Celeste Donovan, Director
Celeste comes to the TRIO SSSP with a broad range of professional experiences in education. Before moving to Western Massachusetts, she lived in New York City where she tutored and mentored adult GED learners and high school students. She has extensive training in Writing Across the Curriculum pedagogy and practice and she also teaches undergraduate courses in Art History. Celeste aims to help students identify their strengths, chart a path to their goals, and feel active and engaged in their own education and learning process.
Charlotte Capogna-Amias, Assistant Director
Charlotte has over fifteen years experience working in various aspects of higher education. A first-generation college student herself, Charlotte is passionate about supporting students from marginalized backgrounds to help them harness their strengths and achieve their goals. Prior to working with the TRIO Program, Charlotte worked with various social justice and public health non-profits and in higher education. Charlotte holds a Masters in Social Justice Education where she focused on racial justice in education, supporting LGBTQ students, and the critical work of personal reflection and spiritual practice to recognize our own privileges and dismantle our internalized oppression. Charlotte is delighted to bring her skills and knowledge to the student populations TRIO programs serve. Charlotte is also the co-chair of the university's Campus Pride Committee. In her life outside of Westfield, Charlotte serves as a peer facilitator for support groups for Empty Arms Bereavement. In her free time, Charlotte loves to spend time with her family and friends, garden, write, read and watch good films.
Shakira Alvarez-Ferrer, Academic Counselor
Shakira has worked in TRIO since 2011. Previously, she was a case manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County and a third-grade teacher in a two-way bilingual program. Shakira grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has lived in New England since 1994. A graduate of UMass Amherst and Brown University, her quarantine hobbies include baking bread and daydreaming about a beach vacation.
Marjorie Rodriguez, Program Coordinator
Marjorie, a WSU alumna, born in Puerto Rico, is bilingual, with a passion for supporting first-generation students and those in or transitioning from the foster care system and/or experiencing homelessness. Marjorie completed her Master of Social Work with Advanced Standing in 2016 and two bachelor’s degrees, one in Social Work and a second one in Spanish in 2015. In addition to her responsibilities as a TRIO Program Coordinator, Marjorie serves as one of the two Single Points of Contact for current/former foster students and student experiencing homelessness at Westfield State University (WSU). A former foster youth herself, Marjorie has been instrumental in advocating for a space on the WSU application form for foster youth to self-identify and co-founding F.A.C.E.S, a student organization for foster youth and allies. She provided assistance in developing Common Goods at WSU, a food pantry for those experiencing hunger and food insecurity. She is a member of The Fostering Student Success Network, a working group to support students transitioning to the University from foster care and who are experiencing homelessness. One of Marjorie’s greatest characteristics is her sense of community and the value she gives to her unique collaborative advocacy work with colleagues and other campus groups and organizations.