Photograph of Dr Wayne HilsonWayne Hilson Jr.
Executive Director, OADI

Wayne J. Hilson, Jr. holds a PhD in Higher Education & Student Affairs from Indiana University, an MS in Education from Purdue University, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering, also from Purdue University. It was when he first began his career in industry and started volunteering to speak to underrepresented, pre-college and undergraduate students about the power of education and career opportunities in STEM, that he realized he could have greater impact by dedicating his career to serving diverse student populations in higher education. Prior to Cornell, Wayne worked at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), first as Director of the Teacher’s Resource Center for Math and Science Education, then Director of Multicultural Academic Relations, and most recently as Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. While at IUPUI, Dr. Hilson also served in several leadership positions via special university appointments within the Center for Research & Learning, Multicultural Success Center, and Office of Adaptive Educational Services. Prior to that, he served as both assistant and interim director of Minority Engineering Programs at Purdue University.

In his role as Executive Director of OADI, Wayne will lead the effort in implementing the strategic priorities that emerged from OADI’s recent self-study, and will work closely with the Executive Director of Academic Success Programs (who oversees the university’s Learning Strategies Center, Prefreshman Summer Program, and the Office of Internal Transfer and Concurrent Degrees) to adopt an evidence-based approach to implementing the priorities of the office of the vice provost for undergraduate education. He is looking forward to partnering with myriad stakeholders to strengthen OADI’s leadership voice on campus and its collaborative relationships with the undergraduate colleges to ensure that students have equitable access to the opportunities, advising, academic support, mentorship, and vibrant networks they need to thrive at Cornell and beyond.

Wayne is blissfully married to Kendra E. Hilson. Kendra currently works as a Principal Statistician, has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, and a Masters in Statistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Both he and Kendra were student-athletes on the Purdue University Track and Field team (Kendra was a 5x All-Big10 performer) and continue to enjoy watching the sport they love on TV and at live meets. They love spending time with family (and friends who are like family), the outdoors, museums, and staying fit.

William "Woodg" Horning
Senior Associate Director, OADI; Director, Student Opportunity Programs

Woodg has his B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University and his M.P.S. in Community and Rural Development from Cornell. He has worked at Cornell for over 10 years; OADI and NYS Opportunity Programs since 2007. He has a great passion for music and motorcycles.

To schedule an appointment with Woodg, please click here.

Kristin Dade
Senior Associate Director, OADI; Director, Student Success Programs

Kristin received her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Southern Illinois University. She earned her M.S. in Higher Education with a concentration in College Student Personnel and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies from the aforementioned university. She is originally from Washington State and always considered herself to be a west coast girl, but she is now looking forward to settling down in the northeast. Kristin is passionate about helping her students achieve their goals. Kristin enjoys international travel, playing cards and spending time with family and friends.

To schedule an appointment with Kristin, please click here. Email: kbd44@cornell.edu

Vanessa Lillard
OADI Special Projects Coordinator

Vanessa is a graduate of the University at Buffalo with a B.A. in Communication and Sociology.  She earned her M.S. in Student Personnel Administration at Buffalo State College.  She has worked in opportunity and access programs throughout her professional career.  She cannot envision herself doing anything more rewarding than assisting and encouraging talented and motivated students.  She enjoys spending time with family, listening to all types of music, and baking.

To schedule an appointment with Vanessa, please click here. Email: vl76@cornell.edu

Stephanie "Steph" Cowling
Assistant Director, OADI, Student Advising & Engagement

Steph has spent the last decade cultivating a professional life focused on supporting young adults transition through postsecondary pathways.  She has worked in both nonprofit and university settings specializing in youth development, higher education and workforce/career development.  Originally from Northern California, she earned her M.A. in Education and her B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley.  In addition to her advising work, Steph finds joy in Brazilian dance, insight meditation, painting, hiking, reading, and traveling.

To schedule an appointment with Stephanie, please click here. Email: ssc266@cornell.edu

Carlo Lindo
Posse Program Manager

Carlo Lindo received a B.S. from Babson College in Wellesley, MA with a concentration in accounting. As a New York City public high school student, he experienced the academic and social difficulties underrepresented students faced and was inspired to be an agent of change. First chosen as a Posse Scholar, Carlo went on to work for The Posse Foundation as a Senior Trainer who selected future Scholars and facilitated workshops that encouraged young people's creativity, self-confidence, and leadership. He will continue empowering young people to be ambitious and follow their dreams. In his free time Carlo enjoys reading everything from non-fiction to comic books.

To schedule an appointment with Carlo, please click here.  Carlo's Office is located in KG17 Klarman Hall.

Gabrielle "Gabbie" Smith
Assistant Director, OADI, Program Innovation

Gabrielle completed her undergraduate studies in Spanish and Latin American studies at Cornell and went on to earn her M.S.Ed in Dual Language and Bilingual Education from Bank Street College.  She spent 12 years teaching various grades K-12 in New York City public schools, mostly in Expeditionary Learning and Dual Language programs.  She also has taught several courses in language acquisition and learning at the graduate level.  Gabrielle is excited to continue working within the field of education and supporting students as they explore their interests and pursue their passions. 

To schedule an appointment with Gabbie, please click here. Email: gcs24@cornell.edu.

Ansley Jemison
Advisor, NYS Opportunity Programs

Ansley is a member of the Seneca Nation Wolf Clan from the Seneca Allegany territory of Western New York. Formerly, Ansley was the Residence Hall Director of Akwe:kon the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) Program House. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned a degree in Communications and competed for the nationally ranked men's lacrosse team. Ansley's research interests include American Indian and Indigenous studies, recruitment and retention of Native students, renewable energy, and sustainable choices for healthy living.

To schedule an appointment with Ansley, please click here.

Photograph of Christi WilcoxChristi Wilcox

Advisor, NYS Opportunity Programs and Preprofessional Programs

Christi was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas and received a B.A. in International Politics from The University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, an M.B.A. in International Business from The University of the West Indies, in Kingston, Jamaica, and an M.F.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. She has spent nearly a decade in higher education, helping students find paths where their talents intersect with their academic and career goals. Along with supporting students, Christi likes to read literary fiction, explore small-town libraries and travel the world.

To schedule an appointment with Christi, please click here. Email: ckw44@cornell.edu

Foula Dimopoulos

Advisor, NYS Opportunity Programs and Preprofessional Programs

Foula has lived as far west as Honolulu, as far east as Rochester, NY, and as far as north as Ann Arbor, MI; ze grew up primarily in Appalachia (part of southern Kentucky) and Ohio after leaving New Jersey as a toddler.  Foula was first in hir nuclear and extended family to earn a college degree. Ze earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL), and then pursued a Master’s degree in social work focused on community organizing from the University of Michigan. Foula and hir partner live with their two fur babies, Zoey (a 14-year old black lab mix) and Gato (a two or three-year old formerly feral cat they rescued from the elements in Colorado). When Foula’s not working, ze is often playing Spiderman (as of late), exploring Ithaca and the Finger Lakes regions, and spending time with hir family of choice. Foula is glad to be a part of OADI and the community all of us create.

To schedule an appointment with Foula, please click here. Email: kfd36@cornell.edu

Photograph of Mary FiskMary Fisk
Advisor, Student Veterans

Mary Fisk was born and raised in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania and joined the Marine Corps immediately after high school in 1984.  She served for 22 years in the Corps as a Field Radio Operator, Communications Field Skills Instructor, Communications Systems Chief, Communications Chief, Drill Instructor (3 tours) and First Sergeant at duty stations all over the world: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Kuwait; Iraq; El Toro, 29 Palms and Camp Pendleton in California; Okinawa, Japan; Parris Island, SC and Camp Lejeune, NC.  Mary retired in March 2006 and went to work immediately for Starbucks and in the medical billing field for a physical therapy office.  She attended Broome Community College in Binghamton, NY beginning in January 2010, then transferred to Penn State University in fall 2011.  Mary earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees in spring 2015 in French & Francophone Studies and German Studies.  She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Counselor Education with an emphasis in Career Counseling at Penn State.  Mary began working for the Office of Veteran’s Programs at Penn State University under Department of Veterans Affairs work/study in fall 2011, then assumed the position of Coordinator of Veterans Outreach in February 2016.  She began her duties as the new Student Veterans Adviser and Program Manager at Cornell University on August 15, 2019.  Mary has one daughter, Kirsten, who lives and works in Aspen, Colorado and she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management from Georgia Southern University in spring 2017.  Mary is a pug aficionado; she has three: Lady Angel, Sir Nigel and Lord Archibald (Archie for short) of Ascotsworchesterminstershire. 

To schedule an appointment with Mary, please click here. Email: mmf248@cornell.edu.

Photograph of Simon VelasquezSimon Velasquez
McNair Program Coordinator/Advisor

Simon is a graduate of Boise State University where he earned a B.A. in Political Science and Economics. He earned an M.A. at Cornell University and is a Ph.D. Candidate in its Department of Government. His research explores indigenous social movements and their relationship to natural resource extraction. Previously, he served as a Cornell graduate teaching assistant for Comparative Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics of Latin America, Latin American Social Movements, and Sports and Politics in American History, as well as for a Spanish-speaking section of Latin American Politics. Simon has also served the city of Ithaca on the Greater Ithaca Activities Center’s (GIAC) Board of Directors, as a certified volunteer firefighter, and working with at-risk youth. He enjoys basketball, running trails, singing while driving and cooking, and coaching youth and adult boxing at GIAC.

To schedule an appointment with Simon, please click here.

Shanna Leipzig
Advisor, NYS Opportunity Programs

Shanna is passionate about education and has worked in various educational capacities for almost ten years including teaching middle school and writing for Quizlet Inc. She has worked at OADI in various roles since the beginning of 2019 and is thrilled to have the opportunity to support our students as they work to achieve their academic and career goals. Shanna is a graduate of Colorado State University where she received a B.A. in Liberal Arts & English Education with a concentration in Sociology and Women’s Studies. She is a licensed educator in the State of Colorado who specialized in Language Arts education for Gifted and Talented students.  She has served as the Events & Communications Coordinator for the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives and the Office of Internal Transfer and Concurrent Degrees. In her free time, she enjoys literature, international travel, playing Roller Derby, cooking & baking, making things with her hands and snuggling her rescue pit bull, Darby.

To schedule an appointment with Shanna please click here.

Carol Raymond
Data and Financial Specialist, NYS Opportunity Programs

Carol provides administrative support for the HEOP and EOP programs at Cornell. She has been with the university for several years.



For questions, concerns, or inquires for the OADI leadership team, please feel free to send messages to oadi.leadership@cornell.edu.