Speakers

Abla Krouma

Alumni and Career Guidance Coordinator
Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI)

Abla Krouma is a career management professional with more than 6 years’ experience, four of them in career and alumni services field within the UAE. She is currently working as Alumni and Career Guidance Coordinator in Student Services Directorate at Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI), where her work is mainly focused on the career and relationship development of the graduates across the institutes in UAE.

Her career has engaged intensively in higher education, student affairs, employer relation, career development services and alumni relation. She has experience working with multinational and Emirati students and alumni from undergraduate and graduate level. Additionally, she has a proven record of successful alumni activities and events. She is currently doing a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering.


Amina Manzil

Programmer Analyst
Higher Colleges of Technology – Central IT

Programmer Analyst in Information Systems department in Central Services IT. Working in HCT for last 6 years. Developed Academic and Student Service related systems and applications.


Ashique Rafi

Employer Services Specialist, Career Development Center
New York University Abu Dhabi

Ashique Rafi is working as an Employer Services Specialist at New York University Abu Dhabi. His primary assignments are focusing on campus recruitment, employer engagements, employer events, reporting, and managing employer centric activities on NYUAD CareerNet portal.

He joined NYUAD Career Development Center in June 2012 but prior to that he was actively involved in career services while serving as a Global Academic Fellow and during his graduate study at KAUST. He completed his Masters in Engineering from University of Nottingham and KAUST respectively.


Colin Marshall

Director of Campus Life
Federation University, Australia

Colin has been with Federation University Australia since 2006 and leads the Campus Life team within the division of Student Support and Services. His role encompasses responsibility for student residences and commercial services including hospitality operations, encompassing retail food, residential functions and conference services; UniSports recreational facilities; and Universities children’s centers. Colin served on the AACUHO Committee six years as a general committee member, Vice-President and President (2011 – 2013).

In 2013, Colin was appointed to the Executive Board of ACUHO-I as Globalisation Director and serves as the primary advisor on global student housing issues and strategy. He is the lead ambassador to student housing professionals outside of the United States, promoting relationships and knowledge transfer activities between housing professionals in different countries. Colin has post graduate qualifications in Vocational Education and Training and Business and is currently pursuing a PhD in Education focused on transition experiences for students.


Dana Downey

Associate Director, Career Development Center
New York University Abu Dhabi

Dana serves as the Associate Director at the Career Development Center, coming alongside students to strategize next steps in their career journeys. She specializes in career exploration, online presence, job and internship searching, and interviewing for the globally mobile student. Dana is passionate about empowering students to navigate industries and relationships in order to meet their goals.

Prior to joining the team at NYU Abu Dhabi, Dana worked in career development in the United States for six years. After completing her Bachelors of Science in Spanish Linguistics and Family and Community Sciences, she worked in immigration affairs, spiritual formation, and conflict resolution before following her curiosity to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied Global Mental Health, Career Development, and Neuroscience.


Donna Gala

Health and Wellness Coordinator
Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar

Donna Gala, M.A. promotes health and wellness for students at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar. Ms. Gala completed her undergraduate and graduate (Clinical Psychology) education in California, USA where she also worked in counseling roles in hospital and educational settings. Prior to joining WCM-Q, she served as the Student Health and Wellness Counselor at Georgetown University in Qatar and UCL-Qatar.

Ms. Gala offers a holistic approach to health and wellness. At WCM-Q she provides a wide range of physical, nutritional, and mental health wellness activities. Additionally, she coordinates student support activities, conducts weekly wellness programs, collaborates with other community entities to promote wellness across Education City, and offers free and confidential counseling services.


Dr. Christopher Bridges

Dean of Students
Yale-NUS

In his role as Dean of Students, Dr. Bridges leads the Office of the Dean of Students, which oversees student affairs, housing, athletics, counseling, wellness and dining.

Previously, Dr. Bridges served as the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, a public liberal arts university. During his time there, Dr. Bridges led the team that pushed retention rates to a record high for the university. He has played an active role in student affairs, campus strategic planning, accreditation and the operations of multiple campuses. With over a decade of experience within higher education centered on student affairs, Dr. Bridges brings both passion and experience to his roles.

Dr. Bridges holds a Bachelor in Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Studies (Sociology and Theatre), a Master of Science in College Student Personnel from Miami University, and a PhD from Ohio University in Higher Education Leadership and Administration.


Dr. Haydar Hassan

Academic Advisor
UAE University

Dr. Haydar Hassan is an Information Technology, MIS and Engineering lecturer, as well as an Academic Advisor. He has had a major role in students’ development in UAE university foundation program, and the Science College, for more than 13 years. He has a PhD, MSc, BSc, PGD in Management Information System, Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Teaching and Education Management (Adult in further & Higher Education) respectively, and some Computing, Management & Training Certifications.

He worked with different groups of students to identify competencies related to specific academic skills while teaching and working in student services. Where he wrote and presented many articles about Information Technology, special need students, using technology to motivate students and effective ways to recruit, train and maintain volunteers and Special Needs. Dr. Haydar Hassan taught and worked with students in both the UK and UAE.


Dr. Janet Courtney Stryker

Consultant, Student Life and Services
Qatar University

Courtney Stryker currently lives in Doha, Qatar and serves as a consultant for Student Life and Services at Qatar University. Courtney earned her B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University in the City of New York, and her doctorate at Montana State University where she served as both Assistant Dean and then Dean of Students during her twelve years there.

Seeking new challenges after a twenty-year career in student affairs in the United States, she accepted a position at the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, UAE as Assistant Provost and Dean of Students. She served in similar capacities at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi and Dubai where she also chaired the Women as Global Leaders Conference—an event attracting thought leaders, practitioners and dignitaries from more than 100 countries.

She frequently presents papers and workshops, and has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences, and universities. Courtney has consulted with numerous colleges and universities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Fiji and the Middle East on topics related to strategic planning, student affairs, and college student development, retention and success. Most recently, she became the founding chair of the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia (MENASA) Area NASPA Board. She also serves on the NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Global Advisory Board and International Symposium Committee.


Dr. Kevin Kruger

President
NASPA

An accomplished speaker, leader, and educator, Kevin Kruger joined NASPA as Associate Executive Director in 1994, and became its first executive-level President on March 15, 2012. In his capacity as a national advocate for students and the primary spokesperson for student affairs administrators and practitioners, he draws on more than 30 years of experience in higher education.

Prior to NASPA, Dr. Kruger worked for 15 years at the University of Maryland College Park and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. During his tenure at the University of Maryland he worked in orientation, student activities, leadership development, admissions, and with the vice president for student affairs office. Dr. Kruger has also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Student Development in Higher Education program at Trinity College in Washington, DC.

Dr. Kruger represents NASPA in national forums such as the Washington Higher Education Secretariat, which includes the leaders of approximately 50 higher education associations. While at NASPA, he has pursued a number of initiatives designed to enhance the association’s role in public policy, research, professional development, and student learning and assessment, with a particular interest in the use of technology in serving diverse student populations.

Dr. Kruger has published and presented nationally on leadership development, using technology in student affairs administration, international education and is a regular lecturer on technology in student affairs, change management and future trends in higher education. He is the editor of two Jossey-Bass publications, Technology Innovations in Student Services and Using Technology to Promote Student Learning. He also has chapters in The Handbook of Student Affairs Administration; Understanding the Role of Academic and Student Affairs Collaboration in Creating a Successful Learning Environment; Beyond Borders: How International Developments are Changing Student Affairs Practice; and Involving Commuter Students in Learning.


Dr. Robert Beilke

Psychologist and Learning Support Specialist
Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar

Dr. Robert Beilke joined Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar in April of 2015. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington. He has over 30 years of experience as a therapist, clinical psychologist, consultant and instructor in both university and medical settings. In addition, he is a consultant, visiting psychologist, and trainer to non-profit organizations in Swaziland and Zambia. He is licensed within the state of Washington in the U.S.

Dr. Beilke counsels students with depressive, anxious, stress-related complications, and other concerns that negatively impact academic performance. Dr. Beilke, along with Ms. Donna Gala, offers seminars and individual coaching in skills to help students manage the pressures of university. These may include mindfulness practices, stress management, balanced lifestyle, and the development of personal strengths.


Dr. Tarifa Ajaif Al Zaabi

Director
Higher Colleges of Technology – Dubai Women’s College 

Tarifa Ajaif Zaabi has 14 years’ experience in Student Services Management, Student leadership and skills development in higher education organizations in United Arab Emirates (Zayed University and Higher Colleges of Technology).

She currently occupies the position of Director of Dubai Women’s College of the higher colleges of Technology.

Her qualifications includes:

  • Doctorate in Education – Management and Policy in Higher Education from the British University in Dubai (2009-2014)
  • Executive Master of Business Administration – University of Sharjah (2001-2003) • Bachelor of Business Administration – Higher Colleges of Technology Dubai 1998-2000)

Tarifa is the winner of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum SME Award 2015 as the Business Women of the Year for the inspiring training using LEGO Serious Play method.

She represented the UAE in “Women as Political Leader” with the Exchange Program with USA government and has presented in several conferences such as Women’s As Global Leader organized by Zayed University, NASPA Gulf Regional Conferences and internationally in BELMAS-UAE presenting about Cultural Capital for Emirati Social Responsibility Practices.

Tarifa has co-authored educational social science research as below:

  • Daleure, G., Albon, R., Hinkston, K, Ajaif, T, & McKeown, J. (2013).  Understanding family involvement in the education of college students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Ed. Radawi, R. chapter in Intercultural Communication with Arabs: Studies in Educational, Professional and Social Contexts.  Springer.
  •  Daleure, G., Albon, R., Hinkston, K., Ajaif, T & McKeown, J.  (2013, Aug).  Home environment, Family Involvement and Emirati College Student Achievement.  Working Paper.  Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research:  Ras Al Khaima, UAE.

Dr. Nafees Sultana

Counselor – Student Services
Higher Colleges of Technology

Dr. Nafees Sultana is currently the Counselor at the Dubai Men’s College, providing personal counseling, health and special needs awareness, student development workshops, faculty workshops and student success outreach. She has over eighteen years of professional experience in the field of Student Affairs, Counseling and Special Needs. Besides being a strong advocate of inclusion, she specializes in developing best inclusive practices, appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities, counseling, assessment and research. She has organized and presented at many events, conferences and workshops regionally and internationally and contributing to various publications in the field.


Fatema Al Mulla

Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics Coordinator & Sports Communication Assistant
New York University Abu Dhabi

Fatema Al Mulla joined New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in July 2014 as a Program Associate and settled in with NYUAD’s the Department of Athletics, coordinating the women’s intercollegiate sports teams and managing sports communication for the Abu Dhabi Inter-University Sports League (ADISL),

Fatema’s passion is rooted in female empowerment and the importance of sporting participation and opportunities for Emirati women. At the Third International Sports Conference for Women, Fatema presented her research on “Women Athletes involved in the Abu Dhabi Inter-University Sports League”.

Fatema’s enthusiasm for sport followed her throughout her university years at Zayed University where she competed as an ADISL athlete. Fatema majored in International Relations and minored in Psychology. She is a Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Scholar.


Hanen Chobba

Senior Physiotherapist
Qatar University

Hanen Chobba graduated in 2002 and has worked as physiotherapist in Habib Bourguiba University Hospital in Tunisia for 3 years. She moved to Doha Clinic Hospital in Qatar as Physiotherapist Supervisor and since 2013 she is working at Qatar University in Sports Recreations Department as Senior Physiotherapist.


Jacqui Snell

Educational Enrichment Manager
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar

Jacqui Snell has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and certificate in Higher Education & Student Affairs from Hamid bin Khalifa University.

Her work at Georgetown Qatar over the past 4 years has focused on developing engaging and interactive programming which focuses on personal and academic skill building. She also coaches the Georgetown Qatar women’s basketball team and runs the university’s co-curricular international program, Zones of Conflict, Zones of Peace.


Jamil Karam

Director of Housing and Residence Life
Hamad bin Khalifa University – Doha, Qatar

Jamil Karam (Jimmy) is the Director of Housing and Residence Life at Hamad bin Khalifa University overseeing residence life and sustainability initiatives. He was involved in the construction of a LEED Platinum housing complex. He has oversight on the departmental strategy, policy development, campus planning, and financial management and is passionate about tweaking field practices to fit the cultural context of the Gulf region.

Jamil brings twenty years of experience in the management and delivery of student services spanning a variety of fields, institutions, and countries. Through his work experiences in Qatar, UAE, Canada, USA, and Lebanon, Jamil has gained a full grasp of administrative processes, global trends, and current challenges in higher education. Holder of a master’s degree in student affairs, he is currently pursuing his doctorate in higher education leadership.


Jessica Castelyn

Student Life Coordinator
New York University Abu Dhabi

Jessica Castelyn is the Student Life Coordinator at New York University – Abu Dhabi. Working in the Office of Community Outreach, Jessica is responsible for planning and managing service-based learning programs offered to students at the university. She focuses on preparing NYUAD students for volunteer opportunities through orientations and professional trainings and designing feedback and reflection sessions to enhance personal and professional development. She works closely with the Office’s external partner organizations to ensure that NYUAD student volunteer engagement is met with mutual success.

Jessica received her B.Soc.Sci. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and is currently enrolled in a B.Sc. in International Development through the University of London – International Programmes. Jessica has worked in the non-profit sector in the UAE with international NGO MSF – Doctors Without Borders and the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) in fundraising and community engagement capacities respectively.


Ken Grcich

Associate Dean of Students
New York University Abu Dhabi

Ken Grcich serves as the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Education at New York University Abu Dhabi. He oversees the student conduct process.


Laveena Lobo

Director of Student Life
American University of Kuwait

Laveena Lobo has been working in Student Affairs for 8 years’ and has been an expatriate her entire professional career. She has experience with creating programs in social, diversity, leadership & community service related themes. She oversees campus programming, organizations, leadership skills & sports.


Mary Barnes

Assistant Dean of Students; Director First Year Students
New York University Abu Dhabi

Mary Barnes is an educational administrator specializing in school startup, student support and programming. Mary has worked in The Office of First Year Programming at NYUAD since 2014 and has 15 years’ experience teaching and working in leadership positions in education.

Mary has worked for the past several years increasing access to higher education for students in urban schools and has partnered with educators and administrators to deliver continuous improvements to academic, student support, and staff development strategies and programming, including the development and implementation of programs to enhance student adjustment, integration, capabilities, and academic performance and improve identification of students requiring intervention.


Peter W Dicce

Assistant Dean of Students & Director of Athletics
New York University Abu Dhabi

Pete Dicce joined NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) as its Director of Athletics in 2010. Upon welcoming the university’s first class, he has set the vision and provided the leadership for NYUAD’s intercollegiate sport and recreational programming. Pete is the driving force behind the Abu Dhabi Inter-University Sports League (ADISL), the only university sports league in the UAE. Established in 2011, ADISL has rapidly grown to include 15 universities throughout the Emirate of Abu Dhabi offering over 1,000 students sporting opportunities throughout the academic year. ADISL has provided platform for university students to collaborate, compete and community build.

Pete is a graduate of Temple University (B.A.), Pepperdine University School of Law (J.D.) and Virginia Commonwealth University (M.Ed.).


Robert Leary

Residential College Director
New York University Abu Dhabi

Robert Leary serves as a Residential College Director for a first-year Residential College. In addition to his primary role, Robert is the lead judicial affairs officer and student conduct trainer for the NYUAD administration.


Sabeena K M

Business Analyst
Higher Colleges of Technology – Central IT

Business Analyst in Business Solutions department in Central Services IT. Working in HCT for last 10 years. Mainly involved in Academic and Student Service related systems and applications implementation.


Samantha Neugebauer

Associate Director of First Year Students
New York University Abu Dhabi

Samantha Neugebauer is the Associate Director of First Year Programming at New York University Abu Dhabi. Currently, Samantha provides leadership and strategic thinking for the first year experience at the university. Samantha earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelors from New York University.

Samantha has worked in Abu Dhabi, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. Samantha’s academic interests include: comparative education policy (United States & China), best practices for engaging East Asian students at western campuses, and first year student development.


Sebrina Palmer-Nevins

Planning Officer
The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus

Sebrina Palmer-Nevins holds a Masters of Arts degree in Higher Education from The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and completed her internship at Florida State University at the Centre for leadership and Social Change. She is currently a PhD student focusing on internationalisation of higher education.

Sebrina served one year as adjunct lecturer at a predominantly female college and is currently a Planning Officer at The University of the West Indies. As a newcomer in the field of student affairs, Sebrina continuously engages in capacity-building exercises which strengthens her knowledge and competence in the field, including participating in conferences and mentorship programmes.

Mrs. Palmer-Nevins has a discernible interest in student development and has participated in numerous initiatives which supports this interest. Her proposed presentation is based on her masters’ thesis which was used to widen understanding of best practices at the institution at which the study was done.


Suparna Mathur

Assistant Director of Community Outreach
New York University Abu Dhabi

Suparna Mathur is the Assistant Director of Community Outreach at New York University Abu Dhabi. In this role, Suparna is responsible for the strategic development of building partnerships focused on student engagement and community-based learning within the local community.

Suparna received her BA in International Development from the University of Toronto and has worked in Toronto, Abu Dhabi and Dubai consulting with nonprofit organizations and businesses on effective philanthropy and community investment programs. She has advised the service-learning program development of educational institutions at the secondary school, university and policy-making levels.

Suparna’s interests include student leadership development, corporate social responsibility, and capacity building for humanitarian organizations. Suparna is also a recipient of Abu Dhabi’s 2013 International Women’s Day Excellent Award and been featured as a ‘Community Hero’ and ‘Inspirational Women’ in local media in recognition for her contributions to creating a culture of civic engagement in the UAE.


Tadd Kruse

Assistant to the President for Institutional Planning & Effectiveness
American University of Kuwait

Tadd Kruse has over 16 years’ experience in higher education including 13 years’ experience in student affairs. With experience at institutions in the US, UK and Kuwait, and having spent more than a decade abroad he has a background in student affairs/international education on a variety of fronts.

Tadd has served as Senior Student Affairs Officer, founded a department at a start-up institution, worked in a variety of professional fields within Student Affairs, and has been responsible for conducting professional development programs for students, interns, and staff. He currently serves as a Leadership team member for the International Association of Student Affairs and Services (IASAS) and on the NASPA-MENASA Advisory Board.


Tayseer el-Gaili

Senior Student Counsellor
Qatar University

Taysier El-Gaili joined QU as a Senior Student Counselor in May 2014. Received her BA in Psychology from the American University in Cairo with a Minor in Sociology. Her master’s degree was in Counseling and Health Psychology from Ahfad University in Sudan and graduated with a GPA of 3.9.

She served in the UN for eight years as a Staff Counselor. Enrich experience in individual and group counselling, stress management, leadership and communication skills workshops. Worked in Saudi Arabia with Special Needs as a Social Psychologist. She’s a certified Career Development Facilitator from The National Career Development Association. Have intensive 10 years’ experience in Well-being workshops including communication Skills, Conflict resolutions, and Stress Management. Attended many professional conferences and published a chapter on Islamic Identity as part of The American Counseling Association Manuel for Psychology students: “Critical Incidents Integrating Spirituality into Counseling”.

Has supervision expertise in national and international staff counselors, leading multiple training, and chairing many meetings.


Tiki Ayiku

Senior Director of Educational Programs

NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Tiki Ayiku serves as the senior director of educational programs at NASPA. Her research interests focus on student persistence and athletics.  She received her B.A. in Spanish and Secondary Education from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, and earned her M.A. in Student Affairs from the University of Maryland, in College Park, Maryland, USA. Prior to joining NASPA, Ms. Ayiku served as Associate Dean of Students at St. Timothy’s School, Assistant Director of Student Programs, at Northfield Mt. Hermon School, and Program and Advising Coordinator at the University of Maryland College Park.  She has presented on various topics surrounding leadership and student development and is extremely grateful to be back in Dubai.


Wadad El Housseini

Consultant to VP of Student Affairs
Qatar University

Wadad El-Husseiny is the Consultant to VP of Student Affairs at Qatar University. She has worked at multiple institutions in the Middle East and started her career as Instructor of Social Sciences at University of Balamand (Lebanon) where she taught for a decade. From 2001 till 2009, Wadad served the American University of Beirut as Director of Student Activities.

Wadad joined Qatar University as Consultant since 2009. She is the former VP for IASAS (International Association of Student Affairs and Services) and a Certified Springboard Trainer, a “women’s empowerment program” in collaboration with the British Council.

Wadad is interested in Leadership of Higher Education and Student Affairs. She is well known for having her finger on the pulse of the region and for being an engaged advocate for professional development, research and student affairs leadership in the Middle East.


Zachary Troia

Communications and Research Specialist, Career Development Center
New York University Abu Dhabi

Zach moved to Abu Dhabi to be a teaching assistant at NYU Abu Dhabi after receiving his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from NYU. From there he joined the Career Development Center (CDC) as a coordinator where he shaped his work to fill a need for data collection and assessment, as well as developing the story of the CDC.

In the past year he has further focused this work, developing strategies to help the CDC integrate assessment and communication into all aspects of our work. Tools he has developed have been expanded to be used in the Campus Life division and across the university to streamline evaluative processes.


Zoe Peters

Senior Manager, Dean of Student Office
Yale-NUS College

Zoe Peters has been working in Higher Education field for more than 15 years. Born in Singapore, she migrated to Australia and is used to living in a multicultural environment. She has experience in managing Universities budget up to $300 million both in Australia and Singapore.

Zoe graduated from Curtin University (Western Australia) with a Bachelor degree majoring in Finance. She enjoys working with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and religions. Her primary responsibilities at Yale-NUS College includes the workings of various operations units such as Budgets, Dining, Café and Student Health.

She believes that dining brings people from all different background together. Other than her family, there are 3Cs that she loves. Coffee, Cakes and Chili! (But not all at once!)