Loyola University Maryland

ALANA Services

ALANA Services Staff

Raven's Photo

Raven Williams (Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers)

I am Raven Williams, Director of ALANA Services and a native of Saginaw, Michigan.  My work in higher education has been focused on student retention, academic advising and intervention, staff and student training and development, cultural competency, and diversity/equity/inclusion awareness.  As the Director of ALANA Services, I oversee the retention and support services for students of color and other underrepresented students, as well as supervision of the ALANA staff.  I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Eastern Michigan University and my Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from Saginaw Valley State University.  My next academic goal is to begin working on my doctoral degree.  In my spare time, I love anything related to music, church, sports, traveling, shopping, and exploring new restaurants.  The one thing people will learn about me quickly is that I’m a social butterfly and I love connecting with people.  Most importantly, I love working with students!

 Dennis's Photo

Dennis Velez (Preferred Pronouns: He, Him, His)
Associate Director

My name is Dennis Velez, and I am the Associate Director for ALANA Services. I am a proud Connecticut native (though my parents were both born in Puerto Rico). I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Iona College, and received my Master of Arts degree in Sociology with a concentration in diversity and inequality from Fordham University. As Associate Director, I oversee the Ignatius Scholars Program, help oversee the academic enrichment programs, work on retention programs such as MAN2MAN, and provide general support services for ALANA students. When I'm not serving as a Higher Education professional, you can find me on the dance floor (I love dance fitness), checking out a cool restaurant (eating is a hobby), spending time with my family back home in Connecticut (I have two nieces and two nephews I'm obsessed with!) or keeping up with my favorite reality television shows (guilty habit). Go Greyhounds!

Julie's Photo

Julie Rivera (Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers)
Assistant Director

My name is Julie Rivera, and I am the Assistant Director of ALANA services. My parents are originally from El Salvador and immigrated to the US in the 1980s. They made their life here and here I was born along with my other 4 siblings in Silver Spring, MD. I am a recent graduate from the University of Maryland School of Social having obtained my Master’s in Social Work with a concentration on Community Action and Social Policy. I also obtained my Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). I am responsible for overseeing of our programming, leadership development and student organizations, as well as supervision of our Graduate Assistants. I also support the Associate Director and Director with the daily operations of the office. When I’m not working, I enjoy eating out in many of the Baltimore hot spots, running, and exploring new activities, like hiking! I also love spending time with family and friends when I get the chance. 

Josie's Photo

Joseleen Gomez (Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers)
Program Assistant

My name is Joseleen Gomez and I am the Program Assistant for ALANA Services and Student Activities. I was born in Venezuela, raised in Trinidad and the United States. I grew up in Baltimore and attended the University of Maryland, College Park. I earned a B.A. in American Studies with a focus in U.S. Latino Studies. I earned my Master’s in Emerging Media at Loyola University Maryland as well! As Program Assistant, I provide administrative and clerical support to the Director Raven Williams, work collaboratively with the Associate Director Dennis Velez and the Assistant Director Julie Rivera, to provide supervision for the Student Employees and to assist with the coordination of major ALANA programs and initiatives. I also assist with the supervision of Student Employees for the Student Activities department. My interests include spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, listening to music, watching movies and shopping.

Gio's Photo

Giovanna Baisie-Arthur (Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers)
Graduate Assistant
Leadership Development

Hello! My name is Giovanna Baisie-Arthur. I am currently a Grad student in Clinical Professional Counseling here at Loyola,and I am returning as the Graduate Assistant for Leadership Development and Cultural Programming. A little about myself, my family is originally from Ghana, West Africa but I was born and raised in Prince George’s County Maryland. I am a recent graduate of Stevenson University where I earned my B.S in Psychology. I was the president of the African Student Union at Stevenson which will help me with some of my responsibilities here at ALANA. My overall responsibilities comprise of assisting in the development of programs for ALANA students and the community as well as working closely with ALANA students to collaborate and facilitate various events and celebrations. Outside of ALANA, I love arts and crafts, listen to music, and hangout with my family and friends. I am very excited to be returning to the ALANA team and look forward to a great a year!

Kiya's Photo

Knekiya Harper (Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers)
Graduate Assistant
Academic & Career Enrichment

My name is Knekiya Harper. I was born and raised in Waldorf, Maryland. I recently graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a focus in Life Sciences and a Minor in Rehabilitation and Human Services. This fall I will be a first year graduate student at Loyola University of Maryland pursing my Master’s degree in Clinical Professional Counseling. My career goal is to become a mental health counselor for adolescents and young adults. An interesting fact about me is that I am really into the performing arts. Since I was a child, I have been involved in local theatre productions. I also enjoy traveling. I usually save my money to go on different vacations and experience different cultures and foods. My life goal is to travel the world. I am excited to be assisting first year minority students and first generation students transitioning into college. I, myself, struggled transitioning into undergraduate life at The Pennsylvania State University. My goal is to prevent incoming minority and first generation students from experiencing the challenges I experienced in my undergraduate career. I promise to provide plenty of fun, creative, innovate, and engaging events, ideas, and resources to my amazing undergraduates! It’s going to be a wonderful school year!

Angelique's Photo Angelique Dakkak (Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers)
Graduate Assistant
Mentorship & Assessment

My name is Angelique Dakkak, and I am the new Mentorship and Assessment Graduate Assistant for ALANA services. I obtained my Bachelor’s in Psychology with a concentration on Health and Development in 2016 and will be starting Loyola University’s PsyD. program this fall. After my parents immigrated from war-torn Egypt to the US in 1980, I was born into an environment where I was surrounded by immigrants of different cultures facing the challenges that come with adapting to a new environment. I grew up in northern California and at a young age, became interested in learning Spanish to become more engaged in my community. In college, I spent two years volunteering with Latinx immigrants, supporting them in studying for the citizenship exam. Simultaneously, I served as a mentor for elementary and high school students in ESL programs at the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club. When I’m not working or studying, I enjoy traveling, writing poetry, taking pictures and spending time with family and friends as often as I can.