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!


Karen McCrank: Director of Student Success

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

Sofia Shaikh: Administrative Coordinator

Sofia Shaikh: Administrative Coordinator

I migrated to Canada with my two grown up children & husband in 2020 after living in Dubai for 15 years. I have over 12 years of professional experience providing administrative and operational support, most recently working at Feed Nova Scotia providing customer service to clients. I hold a strong educational background, working as a teacher and administrative support and passionate learner, earning multiple degrees including a Diploma in Computer Science, Master of Arts and Bachelor in Education. 

In my Administrative role at the Bissett, I provide support to our staff, students, and other university departments. I enjoy connecting with students and colleagues, answering questions and helping them navigate Dalhousie resources and connecting them with advisors at the Bissett. You will find me waiting to help you at the front desk as your first point of contact when visiting the Centre.

How I identify: Daughter, sister, mother, aunt, female.

Pronouns: she, her

Career Services

Nia MacFarlane: Employer Engagement & Events Coordinator

Nia MacFarlane: Employer Engagment and Events Coordinator

Hailing from Halifax, I have lived in this beautiful city for most of my life. I moved to Antigonish to study at StFX University, and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Honours Leadership & Management. 

Since then, I've held a variety of roles within the higher-education sphere. I'm a published researcher with particular interest in storytelling and the lived experiences of people within equity deserving groups. 

Being able to connect folks with the resources they need to succeed is one of my passions, and I'm thrilled to be able to continue that with the Career Services team here at the BSSC. As Coordinator, Employer Engagement & Events, I hope to enrich our local and global workforces by connecting employers and candidates with their perfect matches. 

Opportunity awaits, and I'm delighted to be part of your journey.

Fun Facts: I love travelling and lived in Spain for 6 months. Music is a huge part of my life and I enjoy singing and songwriting. I love organization and design - my dream would be to restore a beautiful old home.

How I identify: Daughter, sister, auntie, partner and friend. Cis-gender female, white, able-bodied.

Clifton Strengths: Achiever, Maximizer, Relator, Intellection, Positivity

Pronouns: she, her

Brooklyn Malone, Student Assistant - Employer Engagement & Events

I was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario and moved to Halifax in 2021. I have now lived in Halifax and attended Dalhousie for three years. I began my studies in the Bachelor of Management program but switched this year to the Recreation Management program. I made this choice because I love event planning and dream of becoming a municipal event planner as my career in the future. I felt the Recreation Management program better aligned with this goal and I am now learning how to best create events to support inclusivity and well-being. I am also VP Events for the Dalhousie Management Society and have found that role engaging and exciting. In my spare time I like to spend time with loved ones, go on long walks, and cloud watch!

Tip for success: Step out of your comfort zone! Some of the most rewarding experiences I have had while at Dalhousie came from taking a risk! I encourage every student to introduce themselves to peers in their classes, join extracurriculars, and attend events, even if you won’t know anyone there! As students, we all have a shared experience and therefore can relate to each other in some way. If you’re nervous, some else is too.

How I identify: White, cisgender, able-bodied, bisexual, settler, friend, and daughter

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Student Success Advisors

Cass Duffenais

Cass Duffenais: Student Success Advisor

I am originally from Newfoundland but grew up in Ontario. I found my way to Dalhousie in 2012 and completed my Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Sociology and Social Anthropology and minor in Management in 2016. Throughout my degree I held multiple campus jobs from being a tour guide to working in the student union building and loved every second of it. When I graduated, I decided working in higher education was the right choice for me, I love being on campus and feeling the energy that students bring. I worked in recruitment and admissions for a couple of years at Dalhousie before heading to work for the University of Alberta. That is when I decided to pursue my Master of Education in Post-Secondary Studies through Memorial University which I will be completing this Fall (2023). 

Becoming a Student Success Advisor at Dalhousie truly feels like coming home and allows me to do what I love most, which is to help students. I encourage you all to ask questions, lots of them, ask for help and never give up. You have access to so many amazing supports and services as a student and we all want the same thing, which is for you to succeed!

Fun Facts: I really enjoy exploring new hobbies. Some that have stuck around are kickboxing, axe throwing, rock climbing, and softball. Live music, concerts and festivals are how I fill my free time. My dog Miss Charlie is my best friend and sidekick!

How I identify: Qalipu Mi’kmaw, cisgender female, daughter, sister, able-bodied

Clifton Strengths: Activator, Strategic, Arranger, Positivity, & Self-Assurance

Prounouns: She, her, hers

Hayley McCabe Naish

Hayley McCabe Naish: Student Success Advisor

I started at Dalhousie University in 2012, right out of high school, trying to figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. After 3 years of taking a multitude of courses, I eventually found my way over to the School of Health and Human Performance. This is where I knew I belonged, and finally graduated with my BSc (Recreation) in 2018 and presently hold the title of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).

Since graduating, I’ve held a variety of roles both internal and external to the University. However, once I returned in 2019, I knew I wasn’t leaving! My personal goal is to collaborate as a team in offering support that enhances one's overall quality of life… and what better place to do so than the Bissett Student Success Centre as a Student Success Advisor!

Navigating your way through university can be many things (exciting, rocky, rewarding and nerve-racking) and I am here to support you and help you succeed!

Fun Facts: I have been curling for over 20 years; The Backstreet Boys > N’Sync; iced coffee is the superior drink.

How I identify: White, cis-gendered, able-bodied, queer woman, partner, sister, daughter

Clifton Strengths: Includer, Consistency, Harmony, Positivity, Relator

Prounouns: She, her, hers.

Sarah Ready

Sarah Ready: Manager, Student Success Advising

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

Catherine Robertson

Catherine Robertson: Student Success Advisor

I grew up in a small village in England and moved to Canada when I was 18 to start at Dalhousie University. I studied at Dal for 5 years and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a minor in Psychology. Through my volunteer and work experience, I realized that I was keen to support students, their mental health, and their journey at university. During my undergraduate degree and once I graduated, I worked in higher education supporting students.

A student's transition to university and journey there can be exciting, rewarding, and fun but also challenging. I want to support you on that journey and help you be successful in whatever way that looks to you.

How I Identify: white, able-bodied, cis-gendered, queer woman, daughter, sister

Clifton Strengths: Learner, Ideation, Intellection, Achiever, and Arranger

Pronouns: She, her, hers

Together @ Dal- Student Success Advisor

Terra Duncan

Terra Duncan: Student Success Advisor

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

Studying for Success

Jessica Chubb: Studying for Success Coordinator

Jessica Chubb: Studying for Success Coordinator

I began my career in higher education in 2004 as a graduate writing assistant at Saint Mary’s University (SMU) while pursuing my master’s degree. After 5 years in that role, I went on to hold the position of manager of the SMU Writing Centre. In 2010, I became the coordinator of the Dalhousie Studying for Success (SFS) Program, where my main responsibilities include helping to develop students’ skills in becoming more effective learners. I think the best part of this role has been getting to interact with students, supporting them on their journey to success, and being able to witness positive changes in their academic life.

In addition to my primary work-related duties, my dedication to helping others learn can be seen in my pursuits. For 5 years, I volunteered on a weekly basis in the English Language Learning Program of the Halifax Public Library, where I tutored new immigrants to Canada. For 6 years, I was an instructor with the Refining Program in the College of Continuing Education, where I helped students regain their academic skills necessary for success. For 10 years, I taught students how to effectively write for academic purposes.

I hold an LL.B. (Hons.) degree from the University of London, a B.A. (High Hons.) in International Studies and Politics from the University of Saskatchewan, and an M.A. in International Development from Saint Mary’s University.

Fun Facts: I LOVE to travel and visit new and exciting places. Love theatre, music, and the arts in general. I like museums, castles, and anything with historical significance. Also, I’m originally from the Caribbean, but I hate intense heat. I love winter even when no one else does!

How I identify: Afro-Caribbean, immigrant, proud Canadian, daughter, friend, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, cis-gender female, able-bodied

Clifton Strengths: Relator, Achiever, Harmony, Connectedness, Intellection

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Peer Advisors

Joseph Lahey

Joseph: Peer Advisor

I hail from Halifax and have been a member of the Dalhousie community since 2018, when I began my studies. I completed my Bachelor of Arts at Dal in 2022 and am now in the Master of Arts in Sociology program. My graduate research explores how young queer people characterize their coming out experiences, how they think coming out affects their wellbeing, and the place of coming out in queer life today. Beyond my studies, I’ve had the pleasure of working and volunteering in several departments across the university, as a researcher, advisor, and more. My time at Dal has fueled my passion for research, writing, and work that supports my fellow students and community members. 

Tip for success: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are so many people at Dal that are here to help you make the most of your university experience. When you reach out and ask questions, you get the right answers, and the confidence, to move forward and succeed.

How I identify: white, able-bodied, queer, son, brother, friend.

Pronouns: he, him, they, them 

Brooke Cramer


My name is Brooke Cramer (she/her). I am entering my third year of a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience, with a minor in Law, Justice and Society, and a certificate in Science Communication and Leadership. I was born and raised in London, Ontario, and moving halfway across the country and away from my family was a massive adjustment for me. As such, I am passionate about helping students find on- or off-campus opportunities that will help them find the sense of community they may be missing since moving to Halifax, discover new interests, and gain knowledge of all that Dalhousie has to offer. At Dalhousie, I am involved in several extracurriculars, including the Dalhousie Science Society, the Dalhousie Undergraduate Neuroscience Society, and the Dalhousie Integrated Science Program Mentorship Committee. Outside of work and school, you can also find me fishing, exploring the outdoors, or attempting to pick up a new hobby. 

Tip for success: Get involved! Dalhousie has so many amazing opportunities, from societies to symposiums, that you don’t want to miss! Who knows, you might find a new interest or make new friends! While attending class and getting good grades may be important in university, so is self-discovery and meeting new people. 

Liv Osmond


Hello! My name is Liv Osmond (she/her) and I’m a second year MSc. Occupational Therapy student. I’m from St. John’s, NL and moved to Halifax one year ago where I began graduate studies at Dalhousie. As a newer student to the Halifax area, I’m keen on working with others to find spaces and communities that best support them.   

Tip for success: I encourage all students to reach out for support at any time! There are many excellent resources at Dalhousie to assist with all points of your journey. I look forward to connecting with you and working together to support your success! 

Jessica Liebmann


My name is Jessica (she/her) and I was born in Germany and moved to Nova Scotia when I was 6 years old. I am a fourth-year student in my BSc double majoring in Neuroscience and International Development Studies. I started my journey at Dal in the Medical Sciences program, but switched to my current majors in second year when I realized I wanted to pursue a different path than originally planned. I understand the struggles of changing academic and career plans and utilized many services on campus to make this transition. Therefore, I am familiar with a diverse range of Dalhousie’s resources. Additionally, I completed an exchange semester abroad and am planning to complete my master’s degree abroad. As a member of the Student Success Centre, I hope to set students up for success and support them in achieving their goals. In my free time, you can find me hiking, exploring nature, café hopping, meditating, or spending time my pets.

Tip for success: Everyone works at their own pace! When you’re choosing your academic and career pathway, there is no set timeline for when you need to do things. As you grow and change as a person you will inevitably discover new interests and change your mind. When that happens, it can feel like you’re behind or lost. However, remember that your path is just as important as anyone else’s, so take pride in your accomplishments and goals!

Simran Arora


Hello everyone, my name is Simran (she/her)! I am a fourth year Bachelor of Computer Science student doing a minor in Mathematics. Being an international student, I understand how difficult and intimidating it can be to adjust to a new country and to university. I am currently doing my third co-op and am grateful for the experience. Having faced multiple blockers in my journey and overcoming them, I am excited to share my experiences and learnings with my peers. I am actively involved with the Women In Tech society (WiTS) and I am passionate about technology and promoting equity, diversity and inclusivity in the same! My hobbies include cycling, singing and travelling. 

Tip for success: I would strongly recommend first and second year students to join societies and research about the resources available at Dalhousie. Societies are a great way to meet people with the same interests as you and make some lifelong friendships! 

Dalhousie offers a wide variety of resources to assist students in every walk of life and aims to support them throughout their journey.