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Meet the Staff

leep staff

Who are the LEEP Center advisers? They are award-winning instructors and advisers who are experts in the fields of academic advising and student development. Among the nationally recognized Career Development Office, an internationally recognized Study Abroad Office, a distinguished Community Engagement Office and a top-ranked Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, you’ll find dedicated professionals with advanced degrees and years of experience (not to mention a former basketball star and hall of famer, and an award-winning poet).

Michelle Bata

Michelle Bata, Ph.D

Associate Dean and Executive Director of the LEEP Center
Email Michelle

Schedule an appointment | LinkedIn

As the inaugural director of the LEEP Center – home to Academic Advising, Career Services, Community Engagement, Study Abroad and Away and the Writing Center – Michelle is responsible for efforts to engage students in opportunities outside the classroom as well as preparing them for life after Clark.

Prior to joining the Clark community, Michelle was assistant dean and director of undergraduate research and a member of the sociology faculty at Fordham University. Michelle’s scholarly interests include the impact of advising and mentoring on student professional outcomes, and how engagement in experiential opportunities impacts student learning.

Michelle has been selected to participate in National Association for Colleges and Employers Leadership Advancement Program for 2015-16. She received the Excellence in Advising Award from National Academic Advising Association Region 1 in 2014. She received both a master’s degree and doctorate in sociology from the University of Arizona. She received bachelor’s degrees in sociology and Hispanic studies from Boston College.

8/2/16 “We Are All Career Services” The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

  • Blog post about how to cultivate partnerships and create a culture of professional awareness and development on college campuses.

5/24/16 “Changing the Culture of Advising on Campus: a Three-Pronged Approach” NACADA’s e-publication, Academic Advising Today

  • Michelle co-authored this article with Jennifer Plante about Clark’s implementation of the LEEP model, and how academic advising has been rebranded through this cultural shift.

9/24/15 “Central Massachusetts College Road Trip: Clark University” U.S. News & World Report

  • This interview explained what it’s like to attend college in Worcester as a ‘Clarkie’.

4/16/15 “So what was ‘Write to Change the World’ like, Michelle?” Byline Blog

  • Interview discussing how The Write to Change the World seminar challenged Michelle Bata “…to think more carefully and expansively about her knowledge and experience, and why it matters.”

4/15/15 “Tips for Employers Looking to Attract College Graduate Talent” CareerBright

  • This article, which Michelle guest authored, discusses how employers can attract more recent college graduates as well as obstacles facing graduates as they enter the work force.

2/15/15, “Employers seek grads with ‘soft skills’ more than specific majors” Worcester Telegram & Gazette

  • Interview regarding the types of skills and experience that employers are looking for when hiring recent college graduates.

8/19/14, “Defining Undergraduate Research and Inquiry” Center for Engaged Learning

  • In this video, “international teacher-scholars participating in the Center’s research seminar on Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research share their definitions of undergraduate research and inquiry.”

4/28/13, “Job market improves for recent college graduates” Boston Globe

  • Interview about the increasing availability of job opportunities for graduates entering the job market.

July/August 2014, “Off-to-college checkup” Healthy Living Made Simple

  • Article that will help incoming First Years brush up on basic skills that can help smooth their transition into college.

Selected to participate in Elon University’s Seminar for Engaged Scholarship on Mentoring Undergraduate Research, 2014–2016

Along with Jennifer Plante received the Excellence in Advising Award from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region 1, 2014

Awarded a Bringing Theory to Practice Grant (AAC&U sponsored funding) for “Improving retention by strengthening the personal and emotional well-being of Clark students through community-based learning and reflection” in 2014 with Denise Darrigrand.

Participated in the AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative Centennial Annual Meeting.

Alissa Kramer

Alissa Kramer

Director of Study Abroad and Away Programs
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LEEP Center Adviser for Language, Literature and Culture and Asian Studies majors

Schedule an appointment | LinkedIn

As director of Study Abroad, Alissa manages the operations for Clark’s Study Abroad and Away programs. She provides holistic support to students throughout the pre-departure, on-site and the re-entry phases of their experience.

Prior to joining Clark, Alissa served as resident director for the Boston University Brussels Internship Program and program manager for Boston University programs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North and South America.

Alissa has a master’s degree in Intercultural Relations and International Higher Education from Lesley University and a double bachelor’s degree in Social Thought and Political Economy and Germanic Languages and Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She studied abroad at the Eberhard Karls Universitat in Tubingen, Germany, at El Paraiso Spanish School in Bocas del Toro, Panama and in Montanita, Ecuador and speaks German (and some Spanish). She has presented at international education conferences around the globe on student learning outcomes and students with disabilities in study abroad and is a member of NAFSA, FORUM and CIEE international education organizations.

Alissa was also featured in the following article:  9 Clark Students Receive Scholarships to Study Abroad This Spring

Andrea Tymeson

Andrea Tymeson

Office Manager for the LEEP Center
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Andrea is the office manager for the LEEP Center. In this role, she oversees the general operation of the Center and supervises the work-study students. She also provides support and assistance for all LEEP Center events.

Previously, she worked as a desktop publishing technician for 13 years, working on several weekly magazines. She also worked as the office manager for Atlantic Union College’s Thayer Performing Arts Center and the Music Department.

She holds an office management degree from Burdett School in Boston.

Ben Gardner

Ben Gardner

Assistant Director of Community Engagement
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LEEP Center Adviser for Environment Science, Environmental Studies and Geography majors

Schedule an appointment | LinkedIn

Ben works closely with students involved in service outside the classroom. In this capacity, he manages Clark’s community work-study program, serves as an adviser for service-oriented student groups, oversees the Community Engagement Office’s alternative spring break programming, and develops service-leadership programming. He also serves as a LEEP Center adviser to students in Geography, Global Environmental Studies and the Environmental Science tracks.

Ben holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy from Clark University.

Brian Hanna

Brian Hanna

Associate Director of Career Development
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LEEP Center Adviser for Media, Culture and the Arts, Theater, and Screen Studies majors.

Schedule an appointment | LinkedIn

Brian manages Clark’s employer relations and on-campus recruiting efforts. In addition, he advises students on all aspects of career development and serves as liaison to the Athletics Department. He’s a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers, the Worcester Chamber of Commerce Career Services Committee, and the New England Employer Relations Committee.

Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Culture from Clark University.

Evan Wilson

Evan Wilson

Associate Director of Study Abroad and Away Programs
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LEEP Center Adviser to Philosophy and Political Science majors


Evan advises students throughout the study abroad process by providing support during the application, pre-departure, on-site and campus re-entry phases of study abroad. As a LEEP Center adviser, Evan helps students identify a major of study and active learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Previously, Evan was involved in program coordination and student advising in educational programs and study abroad. He served as the travel seminar and internship coordinator at the Center for Global Education and Experience program in Windhoek, Namibia. Most recently, he coordinated programs for a public health organization involving youth in health promotion and served as a classroom teacher in public elementary schools.

Evan holds a bachelor’s degree in international development and social change and a master’s degree. in community development and planning from Clark University, as well as a master’s in education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Jennifer Plante

Jennifer Plante

Director of the Writing Center and Writing Program
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LEEP Center Adviser for English and History majors

Schedule an appointment | LinkedIn

Jennifer has been at Clark full time since 2007 when she became the director of the Writing Center and Writing Program. During her time at the University, Jennifer has taught a variety of courses, including Expository Writing, Introduction to Literature, Writing: The Beats, Difficult Dialogue courses for the Higgins School of Humanities, and has taught continuing education courses in both literature and film.

Jennifer comes to the position with a lengthy history in the Worcester area. She graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a degree in humanities. After working as a technical writer in the area, Jennifer pursued a master’s degree in English from Clark University. In 2016, she was selected as one of the 10 Emerging Leaders for 2016-18 in the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program.

5/24/16 “Changing the Culture of Advising on Campus: a Three-Pronged Approach” NACADA’ s e-publication, Academic Advising Today

  • Co-authored article with Michelle Bata about Clark’s implementation of the LEEP model and how academic advising has been rebranded through this cultural shift.

Along with Michelle Bata, received the Excellence in Advising Award from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region 1, 2014

Jessica Bane Robert

Jessica Bane Robert

Director of Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships
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LEEP Center Adviser for Music, Studio Art, and Art History majors.

Schedule an appointment | LinkedIn

Jessica is the new Director of Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships and a LEEP Center Adviser, and specializes in helping students craft personal statements for graduate school and competitive proposals for grants and fellowships. She previously worked as the Assistant Director of the Writing Center and has taught for the English and Interdisciplinary departments, as well as for the Higgins School of Humanities since 2007 with course offerings including Expository Writing, Creative Writing, Sense of Place: Writings of Place and Nature, and Mindful Choices.

Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and have won prizes such as the Rita Dove International Poetry Prize and the International Merit Award from the Atlanta Review. Her first chap book of poems, “Scarred Seasons,” was published in 2009 by Finishing Line Press and was nominated for a Mass Book Award and  Pen New England Literary Award.

Jessica owns the Barred Owl Retreat: A Center for Writing and Learning in Leicester, Massachusetts, which provides individual and group retreats for artists, educators and students.

Jessica was also featured in the following article:

Micki Davis

Micki Davis

Assistant Director of the LEEP Center and Director of Special Projects
Email Micki

LEEP Center Adviser for International Development and Social Change, Sociology and Women’s Studies majors

Schedule an appointment | LinkedIn

Micki is responsible for the overall management of the Community Engagement Office and its goals of building a campus culture that supports community engagement and socially responsible global citizenship, both inside and outside of the curriculum. Micki works with faculty to design and implement community-based learning courses and to promote community engagement in the curriculum. She also oversees the Local Knowledge repository for community-based research, and is the primary LEEP Center administrator for developing and supporting partnerships with nonprofit organizations in Worcester. She also serves as a LEEP Center adviser to students with a declared major or minor in International Development and Community Engagement, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies and Education.

Micki received a master’s in public administration degree from Clark University and graduated from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in history. She’s currently pursuing a doctorate in Education with a concentration in Organizational Leadership. Micki serves as president-elect of the Board of Directors at the YWCA of Central Massachusetts and recently joined the Steering Committee for the Worcester Women’s History Project. Prior to coming to Clark, she served for three years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with the Massachusetts Campus Compact.

She’s an associate member of the AAC&U and the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Accepted to Leadership Worcester‘s 2016-2017 class

Micki was also featured in the following articles:

Selected to participate in Elon University’s Seminar for Engaged Scholarship on Global Learning, 2015–2017