Sharon Belden Castonguay
Executive Director, Gordon Career Center
Sharon Belden Castonguay is an adult developmental psychologist and career counselor with over 20 years of experience working with professionals at all levels of their careers. She teaches CSPL 405/406: Ideals into Practice as well as Career Decisions: From Insight to Impact on Coursera. She has also produced and hosted two podcasts, Careers by Design: The Interviews and First Year Out. Her TEDx talk, The Psychology of Career Decisions, considers themes of identity, culture, and decision making. Her career advice has been featured on Oprah Daily/ Oprah Magazine, Forbes.com, Inc.com, and Apple News. Castonguay received her doctorate in Human Development & Psychology from Harvard, where she also served as an Assistant Director for PhD career advising and a Teaching Fellow for graduate courses in Adult Development and Cross-Cultural Counseling. She graduated from Smith College and holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan.
Director of Operations
Rachel Munafo is the Director of Operations for the Gordon Career Center. She primarily focuses on engaging students, alumni, parents, and employers with the center’s services, resources, and programs. Additionally, Rachel coordinates and supervises the office’s Peer Career Advisor Program and oversees the center’s team of student workers. Rachel holds a Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies (concentration in social science) from Wesleyan University and received her BA from St. Lawrence University, completing a major in history and double-minor in Education and French. During her undergraduate years, Rachel worked as a peer career advisor for her university’s career center where she gained her passion for helping students transition from college to career.
Associate Director for Career Advising (Arts & Humanities)
Pam Grande, Associate Director for Career Advising, is a career advisor with 25+ years of experience helping talented liberal arts students clarify their strengths and interests and explore career options. She has a particular interest in helping those who may feel unfocused or overwhelmed as they begin the career decision-making process. She enjoys engaging students in meaningful conversation to identify careers that will be a good match. Pam advises students on a variety of career fields including education and arts and communication. She also offers help in crafting high-impact resumes and cover letters and successful interview preparation. Prior to Wesleyan she served as a career counselor to students and alumni at Brown University. Pam holds an MS in Human Development, Counseling and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island.
Emma Czarnecki joined the Gordon Career Center team in 2017 as a graduate intern and spent 4 years working on the Employer Relations team before moving into an advising role. In this role, she provides guidance to students across all academic disciplines, but with a particular emphasis on careers commonly pursued by students majoring in the arts and humanities. Emma advises students to guide them in their career decision making process, reviews application materials and social media profiles to help build their professional brand, and offers support for students and alumni seeking entrance into graduate school in a variety of disciplines. Emma holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Development from the University of Connecticut and received a Master of Science in Counseling in Higher Education from Central Connecticut State University, where she received extensive training in career counseling and higher education programming.
Associate Director for Career Advising
Ruthann has over twenty years of experience in college student services including residence life, career and major exploration, academic support, and pre-professional career advising. In the Gordon Career Center, she advises students pursuing a variety of career fields especially in STEM and health professions. She was awarded a bachelor’s degree by the University of California, San Diego. She earned a master’s degree in Student Affairs from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Arizona. In her spare time, she is active in community volunteering, sailing, rock climbing and swing dancing.
Health Professions Advisor / Program Coordinator
Dr. Mildred Rodríguez has a STEM background and 25 plus years of experience advising students including at Penn State University, James Madison University, and for close to seven years at Wesleyan. Her focus is students pursuing diverse health careers, including but not limited to medical, dental, veterinary school, physician assistant, physical therapy and optometry, while coordinating health professional school and program applications/admissions and writing committee letters of recommendation at the undergraduate and post-baccalaureate degree level. Her past years of teaching an introductory college human physiology, first year seminar for the health professions and creating/coordinating two seminar courses (Basic Science and Disease and The Health Professions) provided insight to students on the academic requirements for health professions. Dr. Rodríguez builds rapport easily with students by creating a welcoming and supportive advising environment, as she helps students explore options, evaluate progress, and develop short and long term plans to meet career and life goals. Hailing from sunny Puerto Rico, and having grown up as an “Army Brat,” she has lived in eleven states and Germany, and warmly welcomes students from around the world.
Darwin graduated from Smith College as an English and American Studies double major, with a Concentration in Poetry. After working in academic publishing for a few years, she spent time traveling and living abroad, mostly in Japan. Having landed back in the U.S. and at Wes, she is happy to be working in the Gordon Career Center as the Health Professions Administrative Assistant. In this capacity, Darwin supports Wesleyan students and alumni who are applying to medical and other healthcare-related professional programs, and particularly those pursuing a Committee Letter to endorse their applications.
Business Career Advisor
Holly Robinson is a Business Career Advisor with 8 year’s experience working with a diverse group of alumni, executives, undergraduates and MBA students at the Yale School of Management and Schwarzman Scholars. Prior to transitioning into Career Education, Holly enjoyed a gratifying career in financial services with Citi and JPMorgan. She loves helping students explore career paths of interest, prepare for recruiting and realize their career goals.
Associate Director for Alumni Career Programs
Anne Holstead Santaniello is the Associate Director for Alumni Career Programs in the Gordon Career Center. She has worked at Wesleyan in the Career Center for over 15 years. Previously, she worked as the Associate Director of Graduate Admissions at American International College where she assisted teachers completing their Masters and CAGS. She has also worked in corporate recruiting with a focus on technology and software consulting as well as accounting and human resources. She started her career in undergraduate admissions at Springfield College and Anna Maria College. She received her MS in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College and her BA in Sociology from Mount Holyoke College.
Associate Director for Campus Employment
Allison Soden is the Associate Director for Campus Employment for the Gordon Career Center. She joined the GCC team in September of 2021 and has been an employee of Wesleyan since 2015.
Since the start of her career in Higher Education, she has had the opportunity to serve in multiple roles, including Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Development, Assistant Director of Events Conferences, and most recently, Associate Director for Campus Employment.
Allison believes every advising experience is as unique as the individual she is supporting. As a professional, she is committed to continuously enhancing her knowledge and skill base to best support a diverse array of students and their goals. She is dedicated to providing students with the help and guidance needed for a fulfilling and holistic college experience.
Allison holds a Master of Science in Counseling and Student Development in Higher Education from Central Connecticut State University. She also received her BA from Central Connecticut State University, completing a major in Communication and a minor in Business Management.
Assistant Director for Campus Employment
Cruz Cruz (they, them, él, elle) is the Assistant Director for Campus Employment at the Gordon Career Center. In this role, they support students and on-campus employers in cultivating positive and collaborative professional opportunities that reflect Wesleyan’s transformative education.
Cruz joined the GCC team in April of 2023 and has been a Wesleyan employee since 2021, previously serving as a Dean for the Office of Admission. Before that, Cruz graduated from Wesleyan University with a Bachelors in English and Spanish. They were a first-generation college student and found their way to Wes from Miami, FL through the QuestBridge National College Match.
As an undergraduate, Cruz worked on-campus in a variety of spaces, from Summerfields to Student Involvement, the Center for the Arts, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, and more. They were even a late-night barista (for a month)! Cruz found their passion for higher education administration as an Orientation Intern when they helped to coordinate the First Things First program for first-generation/low-income students. They are committed to platforming underrepresented voices, demystifying employment, and expanding our collective understanding of professionalism.
Associate Director for Employer Relations
A member of the Gordon Career Center team since 2014, Sarah oversees employer relations and focuses on cultivating relationships with employers and alumni to create opportunities in a variety of industries for students. She also oversees the Wesleyan Summer Grants program, which provides funding to students pursuing career related opportunities, and CSPL 493 Internship for Credit course. Sarah works closely with the GCC’s recruiting platform Handshake and has been a featured presenter at multiple Handshake National User Conferences and webinars. Prior to Wesleyan, she worked at the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in education and community engagement. Outside of work, Sarah is a professional violinist playing in orchestras throughout the state and providing music to couples saying “I do!”. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Connecticut and an MS in Music Education from the University of Bridgeport.
Assistant Director of Employer Relations
Tess is the Assistant Director for Employer Relations. She joined the GCC as a temp in 2022 and officially transitioned into the role in January 2023.
Tess’ professional experience has included education enrichment programming and teaching, environmental research, hospitality, handiwork, and most recently customer service and union organizing at a Trader Joe’s in Manhattan. She studied Human Rights at Bard College where she wrote her senior thesis, “Prevention Through ‘Deterrence’: How the United States Border Patrol Uses Violent Rhetoric and Policy to Engage in Necropolitics,” and performed in student-led plays, musicals, and a short film. In this role, Tess would like to provide students and alumni with opportunities that are not only supportive, but also unique and fulfilling.
Career Communications Fellow
After graduating from Wesleyan in 2020, Dylan returned to campus to help develop and execute communications strategies for the Gordon Career Center. With a variety of prior experiences across creative and technical industries, he hopes to increase the Center’s reach on campus and create a space where students feel supported in their career journeys.