Meet the CURCE Team

Dr. JoAnne Malatesta, Interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

I joined the University at Albany in 1997 to pursue my Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and I have been fortunate to remain at the university throughout my career!  Prior to my current appointment as the Interim Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education I served as Director of the Academic Support Center and Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

As the Director of the Academic Support Center I redirected my energies to ensuring the success of all incoming and continuing students.  I was responsible for overseeing an amazing team of professional advisors who are responsible for advising all (non-EOP) first year students in addition to providing specialized advising for pre-health, pre-law, and prospective transfer students.

I believe that the development of partnerships across the University is critical for the growth and enhancement of the overall student experience and that our collaborative efforts provide unique and personalize support essential to student success.  To the end, I have championed the implementation of state of the art technologies and share platforms that improve communication and connections between students and advisors across the campus.  By breaking down traditional silos we are able to more seamlessly share information and build campus-wide solutions that address individual student needs. 

Above all else, I believe in the power of personal connections and the importance of recognizing individual journeys, challenges, and successes.

Dr. Marilyn Masson, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research

Photo of Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research, Marilyn Masson

Dr. Marilyn Masson has been a faculty member in the Anthropology Department since 1996. Dr. Masson is an archaeologist who studies urban life and political economy in the Pre-Columbian era, and she has directed many NSF or National Geographic funded projects in Yucatan, Mexico and Belize. She has been dedicated to annually involving undergraduates in research since arriving at the university, mentoring over 150 students in research projects in the lab, field, coursework or independent studies in Albany and in Central America. The most rewarding aspect of introducing undergraduates to research, in her view, is witnessing the academic and personal transformation of her students into confident professionals ready to launch their careers. Engagement in research accelerates this transformation as students realize the value of their education through applications, as well as the promising potential of their contributions. In her view, undergraduates are not just learners, instead, they are valuable assets to faculty research projects who expand a project's scope and enhance its quality. Dr. Masson earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993, and she is a recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence.

Casey Kohler, Assistant to the Dean

Casey KohlerCasey joined the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education in 2015. Casey is committed to enhancing the student experience and student success at the University at Albany through Undergraduate Research. She has brought her experience in both Student and Academic Affairs to her position to develop programming and support services for students interested in engaging in research, scholarship and creative activities. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Communications from SUNY Oneonta and a Masters of Science in Higher Education with a concentration in Leadership for Student Success from Walden University.

Deana Vitrano, Graduate Assistant

Deana VitranoDeana is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Cognitive Psychology at the University at Albany. She received her Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology from Dickinson College, and her Masters of Science in Experimental Psychology from St. Joseph’s University. Engaging in research as an undergraduate played a large role in Deana’s academic career and successes, leading her to join the CURCE team at the University at Albany in 2017. Currently, Deana conducts research in the Learning, Memory, and Attention Laboratory at the University at Albany, focusing primarily on human memory. She also collaborates with the Cognition and Language Laboratory to study creativity and word associations, and the Visual Cognition Laboratory to study expertise using eye tracking and EEG methods. Deana is dedicated to helping undergraduates find and engage in research, scholarship, and creative activities.

Allison Wilck, Graduate Assistant

Allison WilckAllison has been working to support and encourage undergraduates involvement in research and creative activities since the summer of 2016. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in UAlbany's Cognitive Psychology program, after having earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from SUNY Geneseo in 2015 and a Masters of Arts degree in Psychology from the University at Albany in 2018. As a member of the Cognition and Language Laboratory, some of her current research projects include investigations of memory, emotion processing, and second language acquisition. Her research involvement has recently allowed her to publish book chapters and articles on various topics including the survival processing effect, bilingualism, and attention. Allison aspires to help instill a passion for research involvement in the undergraduate community and serve as a resource for students.