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About Us

Mission: To help students and alumni develop career-related skills by providing high quality resources, services, programming and events that will prepare them for a lifetime of career success.

Vision: Empowering and Connecting a World of 'Canes.

Executive Director

Christian Garcia • (305) 284-5451 • christian@miami.edu 
Christian is a higher education professional with 15 years of experience in a variety of areas within student and academic affairs. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Toppel Career Center, where he is responsible for the management and strategic direction of one of the country's most innovative and dynamic career centers. Previously, Christian served as Associate Director of Employer Relations, responsible for creating and maintaining relationships with employers representing a wide range of industries. He is currently working toward his doctoral degree with a dual concentration in Higher Education and Organizational Leadership. Christian earned his Master of Science degree in Higher Education from Florida State University and Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida International University. Prior to the UM, he worked at the University of Michigan and Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

 


Operations


Lidia Jimenez
Administrative Assistant 
(305) 284-5451 - ljimenez@miami.edu
Lili Jimenez has been the Administrative Office Coordinator at the Toppel Career Center since October 2008, and has been employed at the University of Miami since 2003. She performs administrative duties, and supervises the reception area, Toppel Library, and student assistants. Lili worked at UM's Office of Admission for five and a half years, where she served as an Assistant and supervised and scheduled the "President's 100" students. She earned a Master of Liberal Arts and Bachelor's degree from the University of Miami.

Karen Duque
Office Manager
(305) 284-2469 - kduque@miami.edu
Karen joined Toppel in June of 2008 as Office Manager. Karen's professional experience includes work in the fields of logistics, sales, purchasing management, and general organizational operations. She has been with the University of Miami since 2002 and has worked for the Office of Admission, Alumni Relations and the Cuban Institute. Karen is currently pursuing her degree at the University of Miami.
 

Employer Relations


Alicia Rodriguez
Director
(305) 284-1819 - alrodriguez@miami.edu
Ali oversees the Toppel Career Center's efforts to build a strong recruiting program and provide students, alumni, and employers with opportunities to connect.  In this role, she supervises the Employer Relations team. In addition, she works to develop partnerships with employers and oversees the Employer Advisory Board and the Toppel Employer Partner Program. Ali earned a Master of Education in College Student Personnel and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Florida. She joined the staff in July 2000 and led Toppel's Career Development team for 13 years, overseeing career and walk-in advising, programs and workshops, and assessment testing.  In addition to career services, she has worked in Academic Advising and Residence Life.

Megan Morini
Assistant Director, Business Consultant
(305) 284-1813 - m.morini@miami.edu
Megan is a primary liaison to the School of Business and is responsible for advising students in defining career options, developing employment skills, and job-search procedures. She also assists the Director of Employer Relations in building partnerships between the university and external communities to expand internship and full-time employment opportunities. Prior to UM, Megan worked in career advising at Nova Southeastern University and also in corporate sales and account management in the information technology and services industry. Megan earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Management from Siena College and Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University. 



Jordan D. Adams 
Assistant Director, On-Campus Recruiting
305-284-1989 - j.adams16@miami.edu
Jordan joined Toppel in November 2012, and he works with the dynamic Employer Relations team to conceptualize, lead, and manage career-related programs and events. Previously, Jordan served as the Manager of Civic Engagement at UM's Center for Latin American Studies, partnering with various civic organizations and overseeing a million dollar federal National Resource Center grant. Jordan holds a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of Miami, and a Bachelor of Science in Management Science from the University of California, San Diego. He also studied at La Universidad de Concepción, Chile and at La Universidad de Chile, Chile.


Adela Ghadimi
Assistant Director Employer Development
Washington, D.C.
aghadimi@miami.edu
Adela graduated from the University of Miami in May 2008 with a triple major in International Studies, Political Science, and Geography & Regional Studies. She went on to live in London for two years, where she earned a Master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. She has been in the D.C. Metro area for two years, and has enjoyed serving as the first UM in D.C. Program Coordinator. Prior to working for UM, Adela worked as a consultant for D.C. Public Schools and assisted with a start-up non-profit organization that advocated for campus safety and mental health issues. She is thrilled to be joining the team, and looks forward to developing and expanding new projects to advance the Toppel Career Center.




Career Development

Edward Cruz
Director
(305) 284-5023 - ecruz2@miami.edu

Eddy oversees the Toppel Career Center's efforts in training and empowering UM students and alumni through various career exploration, experiential education, pre-health and pre-law initiatives. In this role, he supervises the Career Development team. Eddy earned a MA in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and had an assistantship in the Career Development Center. He received his BA in Speech Communications from Kutztown University. He joined the staff in June 2008 and served as the AD for Graduate Student & Alumni Programs. In addition to career services, he has worked in residential services.

Samantha Haimes 
Associate Director, Career Readiness
(305) 284-1808 - samantha@miami.edu

Samantha earned a MS in Higher Education from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising & Public Relations from the University of Central Florida. Samantha helps enhance Toppel resources and services by creating professional development tracks for UM students and recent graduates. Her ultimate goal is to ensure that UM students are better prepared for the workforce. Samantha advises students regarding internships, international opportunities, and works closely with international students. She also coordinates the UShadow program. She joined the Toppel Career Center as a full-time staff member in July 2012 and served as the Assistant Director for Experiential Initiatives. Prior, she worked at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, PA and as a Graduate Assistant here at Toppel. 


Carly Smith
Assistant Director, Campus Outreach
(305) 284-1818 - carly@miami.edu
Carly received a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration at the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University. While completing her Master’s degree, Carly was a Graduate Assistant at the Toppel Career Center.  In her current role, Carly manages Toppel’s career outreach program by coordinating with faculty, staff, and student organizations. She also advises students regarding their career plans and job search skills, and is responsible for co-supervising Toppel’s undergraduate Peer Advisers.
Anna Kenney
Assistant Director, Internships & Assessment
(305) 284-1809 - anna@miami.edu
Anna earned a Master of Science in College Student Personnel from the University of Dayton and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the Florida State University. Prior to joining the Toppel Career Center, she worked for University Housing at the Florida State University. Anna oversees the Toppel Internship Program as well as advising students regarding internships and career plans after graduation.
Esther LamarreEsther Lamarre
Assistant Director, Graduate Student & Alumni Career Programs
(305) 284-1820 - elamarre@miami.edu

Esther is a Miami native and the newest addition to the Toppel staff. Esther earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies & Political Science from the University of Miami and a Master of Education in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia. Prior to returning to her alma mater, Esther worked to advance leadership education and development at the Illinois Leadership Center on the University of Illinois campus.
Austin Swift
Graduate Assistant
Austin received a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Texas A&M University, and is currently pursuing a certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Master of Arts in Geography and Regional Studies. Prior to attending the University of Miami, Austin served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, in west Africa. In his role as Graduate Assistant, he holds walk-in advising hours where he critiques resumes, cover letters, and personal statements. Austin is excited to join the Toppel team and looks forward to meeting with students.
Koi James
Graduate Assistant
Koi, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, is a proud alum of the University of Miami, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Business. She spent the past two years working with a governmental non-profit organization and is now back at UM, pursuing a doctorate in International Studies, with a regional focus of Latin America and the Caribbean. Koi is excited to serve as Graduate Assistant, helping students with résumé, cover letter and personal statements critiquing.
Jennifer Macias
Academic and Career Advisor in Residence (ACAR).

Jenny currently serves as the Academic and Career Advisor in Residence (ACAR) for Hecht Residential College, where she helps freshmen successfully transition into sophomores. She assists students in course selection, switching majors and developing a plan for academic success. Jenny also helps students find research opportunities and apply for prestigious awards and fellowships. She has a great team of 27 Academic Fellows (AFs) who live on freshman floors and help her advise students, share information about university events and present programs in the building. Jenny earned her Master of Science degree in Higher Education from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Miami.

Student Staff

Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin
Peer Advisor
Kelly is currently a junior majoring Marine Affairs in the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, with minors in Economics and Public Relations. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. This past fall she studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, and will be interning in Boston this summer. Kelly loves the ocean and travelling, and hopes to travel the world and promote marine conservation through education and outreach in the future. 

Kiernan KingKiernan King
Peer Advisor

Kiernan is currently a junior majoring in Economics and minoring in Psychology. He is originally from San Antonio, TX but grew up in the Dallas area. He has worked on various marketing and promotions teams with Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Y100 KISS Country and is currently a Resident Assistant in Stanford Residential College and brother of Phi Delta Theta. Upon graduating, Kiernan plans to join the Peace Corps and hopes to work in field of community development.

 

Rachel RooneyRachel Rooney
Peer Advisor
 
Rachel Rooney is currently a sophomore majoring in English Literature and minoring in Biology, Religious Studies, and Human and Social Development. She was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri. Her passions are literature, helping others, and traveling the world. She hopes to one day attend graduate school, become a teacher, and live abroad. 



Maura Gergerich Maura Gergerich
Peer Advisor 
Maura is a sophomore here at UM in the five year architecture program with a psychology minor. She is originally from Pittsburgh, but prefers it here in the sunshine state. Outside of class, Maura is a sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She also is on the executive board for Quantum Entertainment and participates in their theater events as much as possible. 

Marina RutenbergMarina Rutenberg
Graphic Design Intern
 
Marina is currently a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences and is majoring in Graphic Design. She is originally from Argentina but grew up in Weston, Florida. Last year, she worked at an art gallery in the design district of Miami, and has a passion for art and design. Marina hopes to become an industrial designer in the future. 



Codi Funakoshi Codi Funakoshi
Graphic Design Intern 
Codi is currently a sophomore in the College of Engineering, majoring in Architectural Engineering. She is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, and decided to attend UM because of its six-year dual degree program. Through the program, she is studying to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and Master of Architecture. Codi loves design and enjoys creative projects, and aspires to run an architecture firm of her own one day. 

Erica NicewarnerErica Nicewarner
Employer Relations Intern
Erica is currently a junior, majoring in Health Science on the Business Administration track. She is originally from Frederick, Maryland, outside the DC area. Erica plans to attend business school after graduation and hopes to work in healthcare management or recruiting.
  
 





 
Toppel Career Center
 
Physical Address:
5225 Ponce De Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone: 305-284-5451
Fax: 305-284-3668
Mailing Address:
PO Box 249175
Coral Gables, FL 33124-5610