Undergraduate Program Dean & Staff

Dean Patricia Grant inside Hariri

Patricia J. Grant, Ed.D.

Senior Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program

Patricia Grant is passionate about student success, integrating Jesuit values into the Undergraduate Program, and creating meaningful student experiences. At Georgetown McDonough, Grant has revamped the undergraduate advising structure; expanded career trek opportunities; laid the groundwork for a young alumni advisory group; contributed to curricular innovations such as the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program and First-Year Seminar Program; and created two diversity and inclusion initiatives for incoming students, including one that partners with PwC.

Grant joined Georgetown McDonough in 2010 with more than 15 years of experience in undergraduate, graduate, and executive education program administration. She has taught courses at the University of Pennsylvania, the College of New Jersey, Temple University, and Georgetown. Additionally, she worked in the Office of Executive Education at Penn to develop and launch six master’s and doctoral programs. She holds an Ed.D. and M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. from Cornell University.

Maria Anderson

Administrative Coordinator and Executive Assistant

Maria Anderson has over 25 years of experience in administrative management, project management, and research, communications and event planning. She has worked in various capacities in both the public and corporate sectors throughout the Washington metropolitan area. She enjoys movies of all genres and spending time with her family and friends.

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Monija Amani, Ed.D.

Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Global Programs

With nearly two decades of experience in academic and student affairs, Monija Amani has been involved in the development and implementation of curricular and co-curricular programs including student disability and advocacy. She holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and a doctoral degree in higher education administration from The George Washington University.

Prior to joining the McDonough team, she worked at George Washington University where she coordinated the overall delivery of masters and education specialist degree programs, as well as graduate certificates in traumatic brain injury. She has taught courses in administration of higher education and qualitative research design and methodology. She also serves as a committee member on doctoral dissertations and engages in applied research related to global education and student development. Amani is an avid reader and enjoys jogging and cooking for family and friends.

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Daniela Brancaforte, Ph.D.

Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Interdisciplinary Programs

Daniela Brancaforte joined McDonough in 2014, where she promotes undergraduate research, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary learning. With almost 20 years of professional experience as a consultant, academic advisor and adjunct professor, Brancaforte provides leadership through strategic initiatives that incorporate Georgetown’s Jesuit values including social justice and diversity programming. She teaches a First Year Seminar on the intersection of business and anthropology, as well as a course on Commerce Across Cultures. Brancaforte received a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from Princeton University and a B.A. in Italian and anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.

Prior to arriving at Georgetown, Brancaforte worked as a social science research consultant and co-founded and managed a service-disabled veteran-owned small business for 10 years. Her doctoral work was based on her qualitative research of U.S. military culture and the challenges experienced by military spouses, which she continued through her consulting work improving programs for veterans and military families. Brancaforte has lived and studied extensively in Europe and Latin America, speaks Spanish, German, and Italian, and enjoys traveling and visiting other countries. In her free time, she plays soccer, spoils her rescue dog, enjoys time with her family, travels, and reads as much as possible.

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Deborah Coburn, M.Ed.

Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Advising

Prior to joining Georgetown McDonough, Deborah Coburn worked in financial aid, admissions, and academic advising. Coburn earned a B.A. in history and public relations from Syracuse University. She earned an M.Ed. in counseling in student affairs from University of California, Los Angeles.

She is a huge sports fan, especially college basketball, and enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Advises current students: A-B

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Daniel Minot, MAT, M.Ed.

Assistant Dean

Daniel Minot has over 10 years of professional experience in teaching, advising, and counseling. He is dedicated to providing holistic support for his students, empowering them to pursue their goals while prioritizing self-care and wellness as they chart their own path at Georgetown. He is especially passionate about working with first-generation students through the college transition. Minot serves as the transfer student coordinator, the liaison for the Community Scholars and Georgetown Scholars programs, and the manager of our McDonough Peer Tutoring Program.

Minot holds a B.A. in political science and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis, where he also studied abroad in Santiago, Chile. He went on to pursue an M.A. in teaching from American University and an M.Ed. in school counseling from George Washington University. Minot has served as a Spanish teacher with Teach for America, an academic advisor at George Washington University, and a college counselor at KIPP DC.

In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, hiking, playing tennis, and spending time with friends, family, and his goldendoodle puppy.

Advises current students: Si-Z

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Mita Patel, M.Ed.

Associate Director

Mita Patel has a background in counseling, development advising, and student leadership development. She uses a holistic approach to advising to enable students to reach their academic, professional, and personal goals. She also is experienced in developing collaborative and trusted relationships with faculty and campus partners to advocate for students.

Patel is passionate about working with a diverse population of students, especially those from a first-generation background. She holds a B.A. from Temple University in communications and an M.S. in higher education counseling and student affairs from West Chester University. Prior to joining Georgetown University, Patel worked with students at the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University and the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

In her free time Patel loves to travel, try new restaurants, read, cook, and spend quality time with family and friends.

Advises current students: P-Sh

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Talia Schatz, L.M.S.W.

Director of the McDonough Undergraduate Career Development Center

Talia Schatz is an experienced higher education professional with an extensive background in professional development, leadership coaching, student advising, program management, and recruitment. She works collaboratively with students to help them define and achieve their professional and leadership goals in strategic and thoughtful ways. Before Georgetown, Schatz oversaw the professional development team at Barnard College of Columbia University.

At Barnard she advised students on career and pre-professional exploration and skill building, and developed and launched the alumnae and parents mentoring programs, as well as the executive leadership fellowship program. Prior to Barnard, Schatz was an assistant manager in the recruitment division in the Office of Career Strategy at Georgetown University Law Center. She earned an MSW from New York University and a B.A. from Wellesley. Schatz is delighted to be back at Georgetown and enjoys trying new restaurants, hiking, traveling, and volunteering at the Capitol Area Food Bank.

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Sara Skillman, M.A.

Associate Director

Sara Skillman has more than 10 years of experience in higher education. She joined Georgetown University in 2008, working first for the Office of Global Education, where she partnered with undergraduate students involved in study abroad opportunities, before coming to Georgetown McDonough in 2016.

She earned a B.A. in French and animal behavior from Franklin & Marshall College and an M.A. in higher education administration from George Washington University. Skillman speaks French and has studied abroad in France, South Africa, and Japan. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the District and planning her next international trip.

Advises current students: I-Mc

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Justin C. Smith, M.S.Ed.

Assistant Dean for Student Success

Justin Smith has over 15 years of experience working in higher education in a variety of capacities. Smith provides leadership and strategic vision for student support initiatives through carefully crafted assessment strategies and an outcomes-based approach. In addition to advising, he oversees several institutional priorities and major projects in his role.

Smith started his career at Georgetown in 2012 as the director of orientation, transition, and family engagement before moving to the School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS) as an assistant dean of academic affairs. Prior to working at Georgetown, Smith worked at the University of Arkansas and the University at Albany, SUNY, where he also received his B.A. and M.S.Ed.

Advises current students: C-D, N-O

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Lauren Wagoner, M.Ed.

Associate Director

Before coming to Georgetown McDonough, Lauren Wagoner was as an academic advisor in the School of International Service at American University for several years. Prior to that, she worked as a study abroad advisor at George Washington University, where she also completed an M.A. in higher education administration. She earned a B.A. in communications and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, Wagoner enjoys going to see musicals, reading, traveling, and exploring D.C. with friends!

Advises current students: E-H, Md-Mz

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