MCAS Advocates Program

MCAS Advocates and MCAS Student Advocates play a critical role in engaging and empowering AALANA (African, Latin, and Native American) students to successfully graduate from RIT on time while closing the achievement gap by building community. This program increases the communication and collaboration between MCAS (and by extension, the Division for Diversity and Inclusion) with RIT’s academic units. This program combines successful RIT AALANA students in collaboration with a professional staff/faculty advocate from the college, appointed by their respective deans. Together they will be in positions to influence change in their colleges through programming and directed outreach initiatives.


  • Strengthen and grow the RIT AALANA community
  • Build trust and advocacy
  • Increase student persistence

MCAS Advocates

  • Advisor to the MCAS student advocates to ensure they are in alignment with the university strategic plan in regards to their social and professional programs and outreach.
  • Meet with MCAS and other MCAS Advocates on a monthly basis to discuss students’ academic success and outreach initiatives.
  • Help with faculty and student introductions and interactions.
  • Represent MCAS to the students, faculty, and staff in their respective colleges.
  • Provide a constant contact/presence for AALANA students in their college.
  • Advocate for and advise AALANA students when applicable.

Meet the MCAS Advocates

Pradip Ananda

Associate Director, Career Guidance
RIT Certified
Academic Affairs

Larry Buckley

Senior Associate Dean
Dean’s Office
College of Science

Barbara Contreras Mora

Assistant Director of Diversity Initiatives
Dean’s Office
Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

Ricardo Figueroa

Associate Professor
School of Film and Animation
College of Art and Design

Andre Hudson

Dean, College of Science
Dean’s Office
College of Science

Ashley Jackson

Academic Advisor
University Advising Office
Academic Affairs

Nykki Matthews

Director of WIT, Community Engagement and Student Diversity Initiatives
Dean’s Office
College of Engineering Technology

Venessa Mitchell

Director of ECCO and Student Programs Coordinator
Dean’s Office
Kate Gleason College of Engineering

Kristy Mooney Graves

Associate Director Student Services
Dean’s Office
College of Liberal Arts

Melissa Bizari

Academic Advisor
Academic Affairs

Torrence Sparkman

Associate Professor
Department of Management
Saunders College of Business

MCAS Student Advocates

  • Develop programs that create community amongst AALANA students in their college.
  • Lead their college MCAS student boards (if applicable).
  • Meet regularly with their college MCAS Advocate (weekly/biweekly).
  • Be an extension of MCAS in their college in order to share information and promote opportunities from MCAS and DDI to students in their college.
  • Mentor and demonstrate academic success to students in their college.