If you are interested in attending our Student Leadership Academy (SLA), this summer, we want you to feel right at home. The SLA staff is always here to help you. Get to know them!
Community Engagement Specialist
High Schools and Universities
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Gayla Freeman joined the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation team in April 2016. A North Carolina native, she became involved in fundraising for childhood cancer awareness and research while an undergrad student at Elon University working with Elonthon and the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. After graduation, Gayla continued to work in nonprofit development in Asia, St. Louis and Chicago. She first learned about ALSF while working at Saint Louis University’s Center for Service and Community Engagement as the Dance Marathon advisor. When it came time to look for her next opportunity, Gayla thought this position would be a great fit, combining both her nonprofit development and higher education backgrounds.
Organizing the Student Leadership Academy is one of Gayla’s favorite aspects of her job at ALSF. Leading up to the SLA, Gayla coordinates the marketing and advertising of the program, as well as handles the application process. During the week of SLA, Gayla teaches the students about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, fundraising, and event planning alongside the Learning to Lead staff.
Learning to Lead
Beth Mooney founded Learning to Lead with the passion to help others reach their full potential by developing key life and leadership skills. For the past 11 years, Beth and the Learning to Lead team have interacted and worked with over 14,000 individuals. Beth's ability to create engaging life and leadership programming as well as her approachability allow her to quickly connect with others to help them achieve success.
Prior to starting Learning to Lead, a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Beth worked in leadership roles both in Fortune 500 companies and in Higher Education. Beth graduated from Bucknell University with degrees in economics and education. She received her Masters Degree in Education from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland.
The SLA week is one of Beth’s favorite weeks of the year for many reasons including the passion she has for the work ALSF does. Beth resides outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three active children which help to contribute to Alex’s Million Miles through biking, running and walking!
Nick Tumolo is thrilled to be a part of the ALSF Student Leadership Academy. Nick has a passion for higher education student affairs, and has worked closely with college students since the onset of his career. He is very much looking forward to working with the first ever SLA College Program.
Nick graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Villanova. Nick currently serves as the Assistant Dean of Students at Villanova. He also is an adjunct faculty member in the Public Administration department where he teaches graduate-level Strategic Planning and Statistics. Nick’s role includes many acts of leadership including coordinating the annual Villanova Day of Service and teaching undergraduate leadership and service learning class. Nick is a certified EMT who now lives in Ardmore, PA where he is a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Entering into her 9th year with the Learning to Lead organization, Michelle has been involved with the ALSF Student Leadership Academy since the program began 7 years ago. Michelle enjoys working with high school students and getting them out of their comfort zones while opening their eyes to see their full potential.
Michelle, born and raised in Philadelphia, received both her undergraduate and Master’s Degrees from Villanova University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Society. While at Villanova, Michelle held numerous leadership roles including resident assistant and student manager of the Villanova Men’s Basketball team.
In present day, Michelle works in the Pennsylvania Public School System helping high school students achieve their academic and career goals to help mold the future of Philadelphia. Michelle can be found providing academic and career advice to the students including planning college visits. Michelle is continuously involved in the sports world by helping local AAU teams and professional players with events throughout the year, working mainly with professional basketball players from the Philadelphia area. Her competitive sports side is certainly apparent during some of the SLA leadership competitions at the academy!
Alissa Perez currently serves as an Area Coordinator in the Office for Residence Life for Villanova University. Alissa oversees five residence halls on campus that house the majority of Villanova’s first-year student population. Alissa’s passion for service leadership is evident throughout her professional career including teaching an undergraduate leadership and service learning class as well as advising service focused spring break trips for college students. Alissa received her undergraduate degree from Lehigh University and received a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from Misericordia University.
Alissa was born and raised in Green Brook, New Jersey where she spent much of her childhood vacationing at the shore and spending time with her big Italian and Spanish family. In her free time, Alissa loves to cook (although she admittedly is an extremely picky eater) and travel to new and exciting destinations. Alissa is extremely grateful to have the opportunity to work with ALSF Student Leadership Academy and is looking forward to meeting new students!
Kellie Dunn has been working with Learning to Lead in the summers for the past decade. In the school year, Kellie is a highly experienced educator, having taught for 23 years. Kellie has supported the ALSF in many ways over the years. She helps to lead fundraisers at her school as well as serving as a facilitator in past years at the SLA.
During her tenure as an educator, Kellie has held several leadership roles. Kellie served as the Curriculum Leader for the Communications Department. She is currently a team Leader and the Building Leader for the ELA Department. Kellie spearheaded the creation and implementation of the current Anti-Bullying program at her school which has been implemented at other schools throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
Kellie received her undergraduate degree from Rosemont College in Psychology and Education. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership and has recently earned her Principal’s Certificate from Immaculata University. She is currently enrolled in their Doctorate program in Educational Leadership. She is excited to use leadership experience and her passion for ALSF to have a positive impact on all of the great students that attend SLA!
Learning to Lead
Kristen is a student at Elon University. At the ALSF's Student Leadership Academy, I serve as a team member of Learning 2 Lead. She participates in planning and coordinating activities for the ambassadors. These activities focus on developing leadership skills, empowering high school students and educating participants on the opportunities to become civically engaged with ALSF. Kristen also coordinates our annual SLA Alumni stand to reunite the former attendees of SLA every summer. Additionally, she serves as a mentor and source of inspiration, having participated in the program, herself.
She considers herself fortunate for her own experiences at SLA that inspired her to get involved on the other side. Kristen loves being able to witness the energy and fervor each ambassador leaves with. There are countless opportunities for the ambassadors to develop in just a few short days. As sad as the goodbyes are on the last day, it is quite astounding to see the growth of each ambassador. Each one grows into a more introspective and socially responsible leader. These observations give me hope for all that the future holds.
Meet the lead counselors for your resident needs. While you are SLA, Alain, Judy and the overnight counselor team will help support you while residing on campus. They plan entertaining evening activities and ensure if you need something in the night, a member of the team is there to support you. We provide a 1:10 overnight counselor ratio to help provide a quality resident experience.
Lead Resident Counselor
Judy has worked with Learning to Lead and the SLA for the past 3 years. Judy received her undergraduate degree in 2010 from Villanova majoring in English and Communications. Villanova, Judy was a member of the Villanova Dance Team, Alpha Phi sorority and also participated in Habitat for Humanity service trips.
Having been accepted into an accelerated Master’s program in Communication, Judy continued her studies at Villanova after graduation. While a graduate student, she continued to hone her leadership skills by serving as a Resident Assistant on campus. After graduating in 2011, she began working in Villanova’s Office of Alumni Relations where she led and developed student leaders in the Student Alumni Association. Since then, she has been promoted in the office and now manages alumni volunteers and events in Regional Clubs across the country.
Judy is very excited to join all the 2018 SLA Ambassadors once again this year - It’s going to be a blast!
Lead Resident Counselor
Alain has worked with Learning to Lead and the SLA for the past four years. Like Beth, he too shares a passion for unlocking the potential of young leaders everywhere! While a student at Villanova University, Alain was highly involved in numerous organizations (New Student Orientation, Blue Key Society, Habitat for Humanity, Residence Life, Campus Activities Team, Special Olympics) and held multiple leadership positions. During Alain’s senior year, he was award the Who’s Who Award that the University awards to students who have personified the values of Villanova through their leadership abilities and service to the community.
As an undergraduate student at Villanova, Alain studied History and Biology, but it was not until graduate school where he discovered his interest in leadership development. Alain obtained his Masters in Public Administration from Villanova in 2013 and went on to work at Gap International, a management consulting organization, where he worked with business leaders to have their companies achieve extraordinary growth through people and performance. At a very high level, Alain helps leaders transform their organizations in the 21st century.
Alain cannot wait to join the 2018 SLA Ambassadors for the 5th straight year. It is going to be a great week!