Meet Our Staff

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Executive Director for Health and Wellness

Leslie Lawrence, MD, is a graduate of Cornell University and received his MD degree from Albany Medical College. He completed his residency in Family Practice at St. Claire’s Hospital in Schenectady, New York and is Board Certified. Dr. Lawrence was in private practice with admitting privileges to Saratoga Hospital for over ten years, and then became Medical Director at the University at Albany. In January of 2004 Dr. Lawrence joined Rensselaer as Medical Director. He has a special interest in the areas adolescent medicine and anxiety and depressive disorders, and enjoys teaching students.

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Associate Directors

Kevin Readdean, MSEd, LMHC, joined the Student Health Center in 2007. He received his Masters in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania and is a licensed Mental Health Counselor. Prior to joining Rensselaer, Kevin was Administrative Director of the Health and Counseling Services at SUNY Cobleskill. Kevin is currently pursuing a PhD in Health Systems Administration from Rutgers University. 

 

 

 

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Operations and Information Manager

Chris Klein joined the Student Health Center in January of 2019. Chris is a graduate of Penn State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. He has over 16 years of experience in health care and human services in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Chris lives in Delmar with his wife and daughter.

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Administrative Staff

Bonnie Bornt, Operations Specialist, joined the Health Center staff in 1982. Bonnie has been the main liaison for all the student insurance patient problem solving and insurance correspondence. Her interests include golf, Native American culture and she currently enjoys sponsoring an 8 year old little girl from the Philippines. She loves to spend time with her grandchildren.

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Jackie Bond (Alaskey), Operations Associate, joined the Student Health Center in August 2008 as a part-time employee, and became full time in October 2008. She has her Associates Degree in business management. Her interests are being outdoors in the nice weather, traveling, reading, cooking, watching movies, and home projects. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her Lab mix, Maddy.

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Medical Staff

Margarita Farley, MD received her bachelor's degree from Union College and is a graduate of Albany Medical College. She completed a residency at Albany Medical Center Hospital and is a board certified family physician. Prior to joining the staff at Rensselaer, she worked as a primary and urgent care physician for Albany Medical Center and as a staff physician at the University at Albany Health Center.

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Amy Hettrich, P.A.  joined RPI in April of 2017.  Amy has been a Physician Assistant since 1995. She  worked the majority of the last 22 years in Emergency Medicine but has also worked in Primary Care, Orthopedics and Inpatient Hospital Medicine.  Amy received her Bachelors of Science from LeMoyne College and her Physician Assistant degree from The George Washington University. Amy lives in Saratoga Springs with her husband, 2 children and 2 dogs.

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Neal Norton, RPA-C  joined the RPI student health center in July of 2018.  He received his Bachelors of Science degree from RPI in 2005 and a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Albany Medical College in 2008. Prior to coming to RPI he worked for 10 years in a primary care office in Latham, NY. Neal lives with his wife and 2 children in Niskayuna and enjoys spending time with them in his free time. He also has an interest in exercise, and has completed 7 Ironman races.

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Jewel Robinson joined the SHC team in 2004. She is a graduate of Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing, in Troy . Prior to coming to RPI she worked as a staff nurse at the University at Albany and also has several years’ experience in OB/GYN and Pediatric nursing. Jewel enjoys to spend any free time she has with her family and friends, taking walks with the family dogs, and dancing.

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Tami Simmons has been a Medical Assistant and in the Medical Field for 33 years in the Troy area.  Her favorite things to do are to spend time with her family and especially her Yorkie, Bud.  She also enjoys working with and dipping chocolate for the holidays.

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Gynecological Services

Amber Lange, WHNP-BC, joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the Student Health Center as a women’s health nurse practitioner in July 2019. Lange has special interests in gynecologic and reproductive health care. Lange provides preventative women's health care, family planning guidance and sexual and reproductive health education for all students. She is qualified in contraception technologies; including the management of intrauterine devices and the Nexplanon implant. Lange previously worked as a women’s health nurse practitioner at Albany Medical Center in OB/GYN, and at the offices of Drs. Lee and Burack in Troy and Albany. Earlier in her career she worked as a labor and delivery nurse at Albany Medical Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Hartwick College and a Master of Science in Nursing from University at Stony Brook. She is board-certified in women's health through the National Certification Corporation (NCC). Lange enjoys gardening and spending time with her family.

 

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Health Promotion Staff

Tara R. Schuster, MS, MCHES joined the RPI Student Health Center in 2008 and serves as the Coordinator of Health Promotion. She received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of New Hampshire and her Master's Degree in Community Health Education from The Sage Colleges. Tara is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and received her credentialing via the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. In addition, Tara has completed graduate work in Educational Psychology from Georgia State University and Higher Education and Counseling in Student Affairs from the University of Virginia.  Tara has been a Health Educator in the field of higher education since 1998, having served as a Health Educator at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and Health Educator/Faculty at University of Virginia previous to coming to RPI. Tara's special interests include alcohol risk-reduction, LGBTQ+ awareness and support, as well as social justice work. 

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Director, Counseling Center

Anita Chu, MD is a physician who is Board-certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. Prior to joining the RPI Counseling Center, Dr. Chu served as medical director for several residential treatment facilities for adolescents and adults, as well as a non-profit community mental health clinic for children and adolescents.  She has also worked in private practice leading a clinical staff of licensed psychologists, social workers, and certified alcohol drug counselors.

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Karen Johnson-Williams, LCSW-R is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker-R who has been practicing as a clinical social worker for 15 years. She received her BA from Hamilton College and Master of Social Work degree from the State University of New York at Albany in 2004. Her early career was in higher education administration and while serving as Director of HEOP at Russell Sage College, she decided to pursue an MSW to enhance her ability to serve students.  Karen has served students and families in a variety of settings over the years including outpatient and inpatient mental health facilities.  

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Whitney Aussicker, LMSW is a Licensed Master Social Worker. She received her BA in Psychology from Binghamton University and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Albany. Previous to RPI, Whitney spent time working at Samaritan Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic as a Clinician. Whitney is committed to working with students to create a strong therapeutic relationship to help empower students in and out of the Counseling Center. In her spare time she enjoys exercising and spending time with friends and family.

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Ann Dillon, LCSW-R, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and she joined RPI Counseling Center in September 2021.  She has been practicing as a clinical social worker in the Capital District for over 30 years.  Ann has worked with various populations including providing therapy to children, adolescents and parents at a county mental health outpatient clinic. She has also worked with adults in an outpatient setting providing therapy to adults with various mental health conditions, later serving as the director of the outpatient clinic.

Ann enjoys working with individuals to promote growth and self-awareness. She uses a client centered approach and is committed to assisting each individual in building on their existing strengths to live a fulfilled life.  In her free time, Ann enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, and engaging in outdoor activities such as running, hiking, biking and cross country skiing.

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Jenny Sickles joined the Counseling Center as an Operations Associate in March, 2019.   She earned her Associates Degree in Medical Secretarial Science at Hudson Valley Community College and brings many years of medical office managerial experience with her.  She looks forward to assisting the students at RPI.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, camping, canoeing and reading.