people you should know: laura melbin-diniz!

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F

Last week, I visited the Center for Academic Support and Advising’s (CASA) new offices located in the Lemelson Building to sit down with Laura Melbin-Diniz, the first year advising dean. This is Laura’s first year at CASA, but I’ve actually known her for quite some time; our first meeting was more than two years ago in a New York City coffee shop, where she interviewed me as a Hampshire College admissions counselor during my college application process. Laura worked in Hampshire’s Admissions Office from 2007 until this summer, and it amazes me that in the five years spent interviewing hundreds of students, she still remembers our interview. This time around, she answered my questions as the New Students Programs assistant, and it was clear to see how passionate she was about her experience at Hampshire. She broke her current position down to three main elements:

  • Negotiation of academic programs for students—she helps you plan an academic schedule and experience in your first year that works for you
  • Making sure students progress well during their first year at Hampshire—Laura will help ensure that you’re on the right track to successfully managing your Division I, and will intervene if and when you need academic help this year (this includes anyone considering withdrawing, transferring, or taking a leave from Hampshire)
  • Management of the Peer Academic Resource Center (PARC)—currently located in the Johnson Library at the end of the Info Bar, PARC is co-run with Hampshire students and, among other perks, offers a cool resource library that allows students to look at sample divisional contracts and portfolios

Laura and I also talked about a few common issues first-year students bring up to her, and I’ve summarized some of the information she gave me. Having difficulty talking to a professor or advisor? Laura can play a supportive role by helping facilitate communication between you and any faculty members. She knows that every student transitions to college life differently, and it’s natural for some of you to feel overwhelmed in the beginning. Do you feel you’re having trouble managing and adjusting to your academic workload? Feeling homesick and missing the familiarity of your home life? Talk to Laura about it—she’ll listen and give you tips. For many of you, the transition to Hampshire can be a bit of a shock, and she’s a tremendous resource because she works to help in any way she can. Even if you find yourself just needing a place to talk, go meet with her! She loves listening and talking to students, and she is honestly one of the friendliest people I’ve met during my Hampshire experience.

One of the best parts of our meeting was during the end of our conversation when she talked about her own transition from working in the Admissions Office to CASA. Laura has always enjoyed working with young people, but one of the best parts of being the assistant dean of advising is that: “I actually get to know students and see how Hampshire works for them, rather than how I thought it would.” Her passion and excitement was as clear now as it was during my college interview more than two years ago, and I strongly suggest getting to know her.

You’re free to schedule an appointment with Laura by calling CASA at 413-559-5498, and she also welcomes drop-in visits to her office. Have a question, but not sure you need an appointment? Feel free to e-mail Laura at She’ll also be collaborating with us at New Student Programs throughout the year, so stay tuned!

As always, please contact us at with any questions or comments!

people you should know: bobbie stuart and central records!

Written by program assistant Cat Guzman 10F.

We recently took a trip to Central Records and spoke with director Bobbie Stuart, who gave us a rundown of the office and its services. As one of the most important academic resources for students (and particularly new students!), we thought you should get to know what its all about!

Bobbie pointed out that students’ first official interaction with Central Records (which at most other schools would be known as the “Registrar”) happens before they even begin at Hampshire, when they choose their course preferences over the summer. And once you’re here, the office staff works to ensure that your schedule is as complete at possible. Aside from Bobbie, the staff members that make this happen include:

  • Natalie Owen – office manager and division III coordinator
  • Rachael Graham – assistant director of central records, Division I and II Coordinator
  • Dorothy Grimm – registration coordinator
  • Isabelle Tremblay – senior transcript coordinator
  • Hannah Clements – records coordinator

How Can They Help You?
Some of the most important and common things include: Five College course registration (necessary forms, advice and more), transcript requests (for those potential scholarship or study abroad applications you want to complete!), and the general division process (meeting deadlines, filing and passing it all). The office also works very closely with transfer students, and can help them adjust to successfully navigating their way through the academic process.

Where is Central Records and When is it Open?
The office is located on the first floor of the Cole Science Center and open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Bobbie made sure to note that the office is not closed for lunch, so there’s always someone available to help when you need it!)

Get In Touch:
Check out their website — it’s filled with specific contact information, important forms and good tips about everything you’ve read so far and more. You can also e-mail them at, give them a call at 413.559.5421, or just pay them a direct visit! There’s usually a student worker who can point you in the right direction (plus, there’s free candy on the front desk).

Finally, Some Helpful Advice from Bobbie:
“Make sure to check your Webmail and pay attention to HC announcements. Keep an eye on deadlines and contact us when you have any questions!”

Have any questions or comments for us? Get in touch at We’d love to hear from you!

people you should know: your campus police liaison officers!

Did you know that each housing area has its own Campus Police liaison officer? Wondering what that means? You’ve come to the right place!

What’s a liaison officer?
The liaison officer is a resource that is available to the Hampshire College community to help address issues of concern that involve public safety, crime prevention, and conflict resolution. You can contact your liaison officer anytime to address any concerns that you may have. Together, you can work to understand the issue at hand, and your officer can work to provide some meaningful solutions to problems. The campus police department offers programs that can be arranged with your liaison officer for your residential area. By coming to you, Campus Police strives to make these programs as accessible as possible.

What programs can the liaison officer provide?

  • Alcohol Awareness:  A presentation on the effects of alcohol and the laws and consequences. Fatal Vision Goggles are used as part of this program.
  • S.A.F.E. (Self-Defense workshop): Offered as a 1 hour self-defense program to educate and share vital information about personal safety to the community. The S.A.F.E. program is an introduction to a more advanced self-defense training program. Your liaison officer can assist you in arranging for an instructor to come to your housing area.
  • Dorm Talks: Social gatherings where residents can ask questions and build a working relationship with the department.

Who is my liaison officer?
Great question! Here’s a list of liaison officers, by area.

Dakin & Merrill Houses:

Sergeant Bruno Duarte
Campus Police: 413-559-5424



Greenwich & Enfield Houses:

Officer Sergie Skorupa
Campus Police: 413-559-5424



Prescott House:

Officer Jessie Ritter
Campus Police
: 413-559-5424



What other services can Campus Police provide?

  • Operation ID: Engraving your personal property in case of theft. We also encourage students not to leave items unattended.
  • Bicycle Registration: Registering your bike with the campus police department helps to identify and recover it in case of theft.
  • Ride-Along Program: Participants are authorized to ride in patrol vehicles in a passenger/observer capacity only. Participants are not permitted to take any law enforcement action, assist in conducting investigations, or perform any law enforcement task or function. All persons must wear civilian clothes when participating in the ride-along program. Participants are assigned to ride with a uniformed patrol officer only. If a situation arises that would expose the participant to undue danger, the officer will exercise discretion and may temporarily leave the passenger at a suitable location while responding to a call.
  • RAD (Rape Aggression Defense): Program instructors provide participants with information, tactics, and considerations which we believe may be useful for various types of abductive encounters perpetrated against women.
  • Child Seat Inspection & Installation: The College Campus Police Department offers Child Passenger Car Seat Inspections. Open to College community members only, our certified technician will thoroughly inspect child passenger seats for wear and effectiveness and install them properly to assure the safest ride for our children.

Questions? Want more information? E-mail us at!

people you should know: zena clift!

Still struggling with course selection for next semester? Have questions about Division I requirements? Find yourself falling behind in one of your classes?

You should get to know Zena Clift!

Zena Clift is the assistant dean of advising in the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) who works specifically with Division I students in their first, second, and third semesters at Hampshire. She assists students with understanding and fulfilling Division I and transitioning to Division II, and also addresses issues having to do with adjusting to college life and making the best use of the advising relationship and academic support services.

Things to Know About Zena:
Zena is a Hampshire alum, and was a film/video concentrator during her time as a student. Since then, she has worked as a staff member in a variety of different offices, from Media Services to Alumni Relations. She has even held the position of House Director for both Merrill and Prescott Houses. Zena has worked in her current role in CASA for 10 years, and has plenty of wisdom to share with new students. She has experienced the Hampshire community from a variety of different perspectives during her time here, and can offer insight on whatever you need to know!

How Can Zena Help You?
Students can go to Zena with just about any academic concern. A few common things that Zena can help with include:

  • Scheduling issues and trouble finding classes
  • Questions about requirements and completing them in a timely manner
  • Issues with an Advisor
  • Falling behind on coursework
  • Finding a Division II committee
  • Deciding if Hampshire is right for you

Get in Touch:
Zena’s office is in the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA), which is located above the Dakin Living Room in the Dakin Student Life Center. To make an appointment with Zena, you can call the CASA office at x5498 (on-campus) or 413-559-5498. Have a question, but not sure that you need a meeting? E-mail Zena at She’s happy to help!

Advice from Zena:
“Never be too embarrassed to seek out help and resources.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Have an academic concern? Connect with Zena to get back on track.

Questions? E-mail us at We’d love to hear from you!