Student Living and Learning Staff

Main Office Staff

John Lawler
John Lawler
Dean of Student Living and Learning

Pronouns: he/him/his
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning

John Lawler began serving in his role as the Dean of Student Living and Learning in 2019 and is responsible for oversight of the Residential, Fraternity and Sorority, and Off-Campus Commons at Rensselaer. He and his staff implement a range of programs and services designed to create an impactful student living-learning experience for students throughout their time at the university. Before joining the Rensselaer community, John served as the Director of Student Life at the University of Maine and, prior to that, a series of roles at Indiana University. John graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College, and completed his master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University. Outside of work, John and his wife, Katie, have two children and two dogs to keep them busy.

Ryan Ballantine
Director of Housing Operations

Ryan began at Rensselaer in the Summer of 2023.    Originally from the Hudson Valley, Ryan relocated to the capital region in 2008 and has 12 years of higher education experience, previously working at Skidmore College and SUNY Delhi.   He holds a B.A. in History for SUNY New Paltz and a M.A. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.   Outside of work Ryan enjoys movies, gaming, and trivia as well as alpine skiing and racing during the winter month. 

Sue Valenti
Operations Specialist

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning

Fraternity & Sorority Commons Staff

Stubbs, Assoc. Dean, FSC
Ethan Stubbs
Associate Dean, Fraternity & Sorority Commons

Pronouns: he/him/his
E-mail: stubbe@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-3103
FSC General Phone: 518-276-7920                                                      
Office Location: 1525 15th St. Troy, NY 12180

Schedule a Meeting with Ethan

Ethan is an experienced Student Affairs Professional in the area of Fraternity & Sorority Life with a demonstrated history of working in higher education industry. Ethan holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Florida State University and an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education from the University of Kentucky. He brings considerable experience from positions held with his International Fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and with higher education institutions including George Washington University and the University of Kansas.

Job Responsibilities: Reporting to both the Dean of Student Living & Learning and Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, the Associate Dean for Fraternity & Sorority Commons will provide creativity, vision and leadership for all aspects of the fraternity and sorority community as an integral part of Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS) framework. The Dean will be responsible for the development of program and initiatives that support all fraternity/sorority organizations in their living, meeting, and programming spaces and will work with various internal and external stakeholders in order to effectively enhance the quality, health and safety of both the on/off campus fraternity/sorority experience. The Dean will also manage/have oversight in short and long-range goals and strategic development, planning, marketing, expansion/growth, and assessment. 

Coaching Responsibilities F23|S24:  ΑΦ, ΧΦ, ΔΦ, ΦΣΚ, ΠΚΦ*, ΠΛΦ, ΣΧ, ΩΦΒ, Ω, RSEi

Advising: Serves as primary advisor to the Multicultural Sorority & Fraternity Council (MSFC)

* Expansion Organization

Mel Daley
Mel Daley
Assistant Dean, Fraternity & Sorority Commons

Pronouns: they/them/theirs
E-mail: daleym2@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-2186
FSC General Phone: 518-276-7920                                                      
Office Location: 1525 15th St. Troy, NY 12180

Schedule a Meeting with Mel

Mel holds a B.S. in Psychology from Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA and an M.Ed. in Higher Educational Leadership from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. They bring experience from positions held within their sorority, Tau Sigma Gamma, as well as institutions including Philadelphia University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Job Responsibilities: The Assistant Dean works in support of the Associate Dean for Fraternity & Sorority Commons in creating and sustaining the vision for the fraternity and sorority community. The position also supports the Associate Dean in all health and safety initiatives for both on/off campus properties and will work with community partners on diversity, equity and inclusion education, large scale community philanthropic initiatives, and works to support various programming and educational workshops. 

Coaching Responsibilities F23|S24: Acacia, ΑΦΩ, ΑΧΡ, ΔΚΕ, ΛΧΑ, ΦΚΘ, ΦΜΔ, ΠΔΨ, ΠΒΦ, ΣΦΕ, TKE, ΘΞ, 

Advising: Serves as primary advisor to the Interfraternity Council (IFC).

Lezlie Blair
Lezlie Blair
Assistant Dean, Fraternity & Sorority Commons

Pronouns: she/her/hers
E-mail: @rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-2186
FSC General Phone: 518-276-7920                                                      
Office Location: 1525 15th St. Troy, NY 12180

Schedule a Meeting with Lezlie

Lezlie Blair is a graduate of West Chester University, where she was awarded a B.S. in Liberal Studies with minors in Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies, and Professional Education. She continued her education at WCU and completed her M.S. in Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs in May 2021. Lezlie’s experience stems from leadership positions she has held within her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., as well as her previous role as the Fraternity and Sorority Life Coordinator at the University of South Florida.

Job Responsibilities: The Assistant Dean works in support of the Associate Dean for Fraternity & Sorority Commons in creating and sustaining the vision for the fraternity and sorority community. The position also supports the Associate Dean in all health and safety initiatives for both on/off campus properties and will work with community partners on diversity, equity and inclusion education, large scale community philanthropic initiatives, and works to support various programming and educational workshops. 

Coaching Responsibilities F23|S24: ΑΕΠ, ΑΓΔ, ΑΩΕ, ΑΦΑ, ΑΣΦ, ΦΓΔ, ΦΙΑ, ΠΚΑ, ΨΥ, ΣΑΕ, ΤΕΦ, ΖΨ

Advising: Serves as primary advisor to the Rensselaer Panhellenic Council (RPC), and primary staff supporting the professional fraternities and sororities.

Off-Campus Commons Staff

Knowles_G
Graham Knowles
Associate Dean, Off-Campus Commons

Pronouns: he/his/him
E-mail: knowlg@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: 1525 15th St. Troy, NY 12180

Graham joined the Student Living and Learning department in 2023.  He first joined Rensselaer in 2005 as a member of The Archer Center for Student Leadership. An experienced higher education professional, Graham brings enthusiasm and experience to supporting our students.  Graham holds a B.S in History from Saint John Fisher College and an M.S.Ed in Higher Education from The College of Saint Rose.  Graham volunteers as an Academic Liaison to Athletics specifically The Softball and Men’s Lacrosse Teams.  

In his spare time Graham Loves spending time with family, hiking and watching a variety of sports.  He lives locally with his wife, two kids and dog. 

Residential Commons Staff

Shelby Robinson
Shelby Robinson
Associate Dean, Residential Commons

Pronouns: she/her/hers
E-mail: robins12@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning

Shelby has been dedicated to helping students become their authentic selves since beginning her Higher Education career in 2016. Since then, this path has led her from Illinois to Colorado, and now here to Troy, NY to be at Rensselaer. When not walking around campus with her cat, Shelby loves to travel to new places with her friends, go shopping at one of the awesome malls in the area, or is fueling her K-Pop obsession.

Chris Dutchover headshot
Chris Dutchover
Assistant Dean, Residential Commons

E-mail: dutchc@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning
Area of Responsibility: Barton, Bray, Cary, Crockett, Hall

Chris began his role at Rensselaer in June 2022. Originally from New Mexico, Chris obtained a bachelor's degree in Biology at the University of  New Mexico before completing his Master's degree in Higher Education Administration while acting as a Residence Hall Director at Southern Illinois University. Enjoying being able to connect his STEM experience with his work in Student Affairs, Chris has enjoyed the working with the students of RPI. When not in the office, Chris enjoys finding and trying new restaurants, gaming with friends, and spending time with his dog Acorn.

Halen Emerson headshot
Halen Emerson
Assistant Dean, Residential Commons

E-mail: emersh@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning
Area of Responsibility: Bryckwyck, RAHP A (Colvin & Albright), RAHP B (Beman & Brinsmade), Stacwyck (Rousseau, Thompson, Williams, Wiltsie)

Halen began serving the RPI community in June of 2022. Halen was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they got their bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico. Halen obtained their Master’s degree in Higher Education Student Affairs at Fort Hays State University, where they found a passion for working with college students in a new stage of life. When not talking long walks with their dog Maxwell, Halen enjoys listening to and making punk rock music, cooking dishes they see on YouTube, and collecting cool rocks.

Olivia Conroy headshot
Olivia Conroy
Assistant Dean, Residential Commons

E-mail: conroo@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning
Area of Responsibility: City Station West, Colonie, E-Complex (Cassatt, Clement, Hearne, Hirai, Voorhees, Waite), North, Polytechnic.

Olivia began serving in her role at RPI in 2022. Olivia grew up in Delmar, NY, 30 minutes south of Troy. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York, College at Oneonta, Olivia returned to the Capital Region to complete her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at the University of Albany. Olivia is also a dance teacher to kindergarteners and first graders. She teaches ballet, tap, and jazz classes at a local studio that she attended from ages 3-18! In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

Tom Landon Headshot
Tom Landon
Assistant Dean, Residential Commons

E-mail: landot@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning
Area of Responsibility: Davison, Nason, Nugent, Quad (Buck, Caldwell, Church I-VI, Cooper, Hunt I-III, MacDonald, Pardee, Roebling, White I-IV), Warren.

Tom has been at Rensselaer since July of 2022. Tom grew up in Ballston Lake NY, roughly 30 minutes north of Troy. He received his BA and MS degrees from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Tom’s passion is to help students find their way and transition into college life. He also enjoys assisting student leaders to develop and hone their leadership skills. Tom discovered this passion as an RA, which then led him down the path of working in Higher Education. When not lounging on the couch with his cat, Tom enjoys baking, cooking, gaming with his friends, or he is exploring the local area.

Cassandra Day
Residential Coordinator

E-mail: dayc2@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning
Area of Responsibility: Blitman Hall

Cassandra began her role at RPI in December 2023. She grew up in the Adirondack park near the Olympic village, Lake Placid. Cassandra earned her bachelor's degree at SUNY Plattsburgh. Upon graduating, Cassandra attended the Aesthetic Science Institute to become a licensed esthetician. She began her career in higher education as an admissions advisor at SUNY Plattsburgh. In her spare time, Cassandra likes to spend time with friends and family, paint, add to her vinyl record collection and travel.

Nick Athari
Residential Coordinator

E-mail: atharn@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning
Area of Responsibility: BARH

Nick joined the team in October 2023. Nick grew up in Utica, NY, and got his BA in Linguistics at UB in Buffalo. As a recent college graduate, Nick feels like he can connect with the student experience and be a secure resource for transitioning students. He also has a passion for exploring different cultures and learning languages.

Kevin Trevil
Residential Coordinator

E-mail: trevik@rpi.edu
Phone: 518-276-6284
Office Location: Office of Student Living and Learning
Area of Responsibility: Quad

Kevin recently started his role at RPI in January 2024. He grew up in the Northern New Jersey area. Kevin earned his Associate’s degree at Sussex County Community College. After graduating Kevin continued his education at SUNY Cobleskill and where he began his interest in higher education. During his time at SUNY Cobleskill, Kevin was a Resident Assistant, Summer Orientation Leader and the President of Hall Council. In his spare time, Kevin enjoys spending time with family, playing basketball, working out and hiking.

 

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