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Meet Our Student Workers

At CRF, we have five Presidential Scholars who serve as Student Ambassadors for the Center. Each Scholar works five hours a week. Come and say hello to them at our reception desk on the top floor of Garey Hall, or give them a call at 610-519-8803!

Taiya Sharif, Senior

Alexa Dang

Hi! I’m Taiya, a senior political science and peace and justice double major at Villanova, coming from Harlem, New York. This is my second year working in the CRF office, and I love helping students gain access to grants and fellowships. When I'm not in the office, I'm usually doing work for the African and Caribbean Villanovans executive board or dancing with the Ablaze dance team. At Villanova, I have been fortunate enough to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain. Hopefully, with the help of the incredible CRF team, I'll get to continue gaining international experience after graduation through a Fulbright fellowship. Fingers crossed!


Hi; I’m Declan, a Villanova undergraduate for political science. I hail from Levittown, Pennsylvania, northwest of Philadelphia. I am a co-leader of Villanova’s Matthew J. Ryan Center, a political discussion group, a member of the Russell Kirk Society, and an itinerant member of several other clubs on campus. I volunteered with Special Olympics in my freshman and sophomore years. Last summer, I worked at the Nationalities Service Center, a refugee resettlement agency in Philadelphia. Upon graduating, I plan on continuing my education in political science through a master’s program. I like to write, play games, take long walks, and read when I have the time.

Declan Carolan, Senior

Declan Carolan

Alexa Dang, Junior

Sage Milo


Hi! I'm Alexa, and I'm very excited to help students gain exposure to research and fellowship opportunities and help develop their career trajectories in any way I can. I am from Boulder, Colorado, and I am studying mechanical engineering with minors in business, theology, engineering entrepreneurship, and honors. On campus, I am on the executive board for the Engineering Student Council and the Society of Professional Engineers. I'm also involved in Blue Key Society, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and other organizations. So far at Villanova, I have traveled to Madagascar, Jamaica, and Tanzania, and I am planning on studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, this spring!


Hi! I'm Allison, a psychology major with minors in theatre and honors. I was born in Malta, but New York City is my current home. This is my first year in the CRF Office, and I'm excited to help students learn about and apply for research and fellowships opportunities. On campus, I am the Business Director for WXVU Radio, a member of the Academic Reform Committee, and a McNulty Women's Leadership Ambassador. I am also involved with TEDx VillanovaU and gave a TED talk at Villanova's conference last spring. I'm looking forward to getting involved in a lot more during my next three years as a Wildcat!

Allison Bajada, Sophomore

Allison Bajada

Patrick Tsai, Sophomore

Patrick Tsai


Hi! I'm Patrick and I am a sophomore majoring in accounting and MIS, with a minor in sustainability studies! I live right outside of NYC, and I am so excited to help students with research and fellowships opportunities. On campus, I am the VP of Diversity & Inclusion for the VSB Ambassadors Program and a Peer Mentor for the Honors Program. I am also involved in Phi Sigma Pi honor fraternity, the Villanova Wildcat Fund, and Real Estate Society. I have studied abroad in Singapore and plan to further my international experience upon graduation through hopefully a Fulbright or working for an international firm.

Contact Information

Center for Research and Fellowships
Garey Hall 200 (top floor) 
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610-519-8803
Fax: 610-519-6623

Michael Westrate
Director, Center for Research and Fellowships & Presidential Scholars Program

Catherine Stecyk
Associate Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Chelsea Benincasa
Assistant Director, Center for Research and Fellowships & Presidential Scholars Program

Kelsey Fenner
Assistant Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Sage Milo
Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Research and Fellowships

Denise Caramanico
Office Coordinator (Part Time), Center for Research and Fellowships