, and teaching collaboration experiences to hundreds of undergraduate students each year.

  • maisune  Abu-Elhaija Staff Photi

    maisune Abu-Elhaija

    Assistant Director of Campus Career Exploration

    maisune (she series) was born and raised in sunny Southern California (SoCal) and is a proud Titan alumna from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Master of Science in Higher Education, and half of a Ph.D. all in SoCal. Her research is in the "hyphen American" experience, student satisfaction, and historical implications on academic freedom of choice.  Additionally, she recently achieved her human resources certification (SHRM-CP). 

    maisune previously served as a Career Coach at CSUF and an AmeriCorps Employment Training Specialist at Access California Services. maisune joined Brown University in 2021 as a Residential Area Coordinator in the Division of Campus Life. maisune specifically oversaw affinity-based and special interest housing known as Greek, program, and theme communities.

    She is most looking forward to being part of the transformation in the Center for Career Exploration and encouraging a campus career exploration culture for Brown students. maisune also loves sunflowers, books, her kitty Nyla, and enjoys trying local businesses as a Rhode Island "Yelp Elite."

  • Gregory Seiler

    Associate Director of Student Exploration

    Greg Seiler joined the Brown Center for Career Exploration team in January 2015. Greg works closely with employers, alumni, and internal stakeholders at Brown to manage and develop international and domestic professional opportunities for students.

    Greg holds an MPA with a concentration in International Management from George Mason University and a BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University.

  • Staff Picture of Kris Tangen

    Kris Tangen

    Assistant Director of Student Exploration

    Kris Tangen manages and supports the LINK program, providing funding and support to students with unpaid or low paying internships. During his tenure at Brown, Kris has worked with students in transition at all levels and is passionate about experiential learning and personal growth.

    Prior to Brown, Kris has worked at both private and public 4 year institutions around New England building connections and friendships in a multitude of different professional sectors.

    Kris graduated from Bridgewater State University in 2015 with a B.A in History and a concentration in Secondary Education and then went on to receive his Master's Degree in Human Development and Family Study with a concentration in College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island.

    Kris's motto is "Every day is a great day to be a Bear" and is passionate about helping all of his students achieve their goals and career aspirations as well as guide them into becoming global citizens.

  • Sean Thompson

    Assistant Dean and Director of Student Exploration

    Native of Brooklyn, NY, Sean Thompson currently serves as the inaugural Assistant Dean of the College and Director of Student Exploration at Brown University. His portfolio includes coordinating local, domestic and international internship opportunities and managing an endowment used to fund these experiences. He also consults for campus hiring managers and students on best practices for job search and employee matching.

    During his career at Brown, he has served as the Director for Orientation and First Year Experience which included residential education of all first year students. Prior to his appointment at Brown, Sean served in many roles focusing on orientation, transition and retention programming at University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Rhode Island and Roger Williams University.

    From these experiences and connections to Rhode Island, Sean has developed a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience advancing the needs of new students with an emphasis on supporting first generation, historically underrepresented, and low income students. He is also very proud to use his own cultural background to inform his work and inspire the campus communities he has had the honor of being a part of.

    Sean believes in the importance of universities’ being "student ready". The ability to develop a vision, building relationships with stakeholders, bridging efforts across units, and leading change challenges him and provides great joy for his work. He earned a BS in Economics from the University of Hartford and an MS in Counseling: Student Development/Higher Education from Central Connecticut State University.

Professional Pathways Team

The Professional Pathways team supports student knowledge development toward exploring careers in five distinct Professional Pathways: Arts and Media; Careers in the Common Good; Finance and Consulting; Science and Engineering; Technology and Tech Ventures. Professional Pathways Deans develop resources and deliver programming related to hiring timelines, essential professional skills, and relational networks for each of the Professional Pathways. The deans also collaborate with colleagues and members of the Brown community on and beyond campus to develop mentoring networks and employer partnerships in each of the Professional Pathways.

  • Jim Amspacher

    Jim Amspacher

    Assistant Dean of the College for Careers in the Common Good, Director of Professional Pathways Programs

    Jim directs the Professional Pathways Programs and the Careers in the Common Good Program, which helps students connect with alumni and employers at nonprofits and in public service sectors and alumni making a positive social impact in for-profit organizations.

    The Careers in the Common Good program works with the Rhode Island School of Design to organize a Common Good Internship and Job Fair, collaborates with the Student Employment team to run the CCG Winternships Program in which more than 40 students do two-week projects in January with nonprofits and social enterprises in New York, Boston, Providence, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, organizes 30 summer internship opportunities in New York through the CCG in NYC program.

    In addition to his responsibilities at the Brown Center for Career Exploration, Jim serves as an academic advisor, is a member of Brown's Truman Scholarship Committee, and has participated in several programs and projects to help students make sense of their time at Brown and navigate their time after Brown, including Reflections on Success and Paving Pathways, and helped design, organize and teach the half-credit Exploring Career Options class for 57 sophomores in the Fall 2022. Along with other Brown Center for Career Exploration staff, Jim attended the Designing Your Life Studio at Stanford University in June 2018 and runs programs and workshops at Brown using the curriculum and materials from the popular Stanford course.

    From 1991 to 1996, Jim organized students at college campuses in Colorado, Massachusetts and Connecticut and ran door-to-door canvass operations in seven states for CALPIRG, CoPIRG, MASSPIRG, Sierra Club, Green Corps and Clean Up Congress. From 1996 to 2002 Jim worked as a writer and graphic designer and from 2008 to 2009 as the Senior Editor for Public Interest GRFX, the in-house communications team for the Public Interest Network. From 2002 to 2008, he oversaw the direct mail projects for 50 state PIRGS and Environment America’s federation of state environment groups. He has previously served on the boards of Environment Rhode Island and the Environment Council of Rhode Island.

  • Rachel Edwards Harvith

    Rachel Edwards Harvith

    Assistant Dean of the College for Careers in Arts & Media

    Rachel Edwards Harvith serves as the inaugural Assistant Dean for Careers in Arts and Media. She provides industry-specific insight and creates programming and partnerships to support students exploring careers in arts and media. Prior to Brown, Rachel was the inaugural Director of the Arts, Media, and Communications Career Community within Grinnell College's Center for Careers, Life, and Service. Over her six-year tenure at Grinnell, Rachel developed partnerships and programs with campus stakeholders and alums; created industry-specific career resources; advised students and recent alums; and promoted the specialized professional needs of students in the arts and media.

    Outside of her work in higher education, Rachel is a theatre artist with a specialty in new play development. She worked for 11 years in Chicago as a freelance director and dramaturg, co-founded Mortar Theatre Company, and served as the Associate Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists. She has had the pleasure of helping over a hundred playwrights, ranging from Samuel D. Hunter to Rohina Malik to Dana Lynn Formby, develop their work. Onstage she loves venturing outside realism to reveal deeper human truths. Offstage she loves coaching students, inspiring them to transform their academic, creative, and civic interests into concrete goals with action steps. Rachel received an MFA in Directing from the University of Iowa and a BA in Theatre from Grinnell College.

  • Viktor Gavrielov '15

    Viktor Gavrielov '15

    Karuna Assistant Dean of the College for Careers in Technology & Tech Ventures

    Viktor joined the Center for Career Exploration in 2024 after 9 years of holding various positions in the tech space. A proud Brown alum, Viktor studied CS and Economics at Brown University. His job titles were Software Engineer at AppDynamics (a high-tech Silicon Valley startup that was acquired by Cisco), Senior Software Engineer at Mercedes-Benz (a company building nice cars), Software Engineering Manager at Quartet Health (a mental health tech startup in NYC), and Software Engineering Manager at LinkedIn (the leading social media site for professionals).

    He is excited to bring his diverse tech job experience to Brown to help students figure out which tech career pathways they're most curious about and to help them succeed in their job search. As an engineering manager he led large and inter-disciplinary projects consisting of product managers, UX researchers & designers, and software engineers with various specialties. In conversations with students he provides first-hand perspectives about working in small startup ventures and large enterprises alike. He is highly familiar with the tech job interview process to help students prepare for successful job applications.

Leadership, Operations, Communications

  • Matthew Donato

    Executive Director of the Center for Career Exploration, Associate Dean of the College

    Matt joined the Brown Center for Career Exploration as Director in 2015. In his current role as Executive Director, Matt oversees all Center operations and works collaboratively with colleagues within the Center and around campus to develop strategic priorities related to career exploration. As an Associate Dean of the College, Matt advises undergraduate students on academic choices and progress toward degree completion. Matt is also a member of the College’s Senior Leadership Team.

    Matt came to Brown from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA where he served as Director of Career Services and Associate Dean of Students. Prior to Pitzer, Matt worked at the University of Chicago for nine years in a variety of roles. His last position from 2008 to 2012 was as Director of Alumni Career and Affinity Programs. Before 2008, Matt worked as the Associate Director of Employer Development in the Career Advancement office and as a Leadership Giving fundraiser.

    Matt graduated from Georgetown University in 1998 with a degree in finance (although he started college as a Biology major and nearly finished his Biology minor). After working for two years at Tucker Alan Inc., a boutique litigation consulting firm in Washington, D.C., Matt moved to Chicago in 2000 to take a position at Bank One (now JPMorgan Chase) as an analyst working on tax-oriented finance engagements. Matt made the career transition to higher education in 2003 and finds working to support students, alumni, and faculty to be incredibly rewarding.

  • Julia Issa

    Julia Issa

    Assistant Director of Communications

    Julia joined the Brown Center for Career Exploration in August 2019 and is responsible for the department’s marketing, communications, and social media activities.

    Prior to joining Brown Center for Career Exploration, Julia has worked as a Graphic Designer and Digital Marketer at the Providence Journal, and Fender. In November 2016, she began her career at Brown in the Office of Continuing Medical Education at The Warren Alpert Medical School.

  • Laura Joshi

    Laura Joshi

    Associate Director of Center Operations

    Laura joined Brown Center for Career Exploration in 2004, initially serving as the Manager of Employer Relations. Most of her time at Brown was in the capacity of  Data and Systems Manager, reporting on graduating seniors’ first steps beyond Brown, surveying summer plans for returning undergraduates, and compiling student and employer usage statistics for Center services and programs. Laura has managed an evolution of career service platforms, including Handshake, our current database. Additionally, Laura developed best practices and procedures, supervised the Welcome Desk Coordinators, and handled purchasing, staff onboarding, and facilities issues for the Center. These responsibilities will deepen and grow in her new role as Assistant Director, Operations. Laura earned her MBA degree from the University of Massachusetts and is the proud parent of an '09, '10 alumna.