Getting to know our team at the Bissett Student Success Centre
Our staff at the Bissett Student Success Centre come from a variety of backgrounds – just like our students. When you make an appointment at the Centre or register for an On Track program, you can request a specific advisor or we'll pair you with someone based on your program and year of study. We hope to see you soon!
Heather Dominey: Administrative Assistant
Karen McCrank: Director of Advising and Career Services
I moved to Halifax with my husband and dog in December 2018 to serve as the Director of Careers after 14 years at the University of Toronto. I am grateful for the various roles I’ve held in Student Affairs, but am most passionate about the work I’ve been able to support in Career Services. When I was in high school, I had a guidance counsellor tell me I wouldn’t get in to university. It was the push I needed to believe in myself; at that moment I knew I wanted to someday be in a position to support people to achieve their goals in a way I hadn’t been.
Although I now have two degrees, many interests, work and life experiences, I didn’t always know exactly what direction my career would take. By following my curiosity, connecting with people who could guide me, and knowing my strengths, I have been fortunate to find roles doing what I’d wanted to since high school – support people in achieving their goals. I’m excited to be a part of Career Services at Dalhousie and we would love to help you with your own career questions.
Hobbies: travelling, hiking, biking, camping, enjoying good food & drink with friends and family
How I identify: wife, sister, daughter and aunt, white, cis-gender female, able-body
Clifton Strengths: Futuristic, Maximizer, Strategic, Ideation, Connectedness
Pronouns: she, her
Michelle Patrick: Student Success Career Advisor
I came to Dalhousie in 2008 after a short career in the biotechnology field where I realized, I prefer to work with people. After completing a BSc and MA in health promotion, I began as a program manager for Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS) with Dalhousie’s Global Health Office. While there I provided support to high school and post-secondary students of African descent who were interested in studying and seeking careers in health. Through this position, and a short time in the Registrar’s Office, it became clear that supporting students is my passion! I enjoy empowering students to discover their passions and develop their strengths. I am excited to work with the Bissett advising and career teams, including our peer advisors, to help students reach their education and career goals.
How I Identify: Wife, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin, cis-gender female, able-bodied, African Nova Scotian by way of Newfoundland with Acadian ancestry.
Clifton Strengths: Maximizer, Strategic, Woo, Arranger, Positivity
Pronouns: She, her, hers
Joy Toney-Goodwin: Employer Engagement & Career Events Coordinator
Joy Toney-Goodwin: Employer Engagement & Career Events Coordinator
I grew up in Shady Spring in the beautiful mountains West Virginia, I went to Shady Spring Elementary School, Shady Spring Junior High and Shady Spring High School. I went to a multi-cultural university in West Virginia, where living with a Japanese student for one year was part of the non-academic requirement for graduation.
I graduated university with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry. During my time in university I met and later married a gentleman from Shelburne, Nova Scotia who was an entrepreneur. Helping him establish his first distribution company for foliar applications for golf greens made me realize that my dream of becoming a doctor was trumped by an insatiable thirst to learn more about business.
Prior to joining the Bissett Student Success Centre as the Employer Engagement & Career Events Coordinator I was fortunate to have a successful 15-year career in enterprise sales and business development covering territories across Canada and the United States. What I learned at the end of this run was that success meant long hours, significant time away from my husband and two sons, and money was not enough of a driver for the sacrifices in family and values.
Using my experience in employer development in Career Services was the best decision I have ever made. I can honestly say I have a work-life balance, I am mindful of the impact my work has on our student population, and my role, is a reflection of my what I value in life. It is never lost on me how lucky I am to be a part of this incredible team here at Dalhousie University.
Outside of Work: I’m a simple person, I have really old-fashioned values, my husband, my sons and my brindle boxer Bella are my purpose in this life, and I try to parent and partner mindfully.
Hobbies: Building memories with loved ones through cooking food with local ingredients, going camping with our tow-behind, engaging with people anywhere.
How I Identify: Mom, Wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cis-gender female, friend
Student Success Advisors
Makenna Cooke: Student Success Advisor
As a transfer student, and as a student who studied away from home, I know how difficult it can be to get your bearings in a new place and get acquainted with all of the different resources that are available to you in university. I hope to be someone you can count on to help you develop a plan to achieve your goals, navigate through the opportunities/resources available to you in university, and celebrate your successes!
Fun facts about me: I have a little black cat named Jasmine, I love living so close to the ocean, and one of my favorite things to do is go see a movie!
How I identify: Cisgender female, white, sister, daughter, able-bodied, friend.
Clifton Strengths: Relator, Harmony, Connectedness, Arranger, Responsibility
Pronouns: she, her, hers
I found my way to Dalhousie from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and came in as a new student from high school. I found an interest in the science of the human body and graduated with a Kinesiology degree in 2009. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I worked and participated in extracurricular activities on campus. Through this, I found a passion for working to support students transitioning to university. I started professional roles in Student Affairs after graduation to continue to support students.
With my background working in Student Affairs, I understand there are a variety of factors that affect student success. I want to work with you to create a plan for your time at Dalhousie that is reflective of your dreams and aspirations. With that in mind, I want to ensure that you are connected with the supports that work for you to achieve success towards your goals.
Fun Facts: In my free time, I enjoy playing and watching sports. I spent almost 12 years of my life living in residence buildings.
How I identify: cisgender female, daughter, sister, able-bodied
Clifton Strengths: Positivity, Developer, Empathy, Achiever, Arranger
Prounouns: She, her, hers
As the first member of my family to attend university and as someone who had to rely on student loans, I found the transition from high school to university challenging. When I needed help, I was never sure who to turn to. I longed for a friend who could help me identify my academic and extracurricular interests; someone who could connect me to helpful resources and inspire me to grow into the best possible version of myself. I became a Student Success Advisor so I could offer students the kind of support I wish I had. I want students to understand that anyone, from any walk of life, can achieve success in university through self-reflection, hard work, and tenacity.
Three fun facts: I have visited 25 different countries (and counting)! Wonder Woman is my idol. I am writing a non-fiction book.
How I identify: Sister, Aunt and Godmother of Indigenous, French-Canadian and Irish ancestry
Clifton Strengths: Context, Intellection, Developer, Relator, Learner
Pronouns: She, her, hers
As a student success advisor, I enjoy helping students identify their strengths and use them to increase their sense of thriving at Dalhousie. My 10 years of experience with the university in multiple areas allows me to connect students with a wide range of resources so you can get the most out of your university experience—whether it's research, studying abroad, volunteering, clubs and societies, or academic success.
As someone who changed degrees part-way through my education and career goals 2 times, I understand the ups and downs of the university experience and am here to help you navigate this exciting and challenging time.
Hobbies: Dance, figure skating, board games, cheese making... To name a few!
How I identify: White, cis-gendered male, LGBTQ+, able-bodied
Clifton Strengths: Maximizer, Empathy, Communication, Developer, Positivity
Pronouns: he, him, his
Studying for Success
Jessica Chubb: Studying for Success Coordinator
Hayley: Peer Advisor
My best tip for success: As important as it is to focus on academics, it is just as important to focus on yourself. University should not be a constant cycle of "work-eat-sleep-repeat". You will learn so much about yourself and your hopes for the future through participating in extracurricular activities, volunteering, being employed part-time, spending time with friends, and having some "down-time" to unwind. There are many opportunities on campus to meet new people, gain valuable experiences, and explore your passions.
How I identify: Cis-gender female, able-bodied, daughter, sister
Thomas: Peer Advisor
One of my favourite features about attending Dalhousie University is that the Studley campus is situated on the Halifax Peninsula, which means in every direction you’re just minutes away from the Atlantic. When I’m not on campus, you may find me at Duncan’s Cove, Cape Split, or one of the many other beautiful hiking spots not far from here.
My best tip for success: Think about every encounter you have in a professional setting as your first encounter. Always remembering to be courteous, respectful and kind!
How I identify: Cis-gender male, son, brother, cousin, friend
Layne: Peer Advisor
While I am a new student to Dalhousie, one of my favourite things about Dal is its community atmosphere. I have been very lucky to meet so many amazing people who add to my university experience.
How I identify: Cis-gender female, able-bodied, daughter, sister, friend
Pat Schappert: A Message From Pat
Pat Schappert: Student Success Advisor
I’ve met with many students during my almost 13 years at DAL, and hope that I have provided the advice that you have needed along the way. I cherish the many relationships with Staff and Faculty over these many years. You've enriched my life in so many ways.
I would especially like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, who were part of the Bissett Student Success Centre, and made these last three years so memorable!!! I laughed and learned a lot, even though I was trying to coast to the finish line.
This pandemic has altered all of our lives, whether it is at the start or end of our career paths. Take this time to learn something new or even find a different way to do something you already know. My list so far includes: making face masks, crumb quilting, baking and cooking in different styles! We're currently close observers of Monarch butterfly caterpillars in our back garden!
There are some things I've put on hold because of our current conditions, but this chapter of my life is only beginning. Be patient and kind to yourselves.