Central Office Staff
- Alerie Tirsch - Director of Residential Life & Housing
- Nilam Kotadia - Associate Director, Housing Operations
- Vinnie Birkenmeyer - Associate Director, Training and Development
- Shawna Mott - Assistant Director, Community Standards
- JoAnna Verlezza - Assistant Director, Community Development
- Erin McNamara - Office Manager
- Connor Wills - Housing Assistant
Director of Residential Life & Housing
Alerie joins us from LIU Post where she was Director of Student Life and Leadership Development for seven years. She has eight years of significant experience in housing during her time at Stony Brook University. While at Stony Brook University, Alerie helped to build the undergraduate colleges, a program that integrates first year students into the university, within the residence halls. In addition to her work with the undergraduate colleges, she taught two peer education classes and chaired several divisional and campus-wide committees demonstrating her commitment to teamwork and leadership. While working on Long Island, Alerie was an active member of the Long Island College and Student Personnel Association helping to coordinate their annual conference. Alerie has a Master of Arts degree with a concentration in Education from Stony Brook University. She is thrilled to be a part of the Pace Community and looks forward to building further partnerships with administrators, faculty, and students as we add more academic initiatives in the halls to improve on student success
Associate Director - Housing Operations
Nilam serves our department as the Associate Director for Housing Operations. In this role, she is responsible for the housing assignments process, billing, residential facilities and other operations. Prior to coming to Pace University, Nilam was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was the Manager of Housing Assignments for almost five years. She was responsible for housing lotteries, assignments and processes, management of the housing system and liaising with Student Financial Services for student billing and accounts. While at MIT, Nilam helped implement a housing management system, streamlined housing processes, collaborated with other departments to help the student housing experience and worked with the student room assignment chairs to improve the undergraduate housing assignment process. In addition to her work in housing, Nilam was involved in division-wide initiatives such as the Staff Engagement Advisory Board’s Professional Development Committee. Nilam was a member of the NASPA Region I Mid-Level Institute Planning Committee and presented at the CBORD User Groups Conference for the past three years. Prior to MIT, Nilam worked as a Residence Hall Director at SUNY Delhi. Nilam has a Master’s of Arts degree in Counseling with a concentration in Higher Education and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in biology with a minor in Chemistry from Montclair State University. She is excited to be a part of the Pace Community, to get to know the students and to help improve the student experience.
Vincent Birkenmeyer, MPA
Associate Director - Training and Development
Vinnie Birkenmeyer is a proud alumnus of Pace University, excited to be working in the field he loves at the university he has called home since 2007. Vinnie graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts as a Trustee's Award winner and accomplished student leader in academics, Greek life, Athletics and student government. He became a residence director in 2011 while working on his master’s degree in public administration which he completed in 2013. Vinnie then served as the Assistant Director for Community Development where he was instrumental in developing the First-Year Interest Group program, Upperclassmen Living Learning Communities, the Summer Conference program in Pleasantville, and the Residential Curriculum. Vinnie is currently the Associate Director for Training and Development. In this role he manages the recruitment, selection, hiring, training and development of our 47 person live-in staff (Residence Directors and Resident Assistants) , manages department wide assessment, and co-advises the Residence Hall Association. Vinnie's professional interests include, advising student groups, equity and inclusion and working to build strengths-based organizations and teams.
Assistant Director - Community Standards
Shawna serves our department as the Assistant Director of Community Standards. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing student conduct aspect of the department. She is responsible for working with our staff in the residence halls to program and address behaviors not condoned in the residence halls. Prior to coming to Pace University, Shawna was at Morrisville State College where she was the Assistant Director of Residence Life for 5 years. She was responsible for the Resident Assistant program, residence life professional staff trainings and supervision, and student conduct. While at Morrisville, Shawna helped to streamline housing processes and conduct processes, and collaborated with other departments to better serve the students and their needs. Prior to Morrisville, Shawna worked as a Residence Hall Director at SUNY Oneonta. Shawna has a Master’s degree in Higher Education and Policy Studies with a concentration in Higher Education and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology.
Assistant Director, Community Development
JoAnna is a native New Yorker. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Stony Brook University, majoring in Sociology and Women’s Studies, minoring in Human Sexual and Gender Development. JoAnna then went on to receive her Master’s in Social Work from NYU. JoAnna pursued a career working with emerging adults both on the high school level and at LIU Post, where she served as the Assistant Director of the Learning Support Center. JoAnna has a background in clinical social work, disability services and substance abuse. She is working with the Residential Life Curriculum, First Year Interest Groups, Living Learning Communities and advises student groups like the Residence Hall Association.
A lifelong resident of Westchester County, Erin began her career working for Pace University in the spring of 2008. Prior to joining the Residential Life staff, Erin was the personal assistant to the president of Oceana Publications Inc. which was later bought out by Oxford University Press. From 1985-1997, Erin spent her time as the personal assistant to the CEO of Carrafiello – Diehl and Associates Inc. of Irvington, New York. They were the largest advertising agency in Westchester County representing companies such as Phizer, Block Drug, American Cyanamids, and Tambrands to name a few. When Erin is not working on campus she is attending Pace sporting events.
Connor Wills is a senior Pforzheimer Honors College student with a major in Applied Psychology and Human Relations. After two years of being a resident assistant, he is looking forward to stepping up into the role of housing assistant for the 2019-20 year! He is from Telford, Pennsylvania where he lives with his family and his dog, Mocha. Connor is very active on campus and dedicates a lot of his time to community service. He is a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority and finds that helping people is his happy place. When he’s not serving his community, he’s binge-watching horror movies, creating costumes, or dancing to 80's music.
Dr. Jane Collins
Jane Collins, Associate Professor of English on the Pleasantville campus, has a long, consistent record of enhancing learning environments and creating educational experiences that engage and retain students. At Pace, Collins has created five service-learning courses giving students real-world experiences with community organizations including Pleasantville Cottage School, the Successful Learning Center and local nursing homes. Her service-learning students have also worked with at-risk children in Costa Rica. As the faculty mentor for the Body and Mind Freshman Interest Group for the past 8 years, Collins has created programs that enable students living in freshman residence halls to stay healthy and thrive. In 2017, she pioneered a signature retention program for Dyson College sophomores. The Dyson Scholars in Residence Program, which Collins continues to direct, is a unique academic experience that supports Dyson College’s mission to provide students with opportunities to expand their intellectual landscape and stimulate their scholarly curiosity through hands-on experiences blended with academic learning. She has won a Jefferson Award for Public Service and a Faculty Award for Distinguished Service.
Dr. Michael Finewood
Michael Finewood is a human geographer and political ecologist with research and teaching interests in environmental governance, water, climate change, and urban sustainability, with explicit attention to critical geographies and justice. He earned a Ph.D. in Human Geography from the University of South Carolina, where he trained as a social scientist who works on human/environmental issues. Over his career Dr. Finewood’s interests have focused on environmental perception, expertise, and decision-making, with a concentration on water and society. He has conducted research on the social and ecological impacts of coastal development in South Carolina, resource extraction in Pennsylvania, and sea level rise in Virginia. His current work centers on urban stormwater governance and the relationship between food production and climate change.