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

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

Student Success Advisors

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

Charlie Forbes

Charlie: Peer Advisor

My name is Charlie Forbes (they/them pronouns) and I am a fourth year student finishing my BA in sociology with a minor in creative writing. As a queer and trans student with ADHD and other learning disabilities, I struggled with traditional classroom learning in high school and the beginning of university. Because of this, I am passionate about celebrating students’ strengths and (neuro)diversities, and I know how important it is to foster an inclusive and accessible learning space for students of all backgrounds. I began my degree at Acadia university and transferred to Dal in my second year, and I found the Bissett Centre’s On Track program incredibly helpful in that time of transition. In the future I hope to go into education, so this peer academic advising position is an exciting opportunity for me to work in my chosen career field. In my free time you can find me exploring nature, reading and writing science fiction stories, doing yoga, and taking care of my plant collection.  

Tip for success: Do not let grades define who you are as a person. Grades can be a good measure of how you are doing in a given class or subject, but whether they are low or high, they do not reflect on your value as a person. Learning about your strengths and passions outside of the classroom environment can make room for grades to be just one way of determining where you're at on your learning journey. 

Pronouns: they/them

Joseph Lahey

Joseph: Peer Advisor

I was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I just finished my Bachelor of Arts, with Honours in Sociology and a Minor in Gender and Women’s Studies, and am beginning my Master of Arts in Sociology in the fall of 2022. Broadly speaking, my Honours and graduate research explores queer people’s experiences with and attitudes towards the coming out process, and what the process means to them. Throughout my time at Dalhousie University, I have become interested in research, writing, and work that allows me to support my community. 

My best tip for success: Do not be afraid to ask for help! At Dal, there are so many people that are ready to help you make the most of your education. When you reach out and ask questions, you get the right answers, and the confidence, to move forward and succeed.

How I identify: white, cisgender, queer, able-bodied, settler.

Pronouns: he/him

Diem Pham


Diem: Peer Advisor

I was born and raised in Vietnam, and moved to Halifax, Canada in 2019 to pursue my post-secondary education at Dalhousie University. I recently graduated from the Bachelor of Commerce Co-op program, with a major in Managing People and Organizations. As an international student, I know the struggles that come with transitioning into a new environment, and I am grateful to have received lots of help on campus. Now as a member of the Bissett Student Success Centre I hope to contribute to building an inclusive and supportive environment that would set students up for success.

My tip for success: There is no one “right” way to approach university. Sometimes it is tempting to compare yourself to someone else who seems to be more successful, but everyone’s progress is different. Each of us is from a different walk of life, with different experiences, skills, and goals. Others’ successes are not necessarily the benchmark for your own success. So be confident, focus on learning about yourself, do what you know would work best for you, and take pride in your own accomplishments.

How I identify: Vietnamese, cis-gender female, able-bodied, daughter, sister, friend.

Pronouns: She/her