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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 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.



Maria Tomaino
Associate Director, Events & Marketing
(305) 284-1816 -
Maria coordinates and manages the events for Toppel including expos, fairs and networking nights.  In addition, she leads the advertising, branding and social media efforts. Previously she worked as a Career Counselor at Barry University and as Assistant Director for Employer Relations at Florida International University. Maria received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Minor in Theater Arts from University at Buffalo and Master of Science in Counselor Education from Syracuse University.

Karen Duque
Office Manager
(305) 284-2469 -
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.

Lidia Jimenez
Administrative Assistant
(305) 284-5451 -
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.

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.

Megan Morini
Assistant Director, Business Consultant
(305) 284-1813 -
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 is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education. 

Jordan D. 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.

Adela Ghadimi
Assistant Director Employer Development
Washington, D.C.
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.

Jessica Massoni
Assistant Director, Business Consultant
(305) 284-1988 -

Jessica advises students in the School of Business in the areas of defining career options, developing job search techniques, and enhancing professional skills. Prior to joining Toppel, she worked with Goldman Sachs as an Operations Analyst. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Finance and Marketing from the University of Miami.

Bret Beaufeaux
Graduate Assistant
Bret graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration with a Concentration in Student Life and Development at the University of Miami. As a Graduate Assistant at the Toppel Career Center, Bret works with the Employer Relations team to ensure employers and jobs are posted to HireACane, helps to plan and facilitate job-search events such as On Campus Recruiting, and reaches out to employers to join Toppel in serving the University of Miami's talented students and alumni.

Career Development

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 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.

Cecilia Grano De Oro
Assistant Director, Graduate Student Programs & Assessment
(305) 284-8593 -
Cecilia earned a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in English literature, from the University of Miami. Previously, she worked as an IRB Review Specialist at Harvard University in Boston and as a Sr. IRB Regulatory Analyst at the University of Miami's Human Subjects Research Office. In her current role, Cecilia manages all career programs, services and workshops for UM graduate students. She also advises graduate students regarding their career options, developing job search techniques and enhancing professional skills.
Samantha Haimes 
Assistant Director, Experiential Initiatives
(305) 284-1808 -
Samantha earned a Master of Science in Higher Education from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as the Assistant Director for Co-op & Career Services at Cabrini College in Philadelphia and served as a Graduate Assistant at the Toppel Career Center. Samantha advises students regarding internships and alternative options after graduation and works closely with international students. She also coordinates UShadow and assists in managing the Toppel Internship Program.
Carly Smith
Assistant Director, Campus Outreach
(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 & Assessment
(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, 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.
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.

Student Staff

Stephanie Maestri Stephanie Maestri
Student Supervisor
Stephanie Maestri is a current senior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies majoring in Public Health with a minor in Business Administration. Stephanie was born and raised in Miami and plans on staying here. She is a sister of Sigma Delta Tau where she helps with philanthropy, PCAA and other general events. Stephanie hopes to attend graduate school and receive her Master of Public Health and Administration to eventually work either with the government or in a hospital.

Nicole SadokĀ Nicole Sadok 
Student Assistant 
Nicole is a pre-physical therapy student in the School of Nursing and Health Studies This summer she worked at Achievement and Beyond, and interned with a physical therapist. She has also interned at Corids, a Johnson & Johnson Company.  In addition, she is a member of the Association Pre-Physical Therapy at U.M. and is looking forward to a graduate program in Physical Therapy.
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. 

Monique BeaupreMonique Beaupre
Peer Advisor

Monique is currently a sophomore in the School of Communication, majoring in Advertising. She was born and raised in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. She has worked on various advertising and marketing campaigns. This past summer she worked as a social media/marketing intern in Los Angeles. As a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon she enjoys devoting time to philanthropy. In the future Monique hopes to work in marketing research.


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.
Jonathan Fernandez Jonathan Fernandez
Social Media Intern
Jonathan is a senior in the School of Communication, on the Creative Track of his Advertising major. He hails from New Jersey and loves Italian food. He is a copywriter and social media specialist. Last year, he was a part of UM's 1st place National Student Advertising Competition team. In the future, he hopes to have his own advertising agency.

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