Our staff has been working behind the scenes to bring you and your families a one-of-a-kind experience welcoming you into our community. Get to know more about the team that will greet you upon your arrival!
Senior Director of First Year Experience/Special Assistant to the VP
Phone: (610) 519-7210
E-Mail: Alicia Dunphy-Culp
Alicia joined Villanova University in 2008 and has worked in many areas within the Division of Student Life. Her responsibilities include assisting with Communitas, Villanova’s first-year learning community, and supporting the New Student Orientation program. She enjoys serving new students and their families and working throughout the year to help students find their place on campus. Originally from the Jersey Shore, Alicia lives just north of campus with her family and their yellow labrador, Dunkin’.
Assistant Director of First Year Experience
Phone: (610) 519-7208
E-Mail: Sara Thoms
Sara graduated from Villanova and returned in January 2022 to work with New Student Orientation and within the Office of First Year Initiatives. In her role, Sara collaborates closely with the steering committee, student chairperson, and administrative coordinator to plan a welcoming and immersive Orientation experience. Sara's background in Residence Life and Campus Ministry provides a comprehensive understanding of the student experience and she welcomes opportunities to work with students and their families so they can thrive at Villanova.
2023 Orientation Student Chairperson
Katherine Melbert, the 2023 Orientation Student Chairperson, is a marketing major, with business law and sustainability minors in the Villanova School of Business. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Katherine was a member of the Orientation Steering Committee in 2022 and was an Orientation Counselor in 2021.
The Student Chairperson has extensive experience with Villanova, New Student Orientation and works alongside the Division of Student Life to develop the content of Orientation. The Student Chairperson also trains and supervises members of the Steering Committee.
New Student Orientation Staff
The Director and Assistant Director work year-round to support the Orientation program and help new students have a successful transition to Villanova. In prep for Orientation weekend, the Orientation staff selects the Student Chairperson, Administrative Coordinator, Steering Committee, facilitates staff training, and develops the master schedule.
New students are divided into 85 groups and led through the four-day program by an Orientation Counselor, commonly referred to as an OC. These student leaders are carefully selected and participate in an extensive training program designed to prepare them for their responsibilities.
Twenty-Five students are selected to be Administrative Assistants (AAs) and work behind the scenes for the Orientation program. AAs go through the same training as OCs but do not lead their own group during the four-day program.
Students who have transferred to Villanova have the option of applying to be a Transfer Counselor. They follow a similar schedule as first year students but through a slightly different lens, given they already have college experience. Transfer Counselors make sure our new transfers feel as welcomed to Nova Nation as they did just a semester or two ago!