Skip Navigation

Academic Success Center Manager:

Renée Mitchell-Matsuyama
Pinkard 315

Renée Mitchell-Matsuyama is the Manager of the Academic Success Center at JHSON. She moved to Baltimore in the summer of 2018 with her spouse and their two cats, after having spent several years running a college women’s center in Minnesota. Originally from the West Coast, Renée attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned degrees in both English and Student Affairs. In addition to student services administration, Renée also has extensive experience in teaching, writing consultation, and general student support and advising. When she’s not at work, Renée enjoys weightlifting, cooking, and exploring all the interesting, weird, and fun things to do in Baltimore.

Academic Success Center Tutors:

  • Melissa Barkin
    Melissa BarkinProgram: MSN- Entry into Nursing

    Bio: Hello! My name is Melissa and I’m in cohort 9. I’m originally from Virginia, but did my undergrad in Boulder, Colorado where I majored in Psychology. During undergrad, I was a teaching assistant for Nutrition for Health and Performance, which was two sections with about 150 students in each, so it is safe to say that I have experience getting to work with all types of learners! I’m personally a very visual learner, so on any given day you could find me with my rainbow pens drawing diagrams, color coding my notes, or deciding what color best represents COPD. In my free time I’m usually sleeping, outside or at BMORE Licks! I’m looking forward to joining the ASC team and having the opportunity to work with other students.

  • Mary Bennewitz
    Mary BennewitzProgram: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Bio: Hi! My name is Mary and I am a member of the MEN Spring 2021 cohort and am in my forth semester. I am originally from Connecticut and spent the past four years in New York City at Columbia University where I majored in Ancient Studies and Classics (mainly Egyptian history!) and minored in Biology. I am hoping to continue my education and become a pediatric acute care NP after I graduate. I am also interested in global health nursing and am currently taking courses at JHSPH for a certificate in global health. In my free time, I enjoy cycling, baking (my sourdough starter’s name is Brad), visiting local breweries, and hanging out with my friends around Baltimore! I am really excited to help other MEN students succeed in their as a tutor for ASC!

  • Despina Bubaris

    Program: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Patho, Foundations, Health Assessment

    Bio: Despina AKA “Dessy” Bubaris is a member of Cohort 9 here at JHSON. She is originally from Long Island, NY. Let’s go Yankees! She has a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics and has spent the past 3 years practicing as a dietitian in multiple settings including dialysis, psych, inpatient ICU and the nursing home. Because of this, she decided to become a nurse so she can advocate for individuals who cannot do so for themselves and improve interdisciplinary care. She loves food, Audrey Hepburn, Jesus, confetti, her family and her beautiful twin puppies, Billy & Willy. You can trust she will always be honest and truly believes in your potential to accomplish anything you put your mind to. She is ecstatic to be the biggest cheerleader for her tutees and to watch them all succeed. Let’s get to work!

  • Courtney Ceurvorst

    Courtney CeurvorstProgram: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Patho, Foundations, Health Assessment.

    Bio: Greetings! My name is Courtney Ceurvorst and I am currently in my second semester in the MEN program. I lived in Colorado my whole life until I moved to a tiny little school in Beloit, Wisconsin for undergrad. During my time at Beloit I majored in Molecular, Cellular, Integrative Biology, played soccer, and was a founder of ceramics club. After too short of a summer back in the mountains, I ended up here in Baltimore. During my free time I enjoy going to spin classes, running with November Project, and watching Claire and Chris on Bon Appétit. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do when I graduate, but I am leaning towards pediatrics or neonatal. I look forward to working with new students as they transition into nursing school and helping them apply material in and out of the classroom.

  • Joyce Chao

    Program: DNP-FNP Advanced Practice

    Can tutor: Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Health Assessment

    Bio:Hi, I'm Joyce and I'm in the DNP-FNP Advanced Practice program. I studied Psychology/Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley but ended up working in finance. I was an economic and financial analyst at a consulting firm for 6 years before I decided to change careers. I now work in the Emergency Department at Hopkins Bayview. Once I graduate from the DNP program, I plan to work in primary care in underserved and immigrant communities. I'm also passionate about education and hope to eventually enter academia and be a part of the future of nursing education.

  • Jess (Caitlyn) Cobb

    Program: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor:Patho, Foundations, Health Assessment, Biostats, Chronic, Older Adults, Complex, Psycht

    Bio: Hi! I am Jess and am studying in the MEN program at JHUSON. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. I studied Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley (#GoBears!) before making my way to nursing school. In my free time, I am planning my next backpacking trip, reading books about psychology and philosophy or am off searching for a new hobby. I love long conversations about human behavior and am always encouraging "Big Talk" instead of small talk.

    My goals in nursing are to explore all the career has to offer, including going back to school to get my DNP one day. I am very interested in psychiatric and forensic nursing. I hope to work with foster youth in the future to encourage them to achieve their aspirations. I look forward to helping students connect with the material taught at JHUSON not only on a need to know basis but on a level that inspires them to seek more.

  • Merayah Colocho
    Merayah ColochoProgram: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Bio: Hello! My name is Merayah Colocho, born and raised in Southern California. I have a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of California in Riverside. I took a gap year to complete all the nursing prerequisites required for nursing school, and now I am fortunate to be a part of the Hopkins family. I am currently in my 3rd semester as a MEN student. Moreover, I have held plenty of jobs ranging from fast food, receptionist work, and science tutoring. I believe these diverse jobs have allowed me to grow and be enthusiastic in all I do. I love traveling and embarking in new experiences where I find myself learning about a variety of things. My true passion lies in education and I plan to pursue a doctorate degree in advanced nursing practice. I am beyond excited to get to know you and have the opportunity to guide you through any doubts or concerns you may face during your time here at Hopkins!


  • Rebecca Cohen
    Program: MSN-Entry Graduate- August 2020

    Bio: My name is Rebecca Singer Cohen, I am an MEN graduate (August 2020) and work at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. Prior to starting the program, I spent 15 years in health services research and health policy working on policy issues including health disparities, Medicaid utilization, and workforce. I've also spent 5 years volunteering at a rescue station in Montgomery County, MD, serving as the charge EMT on 911 response ambulances. I am passionate about learning, and I love teaching, and I hope that I'll be able to help you master this material!

  • Emma Crabo

    Program: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Bio: Hi, all! My name is Emma and I’m a member of cohort 9 here at the SON. I was born and raised in Washington State, but I traveled down the coast to attend Scripps College in Claremont, California for undergraduate degree. While my interests have always revolved around the sciences, the majority of my professional life thus far has been spent up on the southwest coast of Alaska working in the salmon industry. I have also worked in Costa Rica studying spiders, WOOF’d in Ireland, and scribed in an emergency department just outside my hometown. During the little free time I have (*sighs*), I enjoy cooking with friends and going on walks around the JHU Homewood campus. I hope to someday become a family nurse practitioner but in the meantime, I’m loving being a part of the Academic Success Center team!

  • Corey Crowe

    Corey CroweProgram: MSN – Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Health Assessment, Pharmacology

    Bio: Hey my name is Corey. Born and raised at the Jersey Shore. I have my undergraduate degree in Dietetics/Nutrition from James Madison University. After graduation I went on to serve 2 years in the Peace Corps as a Public Health Educator/Nutritionist in a small village in Peru. When I came home, I decided to change career paths and got my CNA license and worked in a psychiatric nursing home. I then applied for nursing school and accepted an offer to attend Johns Hopkins.

    My career goals are to work at a level one trauma center in the ICU and eventually go back to school to get my doctorate as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. I enjoy learning and I look forward to using the knowledge I have gained to help guide new students to become proficient in the information taught to us during this program.

  • Sarah Frank
    Sarah FrankProgram: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Bio: I grew up in New Jersey, but Baltimore is home. I moved here in 2007 to earn my undergrad degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences. My interests include backpacking, bass playing, and indoor gardening. I’m looking forward to working with you.


  • Jane Ko

    Program: DNP-FNP

    Bio: Hello, my name is Jane! I am in the Doctor of Nursing Practice FNP track at the SON and the GSSO President for the Graduate Specialty programs. Prior to graduate school, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Nursing and worked majority of my nursing career in acute care within cardiac telemetry and the Neuro ICU. While working, I served on the Oregon Nurses Association's health policy cabinet for a 2-year term, engaging closely with legislators and grassroots organizations on various health priorities in the state. I also had a unique opportunity to study abroad as a Teaching Assistant for a month in Singapore to learn from prominent leaders within tech, economics, trade, and health policy and how these industries affected healthcare . I am excited to join the team because I enjoy teaching and believe each person learns differently: visual, kinesthetic, auditory, or a combination of all three. My job as your tutor is to facilitate a custom-tailored tutoring session in the best way that you learn best! I look forward to meeting you and working with you in the future.

  • Evan Loker
    Evan LokerProgram: PhD

    Bio: I am currently a PhD Candidate in the English Department at Johns Hopkins University. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area (a UC Davis alum) and received my Masters in Comparative Literature from NYU before coming to Hopkins in 2015. My dissertation is about the literature and ideas of the antislavery movement in the US, Cuba, and Brazil. Besides my research, I am passionate about teaching and have taught writing in a variety of scholarly contexts. In our sessions, you can expect a collaborative environment that will help you write the best version of your term paper, research proposal, or dissertation chapter. When not working, I can be found watching classic films, listening to music, or squeezing in one last hike before the next East Coast summer.


  • Kayla McGraw

    Program: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Patho, Foundations, Health Assessment, Writing

    Bio: Hi! My name is Kayla and I am in the SP21 cohort of the MEN program. I am originally from New Jersey, but spent the past four years in North Carolina at Elon University. I studied psychology, neuroscience, and human service studies, then decided that my next step would be nursing! Following this program, my goal is to work in pediatric acute care.

    I was drawn to the Academic Success Center because I really enjoyed working as a writing tutor for more than half of college. I look forward to working with you!

  • Lorraine Odango
    Program: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Bio: Hey! I’m Lorraine! My pronouns are she/her and I go by Lo! I am currently a third semester student (Cohort 10 - graduating class of Summer 2021) in the MEN program. I am originally from the San Francisco, Bay Area in California. I’m obsessed with Disneyland, my dog, and my partner. If you were to describe me in three words I’d probably say I’m loud, friendly, and passionate. I’ve tutored prior for Anatomy and Physiology and I found that I loved providing students an opportunity to discover what study and learning techniques work best for them in each class! I’m so excited to be a part of the ASC team!

  • Brian Rogers

    Program: MSN-Entry Graduate- August 2020

    Bio: Brian Rogers completed the MSN Entry into Nursing Program in August of 2020. He is now a nurse on the Cardiac Care Unit at University of Maryland Medical Center. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, reading, and gardening.


  • Rebecca Singer-Cohen

    Program: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Patho, Foundations, Health Assessment, Chronic, Older Adults

    Bio: My name is Rebecca Singer Cohen, I am a 4th semester student at Hopkins, and I live in Silver Spring, MD. Prior to starting the program, I spent 15 years in health services research and health policy working on policy issues including health disparities, Medicaid utilization, and workforce. I've also spent 5 years volunteering at a rescue station in Montgomery County, MD, serving as the charge EMT on 911 response ambulances. I am passionate about learning, and I love teaching, and I hope that I'll be able to help you master this material!

  • Aaron Speer

    Aaron SpeerProgram: MSN – Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Pathophysiology, Chronic, Complex

    Bio: Aaron Joseph Speer is currently enrolled as fourth semester student in the JHSON MSN, Entry into Nursing Program. He was born and raised in Los Angeles California, and moved to Baltimore in the beginning of 2018 for nursing school. Aaron attended University of California, San Diego, where he earned a BS in Human Biology. He is also an executive board member of the JHSON Men In Nursing chapter, which promotes diversity in the nursing profession. Aaron has a life-long passion for tutoring, and over a decade of experience, tutoring professionally, and as a volunteer. During his free time he likes to rock climb, experience Drag shows, and play board games, all while in the company of amazing friends.

  • Silvia Song
    Program: DNP-FNP

    Bio: My name is Silvia and I am in my third year of the DNP Family Nurse Practice program. I was a neuro analyst and biomaterial project manager before I decided to change my career. After I graduate, I hope to work in outpatient general internal medicine or urgent care. In my spare time (if I have any), I love to go hiking and exploring brunch restaurants.

  • Reenette Thompson

    Program: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Patho, Health Assessment

    Bio: Hi! My name is Reenette Thompson and I am in cohort 9 of the MEN program. I have a B.S. in Public Health Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. There, I was a Teaching Assistant for Anatomy and Physiology as well as a research assistant for a cognitive and behavioral neuroscience lab. I was also a sexual health peer educator and love talking/learning about all things regarding maternal and reproductive health. During my free time I enjoy reading, blogging, and creating fitness goals that I cannot maintain.

    As a student and former tutor I know that the process of learning is personal and different for everyone. I look forward to giving advice and assistance to help you learn information in ways that are most meaningful to you.

  • Lisa Tran
    Program: DNP-FNP Graduate- May 2020

    Bio: My name is Lisa, and I graduated from the DNP-FNP program at JHSON in May 2020 with a HIV Primary Care Certificate. I will be tutoring DNP and PhD students in writing. As someone who felt comfortable with my academic writing skills prior to entering the MEN and DNP program, I felt overwhelmed by the different requirements of a doctorate project and creating a doctorate-level scholarly paper. As a first generation American and a first generation college graduate, I felt like I did not have a non-judgmental environment to turn to for help. I thank the safe space Renee and Dr. Busch created for me to ask "stupid" questions, and I want to provide that for you. This is probably your first time creating a doctorate-level scholarly paper, on top of the other doctoral classes and perhaps learning how to be a NP for the first time. So it is absolutely okay to ask for help! Evan and I are here to help you.

  • Kevin Valentine

    Kevin ValentineProgram: MSN – Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Pathophysiology, Foundations

    Bio: Kevin Valentine is a 24-year-old MEN student that’s just trying to get through his first winter but sometimes gets confused that socks are gloves (cue the “awww”). When he’s not in class or clinical, Kevin can be seen beelining towards his 6th plate of appetizers at formal events, eating a pot roast on the 2nd floor on the SON, and just eating in general. He enjoys long walks to Safeway with a giant thermoregulated water bottle in his hand. Kevin often speaks in puns that may elicit an automatic eye-rolling response. He holds his friends & family deer to his heart (he really loves deer puns for some reason) and always make sure to take care of them, which aligns with the fact that Kevin is a Leo aka the protecting lion sign. Get Kevin as a tutor and he’ll protect you from select all questions on exams that are “good practice for the NCLEX.” Kevin graduated with a Biochemistry/Molecular Biology degree from UC Davis in 2017 aka you’ll never flinch again when you hear “RAAS” if he tutors you for patho.

  • Valentina Viscardi

    Program: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Patho, Foundations, Health Assessment

    Bio: Valentina hails from Long Island, New York where she is a former cancer research specialist from Stony Brook University. At Stony Brook, she mentored research students and carried out independent research pertaining to the effects of high fat diets on Breast Cancer.

    Valentina attended Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore and during her time there was the President of the Tri-Beta Honor Society. Through the biological honor society, she lead student organized tutoring services and “teaching days” at inner city Baltimore schools.

    She has extensive tutoring experience as she started her own tutoring business, providing affordable tutoring to high school students.

    A fun fact about Valentina is that she enjoys rapping! Her alter ego is “Cardi V.” Coupled with her talking a lot with her hands (it’s an Italian thing), you can bet that a tutoring session will involve some raps and high energy to help you remember important concepts!

  • Drew Walker

    Program: MSN – Entry into Nursing

    Can tutor: Pathophysiology, Health Assessment, Foundations

    Bio: Hello all! I'm 3rd semester student in the MEN program coming in from a completely different background (you can do it too!). Originally from Cambridge, MA, I graduated from Wesleyan University with a bachelors in Psychology and proceeded to do very little with that degree. I lived in Costa Rica after college to learn Spanish, then worked on Capitol Hill as an intern, and eventually moved to California to work in the gaming industry where I was a game designer for ~10 years. I left the industry with a desire for more stability and worked at the MMA gym as an instructor where I trained for a couple of years while I caught up on prereqs and debated my future. So here I am today with a big leaning towards anything Peds and likely going on to the Nurse Practitioner route in the future.

    I enjoy spending my free time at the gym, training in martial arts, watching sports, or keeping my love of games alive. I'm all about helping people understand concepts/content and finding that thing that helps make the knowledge click. Who knows, I may even make a game out of it because learning is definitely more fun when it's a game.


  • Kelly Marie Webber
    Kelly Marie WebberProgram: MSN-Entry into Nursing

    Bio: Kelly (Marie) Webber is a member of the Spring 2021 cohort and a dual-culture student hailing from abroad, most recently Hong Kong. With dual graduate degrees in Music and Integrated Music Education, she has taught (performed and conducted) abroad in tertiary institutions in Switzerland, Shanghai (China), Nederlands, US, Tanzania, and Hong Kong since 1999. While her focus was in Music, she has also taught across the Sciences as well as Theatre and Epistemology. She is currently a FULD fellow on Weinberg 3 PACU, a CNE in Oncology IPOP, and a Clin Tech at Maryland. She has extensive experience teaching different populations as both a professor and certified teacher. She loved the outdoors, dogs, running when not injured, and traveling. She is interested in clinical epidemiology and how cultures approach health and healing.