New Student Program Staff
We are dedicated to supporting first-year and transfer students throughout their first year, as well as upper-level students involved in Orientation and the Tatkon Center. We work together with our colleagues throughout Student & Campus Life to support the student experience.
Meet the New Student Programs Staff
Director of New Student Programs
As the director of New Student Programs at Cornell, Peggy supports the first-year and transfer student experience throughout the first year on campus. New Student Programs promotes new student engagement on campus, and provides education about Cornell policies, values, resources, and opportunities. Department programs include January and August Orientation, Family Weekend, and the Carol Tatkon Center for First-Year Students. NSP engages with upper-level students from all undergraduate colleges to provide peer mentoring and support for new students.
Peggy has worked on higher education access, student transitions, inclusion and equity, and student support in both non-profit and campus settings, and has served as a consultant to organizations and individuals on college student well-being and success. She received her B.A. from the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University, pursued a PhD at the University of Michigan before leaving academia to join the non-profit sector, and earned her M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Stony Brook University.
The Jack and Rilla Neafsey Director of the Carol Tatkon Center
Margherita graduated from the State University of New York Purchase College. She has lived in Ithaca over thirty years. She worked as Administrative Director of Cornell in Rome for seventeen years sending over 2000 students abroad, and oversaw the start-up and first five years of growth of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning’s NYC program.
She previously worked as Manager of the Ithaca City Prosecutor's office, working closely with victims of domestic violence. Her experience has included fundraising and overall management of the campaign of former NYS Assemblyman Martin A. Luster, direction of an extended and successful citizens’ effort to permanently protect the local iconic landmark, Ithaca Falls, and design and care of a public perennial garden, the Lavender Garden, on the Ithaca High School property.
Margherita joined the Tatkon Center in 2014. As Director she oversees the student staff, facilities, and program development and management. She particularly enjoys working with diverse campus partners, student organizations and her student staff to develop creative and useful new student programming. She established a new town-gown tradition, CU Downtown, an early Fall semester event that orients students to downtown and brings them and local Ithacans together to enjoy student performing arts groups.
When not at work, she is gardening, hiking, making photographs, or listening to music.
Design and Publications, New Student Programs
After completing a B.A. in Psychology at Creighton University, Larissa studied graphic design at Rhode Island School of Design and painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to moving to Ithaca in 2009 from the Boston area, she worked in an administrative role at Harvard University, while pursuing a master's degree in Studio Arts at Harvard Extension School. When not designing in her current role at Cornell, she designs on a freelance basis. Her experience includes designing wedding invitations and creating custom graphics and content for an online how-to blog for LCI Paper. Larissa’s background also includes working in real estate property management and condo sales with Diversified Funding in Boston, MA and a role as assistant property manager at the Blackstone Apartments in Chicago, IL.
In 2011, Larissa joined New Student Programs. In her current role, she designs communications such as the August and January Orientation Guides, Family Guide, and First-Year Family Weekend Guide. She also designs posters, brochures, exhibitions, promotional giveaways, and an email newsletter for the Tatkon Center. Her design work also includes marketing pieces for the Cornell Chimes and maintaining the NSP website.
Assistant Director, New Student Programs
Marisa received her B.S. from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1997. After graduating, she began working in various roles in the division of Student and Campus Life including event coordination, NCAA/Ivy eligibility, program administration, and writing and coordinating student communications.
She joined New Student Programs in the fall of 2015. She is responsible for the Cornell Chimes program and works with orientation staff and university partners on communications and events for new students and families.
Assistant Director, New Student Programs
Jamie received her B.A. in Anthropology and Culture & Communication from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY and her M.A. in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education at Ball State University in Muncie, IN.
Jamie previously was a Residence Hall Director at Cornell for Dickson Hall, a large and diverse first-year community, and the Multicultural Living Learning Unit, a program house of first-year and upper level students. She has expanded her knowledge of the Cornell community via past interim work with the Asian & Asian American Center along with collaterals with New Student Programs and Care and Crisis Services. In addition, Jamie advises several student organizations and sits on a mental health programmers group through Cornell Health.
Jamie joined New Student Programs in 2019 as an Assistant Director. She works with orientation staff and university partners on department programs including January and August Orientation, Family Weekend, and the Carol Tatkon Center for First-Year Students.