Search: Go

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.

Guiding Framework: The Toppel Career Center utilizes the Chaos Theory of Careers (CTC) by Pryor and Bright to guide the career education of University of Miami students and alumni. CTC assumes that there are many influences in our lives that make it difficult to predict the outcome. Therefore, nothing is certain and everything is possible. In order to deal with inevitable change and uncertainty, we work with students and alumni to understand their limitations, identify opportunities, recover from obstacles, find meaningful work, take advantage of chance, and develop the necessary skills to handle a life that fluctuates between stability and change.

Associate Dean and Executive Director

Christian Garcia • (305) 284-5451 • 
Christian is a higher education professional with nearly 20 years of experience in a variety of areas within student and academic affairs. He currently serves as the Associate Dean and 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. Christian currently sits on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and is very active on the local, national, and international career services stage. 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.



Brian Reece
Associate Director, Assessment & Communication
(305) 284-1816 –
Brian oversees development and implementation of the Toppel Career Center’s assessment and research agenda and communications plan. He joined the staff in September 2014. Brian has experience in higher education administration, research, and teaching. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration from the University of Delaware. He also earned a post-master’s certificate in Nonprofit Management and a Master of Education in Counseling, Family, and Human Services with a graduate specialization in Prevention Science from the University of Oregon. Brian is currently a Vice Chair of the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Social Justice Educators and a reviewer for the Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs.

Miguel Ramirez
Office Manager
(305) 284-2469 - 
Miguel provides supervision and administration in the areas of budget, purchasing, scheduling of personnel activities, and regalia distribution. He also serves as the primary Human Resource liaison for the Toppel Career Center. Miguel is currently completing his degree at the University of Miami with plans to pursue a Master’s of Science in Leadership. Prior to joining Toppel, he was the primary Fiscal and Building Operations Administrator for the departments of Geography & Regional Studies, Political Science, and International Studies under the Social Science Administration team. Miguel also has over 5 years of experience in the field of insurance claims and analytics.

Joselyn Garcia
Senior Administrative Assistant 
(305) 284-2469 - 
Joselyn provides administrative support to the Executive Director and Office Manager, prepares financial reporting account reconciliations, and supervises front office operations including student staff. Her professional experience includes work in the fields of event management, logistics, online advertising, qualitative research, financial reporting, purchasing management, and general organizational operations. She has been with the University of Miami since 2011 and has worked for the Division of Continuing Studies and Center for Latin American Studies. Joselyn attended Florida International University for her Bachelor of Arts in International Business and plans to pursue a Masters of Arts in Latin American Studies at the University of Miami. Joselyn is bicultural, bilingual in Spanish, and has over 13 years of customer service and administrative experience.

Employer Relations

Alicia Rodriguez
(305) 284-1819 -
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.

Hilary Kautter Allsopp
Associate Director, Employer Development
Washington, D.C.
Hilary is a proud alumna of the University of Miami, where she earned her M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in College Student Life and Development. Hilary spent a year interning at the Toppel Career Center during graduate school and is thrilled to return to the Toppel team full time. Hilary is based in Washington, DC, where she oversees the UM in DC program and manages employer development. She has experience enhancing undergraduate students’ career development and collaborating with employer partners through previous career center roles at Duke University and The George Washington University School of Business. Prior to her work in higher education, she coordinated a high school alcohol prevention campaign and provided support to in-patient clients at a mental health center. Hilary holds a B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech.

Betty Zambrano 
Assistant Director, Career Events
305-284-8593 -
Betty is responsible for coordinating a variety of events that benefit UM students and alumni, most notably the Spring and Fall Career Expos that occur every semester on campus. Through her role, Betty aspires to help others find meaningful and gainful employment experiences at the meet-ups, fairs and other networking events coordinated through Toppel. Prior to joining the staff in December of 2014, Betty served as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern rural Peru, where she worked with local youth promoting higher education and college preparedness. Betty has experience in event management, program coordination, grassroots campaigns and public relations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Florida.

Jordan Adams
Assistant Director, On-Campus Recruiting
(305) 284-1989 -

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.

Richard Combs
Assistant Director, Business Consultant
(305) 284-1988 -
Richard is a higher education professional with over 10 years of experience in a variety of areas including career development, fundraising, alumni relations, and sports marketing. In his current role, he is responsible for building partnerships between the university and external stakeholders in order to expand both internship and full-time employment opportunities for business majors. Additionally, he provides career advising and coaching to business students and alumni. Richard earned his Master of Arts degree in Career Counseling & Placement from North Carolina Central University and Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Wake Forest University. He completed a graduate assistantship at the Duke University Career Center. A self-proclaimed ACC basketball aficionado, he is excited to follow the Hurricanes.

Career Education

Edward Cruz
(305) 284-5023 -

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 Education 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 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, Career Education
(305) 284-1818 -
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
(305) 284-1809 -
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 -

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.
Justin Childs
Career Exploration Advisor
(305) 284-8260 -
Justin earned a Master of Science in College Student Personnel Services and Administration from the University of Central Arkansas and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Mississippi State University. Justin serves as the Career Exploration Advisor. He facilitates career education and development for primarily first year and returning undergraduate students. His primary concentration is to serve as the lead Undeclared Students Advisor, proficient in connecting cognates to careers and establishing connections between majors, minors, and students' career goals.  Prior to joining UM and the Toppel Career Center, he worked for University Housing at Florida State University.

Student Staff and Interns

Becca Graffam

Becca Graffam
Peer Advisor

Becca is majoring in Finance and minoring in History and Art History. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA, but is proud to call Miami her new home. Her passions are helping animals in need, traveling, history, and any activity on the water. She hopes one day to combine her passions and live a happy life with a career she loves.

  Kiernan King

Kiernan King
Peer Advisor
Kiernan is 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 marketing and promotions teams with Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Y100 KISS Country and is currently a Resident Assistant in Stanford Residential College and a brother of Phi Delta Theta. Upon graduating, Kiernan plans to join the Peace Corps and hopes to work in the field of community development.

Maura Gergerich

Maura Gergerich
Peer Advisor
Maura is in the five year architecture program here at UM. She is originally from Pittsburgh but prefers it here in the sunshine state. Maura is a sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma and is on the executive board for Quantum Theatre Company. Outside of class, she is kept busy with rehearsals for various productions as well as for her a capella group, Biscaydence. She also enjoys many other artistic outlets such as sewing, dancing, and painting.

Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin
Peer Advisor
Kelly is majoring Marine Affairs in the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, with a minor in economics. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. This past summer she had an internship at the New England Aquarium in Boston and hopes to continue this work in education and outreach to promote marine conservation in the future.

Marian Li

Marian Li
Peer Advisor
Marian is currently majoring in Health Science Business Administration and minoring in Business, Chemistry, and Public Health. She was born in Omaha, NE, but her family quickly learned of the winters and moved to St. Augustine, FL. Outside of class, Marian is the President of the Asian American Students Association (AASA) and a committee member on both the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee (SAFAC) and the Committee on Student Organizations (COSO). After graduating, Marian plans to work in the business side of healthcare either in consulting or hospital administration.

Emma Melissa Reyes

Emma Reyes
Social Media Intern

Emma earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication with a minor in English from the University of Miami. She was born in Honduras, but was raised in Miami, FL. Reyes has a passion for writing and providing awareness for people with disabilities. She has been the Social Media Intern since May 2014.

Vanesa Rodriguez

Vanesa Rodriguez
Social Media Intern

Vanesa is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Architecture. Being born and raised in Miami, her dream was always to become a ‘Cane. She’s an active member of the Public Relations Student Society of America and has an immense passion for writing and public speaking. Vanesa aspires to one day manage the publicity for a major corporation.

Amelia Abe

Amelia Abe 
Graphic Design Intern

Amelia is currently a sophomore majoring in Marketing and Women's and Gender Studies. She was born in California and grew up in Tokyo, Japan. Amelia enjoys graphic design and hopes to work in the future empowering women through various business endeavors.

Erica Nicewarner

Erica Nicewarner
Employer Relations Intern

Erica is majoring in Health Science Business Administration. She is originally from Frederick, MD, outside the DC area. Erica plans to attend business school after graduation and hopes to work in healthcare management or consulting.

Stefanie LechnerStefanie Lechner
Graphic Design Intern
Stefanie is originally from Westchester, New York. She is majoring in Marketing in the School of Business Administration and minoring in Art. Outside of class, Stefanie is a sister of Sigma Delta Tau sorority and enjoys drawing and graphic design. She hopes to pursue a career in the future that combines her passions for marketing and graphic design.

Lauren Gonzalez

Lauren Gonzalez 
Toppel Assistant

Lauren is majoring in Nursing and History. At the Toppel Career Center, Lauren works at the front desk where she assists students, Toppel staff, employers, and parents. Born and raised in Miami, she enjoys swimming and dancing. Lauren is a counselor for Great Start, a pre-Orientation program for commuting freshman, and she is the Arts & Crafts coordinator for Camp Kesem, a week long summer camp devoted to children whose parents have cancer.

Kirstin Marshall

Kirstin Marshall 
Toppel Assistant

Kirstin is in the five year program for architecture. She is from Fort Myers, FL. Outside of class and work, Kirstin is a sister in Alpha Delta Pi sorority and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and the Miami Commitment Program. After graduation she hopes to become a licensed architect.

Samantha Rose

Samantha Chatkin
Toppel Assistant

Samantha is majoring in Marketing in the School of Business Administration. She is pursuing a career in marketing and has completed internships with SiriusXM Radio and Estee Lauder Companies Online. At UM, Samantha is a sister of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and a brother of Alpha Kappa Psi, Business Fraternity. She is a leadership facilitator at the Butler Center helping to promote leadership growth and development in individuals and groups. Samantha is also a Teaching Assistant in the School of Business where she counsels and facilitates ten Freshman business students in an introductory business course. Samantha is passionate about traveling, fitness, and giving back to the community. She aspires to travel the world and then settle down in California and work for a marketing company that will allow her to follow her passions.

Caroline ScaglioneCaroline Scaglione
Toppel Assistant

Caroline is majoring in Neuroscience with minors in Marketing, Business Administration, and Chemistry. She is originally from Illinois but was raised in Weston, FL. At UM, she is a sister of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority as well as a member of the President’s 100 Student Ambassadors and Vice President of the Brazilian Student Association. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, doing yoga, and volunteering in her community. After graduating, Caroline aspires to work in marketing and consumer behavior.
Veronica HildenbrandVeronica Hildenbrand
Toppel Assistant

Veronica is majoring in Finance with minors in Economics and Latin American Studies. She is from San Antonio, TX, but left to attend Phillips Academy Andover near Boston, MA for her high school years. Outside of class, Veronica is a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon and a competitive member of the University of Miami’s Equestrian Team. Additionally, she is a member of both the Miami Commitment Program and UM’s General Honors Program. Veronica enjoys taking advantage of the opportunities these organizations present her to give back to the community. After graduation, she hopes to incorporate her passion for traveling into her financial profession by exploring the non-profit sector in Latin America.

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