Cara Mulvaney Headshot

Cara Mulvaney

Director, Youth Protection and Compliance

K-12 University Center
Academic Affairs

Office Location

Cara Mulvaney

Director, Youth Protection and Compliance

K-12 University Center
Academic Affairs


It was meant to be.

That’s how Cara Mulvaney explains her journey to Rochester Institute of Technology, filling a new role in a new office managing youth protection and compliance. With a legal background and professional career spent in compliance, she not only speaks the language of the position, but uses it to help others navigate through somewhat unchartered waters.

“My husband and I both happened to see the job posting and were like, “Oh my God; they wrote this position for me’,” she said with a laugh. “I had been a Year One program facilitator at RIT, so I knew the university well and it was just a stunning thing to see, so I really thought this job had been written for me.”

The offer came from Donna Burnette, executive director of RIT’s K-12 University Center, a week before the pandemic shutdown in March 2020 – something Mulvaney said was a blessing in disguise that gave her time to invest into researching and writing the Protection of Minors Policy for RIT, when all activities were canceled.

Now, as director of RIT’s Office of Youth Protection and Compliance, she’s charged with implementing and overseeing guidance and policy regarding youth engagement with the university. As the office enhances its services, Mulvaney said she is committed to creating awareness and promoting youth safety across campus and in the community.

“There are very few offices (that) work with minors day in and day out, but there is a youth aspect on campus all the time, so it’s about creating awareness in the RIT community that we have thousands of people on campus every year who are not adults,” she said. “We need to teach people about proper supervision and appropriate engagement and interaction with youth in a way that creates boundaries and helps educate everyone involved on those expectations.”

Mulvaney comes to the position with an extensive background in compliance and higher education. She earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Dayton and graduated in 2006 with a Juris Doctor from Ohio State. Shortly before starting at RIT, she also graduated from Syracuse University with a master’s degree in higher education administration.

“My entire career has been dedicated to compliance – it was just the perfect fit for me,” she said. “I’m a rule follower; I’m very by-the-book. By the time I was a senior in college, I knew I was going to law school, not necessarily to practice law at a firm, but rather to use that kind of knowledge and skill set in something else.”

A connection led her to athletic compliance at Ohio State, working alongside colleague and mentor Heather Lyke who is the current athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh. Mulvaney then landed a job as compliance coordinator with the University of Texas athletic department and was recruited back to Ohio State where she worked for five more years and helped create Buckeye Sports Camps and Clinics. In 2012, she moved again – this time to Central New York for a position as assistant athletic director for compliance at Colgate University.

By the time she moved to the Rochester area three years later, her next career step was up in the air.

“I had left my job to move to Rochester with my husband, but didn’t really know what I was going to do,” she said. “I started working on my master’s degree and then this position at RIT popped up, and it was meant for me. It’s uncanny how it worked out.”

When not working, Mulvaney, a Cincinnati native, enjoys spending time and traveling with her husband and three children – two sons and a stepdaughter. Their adventures have taken them to domestic favorite destinations in Chicago and Rhode Island to visit family; and overseas to France, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal and Scotland. She’s also a diehard Green Bay Packers and Ohio State sports fan.


In the News

  • May 1, 2023

    Cara Mulvaney headshot and RIT graphic

    RIT’s OYPC director to present at HEPNet conference

    When it comes to child safety, professionals in the industry work together in a common goal to prevent child abuse by educating adults on how to recognize, prevent and react appropriately if they see or suspect it. That’s one of the reasons why RIT’s director for the Office of Youth Protection and Compliance actively works with her counterparts from across the country using resources, such as the Higher Education Protection Network, or HEPNet, to bring best practices to the university.

  • April 28, 2023

    Students gathered at Global Village talking with an RIT employee

    RIT opens first Office of Youth Protection and Compliance

    No sooner than when Cara Mulvaney was hired as Rochester Institute of Technology’s first director of the Office of Youth Protection and Compliance, the COVID-19 pandemic forced school closures, and the cancelation of all campus activities and events. She was offered the job the week before, and used time afterward to tirelessly research, and write policy and guidance for RIT through her office that is integral in creating awareness and promoting youth safety on campus and in the community.