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
ACCESS Academic Coach/Advisor
(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 previously worked as a Coordinator of Academic Programs in the office of Freshman Academic Advising Services. While Abdula enjoys assisting students with course selections and adjusting to college life his hobbies/interests include traveling, technology, reading, theater, and music.



Monica Martinez, 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 Assistant 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 an ACCESS Academic Coach/Academic Advisor. 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.



Linnsey McFerguson, M.S.

ACCESS Academic Coach/Advisor
(561) 297-4623
Fax: (561) 297-3132

Linnsey earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Science in College Student Personnel Services and Administration from The University of Central Arkansas. (Go Bears!) While her career in higher education began in housing and residential life, she's also had the honor of working with orientation, student activities, athletics, and even teaching courses for first-year college students. Because of those experiences, she learned to deeply value the power of strategic cross-campus collaboration. By taking a holistic approach to student development theory, Linnsey is able to curate conversations that help empower students educationally, personally, and professionally. Outside of work, Linnsey enjoys creating playlists, working on interior design projects, making charcuterie boards, caring for plants, watching ESPN, going to the theatre, and traveling. Linnsey is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200).



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.


ACCESS Partners

FAU Career Center

The FAU Career Center helps students build toward their successful future and meets with students to review major and career options, explore internships on and off campus, build and review resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles, enhance interview skills, apply to graduate school programs, and connect with employers through Handshake.

To schedule an appointment with a career counselor:

  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 (location), an appointment type (topic), and your date and time. You can also select appointment medium, to set your appointment to phone, video or email.

For additional questions, call 561-297-3533 or email The Career Center offers same-day career advising Monday – Friday 9 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: