Residential Life Staff

Director of Residential Life

Melanie Ebig Lawson

Melanie (she/her/hers) joined the Mount Holyoke community in August of 2011.  Prior to her arrival, Melanie worked for Residential Life departments at the University of Connecticut, University of Illinois and Eastern Michigan University.  She earned both a Bachelor's degree in Women’s Studies and a Master's degree in Counseling/College Student Personnel from Eastern Michigan University.  Melanie’s professional interests include technology and social media, women's education, feminism, body image and the geek subculture.  Melanie is a Midwestern expat who wandered into New England and decided to stay, but is very proud of her Midwestern roots.  In her free time, Melanie is a devoted crafter who knits, crochets, paints and sews and is a self-professed geek that loves playing video and board games, watching Doctor Who, gardening, music and spending time with her family and friends.

The Director of Residential Life oversees all aspects of residential life on campus, including training and supervision of Residential Life staff, housing assignments, hall programming, and long-range planning. The Director also coordinates work with Housekeeping, Facilities Management, Campus Police, Dining Services, academic deans, and faculty and works closely with the Dean of Students office. In addition, the Director works with violations of the honor code and college policy.

Melanie keeps Open Office Hours for students to make appointments or drop in with concerns, questions and comments.  For Spring 2014, Melanie has open office hours on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Fridays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Please see the detailed schedule on her office door for more information and updates.  Any student is welcome any time to make an appointment if these times aren't convenient.

Associate Director

Todd Porter

Todd (he/him/his) came to Mount Holyoke College in 2011.  Prior to coming to MHC, Todd had worked in Residential Life at UMass Amherst, the University of Vermont, Ball State University, Denison University, and the University of Denver.  Todd holds his Bachelor‘s in Music from the University of Denver, a Master’s Degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education and a Graduate Certificate in Institutional Research from Ball State University, and has done doctoral coursework in Educational Leadership at the University of Vermont. Areas of interest for Todd include Assessment, Adult Learning Theory, Technology and Social Media, Sustainability, and Social Justice.  In his free time, Todd volunteers for the AIDS Foundation of Western Massachusetts, plays his cello, participates in community theater, trains for marathons, and plays with his dog, Penny.

The Associate Director assists the Director with the overall operation of the Residential Life office. In addition, the Associate Director manages the first-year assignment process, room change requests, general room changes, off-campus housing, and the annual housing lottery. Projects such as residence hall fire safety and other collaborations with Facilities Management, along with the oversight of all student and professional staff selection and training, assessment of programs, website and social media maintenance and marketing for the office are coordinated by the Associate Director.

Area Coordinators

Sara Blair, Erin Mosher and Elizabeth Thompson

The Area Coordinators (ACs) are professional, full-time, live-in staff. These staff members are responsible for overseeing six to seven residence halls and advising and supervising the hall student staff members who work in their respective halls. The ACs promote and create educational and social programs for residence halls in several areas, such as diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, and living and learning. They adjudicate violations of campus policy and participate in the Dean On-Call rotation. Please refer to the In Hall Staff ;listing to identify the halls each Area Coordinator supervises.

Sara Blair - Lakeside Area Coordinator (she/her/hers), hails from California and joined Mount Holyoke's Residential Life staff in July 2013.  Sara has an educational background in Sociology with an emphasis in Inter-Ethnic Relations, Cultural Education and Applied Psychology (B.A.) and Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (M.Ed.).  In the years prior to joining the Mount Holyoke Residential Life team, Sara worked as an Assistant Residence Director at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and The University of Vermont (UVM).  While at UCSB, Sara worked closely with Residential Living and Learning Communities for Environmental Awareness, Wellness, and Black/African American Scholars.  At UVM, Sara worked closely with Women of Color and leadership development.  During her graduate career, Sara contributed heavily to the scholarly journal for her graduate program, The Vermont Connection.  Her research and writings focused on Religion and Race, and Transracial Adoption.  She was also Co-Content Editor.  While not working, Sara spends time with her partner, enjoys watching movies, exploring Western Mass, talking walks/hikes in the Pioneer Valley, and visiting family of origin and choice. 

Erin Mosher-North Area Coordinator (she/her/hers) has been working as an Area Coordinator for the Residential Life Department at Mount Holyoke College since September 2012. In the five years prior to her arrival here she has worked for Residential Life Departments at both Virginia Tech and The University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Her educational background is in Human Resources and Entrepreneurship (B.S.) as well as Hospitality  and Tourism Management(M.S.). At Virginia Tech, Erin served on the Residential Life Programming Committee who worked to develop an inclusive educational programming model for the department as well as advised Residence Hall Federation leader groups. While at UMass Amherst, Erin oversaw the Discovery Sciences First Year Experience Residential Community. In her summer months away from the Mt. Holyoke’s Residential Life Department, Erin works for a property management company in Amherst, MA, plays for a couple of softball teams in the local area and takes time to travel outside of the country to explore new cultures and environments.

Elizabeth Thompson-South Area Coordinator (she/her/hers), joined Mount Holyoke's Residential Life staff in August 2012.  Elizabeth has an affinity for small liberal arts colleges and earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Gender Studies from one.  Her master's degree is from The University of Michigan in Higher Education.  Elizabeth has worked in Residential Life at Cornell University and St. Lawrence University.  While at St. Lawrence, she advised the theme house devoted to feminisms and women's issues as well as the sexual assault awareness and prevention group on campus. Early in her career, Elizabeth contributed to Colgate University's Center for Women's Studies and The Program on Intergroup Relations at The University of Michigan.  When not working, Elizabeth enjoys exercising on her elliptical machine, exploring western Massachusetts and visiting her families of origin and choice.  

Administrative Assistant

Teresa Picard

The Administrative Assistant manages the Residential Life Office operations, provides customer students and support to student and professional staff, coordinates keys and housing logistics, works with the director on budget management, and assists with the coordination of housing lottery.

Senior Community Advisor

The Senior Community Advisors (SCAs) are student staff members who serve as mentors, role models, and community builders in the residence halls.  SCAs are typically in their junior or senior year, have previously served as a Community Advisor, and have the community of the entire residence hall as their focus.  As members of the Residential Life staff, SCAs serve on department or campus committees, coordinate hall meetings, advise and mentor Community Advisors, and assist in the initiating of programs and activities in the residence hall.  SCAs work closely with the Community Advisors to address hall and individual student concerns such as roommate conflicts, personal crisis or academic issues.  Each SCA has participated in significant training each year, and can provide resource and referral information to all students in the hall.

Community Advisor

The Community Advisors (CAs) are student staff who serve as peer mentors and coaches to the community living on their floor. There are three to nine CAs in each residence hall, generally one per floor.   CAs partner with the residents of each floor to develop a sense of community responsibility for the general welfare of the floor and developing the floor into a welcoming, inclusive and friendly community .  CAs get to know the residents of the floor and work to help them get to know each other.  CAs are typically sophomores and juniors, and are trained as a peer mentors in community development, conflict management and resolution, programming, academic support, health-related issues, and interpersonal skills. Along with these skills, CAs are knowledgeable about campus and resources and can provide resource and referral information. Most importantly, the CA is available to each member of the floor for peer support.  CAs are selected for their desire to work with other students and create a positive living experience for others.