Elite Owls Leadership and Service Ambassadors
Joubin “Jay” Jebelli
Yuval Lee Pritz
Ann Isabelle Baron
Clayton Cogi Sims
Anne Kristie Caton
Cassandra (Cassie) Smith
Elizabeth (Lizzy) Horsman
The FAU Elite Owls are a premiere leadership and service-learning ambassador program designed to recognize exemplary student leaders at Florida Atlantic University. Through Elite Owls, they are given the opportunity for personal leadership development as well as facilitating leadership development for students at FAU. Knowing that leadership is not positional, Elite Owls instead focus on leadership as a relationship and encourage others to do the same. Elite Owls are involved all across FAU and represent diverse backgrounds, majors, and campuses.
To build a strong leadership foundation across the campuses while creating possibilities for student leaders to engage others in making an everlasting mark on the community and student body; in and out of the classroom.
Applications for the 2019-2020 Elite Owls are now CLOSED. Recruitment and Applications will be made available in Spring 2020.
2018-2019 Elite Owls
ASHLEY is from Orlando, FL raised in a Jamaican family and is the youngest of four siblings. She can found in the College of Education as she pursues her Bachelors of Arts in Education majoring in Secondary English Education. She is a senior and will be graduating in spring of 2019. She currently serves as a resident assistant in Innovation Village Apartments South where she works closely with professional staff as well as supporting the residents assisting them in anything they may need.
ASHLEY’s passion to help others and mold young minds stems from her humble upbringing. She aspires to one day become an influential educator, as well as play an active roles in the lives of her students and peers. She not only wants to become an educator but a business woman who will bring success to herself and family as well as her community. She accredits her passions towards her upbringing and also her religion. She has strong faith and is a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason.
ASHLEY is an active member in a few organizations on campus. She has been appointed the fundraising chair for the 2018-2019 school year for SISTUHS, Incorporated. She plans on upholding this position by holding herself accountable and actively working with the people in her committee to bring the chapter the most success.
What ASHLEY hopes to gain out of being an Elite Owl is to not only develop more as a leader and speaker, but to influence her peers with a positive attitude, goof personality, and genuine heart. She believes anything is possible as long as you work hard and remain dedicated to your goal.
Jessica Lopez-Velez joined Florida Atlantic University as Associate Director of Admissions in 2007. During her eleven years at FAU, she has also worked as Director of Enrollment Management and Academic Services for the Broward Campuses, and named Director of Undergraduate Admissions in 2014. In this role, she provided leadership and oversight in the implementation of FAU’s strategic plans for undergraduate student recruitment and application processing. One critical part of her current role as Director of Recruitment and Link Program is to shape the freshmen class of FAU, ensuring FAU meets it goals for quality and diversity in the student body.
Mrs. Lopez-Velez holds a Bachelor’s in Arts in Public Communications from the University of Puerto Rico, a Master’s in Marketing from Universidad Metropolitana in Puerto Rico, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership in Higher Education from FAU. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in FAU’s Higher Education Leadership program and expects to graduate in the Spring of 2019.
Mrs. Lopez-Velez enjoys being engaged in her community through her participation in several community and professional organizations, and mentoring students. In 2010 she served as President of the Higher Education Partnership of South Florida. From 2009 to 2012 she was a member and Co-Chair of Handy’s Scholars Funding Committee, helping raise scholarships for young students transitioning out of foster care. She also served as Board Member and President Elect of the Miramar-Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce from 2008 to 2012. In 2010 she was awarded the Pinnacle Award by that same Chamber. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Freddie, nieces and nephews, and spoiling her miniature dachshund Rocco.
Amber is a senior majoring in Theatre. She currently serves as an Elite Owl, SLS Peer Coach, and as the Associate Director of Program Board on the Boca Raton campus. She has spent her time at FAU promoting student involvement on campus, as she believes getting involved is the best way to make FAU a home.
Amber go the opportunity to go to college because her family, friends and teachers, built bridges for her and helped her to succeed. She is excited to be an Elite Owl to give back to both the campus community and the local community. She is thrilled to have this platform to continue to build bridges for others and to enable her peers to thrive in their own leadership journeys. She hopes to use the opportunities this role gives her to help people as much as she can every single day.
Susan Fulks’ career began in professional ballet and has since gravitated toward administrative management primarily within the arts and education sectors. During the time, she pursued her master's degree at Columbia University, worked administratively as a company management intern at WICKED, LLC., during its first year on Broadway in New York. This experience wet her appetite for work in a fast-paced, high-volume environment, being the point of contact for different constituents (in this case, the company manager dealing with star actors, directors, union stage crew members, producers, box office personnel, and patrons). Since then, she has worked in similar capacities both at Columbia University and Scholars Resource. In August 2007, she took a job as the Coordinator of Administrative Services in the Graduate College at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. She was promoted to Assistant Dean of the College in 2010 and again to Associate Dean in 2014. She has also held a Visiting Assistant Professor position in FAU's Department of Theater and Dance, written dance criticism for the Palm Beach Daily News, and freelance as a performer, teacher, and artistic consultant.
Alejandra is a first-generation college student in the University Honors Program majoring in Political Science. She currently serves as the Marketing Manager of the Global Business Association and is a student-delegate of the Leon Charney Diplomacy Program. She is an intern for PoliticalConsulting.com and hopes to open up her own consulting firm one day.
Alejandra’s philosophy is embodied by the quote, “good leaders must first become good servants.” As a Kiwanis International veteran, she believes that leadership is naturally developed through a concept that manifests itself in a three-step process: the natural desire to serve, the conscious choice to lead, and the ultimate test to grow while encouraging others to do the same.
Alyse is a senior majoring in Health Administration with a minor in Health Information Systems. She is a member of Future Healthcare Executives and currently holds the executive position of secretary. She is also an active member of Phi Mu Fraternity and is currently the assistant academic chair. She is also very involved in the community by actively volunteering at Boca Regional Hospital. After graduation, she plans on furthering her education by attending nursing school.
When Alsye is not attending to her academic activities, she enjoys swimming and going to the beach. As an Elite Owl, she looks forward to helping her community and inspiring others. She is proud to be an FAU Owl and continuing to make a difference on campus.
Anthony is a senior majoring in Political Science. He grew up locally in Boca Raton and currently calls Deerfield, FL home. He is a former business owner who returned to FAU to further his education in Political Science and eventually serve the community through law. Working with the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office, he helps the Sober Home Task Force by helping those with addiction find reliable resources to cure their diseases.
Anthony’s parents are both Italian immigrants who instilled hard work and consistency in him. As an Elite Owl, he serves as an example that it is never too late to follow your dreams and have an impact on the community.
Jenny has co-authored six books and numerous articles that are mostly centered on her work with Appreciative Advising. However, what she enjoys the most is being a lifelong learner and helping to empower students of all ages to optimize their educational experiences. She is excited to become an Elite Owl Mentor because she knows that she will learn so much from her mentee and all of this year’s Elite Owls! Hoot! Hoot!
Emily is an enthusiastic senior earning her bachelor’s in social work. She can be found in the Design and Social Inquiry building and in the Lead and Serve office socializing with her peers. She enjoys working on her social work projects while sipping on Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Before becoming an Elite Owl, she had been a Day 7 Intern for the Lead and Serve office, worked as Lead Mentor for Firewall Centers (a non-profit organization that mentors low-income students across Broward County), and participated in FAU’s Owl Breaks to Roanoke, VA. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and is passionate about serving the youth in her community. Emily values servant-leadership, hope, empathy, and integrity. She is looking forward to growing through her service as the newest addition to the FAU Elite Owl family.
With his experience in the areas of healthcare, social services, business development and education Michael's greatest passion is found in assisting organizations build their capacity to develop leadership, advance capable governance, ensure sound financial management and reporting, engage in effective strategic and operational planning, maximize resource development and fundraising programs, and fashion and launch effective services evolved from analytic, creative and strategic thinking.
Over the course of his career, he has successfully led development efforts including annual fund drives, capital campaigns, major gift solicitation, and grant writing. His work with Boards of Trustees and service volunteers is extensive. Dr. Gaylor is well-versed in board and volunteer recruitment, screening, orientation, training and development, and evaluation and retention. He has facilitated the work of a number of boards in developing and executing the tenants of the organization's mission/vision statement through the development and implementation of ongoing goals, objectives and strategies designed to support the mission.
Dr. Gaylor blends his experience as a practicing psychologist/therapist with his business acumen to benefit aspiring executives through Executive/Personal Coaching and mentoring. Those who have worked with him describe him as thoughtful, insightful, competent and goal driven. He has served in leadership capacities on a number of nonprofit and public boards. Michael Gaylor received his doctorate from the University of New Mexico in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies. His focus of study was workplace training and curriculum design. He served as an adjunct faculty with the University of Phoenix and the University of New Mexico's Management Development Center. He has also served as a guest instructor for CNM, a New Mexico Community College. Michael currently serves as adjunct faculty with Nova Southeastern University’s Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship where he teaches critical thinking. He also serves in the position of adjunct faculty with Florida Atlantic University and Barry University where he teaches in the areas of Executive Management, Organizational Development, Nonprofit Management and Leadership.
Dr Gaylor is a John Maxwell Team Member and is a certified Coach, Trainer and Speaker. He and his wife Kathy reside in Boca Raton, Florida. They have two daughters and four grandsons.
Gabrielle “Gabby” was born in Jacksonville, FL as one of five children as well as a twin. She is senior majoring in English in minoring in Leadership Studies. Gabby values faith, growth, community, and kindness. Currently, she serves as s Resident Assistant in Indian River Towers, as well as alongside our Greek community as Junior Panhellenic President and Alpha Xi Delta’s internal philanthropy director. Gabby has served in student government and has completed an internship with the Walt Disney World Company, too. Her favorite quote is “You have nothing to prove and everything to share,” which pushes her away from the stress of competition and comparison, and into serving through connecting, collaboration, and building communities, because “it takes a village” to serve.
As an English major, Gabby is OBSESSED with reading, writing, and stories; she believes that the strength of every leader found in their courage to share their story, because stories are the heartbeat of every community. Gabby believes in the power of cultivating self-awareness, confidence and belonging through immersive and authentic story-telling, and is working to build brave spaces within her communities to empower others to hold the pen and write their own narratives.
Dr. King holds a Bachelor of Science in Curriculum & Instruction and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration/Student Affairs from Florida State University. He received a Doctorate of Educational Administration & Leadership from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
John is a senior majoring in Business Management and is minoring in Leadership Studies. He was named the 2017 Valedictorian of the University Honors Program. He is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies. During his time at FAU, he became involved in developing his leadership skills and completed both the Emerging Young Leaders and Certified Student Leaders programs.
John was diagnosed with a disease called spinal muscular atrophy, but he does not allow his disability to prevent him from living a purposeful life. His top priority is to be a role model and show people that, despite limitations and difficult circumstances, they can accomplish their goals and aspirations with determination and hard work. Each day, he hopes to inspire others and serve as an example for aspiring leaders. As an Elite Owl, he is excited for the opportunity to give back and produce positive change at FAU.
Karina is a senior pursuing a bachelor of science in Neuroscience and Behavior. She currently serves as the vice president of Community Service of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Her passion includes making a difference in others’ lives and involvement within the community. Her ultimate goal is to attend medical school with the aspirations of becoming a pediatrician.
Karina is also a soldier in the U.S. Army Florida National Guard. Her role as a soldier has challenged and allowed her to attain determination, discipline and integrity. As an Elite Owl, she hopes to grow as an individual and encourage others to become the best version of themselves.
Kerete is a proud Haitian-American that was born and raised in Miami, FL. She is a junior double majoring in History and Political Science. Upon receiving her bachelors degree, she aspires to go to law school to become a lawyer. She values respect, honesty, spirituality, service, and justice.
This past year, Kerete has served as the Campus Action Committee Chair for the Boca Raton House of Representatives and a Resource Team for the New Student Orientation office. She is currently member of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Phi Alpha Theta.
Kerete is passionate about serving and advocating for others. During her summers, she works for a non-profit called, The Village Youth Services, Inc., providing meals for youth all over South Florida. As an Elite owl, she hopes to grow as a leader, while also inspiring others to lead. Finally, during her time as an Elite Owl she wants to be the change she wants to see in the world.
Kristine is a senior majoring in Communications and minoring in Leadership Studies. Along with serving as an Elite Owl, she also has the privilege of serving as the 2018 College Panhellenic. Association president. Her passion for people and leadership is what drives me through every day and she’s so excited to be to fulfill her happiness through serving as an Elite Owl.
Kendall is from Lakeland, FL and he graduates at the end of summer 2018 and will be attending graduate school at FAU. This is Kendall’s second year serving on the Elite Owl and is thrilled for the opportunity to serve again.
Kendall is also involved in other organizations at FAU including Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and Toastmasters International. In his free time, he free dives, fishes, and reads.
Laurel is a junior majoring in Commercial Music in Technology. She was adopted from China at the age of one and grew up in Orlando, FL. She values communication, honesty, authenticity, and self-worth. She is a very active member on campus, previously she was a Resident Assistant in Parliament Hall and now she works as a desk assistant for FAU Housing. She is also vice president of two clubs, Lambda United (LGBT+) and the Women’s Vocal Arts Organization.
Laurel became an Elite Owl to help others realize their true potential and push them to explore the fears that make them uncomfortable. Through strong self-development and perseverance, she believes anyone can overcome the bigotry and oppression that daunts society and become a part of something greater.
duPont, is an adjunct professor at FAU’s School of Architecture is a Florida Licensed Designer and a fellow of both IIDA and IDG. He has spoken before a wide-range of audiences on business topics, art, and design. His ability to convey a subject with humor and adapt to a variety of audiences has positioned him as guest lecture as universities, design venues, cruises and conventions. He co-hosted PBS' national show "Décor" and Around the House and is currently the art- design expert for a several national documentaries.
Luis is a sophomore at the FAU Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College majoring in Economics and minoring in Business. He is originally from Braganca Paulista, Brazil, and moved to the U.S. in 2016. He currently serves as an Orientation and Welcome Leader and as Programming Director at the Jupiter Campus Recreation. He is also part of several clubs such as Baron’s Business and Economics club, Owlettes Dance Company, Mind & Melody, and JamSesh.
Luis’ current mission statement is “To travel the world alone, with family and with friends while working to provide others with the opportunities that I have had.” In his free time, he enjoys a variety of hobbies like reading, working out, playing the guitar, singing, and dancing.
As an Elite Owl, Luis hopes to develop his leadership skills while inspiring others to achieve their goals.
Flavia is a senior double majoring in Multimedia Studies and Political Science. She is an international student originally from Lima, Peru. She moved to Florida three and a half years ago initially to start in the ESL Program. Upon graduation, she earned her Associates Degree from Broward College and graduated with the highest honors as a member of the Bob “Elmore” Honors College. She transferred and got involved with the FAU Broward student government. She has served as the Broward COSO Director, Broward Program Board Director, and Broward Speaker Pro Tempore. Flavia got elected as the Broward Campus Governor for 2018-2019.
Flavia is passionate about immigration law and hopes to work with a non-profit organization that helps undocumented immigrants finding legal resources to obtain citizenship. She joined the Elite Owls team hoping to improve her leadership skills and to invite Broward students to become active citizens.
Dr. Bebergal completed her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at the University of Southern California and her Master’s in Higher Education Leadership at the University of Miami. While working full-time, she completed her doctorate here at FAU in Adult and Community Education. Her greatest passion is her family – Marc, her husband of 21 years, her two daughters – Rachel (17) and Emily (14) and their rescue dog Goldy. Her interests include travel, reading, music, and serving my community.
Otis was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL before coming down to Boca Raton. He is currently a junior at Florida Atlantic University and is studying Mathematical Sciences. He is a current resident assistant in Parliament Hall and enjoys working with first-year students. He is passionate about escorting new waves of FAU students into a new chapter of their lives and strives to equip them with the necessary skills needed to success. A quote that he lives by is “each day you must choose between the pain of discipline or the pain of regret” and uses that as motivation to transcend his comfort zone every day – taking on new opportunities and engaging in dialogue tha he previously would not have done before.
Otis takes inspiration from social justice advocates and servant-leaders like Bayard Rustin who valued action over position or recognition. Elite Owls, he feels, would be the perfect mode for him to equip himself and others with the necessary tools to grow and develop as leaders.
Rahat is a senior who attends the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major concentration in Cellular Neuroscience and a minor concentration in Psychology. His long-term aspirations are to enter the field of medicine and bring back “the human touch” to the field. He strongly believes in selflessly serving his friends, family, community, and anyone in need because he acknowledges that nowadays people’s actions are strongly driven by external rewards.
Rahat is extremely passionate about leadership and practices it through many different avenues. He serves as the student director of the Council of Student Organizations in Student Government. He also serves as the President of both the Jupiter Pre-Medical Society and the Honors HOSA organization, which he co-founded in 2016. Under his leadership, this organization has now taken more than 20 members to represent FAU at the highest stage, the International Leadership Conference.
Rahat is also a graduate of the Certified Student Leader program, an Honors College Ambassador, and a mentor for the Mentoring Project program. Through all these experiences, eh hopes to inspire other leaders around him to take the path of self-discovery and maximize their leadership potential.
Saralynn is a senior pursuing a bachelors degree in Accounting. She is an international student originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She is an overachiever who came to the United States with the desire to reach her full potential and give back to the community. She earned an associates degree from Broward College and graduated with the highest honors. During her time at Broward College, she held several leadership positions as an officer for the honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, and as a Student Ambassador.
Saralynn is passionate about learning new skills and sharing her gifts with others. She currently serve as the Broward Treasurer for student government and the workshop liaison for the school of Accounting. As an Elite Owl, she hopes to empower her surroundings to leave their comfort zone and lead with action.
For the past four years, Ms. Carter has served on the Board of the Spirit Giving and currently holds the Secretary position. Overall, creating, guiding and participating in avenues that invest in students to become change agents in their personal and professional lives makes her job rewarding!
Sarah is a senior from Parker, Colorado. She is majoring in Communications with two minors in Nonprofit Management and Leadership Studies. She is very involved at FAU, currently serving as president of Sigma Kappa sorority and as the Finance Director for OwlThon.
Sarah’s core values are service, personal growth and compassion. She believes everyone has resources to give whether that is time or money. She wants to empower others to get involved with service in their communities to leave the world better than how we found it.
In her spare time, Katie enjoys taking long walks on the beach with her dog Charlie and her husband Mike. She is currently researching what students perceive as the most influential in terms of their own leadership development so more leaders can be inspired by the narrative of the leaders in her study. She lives her passion every day working with FAU students and in community organizations dedicated to positively contributing to the world around them.
Samantha is a graduate student completing a Masters of Bioengineering and Masters of Business Administration. She is an alumna of Florida Atlantic University where she completed her two bachelors degrees in Biological Sciences and Neuroscience and Human Behavior, with a minor in Philosophy. She is a first-generation college student and is very passionate about serving the global community and participating in student organizations and clubs. She currently serves as the College of Engineering and Computer Science representative for GPSA and is also a member of the Travel Committee. She was recently selected to be the Region 7 Graduate Representative for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
Samantha values education, faith, freedom, integrity and optimism. Her hobbies include reading, writing, surfing, aviation and art. She is the graduate assistant for FAU’s International Center for Emergency Management and also lends her talents part-time as a web designer for the local production company, Multi Image Group. She enjoys volunteering with organizations such as the Rotary club of Boca Raton, Surfers for Autism, United Way’s Emerign Leaders Society, Habitat for Humanity, Boca Helping Hands, the Women’s Foundation of Florida STEAM Committee, and Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful.
Prior to coming to FAU, she taught for eleven years at DeVry University, and before that, she was an English teacher in South Florida middle and high schools. She has also taught English education and writing courses at local community colleges as well as at Florida International University.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in English, a Master’s of Science degree in English Education, and a doctoral degree in Education, specializing in English Education, all from Florida International University in Miami, FL. Her scholarly editing experience includes 15 years as Editor-in-Chief of the South Florida Education Research Conference as well as 3 years as Co-Managing Editor of the DeVry University Journal of Scholarly Research.
Sabrina is a senior majoring in Communications and minoring in Leadership Studies and Sociology. She is actively involved around campus and currently serves as a Resident Assistant for the University Village Apartments and Ambassador for the College of Arts and Letters. Sabrina has also completed an internship with Make A Wish Foundation where her true passion for helping others and overcoming adversity was recognized.
Sabrina uses her faith and value to drive her each waking day. Her favorite quote is, Psalm 46:5, “God is within her, She will not fall.” As an Elite Owl, she hopes to inspire others to persevere and get involved with student leadership and campus involvement.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, going out to new places with her boyfriend and binge watching Netflix.
Leigh earned her MA in counseling from the University of Maryland and her BA from the University of Delaware. In her communities, she has served as a literacy tutor, in multiple roles with Alpha Omicron Pi; on an advisory board to a visual arts alliance in New Hampshire; as an officer of her HOA; and one hilarious and never-to-be-repeated season coaching a 2nd grade soccer team.
Timoy completed his Associate of Arts Broward College and his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies at FAU. During his undergraduate studies at FAU, he upheld his membership in organizations such as Progressive Black Men, Inc., the Urban Male Initiative, Student Government, the National Residence Hall Honorary, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. In addition, he transforms his community of residents serving as a Resident Assistant in the upperclassmen hall.
Timoy is a graduate student in the Masters of Higher Education Leadership. Furthermore, he aspires to grow professionally within the Division of Student Affairs as a profession and make an impact through his leadership and service.
Timoy wants to impact students with positive change, to influence growth and development and to leave a legacy of equality and commitment to service that gives back to the university community.
Tasmiah is a senior majoring in Neuroscience at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. She likes to be challenged in every aspect of her life as she maintains her role as an officer in several organizations on campus, her two. Jobs in student government and the pharmacy in addition to pharmacy courses.
Tasmiah believes that kindness and caring for others is the most important value anyone could have. She strives to hold true to those values by doing small acts every day to bring a little bit of happiness to another’s individual life. As an Elite Owl, she is passionate to inspire and empower others to bring this happiness in their small acts in their everyday lives as well.