Freshman Studies Office



In addition to their assigned Peer Adviser, students meet their assigned Mentor from the Freshman Studies program at Pirate Adventure orientation. The Mentor is a professional adviser who serves as a professor in the University Life course, as a resource for many questions about the curriculum, and as a counselor to help freshmen plan their course of study. The Mentor helps students clarify personal, academic and career goals. Together, the Mentor and the student examine these goals and use them to shape an academic plan and semester coursework. Our program's goal is to assist students in fulfilling their potential while making realistic choices when choosing their major. The students' choices should always reflect both their interests and abilities.

As a student's academic and perhaps personal issues arise, Mentors are available to counsel the students. Students are made aware of and encouraged to take advantage of the many Seton Hall University resources available on campus, such as the Academic Resource Center, the Career Center, Health Services and Counseling Services, and the Campus Ministry, to make the first year of college a great success.

Meet our Mentors

Andre ParrillaAndre Parrilla graduated from Seton Hall with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He is currently pursuing a Dual-Degree in the Master of Business Administration/Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations program here at The Hall as he prepares for a professional career. During his time as an undergraduate student, he embraced roles such as being a Resident Assistant for Housing and Residence Life, a site leader for the Center for Community Research and Engagement as well as a mentor for the Young Developers program which educates students about the creation of their own technological applications. His various experiences have helped to provide him with the insight on helping ease the transition between high school and college. His advice to incoming freshmen is: “Perseverance is the key to success. You will never know what you are able to achieve if you settle.” Andre Parrilla can be contacted via e-mail: or telephone: (973) 761-9579

Brandon Larmore
Brandon LarmoreHaving earned both his B.A. & M.A. in Psychology from Seton Hall University, Brandon Larmore treasures the experiences a Pirate education provided. Working as a Freshman, General Studies, and Transfer adviser, he values the work he does with students of all levels and abilities. Knowing how much Seton Hall gave to him, he works to ensure all students feel equally valued. Besides having a passion for film and TV criticism, community service is a major component of "Prof. L's" life. Since his undergraduate days, he remains heavily involved in the SHU chapter of Habitat for Humanity advising the yearly Collegiate Challenge Spring Break trips. Believing that it is not only what you can do but what you will do, he seeks to empower students to engage their Seton Hall career by taking advantage of the numerous opportunities available to them. To help all incoming students prepare for the journey ahead, Prof. Larmore borrows wisdom from Lao Tzu reminding students "the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step." Professor Larmore can be reached at (973) 275-2160 or by e-mail at

Brittany White
Brittany WhiteBrittany White graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing and a minor in Legal Studies in Business. She is now at the university to pursue a Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs. As an undergraduate, Brittany was the President of Phi Alpha Delta, Law Fraternity, Intl.’s pre-law chapter and a Freshman Studies Peer Adviser. After making the decision to not attend law school, she realized how much she loved and missed working with college students and decided to follow a new career path. Brittany enjoys spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, reading and making unforgettable memories. Her favorite quote and one she believes all students should keep in mind is, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” –Henry David Thoreau. Brittany encourages all students to take advantage of every opportunity and resource Seton Hall has to offer. She also believes that students should remember that it’s OK if the original plan falls apart; pick up each piece one by one and create a new path. Your possibilities are endless. Brittany can be reached by phone at (973) 761-9407 or by e-mail at

Derek Butler
Derek ButlerDerek Butler joins the Freshman Studies family as a 2015 graduate of Susquehanna University with his Bachelor of Arts in History. Originally from York, PA, Derek is excited to continue pursuing his passion for preserving the past and educating others as he works towards his Master’s Degree in Museum Professions here at Seton Hall. During his undergraduate career Derek was an active member of Phi Mu Delta fraternity, Student Government, and Susquehanna’s Office of First-Year Programs as a Fall and Summer Orientation Leader, teaching assistant, and office intern. This is where Derek’s passion for making a positive freshman was born. Derek is excited to work with new students and wants them to know that he is always available as a resource for whatever the student may need. In his free time, Derek loves to pursue his passions for history, photography, and travel as well as visiting with friends and relaxing with a good movie. Derek’s biggest advice to incoming students is to make the most of every experience you can in your time at Seton Hall. Getting involved and stepping outside of your comfort zone will help make your college years not only more successful, but some of the most memorable as well. Derek can be reached by email at or via phone at (973) 275-2351.

Forrest Pritchett
Forrest PritchettRev. Pritchett joined Seton Hall in 1978. During that time, he functioned as the following: Assistant Dean of the Black Studies Center; Faculty Mentor in Freshman Studies; Adjunct Professor in the departments of Africana, Interdisciplinary and Religious Studies; Program Director of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Program and the SHU Gospel Choir; and he currently serves, or did serve as an adviser to numerous student organizations.

Rev. Pritchett has been recognized several times for his contributions to the University. He was awarded the University McQuaid Medal in 2003, Employee of the Year in 2008, the University Faculty Pirate Pride Award in 1999-2000 and the University Human Relations Citation in 1997. Rev. Pritchett has been also been acknowledged for his involvement in the community. Rev. Pritchett was awarded by the New Jersey Association of Black Educators the "Black Educator of the Year Award," by the Association for the Study of Afro American Life and History the "Frederick Douglas-Sojourner Truth Award," by the Jersey City Library the "Paul Robeson Award," by the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Programs the "Educational Champion Award," and by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: New Jersey Convention the "Distinguished Educator Award."

Rev. Pritchett's personal philosophical paradigm is drawn from Holy Scripture and the following great observations:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: Be wise as a serpent and gentile as a dove…” Matthew 10:16.

“If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself…” Confucius.

Rev. Pritchett can be reached at (973) 275-2760 or
Mc Quaid
Gospel Choir

Hezal Patel
Hezal PatelHezal Patel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University and a M.A. in Counseling from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Having joined the Seton Hall Community in 2001, Professor Patel is a Freshman Studies Mentor and the Director of The Transfer Center. With a background in Counseling, Professor Patel finds it most rewarding when she is able to help students realize their dreams and the ability to achieve them. She really enjoys working with students and getting to know them beyond the classroom. Her door is always open and visitors are always welcome to her office. Professor Patel’s advice to students is to find what makes them happy and follow their dreams. “YOU create the life you want to live”.Outside of work, Professor Patel enjoys being a mom of three children and spending quality time with her family. Some of her hobbies include cooking, baking, crocheting, and reading. Students can contact Professor Patel by phone (973) 275-2761, e-mail, or stop by Mooney Hall 15.

Jacqueline DeBenedetto
Jacqueline DeBenedettoJacqueline DeBenedetto earned her B.S in Elementary and Special Education from Seton Hall University. She specialized in with working with students with disabilities and taught in a Pre-School Special Education classroom for one year. She recently graduated from Seton Hall with her M.A.E in Instructional Design and Technology while working as a Freshman Studies Mentor and Placement Test Coordinator in the Freshman Studies Department. Currently, Jacqueline is working towards her Doctor of Education in Higher Education, Administration and Policy. Working with undergraduate students is a passion of hers as she hopes to inspire students to take full advantage of the many opportunities that Seton Hall has to offer. Aside from working as a Freshman Studies Mentor, Jacqueline enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading, and traveling. She can be reached at or at (973) 275-2762.

Jason Oliveira
Jason Oliveira Jason Oliveiraearned his B.S in Sociology form East Stroudsburg University and M.Ed in Adult Education and Community Leadership from Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia. Professor Oliveira joined the Freshman Studies family in the summer of 2015. Prior to joining the Seton Hall family, Professor Oliveira worked as a Student Success Adviser. He enjoys working with students and always reminds his students that "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try".  Some of his hobbies include soccer, football, and reading. Professor Oliveira's door is always open. If you're not able to stop by Mooney Hall 12, you may contact Professor Oliveira by phone (973) 275-2456, e-mail

Joan BrennanJoan Brennan
An employee since 1991, Joan Brennan joined the Freshman Studies Program in 1999. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social & Behavioral Sciences from Seton Hall University.  Most recently Joan has been appointed the Academic Success Center adviser for undeclared students in the College of Arts & Sciences who have earned 30 or more credits. She also provides academic support to Veterans.  What is Joan’s advice to students? “Time management and study skills is just as important as choosing a  major that is a good personal fit.”  Joan can be reached by phone (973) 275-2595 or e-mail at  Her office is located in Mooney Hall 14.

Kelly Freeman
Kelly FreemanKelly Freeman graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science in International Relations and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Over the past year she worked for a Forensic Economics Firm as a Junior Research Analyst. When Kelly was an undergraduate she worked for Freshman Studies as a Peer Adviser, was involved in the business newspaper the Stillman Exchange, and was a member of the Seton Hall Honors Program. After a year in the corporate world Kelly realized how much she missed working with students. She is now at Seton Hall University to pursue a Master's degree in College Student Personnel Administration. Kelly is excited to be a Mentor for Freshmen Studies and looks forward to helping her students as they transition from high school students to Seton Hall Pirates.

Outside of school, Kelly enjoys spending time with loved ones, painting, traveling, ice skating, and reading. Her advice to students is to enjoy and appreciate their time as an undergraduate, to make the most out of every opportunity and to approach everything with an open mind. Kelly can be reached through email at or by phone (973) 275-2541.

Lauren MitchellLauren Mitchell
Lauren Mitchell graduated from Fordham University with a double major in Anthropology and English. After graduating, Lauren went into Elementary Education where she dedicated her time to fostering learning and growth in young students. After some years, she decided her strengths and values would best serve not just students, but families as a whole. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in Seton Hall’s Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy. Lauren is delighted to be a member of the Freshman Studies Department, where she feels she can best serve SHU students in enhancing their college experience. Lauren encourages students to take full advantage of the support, guidance, and encouragement offered by Seton Hall’s strong sense of community. Lauren can be contacted at  or (973) 275-2743.

Lisa Robinson
Lisa RobinsonLisa Robinson earned her Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from Oklahoma State University. She specialized in the areas of English and Social Studies and taught high school English for three years. Currently, Lisa is continuing her education by advancing toward her M.A. in Strategic Communication, as well as working as a Graduate Assistant Mentor in the Freshman Studies Department. Working and interacting with students has always been a passion of hers, and she really enjoys mentoring and advising Seton Hall's freshmen students. Lisa’s favorite quote is: “Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.” Lisa can be reached through e-mail at or her office phone at (973) 275-2763.

Maggie Hernandez
Maggie HernandezMaggie Hernandez graduated from Berkeley College in West Paterson, NJ where she majored in Business Management and Administration. She is a recent graduate of Seton Hall University where she earned a master's degree in College Student Personnel Administration. Maggie is the Operations Coordinator for Freshman Studies and has recently taken on advising responsibilities. She is so excited to make a difference in the lives of Seton Hall students. Maggie can be contacted at (973) 275-2286 or

Majid Whitney
Majid WhitneyMajid Whitney is the Assistant Dean of Freshman Studies and the Director of the General Studies and Fast Forward Programs. Having earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.S.W. from Rutgers University, he embraces his role of assisting Seton Hall students in unlocking their full potential and navigating the course of their Seton Hall journeys and beyond. With a background in counseling, academic advisement, teaching, college admissions consulting and program management, Dean Whitney is most satisfied in his endeavors when students embrace the idea that they are uniquely and supremely talented and possess the power to change the world. His personal philosophy is drawn from a Latin proverb, “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”  He challenges every student to "make the most of the best years of their life" while at SHU and to watch what marvels unfold in the process.  Greatness awaits!  Dean Whitney’s door is always open, and he can be reached through e-mail at  or phone at (973) 313-6008.

marisa case

Marisa Case
Marisa Case is delighted to be a team member of the Department of Freshman Studies at Seton Hall University. Professor Case earned her B.A. from Glassboro State College and her M.F.A. from the Catholic University of America. During a recent trip to Rome, while in a classroom, a wise lecturer instructed, “Every moment of your life there is a choice to be a better person or not.  What choices do we make?”  It makes you think, doesn’t it? You can contact Professor Case at (973) 761-9614 or .

Mark Vitale
Mark vitaleMark Vitale graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and Spanish. He is currently working on his Master's Degree in School Counseling and hopes to be a Guidance Counselor in the future. Mark's career goals are dedicated to helping and counseling students, especially children and adolescents. His goals stemmed from his experiences as an undergraduate at Seton Hall. As an undergrad, Mark was a Freshman Studies Peer Adviser. In this role, Mark worked very closely with freshmen and transfer students and found a true passion for this position and the work it entailed. Mark was also a member of Greek Life and was very involved in the Greek Life community and appreciated the values and leadership skills Greek Life taught him. He was also very involved with community service and traveled to Haiti twice with DOVE. Mark enjoys spending time with family and friends, being outdoors, and traveling. One of his favorite quotes that Mark believes is very important for students to live by is, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Ralph Waldo Emerson. Mark encourages his students to take advantage of every opportunity Seton Hall has to offer them and to not be afraid to step outside their comfort zones, because those experiences are the most memorable. Mark can be reached at (973) 275-6458 or

Megan Hall
Megan HallMegan Hall graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in History.  She joined the Freshman Studies program as a representative for the Sophomore Center.  Through the Sophomore Center, Megan provides students with support and guidance during their second year at Seton Hall.  Sophomore year is a time for students to focus on academics, to plan ahead, and to continue to stay involved on campus.  With events both social and academic in nature, the Sophomore Center offers a community in which students can reach their fullest potential.  Megan is dedicated to helping students succeed and to prepare them for their future by connecting them to a variety of campus resources.  She also advises students with 30 or more credits who have yet to declare their major.  Megan can be reached at or 973-275-2105.

Nicole Battaglia
nicole battagliaNicole A. Battaglia earned both her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A.E. in College Student Personnel Administration from Seton Hall University. While attending Seton Hall, Nicole worked as a Peer Adviser for Freshman Studies and was a Brother of the Service Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Continuing her passion for service Nicole traveled with DOVE to El Salvador where she learned the meaning behind, “the best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others”- Gandhi. After completing her M.A., Nicole went on to Wagner College where she was the Academic Resource Coordinator for Student-Athletes and then the Assistant Athletic Director for Student Services.  

Professor Battaglia has returned to Seton Hall as the Mentor for the Fast Forward Program. She is so excited about returning to her Alma Matter and looks forward to helping students reach their goals. Professor Battaglia encourages her students to constantly challenge themselves to be better than they were yesterday.  In the words of  Pelé “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing.” Professor Battaglia can be reached by phone at 973-275-4809 or by email at

Robin Cunningham
Dean CunninghamRobin Cunningham graduated from Seton Hall with a B.A. in English, a M.A. in Counseling and an Ed.S in Secondary Education. From 1984 to 2003, Dean Cunningham was the Director of Academic Support Services for student athletes at Seton Hall. In 2004, she moved over to Freshman Studies to work with the general freshman population. In 2006, Dean Cunningham became the Director of the Seton Summer Scholars program, in 2010 she was named Associate Dean of Freshman Studies and she is now the Associate Vice President of Freshman Studies. She enjoys working with students, and teaching is one of her great passions.

Dean Cunningham has been recognized numerous times for her service to the university with such honors as the retirement of her basketball jersey, her induction into the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame, receiving the Alumni Association’s Many Are One Humanitarian Award and most recently receiving the university’s McQuaid Medal. Dean Cunningham’s favorite saying is: “It’s not where you start; it’s where you finish.” Dean Cunningham can be reached at (973) 275-2159 or

Ryan Westman
Ryan WestmanRyan Westman is extremely excited to join Seton Hall after spending much of his collegiate career at Rutgers. While at Rutgers, Ryan earned his B.A. in Psychology as well as his M.E. in Elementary Education while running with the Men’s Track and Field team. Upon completion of his Master’s degree, Ryan trained professionally in track and field for a year in Eugene, Oregon before returning home to pursue a Master’s in College Student Affairs which he recently completed in the spring of 2011. Besides working with Freshman Studies, Ryan is also extremely excited to be working in the office of Academic Support Services for student athletes.

Ryan’s advice to his students is to be proactive rather than reactive, and to make the most of the best four years of your life at Seton Hall! Ryan can be reached through his email, or his office phone 973-761-9159.

Tracy Gottlieb
Dean GottliebTracy Gottlieb, Ph.D., served as Dean of Freshman Studies since 2001. She was named Vice President of Student Services in January of 2012. She began her academic career as a professor at Seton Hall in 1988, but it was a homecoming – she is a 1975 graduate of the university with a degree in Communication. After commencement, she worked as a reporter and editor at the Associated Press for five years. She moved to Brussels, Belgium, in 1980 and worked as editor of the monthly magazine, Commerce in Belgium. Dr. Gottlieb returned to the United States in 1984 and began graduate school at the University of Maryland. She graduated with her doctorate in Public Communication in 1992. She is an expert in journalism history, specifically the role of women in journalism. She is the author of several books and dozens of scholarly articles.

Contact Us

Freshman Studies Office
(973) 761-9740
Mooney Hall

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