Meet the Academic Coaches

Mike Cate

Mike Cate - Academic Coach

My name is Michael Cate. I am a Rutgers graduate. First I earned a BA with high honors in philosophy, and recently I earned an Ed.M. in school counseling from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. I have been a carpenter, an English language teacher in Japan, and I have helped develop progressive juvenile detention facilities for Native American communities. I am a member of two classical schools of Japanese martial arts. I cook, I bake…I probably have way too many hobbies.

Learning is at the heart of all the things I do. Whatever I do, I ask myself questions like: “What do I know?” “What don’t I know?” “What does it look like to do this well?” and “How do I get there from here?” I enjoy the process. Of course, this has not always been the case…I am after all a high school drop out.

I left high school and I struggled for years at a community college. I failed many classes and I constantly doubted myself. However, at some point my outlook changed. I stopped viewing academic success as a result of intrinsic talent and brute hard work, but skillful engaged work. I took control of my own development and learning. I thought about what I was doing, and how I could do it better. The key was knowing and trusting that everything is a skill that can be developed and refined. Also, it helps that this kind of learning is more interesting and sometimes even fun.

I am very proud to be a member of the Rutgers Learning Centers’ Academic Coaching team. Our goal is to empower any and all students to be active skillful learners who can take control of their academic destinies. I look forward to working with you.

Misha Faerovitch


Welcome! I am a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelors in Biological Sciences. Rutgers University has given me tremendous opportunities to enrich my academic and professional skills. As your coach, I hope to work with you to develop fundamental and transferable skills that will aid you in becoming the exceptional student you wish to be!

Throughout my time at Rutgers, I have been involved in both academics and research. I have been a non-traditional member of the Rutgers Honors Program, where I have worked with first-year students to combat the challenges of beginning college. I have been an active advocate for the academic community by being a General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Learning Assistant, and enriching the student-learning experience. Also, I have partnered with the Division of Life Sciences where I was a General Biology Study Group Leader and an Undergraduate Genetics Teaching Assistant. Regarding scholarly work, I conducted undergraduate research with both the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School for three years of my undergraduate career.

As a first-generation immigrant, and the first in my family to enroll in a U.S university, I found college to be challenging at times. However, with the right mindset and academic tools it was completely feasible and extremely rewarding.

Eileen Hallman


Hi there, my name is Eileen! I received my Bachelors of Arts in Art History in the spring of 2016 from Rutgers University. I am a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honors society as well as the recipient of the Cornelison Prize in Classics. While an undergraduate I was Vice-President of the Rutgers Historical Reenactment Society and fell in love with archery and knitting chain-mail.

As someone who has been a Teaching Assistant, a peer mentor, and a tutor, I understand that there is no “one size fits all” way of handling college. The only way to achieve our goals, no matter what they are, is to equip ourselves with the tools that work best for us.

I’m excited to share the tools I know to aid you on your Rutgers journey and to be a part of the Rutgers Learning Center community.

Sarah Kravits


Greetings! My name is Sarah Kravits and I am an educator, writer, and academic coach. I have a B.A. in English and Drama from the University of Virginia and an M.F.A. in Acting from The Catholic University of America. Over the last couple of decades I have made a winding journey from working as an actor to writing a series of texbooks (Keys to Success, published by Pearson Education) to teaching student success (most recently at Montclair State University) to academic coaching (here at Rutgers and also with LifeBound Academic Coaching based out of Denver).

My particular interest is in motivation and self-management. I want to help you figure out how to get motivated to learn, organize your life so that your energy goes toward your priorities, manage your devices (rather than having them manage you), and keep growing in your self-knowledge. Currently I am pursuing a Master of Education degree here at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education so that I can learn more about how to help students realize their potential.

Because I wear many hats as a student, a coach, a writer, an educator, and a parent of teenagers, I bring many perspectives to my work with students. Each of you is a unique universe with individual strengths and challenges, experiences, obstacles, and visions. Within you are the tools to build the learning and working life you envision for yourself – my job is to help you identify and access those tools and then put them to work. I look forward to getting to know you and to being a part of your Rutgers experience as you build your one-of-a-kind "toolbox for success."

Joyce Macaraeg

Joyce Macaraeg - Academic Coach

My name is Joyce Macaraeg. I graduated with the Rutgers University Class of 2017 with a BA in Spanish and psychology. Currently, I am in the Rutgers GSE pursuing ESL education. I decided to pursue ESL education after my various study abroad opportunities (e.g., Spain, Mexico, and South Africa) and realizing how important it is to understand English within and beyond our country’s borders as this is a global language. Overall, I learned that our culturally diverse funds of knowledge each of us bring to the potluck are resources we are completely unaware of.

As an AVID tutor, I realize how important it is to practice and maintain study skills. I guide my middle and high school students in understanding that the skills they practice in school (e.g., time management, prioritization, organized note-taking, etc.) are resources in helping them become accomplished and successful in the work field and at the university level.

As an academic coach, I strive to help light the way for students towards success with academic skills at Rutgers. It is my duty to ensure that every student that walks through my door becomes aware of the resources they have buried within themselves and understand how to use this power to their advantage. I am thankful to become a part of the RLC family and I look forward to collaborating with you.

Delfina Picchio

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Hello all! My name is Delfina Picchio, and I am so excited to be working with you all at the Rutgers Learning Center. 

A little about me: I graduated from Rutgers University in 2018 with dual degrees in English and visual arts. After graduation, I taught English in the beautiful country of Spain through a Fulbright grant. Upon returning to the U.S., I completed my Ed.M in Language Education at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. In addition to being an academic coach, I also teach ESL and bilingual education at a local high school. 

Being a student at Rutgers was one of the most challenging yet rewarding opportunities I’ve had. Whether it was being involved with the Aresty research program, working as a writing tutor, or dropping in to receive math tutoring at one of the learning centers, I feel lucky to have been part of so many supportive communities at RU. 

As an academic coach, I’m happy to support students in finding their own success at our university. I value the fact that success may look different for each person, and I’m here to meet you where you’re at. I believe an important part of having a positive college experience is being able to feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, and autonomy. For many, being able to feel those things comes with a little practice of the essential academic skills. I aim to guide all my students through the art of academic study, and believe these skills will carry on for a lifetime. I am looking forward to working with you!  

Bryan Cardenas

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Hello! My name is Bryan S Cardenas Jara and I am an Academic Coach here at Rutgers University. I earned both my B.A.S.W (Bachelor of Arts in Social Work) and my MSW (Master’s in social work) at Rutgers University- New Brunswick. During my time as a student here, I worked as an English Tutor for the Douglass Writing Center and a Coordinator for First Generation Student Initiative at the Rutgers Honors College.  A fun fact about me is that I am also a License Social Worker specializing in trauma, stress, and overcoming mental barriers.

One of my interest is empowering students through education and providing resources that are available to them throughout Rutgers. Thanks to my psychotherapy background, I am trained in adding a mental health aspect into my sessions by emphasizing the important of self-care. Another interest of mine is learning foreign languages and I currently speak four languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese).

It will be an honor for me to help you reach your academic goals because your success is my success.

Gopika Sharma

Pic of academic coach Gopika Sharma

Hello! My name is Gopika Sharma and I considered becoming a doctor, until I fell in love with education. Growing up under the Asian stereotype of success, I struggled to claim my own passion as an educator. I'm so happy I did. Today, I am an enthusiastic secondary educator with over six years of experience currently teaching psychology. Succeeding in college requires not just learning content, but also mastering your own mind. As a previous student at Rutgers, I deepened my interest in yoga, meditation and mindfulness to help manage my academics, career exploration and extra-curricular activities. I earned my bachelors degree in biological sciences and psychology followed by a masters degree in education from Columbia University. I credit my success to a combination of hard work, reflection and meditation and I carry these practices to my work as an educator today. You cannot be at your best if your mind is not at your best. After working with hundreds of students between ages 12 and 22, I realize that there is no uniform toolkit to success and wellness. Today, I draw upon knowledge of science, psychology, education, yoga and a large range of learning strategies to help my students craft individual plans to support their achievement. College is a special time in life to pursue your passion and develop the skills you need to reach your greatest potential. I am grateful to be part of the RLC team and would be honored to support you on your unique journey to success!

Jaime DePaola

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Hi everyone! My name is Jaime DePaola, and I am thrilled to be a member of the Rutgers Learning Center community.

A quick bio about me: I graduated from Rutgers University in 2018 with a degree in linguistics and a minor in psychology. I completed my Ed.M in Language Education at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education with certifications in elementary and special education, and I have utilized the skills I have gained throughout my education all over the world. In addition to being an academic coach, I also teach ESL and Special Education at Franklin High School. I emphasize social and emotional learning, mindfulness, and problem solving skills in all of my learning spaces.

Rutgers University is the reason I have been able to find myself in my dream career. I am a first generation college student, and programming like Rutgers’ Education Opportunity Fund (EOF), made higher education accessible to me. I had advisors throughout my schooling that helped me perfect my study skills, time and stress management, and problem solving skills. I understand the importance of creating a support system throughout our schooling, and I believe each and every student deserves a unique educational plan that meets their emotional and academic needs.

I am looking forward to supporting Rutgers students in taking control of their futures. I believe that when students are confident, positive, and emotionally-supported, they can achieve any goal they set their minds to. Reaching this point will look differently for all students, but I am excited to work with all of you to utilize your areas of strength and target areas in need of growth. College is hard, but we can all be successful with proper planning and support. I am excited to continue collaborating with my Rutgers University family!