Fordham Appoints New Junior and Transfer Dean



Dr. Rebecca Stark-Gendrano will begin her new position in April.


In January 2019, Milton Bravo’s sudden departure from his position as assistant dean for juniors and transfer students surprised many community members and left them with questions about their futures. Now, students have an answer to those questions: Dr. Rebecca Stark-Gendrano has accepted an offer to take the position, effective this April.

An internal hire, Stark-Gendrano will assume this role from her current position at Fordham as assistant director of Lincoln Center’s Office of Prestigious Fellowships. She is also an adjunct professor in the English department. She will continue teaching English in the future.

Her connection to Fordham is even deeper, though, as she began her master’s program in English at Fordham in 2003. She received her doctorate in that same program in 2014. During her studies, she was a student of current Acting Associate Dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) Mary Bly, who was her first professor at Fordham on her first day.

After a nationwide search, Fordham narrowed down the search to five candidates who underwent interviews, Bly said. Stark-Gendrano was selected among those five.

As the dean of the junior class, Stark-Gendrano will help guide juniors as they transition from veteran college students into the workforce or graduate school. She believes her background in Prestigious Fellowships makes her a perfect fit for this role.

“Junior year is really a critical year,” she said. “They’re starting to look beyond Fordham a little bit. They’re starting to think about internships, graduate school, prestigious fellowships … so I think junior year is a really crucial year for students to begin thinking about how they’re going to apply their education.”

Additionally, Stark-Gendrano feels that her experience as a transfer student  — having moved from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City to Rutgers University in New Jersey — gives her a strong background to help assist Fordham’s incoming transfer students.

“I went from a school that had about 250 students altogether to one that had 40,000,” she said. Having experienced that dramatic shift, she feels qualified to guide transfer students through the throes of their culture shock as well.

Stark-Gendrano is most excited to work with a larger portion of the student body than she did in her previous role. At the Office of Prestigious Fellowships, she said, she worked with a “relatively narrow slice of students,” but now she is excited to broaden her reach at Fordham.

Bly praised Stark-Gendrano’s work in her role in the Prestigious Fellowships office, citing the fact that FCLC students received more Fulbright fellowships last year than their Rose Hill counterparts. Stark-Gendrano went on to describe this as “a point of pride for FCLC.”

Also important to Bly was Stark-Gendrano’s existing relationship to Fordham. “She knows Fordham really well,” Bly said, “and she’s going to bring that to FCLC.”

The culture of social justice within the Fordham community is something that has motivated Stark-Gendrano to stay at the university as long as she has. “Fordham culture is really supportive,” she said. “Fordham students are really passionate, and it’s really exciting to be working with students who believe they can go out into the world and improve things on a big scale.”

Colin Sheeley contributed reporting.