Contact Us

Center for Career & Professional Development
L72.00 New Building
524 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

Phone: (212) 237-8754
Fax: (212) 237-8440

Office Hours
Mon. 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Tues. 9:00AM - 7:00PM
Wed. 9:00AM - 7:00PM
Thurs. 9:00AM -5:00PM
Fri.     9:00 AM -5:00PM

Drop-In Hours
Monday through Friday: 1:00PM - 5:00PM 


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The mission of the Center for Career & Professional Development is to assist students and alumni in finding success in the career of their choosing through career exploration, skill development, gaining practical experience, and building a professional network. We work to ensure that each student or alumni we serve approaches his or her professional life with confidence, a sense of purpose and public service, and the knowledge and experience that will propel him or her to success!


Will Simpkins, Director
Will Simpkins is the Director of the Center for Career & Professional Development at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with responsibility for overseeing career services for all undergraduate students and alumni. He has spent the last 10 years working in college student services with particular focuses in public service and internships. He has an M.Ed. in Higher Education from the University of Maryland and a BA in English from Virginia Tech.

Purnima Taylor, Deputy Director (Employer Relations)
Purnima Taylor is the Deputy Director (Employer Specialist) in the Center for Career & Professional Development. In this role she serves as the primary liaison for all employers focused on on-campus recruitment of both undergraduate and graduate students. She is a seasoned professional with experience in Admissions and Career Services within Higher Education and corporate banking recruitment. She has also served as a High School Guidance Counselor in New York State. Purnima holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University and a Bachelors of Arts from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Theresa Cruz Paul, Associate Director for Undergraduate Internship
Theresa Cruz Paul is the Associate Director of Undergraduate Internships in the Center for Career & Professional Development.  In this role she is a resource for students, employers and faculty seeking information regarding academically based internships at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Theresa is a diverse professional with 8+ years of experience in career counseling, job search, assessment, curriculum development and employer relations.  Theresa also teaches Public Sociology and Civic Engagement in the Sociology Department at William Paterson University.  Currently, she is pursuing a MED in Higher and Post-Secondary Education from Columbia University, Teacher’s College and is a Research Assistant for an agenda examining assessment strategies to measure educational quality across institutions in Higher Education.  She holds a MED in Professional Counseling and a BA in Sociology from William Paterson University. 

Premwati Sukhan, Associate Director 
Prem Sukhan has a long career of assisting John Jay students and alumni in planning for career success.  She currently manages the Career Center's efforts to serve our alumni, our veterans, and liaises with federal government recruitment programs.  Ms. Sukhan received her BA in Criminal Justice Administration & Planning from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Mary Ann Triest, Associate Director & MPA Career Advisor
Mary Ann Triest is the Associate Director & MPA Career Advisor and provides targeted career services to current graduate students in public administration and alumni of the program at John Jay College. Mary Ann's career program development experience includes working at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU and the Center for Career Education, Columbia University. She holds a MA in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA degree in Asian Studies and Child Development from Tufts University.

Chantelle Wright, Associate Director & HRA Liason
Chantelle Wright is the Associate Director and HRA Liasion at the Center for Career and Professional Development.  She has worked in career development for the past six years, instructing and developing career courses and facilitating career counseling at Bronx Community College and LaGuardia Community College.  Her education includes a B.S. in Psychology from Morgan State University and an M.A. and Ed.M. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Linda Mitchell, Graduate Career Advisor
Linda Mitchell has more than 19 years experience working in higher education as both a member of the faculty and as an administrator. Since 1993 she has worked in the Career Services field as a Director, Advisor and Coordinator. For the past 6 years, Linda has worked as the graduate career advisor where she provides career services to graduate students matriculated in the eight Masters Degree Programs at John Jay College. As the senior advisor she is responsible for supporting students with managing their career goals and aspirations through mentoring, coaching and counseling. She is pursuing a PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in Organization Leadership from Northcentral University, holds a MS in Organizational Leadership from Mercy College; MLS from St. John's University with a dual specialization in Database Management and Application & Children's and Young Adult Literature and a BA in Journalism from SUNY College at Brockport. She has also studied at Columbia University, Teachers College—Department of Instructional Technology, Purdue University and Arizona State University.

Barbara Young, Career Counselor
Barbara Young's previous career was with a federal agency, the Veterans Administration, where she served as Health Information Manager for the New York and Maryland Health Care Systems. This entailed participation in hiring panels which led to her appointment by Central Office as the VA Recruiter of allied health staff for the Northeast. In 2008 she joined CDS where she counsels students/alumni relative to their career paths/options, their employment application documents and graduate school planning. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College/CUNY.

Paul Maniaci, Career Counselor
Paul Maniaci serves as a Career Counselor at the Center for Career & Professional Development. He previously worked at Hostos Community College’s Career Services Office assisting students with internships and job readiness. Paul created a website,, to provide young professionals with information related to nontraditional careers. He has a Master in Public Administration from Baruch College and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Syracuse University. 

Kristina Simonsen, Career Resources Counselor
Kristina Simonsen is the Career Resources Counselor at the Center for Career & Professional Development. She has worked in career services for the past three years, with a strong emphasis on Experiential Education. Kristina has developed and coordinated various career related workshops and programs at New York Institute of Technology as well as serving as an instructor of a career development course at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology. Her education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from New York Institute of Technology and a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College.

Crystal Farmer, Office Manager
Crystal Farmer serves as the Office Manager for the Center for Career & Professional Development. In this capacity, she handles all the logistics for event planning and management. Ms. Farmer has worked in the Office of Student Activities which has been renamed the "Office of Student Life" and in the Office of Graduate Admissions. She has been employed with CUNY since 1996.

Betsy Gonzalez, Receptionist/Assistant to the Director
Betsy Gonzalez is the Receptionist/Assistant to the Director for the Center for Career & Professional Development. She manages the front desk and reception area and assists students with information. Betsy previously worked for the John Jay Department of Information Technology Helpdesk and has been employed at John Jay since 2007.

Molly Higbie, Graduate Assistant
Molly Higbie is the Graduate Assistant for Employer Relations at the Center for Career and Professional Development. Her responsibilities include providing professional development opportunities for John Jay Students as well as assisting students with any general career development questions they may have. Molly earned her Bachelor's degree from Western New England University in Springfield, MA in May 2012 and is currently attending New York University for a Master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs.

Veronica Anna Aalevik, Graduate Assistant
Veronica is currently a full time graduate student in the Online MPA program.  She has an undergraduate degree in International Business from Berkeley where she graduated on the Presidents Honor List and top of her class.  After her undergraduate degree she worked temporarily within the world of fashion until she decided she wanted to get back into the world of economics and finance.  Anna or Veronica as she is actually known as was born and raised in Sweden and has lived in the U.S. for more than 9 years.  Her career goal is to work for embassies around the world to help solve visa issues and cultural difficulties.  Presently, she is interested in working with MPA students to help them in their career development, and will be working as a Graduate Assistant to Mary Ann Triest, MPA Career Advisor, starting this fall.  Veronica hopes to pursue her CFA as well as a law degree after graduating from the Online MPA program.

Lakeisha Armstrong, Graduate Assistant 
Lakeisha Armstrong is a Graduate Assistant at The Center for Career and Professional Development. In her role, she will be working closely with Theresa Cruz Paul on undergraduate internships. She will also assist students with general career questions and concerns. Lakeisha earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Siena College. To further her studies, she is enrolled in Stony Brook’s Higher Education Administration program at the Manhattan campus.

Carrie Pennoni, Graduate Assistant
Carrie Pennoni is a Graduate Assistant at the Center for Career and Professional Development. Her primary responsibilities include providing career services and opportunities to graduate students in the MPA program at John Jay College. Prior to working in higher education, Carrie worked in the communications industry where she gained experience in public relations and event production, as well as social media management, marketing, and program development. She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University.