access staff


Jess E. Tuck, Ph.D.

Executive Director, University Advising Services
(561) 297-2072
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Dr. Jess E. Tuck serves as the Executive Director of the ACCESS Coaching Center and University Advising Services, overseeing Academic Coaching, Transfer Advising Services and Advising Systems on all FAU campuses. Dr. Tuck was the Project Director of FAU's U.S. Department of Education Title III Grant from October 2010 to September 2016. He was also an Adjunct Instructor with University Advising Services and FAU Global Student Success Program (GSSP) from 2010 - 2020. Dr. Tuck's experience began at FAU in 2003 advising freshmen and sophomores with undeclared majors, providing guidance to students through developmental advising strategies. Dr. Tuck received a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership: Higher Education from FAU in 2009, where his dissertation topic was Students' preference for online versus face-to-face academic advising based on individual learning styles. He received a M.Ed. in Counselor Education, also from FAU. Dr. Tuck attended SUNY Plattsburgh and holds a B.A. in Sociology.



Abdula Newman, M.B.A.

Director, Advising Systems & Academic Success
(561) 297-2016
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Abdula is originally from The Bahamas and holds Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting from Florida Metropolitan University and Nursing from Florida Atlantic University. Additionally, Abdula holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Abdula has been working at FAU since 2001 in academic advising and advising technology and previously worked as a Coordinator of Academic Programs in the office of Freshman Academic Advising Services, then Assistant and Associate Director within the ACCESS Coaching Center. Abdula's hobbies/interests include traveling, technology, reading, theater, and music.



Monica Martinez El Sheikh, M.Ed.

Associate Director, Academic Coaching & Advising
(561) 297-3962
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Monica earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and her Master of Education in Counseling. For nearly a decade she worked as a Defense Contractor in support of the Department of Defense and State Department. Through her extensive volunteer work, she realized that her true passion was to help others achieve their highest potential. She went into the counseling field and ultimately discovered her love of advisement and working with students. Currently, she works as the Associate Director for Academic Coaching & Advising with the ACCESS Program. In addition to her work, Monica enjoys to travel, spend time with her family and friends, and dote on her Chihuahua.



Allison Rodgers Zapata, M.A.

Assistant Director, Academic Coaching & Advising
(561) 297-4736
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Allison grew up in upper east Tennessee and the Pacific Northwest – from the Appalachian to the Cascade Mountains. She earned her bachelor of arts in business management from Hope International University (Fullerton, CA), earned her master of arts in organizational leadership from Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA), and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in educational leadership (higher education) at FAU. Allison’s passionate for fostering students’ growth – exploring their interests, goals, life aspirations – began in her undergraduate experience serving as an orientation leader, alternative spring break coordinator, and student worker in the university controller’s office. She thrives in curating gathering spaces for meaningful conversations. Currently, Allison serves as the Assistant Director for Academic Coaching & Advising. Her hobbies include exploring south Florida and its cultures and cuisines, watching basketball and baseball, coloring, reading and listening to audiobooks, and spending time with her family.



Chandini Balwant, M.A.

ACCESS Academic Coach/Advisor
(561) 297-4756
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Chandini earned both her Psychology, B.S. and her Counselor Education, M.A. (with a focus in Clinical Mental Health Counseling) from the University of Central Florida. She started working as a Peer Advisor in UCF’s Psychology Department during her undergrad and discovered her passion for helping students achieve their academic and career goals. Chandini worked simultaneously as an academic advisor and graduate student at UCF while completing her counseling internship in community mental health, focusing on trauma counseling, self-compassion, and mindfulness. Through these experiences, she recognized that she found the most fulfillment when working with students as a guide to help them on their academic and career journey. Outside of work, Chandini likes to spend her time with her family, and enjoys reading, writing, and dancing.



Cassidy Largen, M.Ed.

ACCESS Academic Coach/Advisor
(561) 297-2793
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Cassidy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Lees-McRae College, a small private college in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. As an undergraduate student, through her experiences as a student-athlete, a resident assistant, and an orientation leader, Cassidy found that she has a passion for helping college students achieve their dreams. Cassidy earned her Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Florida Atlantic University where she gained experience in various areas of Higher Education including orientation, student activities, and career services. In her free time she enjoys exploring the Florida beaches, reading, and taking her dog Emmy on long walks.



Savannah Wilkerson, M.Ed.

ACCESS Academic Coach/Advisor
(561) 297-4738
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Savannah is a Florida native – she grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in Central Florida and South Florida for the past few years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology from the University of North Florida (Swoop!) and her Master’s of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Florida Atlantic University (Go Owls!). During her undergraduate years, Savannah found her calling of fostering student growth through student leadership activities in Fraternity and Sorority Life. Her higher education experience includes work in Residence Life, Fraternity and Sorority Life, and teaching. Savannah is passionate about utilizing the Appreciative Advising model to support student success and belonging through intentional relationship-building and goal-setting. Her hobbies include exploring both the world and her own backyard, spending too much time in Florida’s theme parks, and reading anything she can get her hands on.



Rose Stoner, M.S.W.

ACCESS Academic Coach/Advisor
(561) 297-4738
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Rose was born and raised near Denver, Colorado. She pursued her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!) and her Master’s of Social Work at the Colorado State University (Go Rams!). Throughout her time as an undergraduate and graduate student, she gained valuable experience working with students in higher education. She’s served as a peer mentor for out-of-state students, an undergraduate teaching assistant, and a graduate teaching assistant. Since graduation, she focused on a combination of advising and social work, working with students of all ages in the field of prevention. Rose is passionate about higher education and helping students in achieving academic and social success at their university and is thrilled to be working within the university setting once again. Outside of work, Rose enjoys traveling, working out at Orange Theory, watching true crime documentaries, and spending time with her two golden retrievers.


ACCESS Partners

Career Center

The award-winning Career Center helps students build toward their successful future. Certified career professionals are available to meet with students to review major and career options, explore internships and jobs on and off campus, review resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles, enhance interview skills, apply to graduate school programs, and connect with employers through Career Fairs and Handshake.

To schedule an appointment with a career coach:

  1. Login and claim your account in Handshake
  2. Click on “Career Center” in the top right corner
  3. Select “Appointments” from the drop down menu
  4. Click on “Schedule A New Appointment” in the blue box on the left corner
  5. Follow the prompts to choose an appointment category (your College), an appointment type (topic), and your date and time. You can also select appointment medium that offers in-person and virtual options.

For additional questions, call 561-297-3533 or email The Career Center offers drop-on Career Coaching Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Boca Raton campus and other locations found here:

Below please find additional resources dedicated to assisting ACCESS students: