Meet Your Admission Counselor

Assumption is a welcoming community eager to support you in your journey and throughout the application process. As you begin your college search, one of the first parts of the process is getting to know your personal admission counselor.

Excited to meet high school students looking to attend college, each counselor travels to different parts of the country (in person and virtually!) to meet with students and school counselors, sharing information about what makes Assumption special as well as what the admission process is like. Most of the time, the person you meet at a college fair or high school visit is the person who will read your application. It's an excellent opportunity to make that great first connection with the place you can call home for college! 

Meet your counselor in a city near you

Since you share so much with us throughout the admission process, we thought we'd share a little bit about ourselves with you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with your questions. We're eager to get to know you and work together during this exciting, new chapter in your life!

 

 

Rylee PlourdeRylee Benzing-Plourde
Undergraduate Admissions Counselor

Email Rylee

Territory: Massachusetts - Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex Counties; Maryland

Where are you from? I have spent half of my life in Wallingford, Connecticut, and the other half living in Hillsdale, Michigan, so I truly feel like I am from two places!

Education: B.A. in Psychology from Western New England University 

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? Assumption is a comprehensive university, but it provides the personal support of a small college. The tight-knit community here is incredible!

What inspired you to work with students? As an undergraduate student, I worked as a student ambassador giving tours to prospective students. Through this experience, I fell in love with guiding students and families through the college selection process. I find it so impactful to share information and help lay the foundation as students begin looking at what their next steps are after high school. I'm so grateful that, as an admissions counselor, I now have the opportunity to do this in a more official capacity!

​​​​​What is your favorite restaurant in Worcester? I could eat pizza all day, every day; I would have to say that Volturno is my favorite! 

What is your favorite sports team? I am a big soccer fan, so the United States women’s team!

Fun fact about yourself: I have three sisters and one brother - Kassidy, Aubrey, Kyra, and Bryce. 

 

Brother Richard GanonBro. Richard Gagnon, AA
Transfer Counselor

Email Bro. Richard

Territory: All transfer students from U.S. and International

Where are you from? Born in Portland, Maine, and raised in Saco, Maine. I’m still a Mainer all the way, although I haven’t lived there for many years.

Education: B.A. from St. Francis College of the University of New England in Secondary Education and Foreign Languages, M.Ed. from Boston College in Education and Theology

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? Assumption is the realization of our founder's dream for a Catholic university and continues to be sponsored by the Augustinians of the Assumption.  It is an important, motivating ministry for the entire order.

What is your favorite restaurant in Worcester? Since I love Italian food, I’ll say VIA.

Fun fact about yourself: As an Augustinian of the Assumption, I have lived in 5 different states and 2 foreign countries.

 

Alison Koning

Alison Koning
Associate Director of Admissions 

Email Alison

Territory: Florida; Maine; New Hampshire; all student-athletes regardless of location

Where are you from? Carlisle, Massachusetts

Education: B.S.B.A. in Sports Management with a Concentration in Marketing and a Master of Science in Management with a Concentration in Sports Leadership from Mount Ida College

What inspired you to work with students? I enjoy counseling students on to the next phase of their educational career. I always had someone there to guide me and I enjoy being that person for others.

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? I loved the best of both worlds feel that the campus provides. You are set back on a beautiful suburban campus but, you are minutes from the second largest city in Massachusetts which provides students a lot of opportunity.

What is your favorite thing about Assumption? I love the school pride and the community feel. I also love how involved students are in clubs, intramurals, athletics and organizations.

Fun fact about yourself: I love spending time in New Hampshire...hiking, swimming, water skiing, and alpine skiing! I am also currently attempting to hike all 48 4,000 foot mountains in New Hampshire with nine completed to date.

 

Photo of Jai Madden at the Admissions House

Jai Madden
Assistant Director of Multicultural Recruitment

Email Jai

Territory: Massachusetts - Suffolk County, City of Worcester; New York City; Community-Based Organizations 

Where are you from? St. Thomas, Jamaica. 

Education: B.S. in Guidance & Counseling from The Mio University College in Kington, Jamaica; B.S. in Social Science with a concentration in Psychology from AU, and an M.S.W. from Boston College

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? It is important to me to work at my alma mater.  This is a small, Catholic, liberal arts university that provided me with a well-rounded education.  I am now positioned to assist others to choose Assumption University because of these same values and more. 

What inspired you to work with students? Throughout my career, I have always worked with children and young adults in some professional capacity.  I am inspired to work with students because they are the future. If I can make a positive impact on even one student, then I'll feel as though I've done a good deed for society. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Worcester? There are so many great restaurants in Worcester.  One of my favorites is Mezcal Tequila Cantina though.

What is your favorite sports team? Boston Celtics

What is your favorite thing about Assumption? Assumption University has a very small tight knit campus community.  Everyone you meet here is very friendly and welcoming. 

Fun fact about yourself: I collect rocks from every new beach I visit.

 

Photo of Marci Mayo on the porch of the Admissions House

 

Marci Mayo
Visit Experience Coordinator

Email Marci

Where are you from? I was born in Lansing, MI, but grew up in Longwood, FL. Massachusetts has been my home longer than anywhere else.

Education: B.S. in Recreation with an emphasis in Special Event and Meeting Planning from the University of Florida

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? Assumption University impressed me with the  wide variety of majors and minors along with the personal attention students experience with small class sizes. I also value the dedication that faculty and staff have to shaping well-rounded students - academically, professionally, and personally. Also, the campus is beautiful year-round and is perfectly located in Worcester. 

What inspired you to work with students? It's a pleasure to provide information about Assumption University to prospective students and their families. Choosing a college can be a difficult decision and I'm happy to be able to aid in the decision-making process. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Worcester? I love the Fix Burger Bar for burgers, Volturno for pizza, and The Boynton for everything else!

What is your favorite sports team? I have dual loyalties between the Florida Gators and the Michigan State Spartans. 

What is your favorite thing about Assumption? There is a great sense of community among both the staff and the students and there are numerous ways for students to be involved both on campus and in our local community. 

Fun fact about yourself: I love being outdoors as much as possible - relaxing at the beach or pool, taking a boat ride, playing a sport, riding a bike, enjoying a meal, reading a book, and everything in between. 

Photo of Stephanie Plotkin Murin in front of the Admissions HouseStephanie Murin
Assistant Director of Admissions

Email Stephanie

Territory: Massachusetts - Worcester County; Auburn; Shrewsbury; Pennsylvania; Vermont 

Where are you from? I grew up in North Kingstown, RI but live in Worcester now - right around the corner from AU!

Education: B.A. in English Literature with a concentration in Elementary Education from Assumption University and an M.A. in Special Education. 

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? Working at AU feels like coming home.  I spent four of the best years of my life on this campus and I want to encourage other students to come here too. 

What inspired you to work with students? I originally became a teacher because of my personal experiences as a disabled student - learning did not come naturally to me.  I faced discrimination and wanted to do my best to prevent other young students from experiencing what I did. Now, as an Assistant Director of Admissions, I hope to encourage students to advocate for what they need so that they can get the most out of their college experience. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Worcester? Leo's Ristorante on Shrewsbury Street!  They have the best Fettucine Alfredo. 

What is your favorite sports team? The New England Patriots!

What is your favorite thing about Assumption? The sense of community that is prevalent in every aspect of campus life  When I toured AU for the first time as a junior in high school, I immediately had the feeling that this place could be my home away from home and the people I met here could be like a family.  I am happy to report that the same holds true when working here! 

Fun fact about yourself: I am involved in Worcester County's community theatre scene and you might be able to catch me performing on a stage nearby!  Most recently I was in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Calliope Productions in Boylston. 

 

Brooke Porter-JordanBrooke Porter-Jordan
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

Email Brooke

Territory: Connecticut; Rhode Island

Where are you from? Brooklyn, Connecticut

Education: B.A. in Communication and M.S. in Higher Education Administration - both from Southern New Hampshire University 

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? I could immediately feel how welcoming the entire campus community is! The more I learned about Assumption University and its unwavering commitment to student success, I knew I needed to be a part of this incredible institution. 

What inspired you to work with students? As a first generation college student, I know the confusion that comes with the admissions process and the anxiety of making one of the biggest decisions of your life. I never had the support system to help me navigate through the college search process; I want to be that person for all of my students! I’m extremely committed to supporting my students in every capacity to make the admissions process as seamless (and fun!) as possible. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Worcester? Easily, The Flying Rhino Café. I highly recommend their brunch on Sundays!

What is your favorite sports team? Boston Red Sox all day!

What is your favorite thing about Assumption? Besides the incredible community here, the campus is absolutely beautiful! It's tucked back in the suburbs outside of Worcester with plenty of outdoor space to enjoy the seasons but you have the excitement of the city of Worcester right down the road!

Fun fact about yourself: I’m completely obsessed with Halloween! For 10 years, my family had a giant Halloween maze in our backyard for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. We would dress up and volunteer to scare kids as they went through the maze, pass out candy, etc. It was to the point where this Halloween maze got so big that we had, on average, 2,000 people walk through our yard every Halloween! As you can imagine, that’s a lot of candy to go through!

 

Photo of Vicky Rosa in front of the Admissions HouseVicki Rosa
Associate Director of Transfer Recruitment

Email Vicky

Territory: Transfer students; International students; Nursing students

Where are you from? Syracuse, New York 

Education: B.A. in English from SUNY, Fredonia

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? The unwavering sense of community that I felt from my first steps on campus!  I could immediately see and feel that this was an exciting time to join the team.  I can't wait to contribute to all the initiatives that will further enhance the student experience. 

What inspired you to work with students? I've had the opportunity to work with so many students who know exactly what they want to pursue and their passion is contagious!  I've also worked with plenty of students who need the college experience to really figure things out. I love being able to serve as their guide through the process.  There is nothing better than seeing first-hand when a student has found the right fit and I'm always grateful to be a part of that experience.   

What is your favorite restaurant in Worcester? I'm so new to this area and I'm eager to start exploring!  anything Italian will be my first stop. 

What is your favorite sports team? I'm a New Yorker and a New York Giants fan for life, even through the tough years!

What is your favorite thing about Assumption? The commitment to educating the whole person and providing so many opportunities for students to learn and grow beyond the classroom.  And this classic New England campus is a great place to do this! 

Fun fact about yourself: One of my life's goals is to write a children's book. 

 

Photo of Isabella Valadas in front of the Admissions HouseIsabella Valadas
Undergraduate Admissions Counselor

Email Isabella

Territory: Massachusetts - Cape, Bristol, Norfolk, Plymouth Counties

Where are you from? Springfield, MA

Education: B.A. in English Literature from Westfield State University

Why did you choose to work at Assumption University? I admire the dedication and commitment of the faculty and staff to the greater local, national, and international communities by educating the future leaders of tomorrow.

What inspired you to work with students?  I want to work with students because the college admissions process can be so daunting, and everyone deserves a chance to pursue their academic and professional goals!  I want to be that person to help students through the process!  

What is your favorite restaurant in Worcester? Insomnia Cookies!  I have a huge sweet tooth! 

What is your favorite sports team? I was born and raised in New England so I am a Boston sports fan - Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics!

What is your favorite thing about Assumption? I adore the landscaping on campus.  The flowers are so gorgeous in the spring and summer. 

Fun fact about yourself: I play the clarinet!