Danielle M. Officer, Ed.D., Interim Assistant Vice President & Dean of Students (she/her)
Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Danielle’s energy and enthusiasm can be felt throughout the Center. She has always had a passion and dedication to student leadership and has worked in higher education and the nonprofit sector for 20 years. Majoring in psychology she earned her Bachelor’s from the University of Rhode Island. While at URI, in her junior year she received the prestigious A. Robert Rainville Leadership Award for her Outstanding Student Leadership to the Campus Community. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Bernard Baruch College and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Saint Peter's University. She is passionate about helping students find the right engagement opportunity that connects them to John Jay. Danielle lives in New Rochelle with her husband and children.
Fun fact: Danielle has an obsession with sharks and one day plans to swim with them. She is an avid watcher of Shark Week.
Makeda Jordan, Associate Director (she/her)
Makeda is a believer in the African proverb “it takes a village” approach in developing young people. Makeda has been an employee at John Jay since 2006. She has a particular interest in the wellness, fitness and readiness of young people. In fact, she has her own camp – M.A.D. Sports – that is dedicated to providing athletic experiences for campers in the summer. Makeda is an alum of John Jay where she earned her Bachelor’s in forensic psychology. She earned her Master’s from Queens College in Urban Planning. She has a wealth of leadership and community organizing experience. She has spent over ten years working in the field of youth services and now has dedicated her profession to higher education.
Fun fact: Makeda enjoys participating in bike tours in the NYC metro area and when weather permits she loves commuting to work on her bike.
Kayla Maryles Bassknight, Associate Director (she/her)
Kayla was born and raised in Queens, NY, but considers Buffalo her home away from home. She earned a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from SUNY Buffalo State College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences Interdisciplinary from SUNY University at Buffalo. With over 10 years of higher education experience, Kayla has spent the majority of those years as part of the CUNY family – from Queens, Baruch, BMCC, and now, John Jay! Kayla is also a CUNY student pursuing a Doctor of Education at Hunter College with a research focus on sense of belonging for LGBTQIA+ college students. As part of the John Jay community, Kayla hopes to provide a brave space where students, faculty, and staff feel seen, heard, and valued.
Fun fact: After graduating from grad school, Kayla backpacked Europe on her own – from couch surfing in London, staying in a hostel in Paris, gallivanting around Berlin, and visiting family in Poland – traveling is now part of her DNA. Where to next?!
Iris Martinez, Assitant to Director & Budget Manager (she/her)
Iris grew up in the Dominican Republic and came to the US in 1989. She attended Lehman College in the Bronx and obtained a BS in Accounting. She has exceptional skills in budgeting and managing the budgets for the Center and the student organizations at John Jay College. Iris is always on top of her budgeting game. She brings her passion and love for accounting to both students and staff. After 17 years in the Bronx, she moved to New Jersey where she lives with her husband and only daughter.
Fun fact: Iris loves to spend all free time with her sisters and her entire family. She loves Reggae music.
Alyssa Hollywood, Assistant Director, Student Transition & Leadership (she/her)
Alyssa grew up in the Midwest but has been on the East Coast since 2012. She got her BA in Speech Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations at McKendree University in Lebanon, IL and her MS in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. She was motivated to work with college students early on in her college career by being an orientation leader and being part of the Campus Activity Board. After graduating from her Masters degree, she worked on college housing but was excited to get back to her roots with working with New Student Orientation here at John Jay College in 2016. She oversees New Student Orientation, Peer Ambassador Leadership, Parent & Family Programming and is a cohort leader for student clubs.
Fun fact: She ran a half marathon with little to no training and previously hated running!
William Quizhpi, College Office Assistant (he/him)
William is a native of Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised. He earned an associate's degree in criminal justice from LaGuardia Community College, and a bachelor's degree in political science from Queens College. After working as a college assistant for the Dean of Social Science at Queens College for three years, where he had the pleasure of meeting and mentoring students, he got interested in pursuing a career in higher education. He has always appreciated assisting others and attempts to do so wherever he goes. William, his wife, and their dog Rufus, continue to live in Brooklyn.
Fun fact: William used to play the percussion in a music band with his 2 older brothers.
Ashley Lara, College Assistant (she/her)
Ashley, born and raised in Queens, NY, has lived here all her life. After graduating high school, her decision to apply to John Jay created a path of abundant opportunities. Currently, she is an undergrad student majoring in forensic psychology and minoring in criminology. She is also part of the Campus Activity Board and an inducted National Society of Honor and Leadership (NSLS) member. As her time at the campus is coming close to the end, she hopes to be of help to any student and learn new things along the way!
Fun fact: Ashley used to be in plays, and would love to travel to Italy someday!