Kelly Ahn was appointed Executive Director of Industry Relations & Career Strategies at the School of Professional Studies in March 2020 and Associate Dean of the Career Design Lab in July 2021. Ahn brings more than 10 years of achievement in career services and organizational leadership. She most recently served as the Associate Dean of Graduate Student Career Development at the Columbia University Center for Career Education (CCE), where she supported graduate students and alumni for more than seven years.
At CCE, Ahn launched several initiatives including the inaugural Ivy 3-Minute Thesis competition, held in partnership with industry leaders and higher education faculty and administrators from seven Ivy League institutions. The competition provided a forum for students to showcase their research before recruiters and members of the general public. An experienced senior executive, Ahn has held leadership positions such as Director of Student Success Career Services at The New School and Director of Career Development at Manhattan College. Prior to her work in higher education, Kelly served as a mental health counselor for LGBT Asian-Pacific Islander youth in New York City and co-founded the Crimson Language Institute, a higher education learning and consulting firm in Seoul, Korea.
Ahn earned a B.A. in Psychology from Hamilton College and an Ed.M. in Educational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Adult Learning and Leadership from Columbia as well. In 2009 and 2010, Ahn was selected by the Fulbright Scholar Program and Institute of International Education (IIE) to participate in International Education Administrators seminars in Germany and Australia, respectively.
Diane Spizzirro is the Director of Career Education and Development and a Lecturer at Columbia University, School of Professional Studies. She is a seasoned Career Development professional with experience in higher education, corporate training and development as well as private practice. She has a strong business background having been in the Insurance and Risk Management fields and successfully transitioned her career into counseling. She holds a M.S. in Career Development and a B.A. in Business. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor, a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and Executive Career Development Coach and certified in distance counselling. She is a certified trainer of the DiSC, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator MBTI and Strengthsquest. Diane formerly served as the Director of Career Development at the College of New Rochelle and taught graduate classes in counseling and career development. Diane is the pasted President of the New York Mental Health Counseling Association (NYMHCA) and an active member of the National Career Development Association (NCDA) and National Association of College and Employers (NACE). Diane was recognized for her innovative ideas and received first place for the NACE 2016 Innovation challenge. She has also presented at both the NACE and NCDA conferences in 2019. Diane is most in her element when she is facilitating a dynamic and engaging career development program, which helps participants to gain insight on how to move forward! She has developed and facilitated numerous career training programs for individuals and diverse groups.
David is an admitted “higher-ed lifer”. He began his career at New York University’s School of Professional Studies in an office responsible for public affairs, marketing, and communications. David’s very first role was in website content management before given the opportunity to shift his focus to larger issues of overall interactive communications and marketing strategy. From there, it was an easy transition into a new role in an information technology office, where he was able to manage projects and operations for the enterprise-level applications upon which the day to day and cyclical work for the administrators, faculty, and students depended.
Many years and a large degree of personal and professional growth later, David left NYU, bound for Columbia’s Center for Career Education. While at CCE, he set strategies and goals for the use of technology and data in the career services space. He managed the institutional reporting required at all levels to inform members of the Columbia community and the CCE team about constituent engagement, post-graduation outcomes, survey results, and other data points.
Now at the Career Design Lab, he gets to combine his professional studies and career services experience in the service of the students and alumni of SPS. In his new role, he stays in constant contact with all of our staff members and teams, acting consultatively to improve operations, logistics, technology, and access to data that help make us better career advising, event management, and employer relations experts.
Outside of work, David can often be found wandering around his neighborhood in the Bronx, out too late seeing live music, or somewhere upstate getting away from it all.
Senior Associate Director | Strategic Communication Career Coach
Barbara McGloin is the Senior Associate Director at the Career Design Lab and Lecturer at Columbia University School of Professional Studies. In this role, she advises students in M.S. Program in Strategic Communication. She develops programs to ensure their successful entry and progression in the field. She maintains and builds relationships with a core group of industry leaders and alumni to strengthen hiring relationships with the Career Design Lab, programs and the school. Earlier in her career, Barbara directed career management services in the M.B.A. and Executive M.B.A. programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and counseled M.B.A. students at New York University’s Stern School of Business. She belongs to several professional associations including the New York Women in Communications, Women In Innovation, the Metropolitan New York College Career Planning Officer’s Association and the National Association of Colleges and Employers, where she presented at their national conference in 2019. Barbara earned an M.A. in Counseling from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University and a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY College at Cortland. Barbara is a Lecturer in the MS Strategic Communication program and currently teaches the Practicum course.
Specialties and InterestsStrategic Communications
Associate Director | MS Bioethics, MS Technology Management Career Coach
Nicole is a Career Coach with a passion for education and empowering individuals in their careers. With a Master’s in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, and over 10 years of experience working in dynamic educational settings, she has experience teaching high school students in rural public schools, advising graduate Psychology and Art Therapy students in private university settings in Chicago, coaching tech talent within skills certificate training programs throughout NYC, and in both admissions and career development at Columbia University. As a former Recruiter for Platinion of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), as well as a former Recruiter for Premier Staffing, Inc., her experience working in education is supplemented with her role in the recruitment of digital, risk, and IT professionals and in creating hiring partnerships with both startups and Fortune 500 companies. In her current role as Associate Director of Industry Relations, Nicole is energized by innovative employer partnerships that offer students and alumni opportunities to create impact, an individualized approach to career coaching, executive development, and initiatives that promote personal growth, wellbeing, and fun! Outside of work, Nicole enjoys creative writing, live music, and supporting STEAM initiatives in underrepresented communities.
Specialties and InterestsBioethics, Technology Management
Associate Director, Operations
Brian Brown is currently the Associate Director of Operations at Columbia University’s Career Design Lab; a Career Center for their SPS graduate students which provides educational events, development resource tools and job opportunities. Through his versatile careers his main specialization has been in Operations and Event Planning; primarily in the Financial Services, Medical and Pharmaceutical arenas. In the area of Operations he creates and maintains procedures, reinforces company policies and brand standards. Also included are providing resources, software and otherwise, for department entities. He also has experience with writing marketing materials and communications. Overall, he is an independent worker who takes initiative, has acute problem solving and anticipation skills and collaborates with a team player philosophy. He graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a B.A. in Writing for Television. He is an avid admirer of author Toni Morrison, likes watching tennis and is a lover of street art.
Associate Director | Applied Analytics Career Coach (Last Name W-Z)
Kat Castro is currently serving as Associate Director at the CDL, specifically working with the talented Applied Analytics students. Prior to Columbia, Kat worked in Career Services at her Alma Mater Hofstra University and Marymount Manhattan College. Before her career in Higher Ed, Kat worked in the busy life of television. She scouted locations for the long-run show Law and Order, worked as a Production Manager for NBC Sport’s Football Night in America and managed the NBC Page Program. She started her TV life as an NBC Page, just like Kenneth from 30 Rock! Kat holds a BA in Television/Video Production and is a born-and-raised Queens New Yorker, currently residing in Forest Hills with her husband, two daughters, and a pup named Bo.
Specialties and InterestsApplied Analytics
Associate Director | Applied Analytics Career Coach (A-H)
Tiya McIver, Associate Director joined the School of Professional Studies Career Design Lab team in February 2018. She has over 15 years of employer relations experience working in career development and advising, providing students with the support and tools necessary to achieve their goals in the classroom and beyond. Committed to building relationships, staying connected and on the pulse of industry trends, ensures career readiness and employment success. Prior to joining the Career Design Lab team, she spent many years as the On-Campus Recruiting Manager on the Career Management team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. There she developed strategic processes and organized events that helped students acquire skill-sets and knowledge on industry-specific trends that aligned with their employment goals.
Associate Director | Enterprise Risk Management (Last Name A-P), Insurance Management, Wealth Management Career Coach
Mariela Torres is the Associate Director at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies (SPS) Career Design Lab (CDL) since May 2019 and works with students with the last names A-P in the Enterprise Risk Management program. She is also responsible for career coaching services for Insurance and Wealth Management. Mariela is an experienced professional with over 25 years of experience in Career Counseling and business. Mariela has experience managing small to large Career Services Centers that provide comprehensive career and internship services to college students and alumni. She has held Director level positions at The College of New Rochelle, Berkeley College, and LIM College. She is also a certified Myers Briggs (MBTI) Practitioner. Mariela is very passionate about student success and has provided career coaching for students and alumni, advised student clubs, and taught undergraduate and graduate-level career preparatory courses. Mariela has worked for organizations such as Avon Products, Perry Ellis, and Macy’s Merchandising Group. Mariela has been on the Executive Board of MNYCCPOA since 2015. MNYCCPOA is a professional organization consisting of career services counselors representing more than 60 colleges in the metropolitan New York area. She is the current President of MNYCCPOA. She has also held the 1st VP, 2nd Vice President and Treasurer roles. Mariela holds a Master of Science degree in Career Development from the College of New Rochelle and a Bachelor of Professional Studies from LIM College in Fashion Merchandising. She is married and has one son and one daughter. Her eleven-year-old son with special needs has taught Mariela to be resilient in times of adversity.
Specialties and InterestsEnterprise Risk Management (Last Name A-P), Insurance Management, Wealth Management
Assistant Director | Construction Administration, Information & Knowledge Strategy, Narrative Medicine, Nonprofit Management
Karen Acampado has worked as a career services professional since 2005 at colleges and universities in the NYC area. She has always been in a student facing role, advising undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni on the career development process. Karen has experience working on student engagement and employer relations and has managed large-scale career events. She enjoys working with individuals on interview techniques, internship/job search, personal branding, and resume development, and is passionate about educating people on how to achieve career success. Karen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received her Master of Science in Education from St. John’s University.
Specialties and InterestsConstruction Administration, Information & Knowledge Strategy, Narrative Medicine, Nonprofit Management
Assistant Director | Negotiation & Conflict Resolution | Sustainability Science & Management
Sabrina holds an M.S.Ed in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies and an Advanced Certificate in Human Resource Management and has a passion for working with college students as they embark on their journeys of professional development. She strives to be constantly surrounded by the beauty of diversity and culture in whatever project she takes on. Sabrina believes that to be successful is to be constantly surrounded by education and growth, which is what she intends to do in the Career Design Lab. She is a strong communicator both verbally and in writing, with a knack for leadership.
Sabrina has a background in both employer relations and career coaching. As a first-generation college graduate, Sabrina finds her passion in assisting fellow first-generation college students through programming and career advisement.
Specialties and InterestsNegotiation & Conflict Resolution, Sustainability Science & Management
Assistant Director | Sports Management & Human Capital Management Career Coach
Specialties and InterestsHuman Capital ManagementSports Managment
Assistant Director | Enterprise Risk Management Career Coach ( Last Name Q-Z) and ALL Actuarial Science Students
Paul Maniaci has worked at four institutions of higher education across New York City in career development. He has over ten years of experience helping students find internships and prepare for career opportunities. Paul spent eighteen years living internationally in Mexico City, Hong Kong, and London. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Communications at Syracuse University and his Masters in Public Administration at Baruch College.
Specialties and InterestsEnterprise Risk Management/Actuarial Science
Jia Wei Cao
Applied Analytics Career Coach I-V
Jia Wei is currently serving as a Career Coach for students within the Applied Analytics program. Prior to Columbia, Jia Wei worked in career services, particularly focusing on students from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds at his alma meter, Stony Brook University. Jia Wei’s favorite part about working in career services is being able to guide students in their job search, explore different career opportunities, assist students in recognizing and developing their brand, and see it all come together. Prior to working in career services, Jia Wei worked in a number of various roles in higher education, such as academic affairs, academic advising, student orientation, and residential life.
Jia Wei was born in Shanghai, China, and is a first generation immigrant and a first generation college student. He holds a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Stony Brook. Although he has been living on Long Island for almost a decade now, rumor has it that Jia Wei still claims to be from Brooklyn and NYC raised.
Specialties and InterestsApplied Analytics
Industry Relations Specialist
Stefany has joined the Career Design Lab as an Operations Coordinator. Stefany earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management from Johnson & Wales University and has over 8 years of experience in events management. She is excited to have joined the Career Design Lab where she can bring her background, experience, and skills to support CDLs students and staff through creative event planning, and operations.
A “City Girl,” Stefany was born and raised in Queens, NY, and attended high school in Manhattan. She loves to travel in her free time and learn about new cultures customs and history. She also has a strong love for music, from listening to the classics to today’s modern genres.
Taylor recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from CUNY Baruch and is joining the Career Design Lab as the second Operations Coordinator. Taylor has a background in career services and international student services, and is passionate about serving students and guiding them as they navigate their careers in a global workforce. Taylor earned her B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature at SUNY Geneseo, and in her personal time enjoys traveling. Some of her favorite destinations include the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, and Siena, Italy. She was born and raised in Westchester NY, where she recently returned to live after spending 4 years residing on the Upper East side of Manhattan. She is excited to be joining the Career Design Lab where she can continue her efforts of supporting students and staff!