Student Advisors are a key resource to you while you are a student at Saint Leo. These professionals are committed to helping you on your journey to earn your undergraduate degree. All Student Advisors hold either undergraduate or graduate degrees, many of them earned in online learning environments. So they know what you’re going through and how to help. Consider them your main contact person for all things Saint Leo.
Education: Bachelors in Political Science, MS in Criminal Justice
Hobbies: Yelping, shopping, traveling, dogs, listening to true crime podcasts
Bianli is passionate about higher education and assisting students throughout their educational careers. She started off as an undergraduate enrollment counselor and is now a graduate advisor at Saint Leo University. The best part of the job for Bianli is getting to meet new students and becoming part of their educational journey. She enjoys helping others see their potential and overcome obstacles, and is very much looking forward to attending the commencement ceremonies of her students. If Bianli was not an advisor, she would be a travel and food documentarian, à la Anthony Bourdain.
Education: B.A. Communication Studies, SUNY at Oswego; M.Ed. Southwestern Oklahoma State University
As an army wife of 24 years, Donna lived in about a half a dozen states before coming to Florida. She previously served as a K-12 special education teacher and Florida Career College educator before joining the team at Saint Leo. She is quite proud of the service she provides to associate and bachelor degree-seeking students in the criminal justice field. In addition to her students, Donna enjoys her co-workers at the university. Her co-workers love her too, especially when she brings in homemade candy to share.
Education: B.A.A in Sport Administration. Currently pursuing his M.B.A in Sport Business at Saint Leo University
Hobbies: Singing, Playing guitar, Sports, and Cooking
Chase decided to become a student advisor because he enjoys building positive relationships with students and helping them reach their educational goals. Chase has worked in Admissions, Testing and Advising at other institutions before becoming an Undergraduate Student Advisor. If Chase is not in the office, he is probably playing his guitar or watching sports.
Education: BA in Human Services Administration and MS in Human Services Administration – both from Saint Leo University
Favorites: Food – Buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing; Music – All genres, especially Rap music! Movies – Anything scary and nothing that will make me cry! TV Show – Anything with crime and suspense and a little bit of reality.
Hobbies: Volunteering, golf cart riding, attending car shows, spending time with family and friends, and sleeping when I can.
Before transitioning to the Center of Online Learning in June 2020, Lisa worked with Saint Leo University’s Madison Education Center since 2007. Lisa enjoys serving her community, assisting her students on their journey to graduation, and being a cheerleader to anyone who wants to pursue higher education.
Education: B.A. Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; French Culinary Institute, New York, NY
As the student advising support specialist for Saint Leo University WorldWide advising, Jessica assists with the administrative needs of Saint Leo’s online students. She is a Florida native who spent several years living in Atlanta and New York City, where she pursued undergraduate and culinary degrees, respectively. Jessica worked as a fine dining chef for almost a decade before transitioning into customer service. While new to higher education, she understand the value of knowledge attained through rigorous study and looks forward to helping others realize their educational goals.
Education: B.A. International Affairs, Rollins College
Years ago, when Courtney caught the adventure bug, she traveled to Japan to teach English for one year. Her classes were comprised of diverse, adult Japanese people looking to strengthen their English language skills to better themselves in their work environment. In the same spirit of educating students and helping them succeed, Courtney joined Saint Leo hoping to lay a path for students to follow to help them earn their degree. She understands the limited time of her students and does her best to make sure they are on track to graduation. The sense of community that is alive and well at Saint Leo is Courtney’s favorite aspect of her job. Courtney is nurturing, optimistic, and off-the-beaten path with creative projects.
Education: BA – Speech Communication/Marketing, Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Management
Hobbies: Drumming, listening to music, landscaping, reading, surfing (not in a while), driving his convertible Mustang
Thomas has been in the educational field for over 20 years, all being in admissions until he began his role as an undergraduate student advisor with Saint Leo University. He has a passion for education and helping people obtain their educational objectives. While working on his Master’s degree, he played two nights a week with his band, took two night classes and had a late night at work; he definitely empathizes with the juggling of many hats by the professional student!
Education: BS Educational Studies and Community Leadership, St Petersburg College
Hobbies: Spending time with her 2 kids, live sporting events, concerts and comedy clubs.
Cheryl Edwards came to Saint Leo University from her alma mater, St. Petersburg College where she was an Academic Advisor in the Student Support Services Program. Cheryl has always worked in education in one capacity or another; starting out as an interpreter for the deaf in the Pinellas County School System many years ago. Cheryl has two children, and in her free time she enjoys going to comedy clubs, concerts, and experiencing fine dining. Cheryl is an avid fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Boston Celtics and Florida State football and basketball, and she enjoys going to live sporting events any time she has the chance!
Education: B.S. Business Administration with a Major in Human Resources and Minor in Psychology – American International College
Hobbies: Arts and crafts, DIY home projects, and spending quality time with family.
Rhonda brings to Saint Leo 6 years of student advising experience in higher education in addition to a background of 6 years in career placement services, assisting individuals of diverse backgrounds with barriers to employment and education. She also serves as a youth instructor in her local church community. Her love of learning and serving others is what gives her the tenacity to encourage students to believe in their potential to be successful in spite of the challenges they may face while pursuing their educational goals.
Education: Bachelors in Mass Communications with a minor in Marketing, St. Cloud State University
Hobbies: Weightlifting, biking, playing tennis, going to the beach, watching TV shows about nature and survival and I’m a huge Minnesota Vikings fan.
Chris brings more than six years of advising experience to Saint Leo University. Chris enjoys helping online adult learners achieve their goal of earning their degree. His interest in motivating students drew Chris to the advising industry, where he discovered that he is equally inspired by the students he advises. If Chris wasn’t a Student Advisor, he would likely be the Minnesota Vikings mascot.
Education: BFA in Broadcast Journalism, MS in School Counseling, certifications in MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and SII (Strong Interest Inventory)
Hobbies: Adventure-seeking activities, travelling, reading, and trying new wines.
Alex has worked in higher education for more than 14 year as a career advisor, an undergraduate advisor, and now graduate advisor at Saint Leo University. For Alex, the best part of working with students is to become part of their educational journey. She enjoys helping students identify career and academic needs and strives to be a resource to them as well as a support system throughout their academic studies. One of her most rewarding moments as an advisor was to help a student challenged by an event in the past to overcome the obstacle and find a better job than they previously envisioned! If she was not an advisor, Alex might be found traveling the world, enjoying the chance to experience new cultures, people, foods, and lands.
Education: B.A. in Sociology, M.S. in Human Services with a Counseling concentration
Hobbies: Exercising, reading, shopping, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with family
Sophina is driven to help her students succeed through her work as an enrollment counselor and now an advisor for Saint Leo University. Her outgoing personality, sensible outlook, and humor have been beneficial to the graduate students she serves. Sophina loves helping others and can empathize with the challenges grad students face on their education journey. The best part of the job for Sophina is getting the chance to meet new students and to build rapport with them. She enjoys the friendly atmosphere as well as the core values exemplified through the university, and takes pride in watching students overcome obstacles to persist in their education. If she was not a student advisor, Sophina would like to be a teacher.
Education: B.S. Sports Entertainment and Event Management, Johnson and Wales University; M.B.A., Saint Leo University
Hobbies: Traveling, working out, nature
Renelda will tell you she didn’t have a life when she was earning her M.B.A. at Saint Leo University. She worked full time and completed class work during lunch hours. She learned to manage her time well to remain dedicated to her studies. Because of her experience, Renelda hopes to motivate and help her busy students succeed regardless of their life stage or work load. She believes that nothing in life is easy and that dedication and hard work will pay off. Consider Renelda your own motivational speaker, a role she enjoys in addition to student advising.
Hobbies: Reading, playing video games, making planner templates and stickers, bowling.
Renee has worked in higher education for almost 20 years in both Admissions and Advising. Renee enjoys working with people. Assisting students and their families throughout their higher educational experience is why she choose her career in education. If she did not work in student advising, Renee would enjoy working as a museum curator.
Education: B.S. in Management Information Systems, MBA with concentrations in Human Resource Management and Sports Business
Hobbies: Personal training, CrossFit, anything health and wellness related, and spending time with family
Before coming to Saint Leo, Leslie worked in the health care field where she became passionate about customer service. Leslie enjoys assisting students on their journey of education, and strives to be a support system throughout their entire journey. She appreciates working with students and helping them find solutions when problems arise. She is especially proud of one tenacious MBA student who overcame many hurdles, including job loss and a car accident, to persevere and graduate on time. Leslie truly gets to know her students and does whatever she can to make sure they reach their educational goals. If Leslie was not an advisor, she would entertain as a singer!
Education: Business & Management, University of Maryland University College; Currently pursuing his Masters of Education at Northcentral University.
Hobbies: Going to the movies, Surfing the Internet, Gaming, and Hanging out with family and friends.
Lavell has a passion for sports and supports all of his hometown teams. Lavell has served in the United States Army for 3 years and has traveled from Germany to France, Poland, United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Kuwait, Africa, and Afghanistan. Lavell is laid-back, positive, friendly and is a true believer of Karma. Lavell has worked in higher education for over 20 years, and relishes at the opportunity to help students reach their educational goals.
Education: B.S. Family & Consumer Sciences Business; South Carolina State University & M.S. in Mental Health Counseling; Walden UniversityCurrently pursuing a M.S in Psychology at Saint Leo University and Ph.D. in Education, Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy
Hobbies: Reading, learning new material in education, researching, shopping, meditating, traveling with her family, and spa treatments
Shontay has over 15 years of an educational background from teaching and counseling. Shontay was a School-based Mental Health Counselor before joining the Saint Leo University’s advising team. Shontay is currently a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. where she promotes sisterhood, advocate for youth education, and provides community services. Shontay loves high education and seeing others achieve their advancement within their educational goals. Shontay pride herself as she is currently working on her doctoral degree in education. Shontay gets overly excited when she congratulates students when they are nearing the end of their degree program.
Education: B.S. Broadcast Journalism, Brooklyn College
Hobbies: Eating all the foods, reading novels on the beach, relaxing in a hammock while watching movies, and watercolor/crafting.
Before taking on the role of Graduate Student Advisor at Saint Leo, Maria worked in secondary education for five years, where she wore many hats as a teacher to students with learning differences. Beyond that, Maria has devoted her energies towards community outreach, focusing on accessibility for the disabled and visually impaired. Maria loves building connections with students and looks forward to being a part of their journey to success! If she did not work in student advising, Maria would most likely be running a worldwide educational program for students interested in community building, sustainability, and art therapy.
Education: B.A. Political Science/International Relations and Global Affairs, Eckerd College; M.A. Political Science, University of South Florida
Hobbies: Tennis, gaming, reading, and spending time with my family and friends.
Before taking on the role of Undergraduate Student Advisor, James served in many different roles at Hillsborough Community College for the past 5 years.
James decided to become a student advisor because he is passionate about assisting students in achieving their academic goals. His diverse experiences as an undergraduate at Eckerd College in student government and athletics in addition to his graduate work at the University of South Florida have endeared him to higher education and student success.