Committee Members

The strategic planning committee membership was announced on September 30 by President Katherine Bergeron. The Staff Council, the Faculty Steering and Conference Committee, and the Student Government Association worked individually and then in consultation with the president to finalize the committee’s members, who represent staff, faculty, students, and members of the senior management team. Dean of the Faculty Abby Van Slyck and Associate Professor of Botany Chad Jones are co-chairing the committee. 

Mary Calarese

Mary Calarese is Connecticut College’s director of financial planning. She joined the College in 2000 and is responsible for the oversight and development of the annual operating budget and for long- and short-term financial planning. She serves on the Priorities, Planning and Budget Committee and staffs the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee and Investment Subcommittee. Her proudest accomplishment so far as a member of the College community is helping to establish a strong financial foundation on which the College can flourish.


Paulina Castillo

Paulina Castillo is an attendant at Oasis Snack Shop, where she interacts daily with students, staff and faculty. She joined Connecticut College in 2012. Her proudest accomplishments to date as a member of the College community are mastering a variety of responsibilities within Dining Services and Catering and progressing through positions including Kitchen Cleaner, Dining Services Attendant, Cook’s Helper and On-call Lead. She is proud to be part of the family atmosphere and different cultures at the College.


Michelle Dunlap

Michelle Dunlap is professor of human development and the current chair of the Human Development department. Her research focuses on intergroup relations, perceptions and misperceptions of African-American child-rearing, and college students working in community service-learning settings. She joined the College in 1994.


Noel Garrett

Noel Garrett joined Connecticut College in 2013 and is dean of academic support and director of the Academic Resource Center. As dean, he oversees the Academic Resource Center, the Roth Writing Center, Student Accessibility Services and the College's career and professional development office. He also teaches a first-year seminar and conducts independent studies with advanced students on topics related to adolescent development. His proudest accomplishment so far as a member of the College community is implementing a highly integrated and comprehensive academic support system available to all students so that they may reach their maximum academic potential.


Antonio Jefferson

Antonio Jefferson is director of Unity House. In this role, he works closely with underrepresented students, faculty and staff on a wide range of programming. He enjoys the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people on a daily basis at the College, which he joined in 2009.


Chad Jones

Chad Jones co-chairs the Strategic Planning Committee and is associate professor of botany, chair of the Botany Department and the Suzi Oppenheimer ’56 Faculty Director of the Office of Sustainability. He joined Connecticut College in 2007. His favorite part about working at Connecticut College is the opportunity to work with faculty, staff and students across disciplines to develop an innovative and engaging curriculum.


Grace Juster '16

Grace Juster, Class of 2016, is a computer science and studio art double major from Ohio. She is a scholar in the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology, the president of the senior class and a member of one of the College’s improv groups.


Roxanne Low '19

Roxanne Low, Class of 2019, is from Klang, Malaysia, and looks forward to being involved at Connecticut College in a variety of activities. She is considering majoring in the arts. She is very proud to be part of the Strategic Planning Committee, contributing to building a better experience for everyone in the Connecticut College community.


Gil Mejia '17

Gil Mejia, Class of 2017, is from New York City and is majoring in American Studies with a minor in Economics. He is the housefellow in Harkness House and the manager of the Lambdin Game Room, and he has held a number of leadership positions in Unity House.


John Nugent

John Nugent is director of institutional research and planning. He joined Connecticut College in 2000 as a visiting assistant professor of government. He has managed institutional research since 2003. His proudest accomplishment so far as a member of the College community is building a comprehensive institutional research program.


Chris Penniman

Chris Penniman, director of instructional technology, joined the College in 1990. She was actively involved in the successful Shain Library renovation, with a particular focus on the inclusion of technology to support teaching, learning and research. She coordinates the Classroom Improvement Committee. Her proudest accomplishment as a member of the College community is her role in the development of the Classroom Improvement Plan and working with faculty members and architects to renovate classrooms to be modern, comfortable, flexible and effective spaces to support both traditional and new ways of teaching and learning.


Darryl Phillips

Darryl Phillips is associate professor of classics and the chair of the Classics Department. His research, writing and teaching focuses on Latin literature and ancient history. Before coming to Connecticut College in 2014, he taught at the College of Charleston. His proudest accomplishment to date as a member of the College community is collaborating with colleagues to reinvigorate the curriculum, including working together to develop new ConnCourses, formulating a plan for furthering full participation and rethinking what classics can contribute to a progressive liberal arts institution.


Ken Prestininzi

Ken Prestininzi is associate professor of theater. A playwright, his works have been performed around the world. Before coming to Connecticut College in 2013, he was the acting chair and associate chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama and a Pembroke Fellow at Brown University. He is inspired by and proud of the interest and surge in student playwriting and original performance that is happening on campus.


Rob Richter

Rob Richter is director of arts programming. An alumnus of the College, he is an award-winning producer of a short film, has team-taught in the first-year seminar program and teaches a senior seminar on the playwright Eugene O'Neill.


Anne Rochette

Anne Rochette joined the College in 1988 and has represented the Administration division on Staff Council. She is most proud of the relationships she has developed and nurtured with staff, faculty and students in the course of her career at Connecticut College.

Abigail Van Slyck, Dayton Professor of Art History,  Dean of the Faculty

Abigail Van Slyck

Abigail Van Slyck co-chairs the Strategic Planning Committee and is dean of the faculty and the Dayton Professor of Art History. She has been dean of the faculty since 2014; before that, she served as associate dean of the faculty. Her research focuses on American architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular attention to commonplace building types constructed to house influential social institutions. She joined the College in 1999.

Jake Varsano '18

Jake Varsano, Class of 2018, is from Massachusetts. He is a senior fellow in the Office of Sustainability, a member of the Peggotty Investment Club and a member of the men’s club hockey team. His proudest accomplishment so far as a member of the College community is his role in the initiation of a solar panel array project on campus.