Who We Are

Who We Are


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!


Dr. Will Simpkins, Senior Director 
Will Simpkins is the Senior Director of the Center for Career & Professional Development at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with responsibility for overseeing career services for all students and alumni. He has spent over 15 years working in college student services with particular focuses in public service and internships. Dr. Simpkins has a doctorate in education from New York University, a master’s degree in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Virginia Tech.

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.

Jovanny Suriel, Associate Director, MPA Career Services
Jovanny A. Suriel, Associate Director at the Center for Career and Professional Development, holds a Master of Education and a Master of Arts in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University Teachers College. He currently is a Mental Health/Career Counselor in NYC and has previously worked in previous roles providing professional and career development for students and early professionals. Jovanny partners with the Dept. of Graduate Studies to support the of programming for professional development and career exploration as well as serves as the Career Advisor for the MPA program.

Kristina Simonsen, Assistant Director for Employer Relations
Kristina Simonsen is the Assistant Director for Employer Relations at the Center for Career & Professional Development. She has worked in career services for the past five years, with a strong emphasis on Experiential Education and employer outreach. 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.

Katheryn Crawford, Associate Director for Experiential Learning
Katheryn Crawford, LMSW is the Associate Director for Experiential Learning. She comes to John Jay after eight and a half years at Fordham University in The Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice. Katheryn is a licensed social worker, community organizer and has years of experience coordinating and managing Service Learning and Experiential Learning opportunities. In her multiple roles, she created programs that supported students to connect their academic work to community-based experience and supported faculty in creating and developing Service Learning courses. Her work reflects her passion for creating powerful experiences for students and supporting them to recognize their own power in transforming the world. Katheryn holds a B.A. in History and African/African-American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin, and a M.S.W from Hunter College School of Social Work.

Linda Mitchell, Assistant Director for Internships
Linda Mitchell has more than 19 years’ experience working in higher education. She established the framework for graduate career advisement services for the Office of Graduate Studies at John Jay College. There for six years she built a reputation for kick-starting the careers of graduate students matriculated in the Master’s Degree Programs by opening the doors to competitive internship opportunities. In 2014, Linda was appointed to the academic internship program where she acts as a liaison between the College and employer sponsors, monitoring the success of student’s internship experiences. She 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.

Muldy Flecher, Apple Corps Internship Counselor
Muldy Flecher is the Internship Counselor with the Apple Corps program here at John Jay College.  He comes to us from the Young Adult Borough Center at Boys & Girls High School for Good Shepherd Services.  For over five years, Muldy served as the Internship & Career Coordinator where he was responsible for placing students in different internship opportunities throughout New York City along with conducting workshops and work-readiness seminars.  Muldy earned his Graduate and Undergraduate degrees from Stony Brook University.  

David Lennox, Student Career Engagement Counselor
David is the Student Career Engagement Counselor at the Center for Career and Professional Development. He has developed various diversity programming and trainings focusing on inclusion and engagement as well as supervising a Peer Educator Program at Montclair State University. His education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from William Paterson University and a Master’s degree in Counseling with a concentration in Higher Education from Montclair State University. 

Digmarie Ruiz, ACE Career Employment Specialist
With a background in youth and workforce development, Digmarie Ruiz has worked in the non-profit sector for over 10 years providing counseling, supervision, and support to NYC youth, assisting them on the path to self-sufficiency. In her various roles, Digmarie was responsible for recruiting, assessing, placing and tracking participants’ progress and ensuring successful completion of programming. Digmarie is also an alumna of Coro Leadership New York, a leadership development training program which utilizes experiential learning to explore New York City’s current policy challenges through site visits and small group interviews with executives, elected officials and community activists. Digmarie holds a B.A. in Psychology/Human Services from Russell Sage College, and an M.A. in Psychology from Pace 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.

Yelena Meytes LCSW, CUNY EDGE Program Manager
Yelena Meytes is a Licened Clinical Social Worker and Program Manager for CUNY EDGE. She comes to John Jay after five years at an nonprofit organization in Harlem NY, providing college access  programs to students, identified as living below the poverty line. In 2010, she conducted field research providing clinical services to Latina American Women ages 18-24 identified as victims of trauma. Yelena holds advanced certificates in Field Instruction, Motivational Interviewing and Project Management. Yelena provides academic, personal and career advisement to Junior and Senior level students in the CUNY EDGE Program.

Soheila Fortuna, Program Advisor
Soheila holds a degree from Berkeley College in Business Administration, concentration in Marketing. She has worked with CUNY EDGE (formerly known as COPE) program since 2007. Before transitioning to full time at John Jay, Soheila provided coverage to 18 CUNY schools overseeing case managers and providing campus-specific support services pertaining to the HRA Work Study Program. In addition, Soheila has vast experience in Human Services.  Soheila Fortuna provides academic, personal and career advisement to Freshman and Sophomore level students in the CUNY EDGE Program.

Amorita Jones, Attendance Monitor & Program Assistant
Amorita Jones is the CUNY EDGE Attendance Monitor & Program Assistant. She came to John Jay after years of experience in Career Services at Borough of Manhattan Community College. She is currently pursuing a degree in Social Work at Lehman College and will be moving forward toward a master’s degree.

Chandrika Surajpal, CUNY LEADS Counselor

Betsy Gonzalez, Assistant to the Director
Betsy Gonzalez is the Assistant to the Senior 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.