The Office of Residence Life is made up of 13 full time staff, nine graduate staff in the Assistant Residential Community Director roles, 89 RAs, and two student workers. Get to know us better below!
The Office of Residence Life leadership team consists of two Directors. Each Director supervises a team or teams of RCDs, serves on department committees, and provides joint leadership for the department.
Skip Begley, Co-Director
My name is Skip Begley (he/him/his) and as the veteran of the Office of Residence Life, thank you for your interest in our staff positions! I have been at CWRU in a variety of positions in residence life since 2001, arriving from Longwood College (now University) where I was a Residence Education Coordinator. I have loved working in Residence Life since I was an RA - no other position in student affairs brings the sense of teamwork, the daily variety, the challenges, and the opportunities that Residence Life does. A wise ACUHO-I Intern of ours once remarked - "you don't choose the ResLife, the ResLife chooses you." True words indeed.
In my work, I concentrate on providing leadership for the department, developing the Second Year and Upperclass Experiences, budgeting, and advising our Residence Hall Association. I believe that we can orient ourselves to our work in three ways - we can do things TO students, we can do things FOR students, but we do our best work when we do things WITH students. I find tremendous joy in building community with our students.
Working at CWRU has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. I have been able to connect with some of the finest professionals I have ever known, work with students who are truly dedicated to making a difference where they live, and explore ideas and concepts about residential communities that have shaped me into the professional I am today. I hope that you find the same experience as well.
Favorite Restaurant: Pizzazz in the Circle
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Grab a pizza from Danny Boy’s and head to Rocky River Beach to eat dinner, watch the sunset, and then hit up Mitchell’s for some ice cream afterwards.
Abby Kruszynski, Co-Director
Hello! My name is Abby Kruszynski (she/her/hers) and I currently serve as one of the Co-Directors of Residence Life. I am from northeastern Ohio and attended Kent State University for undergrad and The Ohio State University for my Master's in Higher Education and Student Affairs. After graduating from OSU, I worked as a Residential College Director at Washington University in St. Louis for four years.
Wanting to be back closer to home and ready for a new opportunity, I joined the CWRU Res Life team in July 2015 as the Assistant Director for the First Year Experience and have served as a Co-Director since August 2016. In my role as Co-Director, I provide overall leadership direction for Residence Life and the student residential experience. I work directly with the first year residential areas and work closely with RA Training, Professional Staff recruitment processes, and departmental marketing. My professional interests include training and development, leadership, organizational culture, staff recruitment and training, and the MBTI. I have previously served as the Professional Foundations chair for GLACUHO and am a proud graduate of the CWRU Women Staff Leadership Development Institute (WSLDI) program in 2018.
In my free time, I love watching baseball, playing volleyball, spending time with family and friends, reading, listening to podcasts, watching tv and movies, cooking, traveling, exploring new places, and participating in and supporting arts and crafts.
Favorite Restaurant: Dewey’s Pizza or Local West
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Walking through Edgewater Park and catching a baseball game at Progressive Field
The First Year Experience consists of four RCDs, who each oversee a community of 230-480 residents, 6-12 RAs, and one Assistant Residential Community Director (ARCD).
Athena Folino| Residential Community Director, Cedar Magnolia
Antonio Tate | Residential Community Director, Juniper
Hello! My name is Antonio Tate (he/him/his) and I currently serve as the Director of Juniper Residential Community. I joined the CWRU Residence Life team in August of 2017. I attended the University of Mount Union for undergrad and stayed as a graduate assistant for the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, working with the campus programming board, while also serving as a Resident Director. During that time, I completed my Master’s in Sport and Recreation Management at Kent State University. Prior to arriving at Case, I spent the 2016-2017 season with the Cleveland Browns within the Community Relations department, and the 2017 spring semester back at Mount Union as a Resident Director.
Born and raised in the city of Cleveland, I love being home while getting the opportunity to work with college students. I love having day to day interactions with students and aim to make their experience worthwhile.
Personally, I love trying new foods and watching/attending various sporting events. I am also a huge Star Wars fan and try to keep my Netflix/HBO/Hulu/Disney+ binging to a minimum.
Favorite Restaurant: Chipotle
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Go to concerts
Meredith Horrigan Adkins | Residential Community Director, Mistletoe
Hello! My name is Meredith (she/her/hers) and I have worked with our first-year students as an RCD since June 2016. I came to CWRU after completing my MS in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Miami University and, before that, my BA in Promotional Communication at Cleveland State University. I am now a student again, working towards my MS in Positive Organizational Development and Change at CWRU.
I have really enjoyed working with our students, the department, and the division. Through my role, I have had the opportunity to support our students' transitions as they become engaged and encounter challenges inside and outside of the classroom. I couldn't do it alone. My graduate assistant and our team of Resident Assistants work incredibly hard to create a safe, welcoming, and supportive community.
Outside of the residential area, I have had the opportunity serve on departmental committees. Most recently, I have been able to focus on training student staff, developing the residential curriculum, and telling our department's story through marketing.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the positive experience of staff across the Division of Student Affairs through my work with the Student Life Professional Development Committee. Working with this group has allowed me to focus on some of my passions: helping staff connect with each other, develop as professionals, and, ultimately, flourish here at CWRU.
I am a proud Clevelander and have loved living and working in University Circle. If you aren't yet acquainted with our city, you can anticipate delicious food, passionate sports fans, world-class theater and art, and beautiful parks and coastline. Those are just a few of the highlights! If I'm not visiting my nieces and nephews, cuddling with my cat, or watching the next series on Netflix, I am most likely catching up with good friends over tasty food or a board game. When the weather allows for it, I look forward to eating on patios, attending street fairs like Taste of Tremont and Ingenuity Fest, biking through the Rocky River Reservation, and playing soccer.
Favorite Restaurant: My closest, favorite restaurant is Vero!
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: My favorite thing to do in the Circle is walking to Wade Lagoon -- it’s such a peaceful, beautiful place right in the center of a bustling area.
The Second Year Experience consists of three RCDs, who each oversee a community of 300-450 residents, 9-14 RAs, and one Assistant Residential Community Director (ARCD).
Kaitlyn Abbott | Residential Community Director, Carlton Road & Murray Hill
Hello! My name is Kaitlyn Abbott (she/her/hers) and I am the Residential Community Director for our second year students in Carlton Road. In addition, I assist with the Student Life Assessment Committee for the Division of Student Affairs here at CWRU. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communication from Ball State University and my Master’s Degree from Western Michigan University in Higher Education Student Affairs with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. While at Western Michigan University, I served as a hall director for a complex of 750 first year students. In addition, while at Western Michigan University, I worked with the Disability Student Resources Office to create accommodation for students. I also created workshops for faculty members about ADA laws, accommodations, and how to best support students with accommodations. Lastly, I conducted mixed method research on universal design for learning for undergraduate students. ADA advocacy as well as evaluation and assessment are professional passion areas of mine that I love to incorporate into my work as a Residential Community Director at CWRU.
On a personal note, I am an avid runner and participate in several races a year. You can often find me running at local parks or around campus. In addition, I absolutely love to travel, especially to explore new places! If I am not running or traveling, you can find me trying new recipes as I enjoy baking/cooking in my free time. I am fairly new to Cleveland so I also enjoy finding new restaurants and activities to try in the area.
Favorite Restaurant: Heck’s Cafe
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Running through Cleveland’s MetroParks
Amber Karel Gerace | Residential Community Director, Clarke Tower & SYE-North
Hello, my name is Amber Karel Gerace (she/her/hers). I am a Northeast Ohio native and lover of all things Cleveland, especially the sports. I obtained my BA from Hiram College and my M.Ed in Higher Education Administration & Student Affairs at Kent State University. Prior to coming to CWRU in 2016, I worked at Baldwin Wallace University and Gannon University, both in Residence Life. At CWRU, I work in the only community on campus that mixes classes, so I work with both first-year and second-year students in the Clarke Tower/SYE-North Residential Community.
I’ve been an active member of the Ohio College Professionals Association (OCPA) as well as of the Northeast Ohio Housing Officers (NEOHO) for many years, including as the former President of NEOHO. I love working in Residence Life because of the unique opportunities it provides to support and build relationships with college students. In my free time I enjoy going to any sporting events I can get tickets to, singing and playing/arranging music (I am a big music nerd), practicing yoga, reading, cooking, and spending time with my friends and family.
Favorite Restaurant: Barocco
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Catch a Cavs game or go to a Cleveland Orchestra concert
Vacant | Residential Community Director, Murray Hill
We are currently conducting a search for a new Murray Hill RCD! Visit the Professional Opportunities page for more information.
The Upperclass Experience consists of two RCDs, who each oversee a community of 500-800 residents, 8-12 RAs, and one Assistant Residential Community Director (ARCD).
Matt Dvorak | Residential Community Director, UCE I
Hello! My name is Matt Dvorak and I have been the Residential Community Director for Murray Hill since October of 2018. Prior to my time with our second year students on Murray Hill, I served in Residence Life as a graduate assistant, living in and working with our Upperclass Experience for over 4 years. I also served as the Assistant Conference Coordinator for our Office of University Housing during that time.
I triple majored as an undergraduate here at CWRU, majoring in Sociology, History, and Women's and Gender Studies. During my time as an undergraduate, I worked in numerous capacities in the Office of University Housing over the course of 4 years. I have a Masters of Science in Urban Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Local Management from the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Studies and Public Affairs.
When I am not here at CWRU or down the street at Cleveland State, I am likely out and about enjoying the Cleveland food scene. I love Cleveland sports, and am a Fantasy Football fanatic. I've spent nearly 10 years at CWRU now, and I love being able to call Cleveland home.
Favorite Restaurant: I really go through phases with this, but right now, Washington Place Inn and L’albatros
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Explore Cleveland’s food, coffee, and bar scenes.
Alejandro Martinez | Residential Community Director, UCE II
Hello! My name is Alejandro Martinez (he, him, his, él) and I am the Residential Community Director for Upperclass Experience and I assist in leading diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for the Division of Student Affairs. I am a double graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological & Brain Sciences and a Master of Social Work in Mental Health and Sexual Health Education.
At WashU, I worked as a Graduate Assistant for Leadership & Fraternity/Sorority Life in the Office of Campus Life and served with various local and on-campus mental health practicum sites, serving students with disabilities, undocumented students, immigrant mothers experiencing postpartum depression, and sex educators.
Before joining CWRU, I spent time at Oberlin College working with identity, language, and interest-based living learning communities. I have a passion for uplifting oppressed and underrepresented communities of color from a trauma-informed, mental health and resilience perspective using therapy techniques and facets of decolonization. Outside of work, I am a HUGE nerd and am always willing to discuss sci fi movies, comic books, and television!
Favorite Restaurant: Rincon Criollo
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Social & racial justice initiatives @ El Centro in Lorain
The Office of Residence Life couldn't function without the stellar support of our administrative staff!
Kim Blackmon | Administrative Assistant
Hi, my name is Kimberly Blackmon and I am the Administrative Assistant for Residence Life. I have been with the department for 30 years! Yes, 30 years! I enjoy my job because I get to interact with so many staff and students within and outside of the department. I have found the key to my job is being able to work with so many different types of personalities and being able to build individual relationships with all of them. This has made my job both fun and rewarding. I'm always here ready to listen and assist whenever I can. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Favorite Restaurant: Oaks and Embers
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Plan a party
Gerri Collier | Department Assistant
Hello, my name is Gerri Collier and I started working at CWRU in Residence Life in 2014. I support the four Residential Community Directors (RCDs) for the First Year Experience students. I love working at CWRU and I love working with, as I call them, “my scholars”. Here in Residence Life, our goal is to help students transition from being away from home, in most cases, for the first time; into college, and help them achieve their academic goals by helping direct them to overcome their hurdles. The scholars keep me on my toes as I watch them go from undergraduates to flourishing young adults who have become graduates and leave home for a second time.
I think Cleveland is the best place on earth to live; the people are friendly and helpful. I love the four seasons that we have here in Cleveland, but; fall is my favorite season. I've lived in numerous states but I always come home to Cleveland where my heart and family are located.
Favorite Restaurant: Angie's Soul Food
Favorite thing to do in Cleveland: Host gatherings with family and friends