Mackenzie Dineen & Colin Froment – Features Editor & Co-Editor-in-Chief
Two new Area Coordinators, Cyntoya Simmons and Kelly Levine, are among the new employees hired by Residential Life for this year.
Simmons took on the role of Area Coordinator on August 14. Simmons oversees a large portion of campus’ housing, including Bragdon Hall, Karandon, Saunders, Hoag, Briggs, Ordway, Keaver, Chandler, Mott and Pickard houses.
The new AC resides in Rockwell, overseeing those 10 locations and supervising their respective residential assistants. Simmons handles conduct and attends to, “any situation needing an extra hand, guidance or understanding.”
Simmons’ main goal while working with students is to lead by example. She hopes that students understand she’s there for them, and regardless of what is going on, she is a resource for them. “I‘m literally here for [you],” said Simmons. “I live by being honest and fair, and so far my approach has always been well received.”
Earlier in her career, she tutored high school students and worked for a K-12 charter school, where she primarily worked with eighth graders. One of her favorite positions was at the University of Rhode Island (URI) in the summer talent development program. For three summers, Simmons lived on campus with incoming freshmen, met with them individually, and showed them around campus. She will graduate in May from North Park University, with a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration.
Simmons is a Rhode Island native, who sought work in her area after graduating from URI, with a major in journalism and a minor in leadership. She initially intended to be a magazine editor. “I still love writing, but through my leadership minor I was really involved on campus,” said Simmons. “My involvement gave me an idea of how I could expand into higher education.” Her favorite pastime is writing poetry.
After relocating to North Carolina, she anticipated a career in higher education, but took a position working for a law firm. Due to the state’s size it was difficult for Simmons to join the community and find upward motion.
Undeterred, Simmons moved back home to work at the Community College of Rhode Island, in its advancement department. Her roles included the scholarship awarding process, and supervision of alumni meetings. Although she enjoyed the experience, Simmons said she felt it was not what she wanted to pursue. She began applying to smaller private schools in New England, and the rest is history.
When asked what obstacles she has faced thus far in her time at Lasell, she said “I love a good challenge, but right now it’s way too early to say if I have any challenges; I’m just getting acclimated to the operations here.”
Simmons advises anyone in a position of leadership should be honest, respectful and approachable. “At the end of the day you’re not just a supervisor, you’re a mentor,” she said.
Levine joined the staff very late last summer. The University of Buffalo alum joined three days before RA training.
Levine primarily handles the residential halls in the North Quad area, including North Hall, Butterworth and Holt.
Levine previously spent two years as a Resident Director and Student Activities Coordinator at Southern Maine Community College, after finishing her master’s program at Kent State in 2016. She was attracted to Lasell based on the optimism of the students and staff.
“I met with the AC staff…and everyone had such positive things to say about the students here and what it’s like working with them,” Levine said. “This is a good fit.”
Levine is dedicated to connecting with students and offering advice for whatever issue someone may be dealing with. “For me, I do the work that I do in order to help students succeed to the best of their ability,” she said. “I love to see students get involved and ask for help before they’re in a major crisis.”
Levine already has future plans to develop more relationships with students, such as supplying free coffee to her residents.
Levine compliments the entire Residential Life for quickly helping her feel adjusted to campus in a short matter of time. “I’m happy to have been here before school started,” she says. “I was very, very lucky to have people that wanted to help.”