Director, Career Education
Lyn Leis is a 15-year career development professional with significant experience in team leadership, program development, experiential learning, and career in curriculum. She practices holistic and equity-minded career counseling that is grounded in anti-racist, intersectional, and liberation-based frameworks. A first-generation college graduate and Westchester native, Lyn is committed to helping Mercy College students discover, develop, and pursue their career paths. As Director of Career Education, Lyn oversees the career coaching, programming, curricular, and educational services, and initiatives from the Career Team at Mercy College. Her mission is to provide student-centered service with focus on equity, inclusion, and belonging. She wants and needs student feedback, so please reach out to her at any time!
Lyn is the current Co-Chair of the LGBTQ+ Affinity Group for NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) and was recently Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force of the Division of Student Affairs at Mercy College. She is also the Past President of NYSCEEA (New York State Cooperative and Experiential Education Association). She holds a BA in French Language and Comparative Literature from SUNY Binghamton, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Manhattanville College, a Professional Certificate in Career Planning and Development from New York University and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer. She holds a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate from the University of South Florida MUMA College of Business.
Director, Employer Relations
Sara Shepherd currently serves as the Interim Director of Employer Relations at Mercy College. Her primary focus is to create, develop, and maintain relationships with employers who have interest in hiring Mercy College students.
Sara has also served as Associate Director of Career and Professional Development where she focused on marketing, system maintenance, and working with students in the School of Liberal Arts. Sara’s first role at Mercy College was Assistant Director for Career and Professional Development. Her primary goal in this role was to develop and implement a dynamic, integrated, and comprehensive suite of career programs and services for current undergraduate students.
Prior to working at Mercy College, Sara was an Employment Manager at a social service agency where she handled hiring procedures and performed human resource functions agency wide. Sara holds a Master of Science in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration specializing in Marketing from Mercy College.
Associate Director, Employer Relations
Gaylen Ronde serves as the Associate Director of Employer Relations for the Career and Professional Development Department. She works with the Human Services, Government, Law and Education as well as the Healthcare and Wellness Career Communities. In this capacity, she is responsible for cultivating and maintaining relationships with employers while working with our Career Educators to inform and align students with internship, volunteer, part-time and full-time work opportunities. Gaylen is committed to diverse, equitable and inclusive approaches to employment and relationship building.
Prior to her work at Mercy College, Gaylen earned a BA in Spanish Language and Literature from SUNY Stony Brook University. She has 3 years’ experience previously working as a HR professional for a non-profit social services organization. During her time as a HR Recruiter, she was able to initiate relationships with communities in Westchester County, successfully expanding operations to two additional residences purposed to provide services for individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
2022, marks her 5th year of employment with Mercy College and degree date for her Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Mercy.
Deputy Director, Career Education
As the Deputy Director, Career Education Mariana is responsible for career curriculum development for course offerings, programmatic and resource development, and implementation and assessment. Mariana acts as a project manager for Mercy University’s EPIC career in curriculum program, ensuring smooth implementation and operation each semester. She also drives the collection and analysis of data every year to understand where Mercy graduates go within six months of graduating from the university.
Previous to her current role, Mariana’s main responsibility was to assist in the development and delivery of career programming and career resources for the Manhattan students. She also led the Career Explorer Career Community and was in charge of data collection and analysis for the department, including the First Destination Survey. Mariana has 13 years of experience in career and professional development and 4 years of experience in campus recruiting.
Mariana holds a Master’s degree from NYU in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, a Certificate in Career Planning and Development and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pace University.
Associate Director, Career and Professional Development
Reginald Coleman (Reggie) is a First-Generation college graduate from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who loves Beyoncé. Reggie is a double alumnus from Kutztown University graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a minor in English and a master’s degree in Higher Education.
Reggie’s professional experience is in Residential Life where he served as a Residence Hall Director for both upperclassmen and freshmen living communities. Reggie transitioned to Career Education and joined the Mercy Career Team in February 2022 as an Associate Director. Reggie currently administers the Media, Communications & Technology Career Community.
As a strong representative of unity, Reggie has also served on committees that educate students on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Reggie is passionate about Career Education and is looking forward to professionally developing Mercy College students as they prepare to embark on their career journeys!
Career CommunitiesMedia, Communications & Technology
Samantha is an energetic and creative member of the career team with experience in higher education, human resources, and business. As an Associate Director at the Dobbs Ferry campus, she coaches students in the Business & Accounting career community and helps prepare them for their professional lives during and after college.
Samantha joined the Mercy career team in November 2019 as Career Specialist, where she provided administrative and operational support. She then moved into an Assistant Director role, supporting marketing and data efforts. In her current position, Samantha leads the career team’s marketing strategy, which includes crafting and overseeing their marketing plan and creating content for their channels.
Prior to Mercy, Samantha gained experience in human resources and business development at a mid-sized consulting firm in Connecticut. This background, coupled with the love she discovered for career development during an undergraduate internship, motivates her to bring her best every day for the variety of students she has the pleasure of working with.Samantha earned a B.A. in Psychology from Manhattanville College, and loves to get outdoors and travel the USA. She lives in beautiful Putnam County, New York with her husband.
Career CommunitiesBusiness and Accounting
Sharon Okaine is a dedicated Assistant Director that joined the Career & Professional Development team in January 2022. She provides career coaching to all students and leads the Healthcare & Wellness career community. Alongside this, Sharon hires, trains, and manages student employees for the team.
After graduating from the University of Sussex (UK) with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Finance, Sharon has worked for various corporate and not-for-profit organizations within administrative support and counseling positions. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration, with a focus in career development and counseling.
Sharon is passionate about working with a wide variety of students, and looks forward to providing others with the right tools to establish their careers, no matter who they are or where they come from.
Career CommunitiesHealthcare and Wellness
Career Counselor, Career and Professional Development
Erica Wu is a First-Generation college graduate from Long Island, New York. Erica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from SUNY College at Old Westbury. While gaining professional experience working with young adults during her undergraduate internship, Erica has had the opportunity to work with students from different backgrounds.
Erica was also a dance teacher where she gained leadership skills. Through her professional experiences, Erica found her passion for career development and helping students from different backgrounds with their futures.
In January 2023, Erica joined the Career and Professional Development team at Mercy College’s Bronx Campus where she serve as a Career Counselor. Erica is looking forward to providing students with the right skills and tools to achieve their career goals, while providing a safe environment to a diverse group of students at Mercy College.
Career CommunitiesMedia, Communications & Technology
Jailene Carrasco is a First-Generation college graduate from the Bronx. Jailene is an alumna of Mercy College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. As a proud female Latina and first-generation graduate, Jailene understands and relates to the barriers and accomplishments that many college students undergo.
Jailene is currently studying for a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling at Mercy and has a background in case planning, which prompted her to pursue a career in counseling. Jailene also worked for non-profit organizations that assisted individuals with obtaining their G.E.D certification. She is passionate about helping her community through mental health awareness and encouraging individuals to empower diversity!
In January 2023, Jailene joined the Career and Professional Development team at Mercy College’s Dobbs Ferry Campus. Jailene looks forward to helping students discover who they are, what they are best at and where they want to work. Jailene is excited to help students develop the right skills to excel in their future careers.