People in the Honors Program 

In the Honors Program we are dedicated to serving our students. We have combined decades of experience in advising students from all schools & colleges, majors and minors, and backgrounds and circumstances. We consider it a privilege to be a part of your undergraduate career and will help you in every way that we can.

Every Honors student is assigned an Honors advisor when you start in the Honors Program, and an Honors Thesis coordinator in your junior year. We encourage you to schedule frequent appointments through OrangeSUccess with your advisor or thesis coordinator, who are always here to support you. 

Honors Staff

Dr. Danielle Taana Smith


Danielle Smith

Dr. Danielle Taana Smith - Director

Professor Smith earned a BA in Russian Studies from Dartmouth College, an MBA from Saint Martin’s College and a PhD in Sociology from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. In 2016, she served as an ERASMUS+ Scholar at the Faculty of Pedagogy and Social Work at Liepaja University, Latvia.

Dr. Smith served as Director of the Honors Program at Rochester Institute of Technology from 2009 to 2018, where her capacities included teaching and curriculum development. Her coursework focuses on global public health, environmental sustainability and issues of social justice and human rights.

Her core research areas include refugee migration and resettlement, reconciliation and reconstruction in post-conflict societies, and disaster response and management, with particular focus on Africa and its diasporas. Dr. Smith has presented her work nationally and globally. Her research and writings have been published in scholarly journals including Journal of Health and Social Policy, Global Public Health, Economic Development Quarterly, Development and Society, Journal of Black Studies and Liberian Studies Journal.

Ali Holtzapple - Associate Director

Alison Cridge

Ali Holtzapple - Associate Director

Ali Cridge was born in Philadelphia and moved to Syracuse at the age of six. As a child she spent many happy times in the Adirondacks. At peace near mountains and snow, she attended Middlebury College in Vermont, and earned a B.A. in English (with detours in creative writing and film) and a minor in Political Science. Ali played Division III Tennis and studied abroad for a year in Bristol, England. She needed travel funds and found her coolest summer job fighting forest fires on a helicopter crew in Arizona, Idaho and Montana. Maybe life felt complete out West, because in her 20s she lived in Colorado and Montana (and in the back of a pick-up truck nomading up the coast.) This was the decade that Ali worked as a paralegal, journalist, copywriter, writing tutor, communications consultant, and served OG coffee.

In May 2019, Ali earned an Executive Master of Public Administration with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Conflict Resolution from Maxwell, Ali feels privileged to teach for Honors, volunteer as a PARCC facilitator, teach Summer College, and participate in processes within the Office of Community Standards.

Karen Hall PhD - Assistant Director

Karen and Butters

Karen Hall - Assistant Director

Karen Hall was born and raised in the central New York area. Her father is an SU alum and she remembers sitting beside him in all sorts of weather watching football games in Archbold Stadium. She remembers, as well, feeling very grown up while using the Sci Tech Library to gather books for her tenth grade term paper.

Karen left New York for Ohio after graduating from high school. There she completed a BA in English with minors in Women's Studies and education at Denison University. After two years of various (tedious) jobs, Karen attended The Ohio State University where she earned her MA in English. In 1992, Karen returned to Syracuse and pursued a creatively diverse number of jobs, from computer programmer to loan officer to whole food grocery store manager to college professor to bookkeeper. In the midst of it all, Karen attended Syracuse University where she earned her doctorate in English. Karen's dissertation explored the inter-relationships between American popular culture and militarism, and she loves to say that she is a G.I. Joe specialist. She knows almost all there is to know about the 12" action figure introduced by Hasbro to the toy world in 1964 (the very year she was born!). She has published a scholarly article on G.I. Joe and was quoted in the New York Times after a reporter interviewed her on the topic!

Adam Crowley - Academic Advisor

Adam Crowley

Adam Crowley - Academic Advisor

Adam Crowley was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Missouri, Central New York, and Connecticut.  He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut and later returned to Central New York to attend the Syracuse University College of Law.

Before joining the Renée Crown University Honors Program, Adam was a lawyer for nearly a decade. He practiced corporate litigation at an international law firm based in New York City and public-interest law at Legal Services of Central New York in Syracuse. In addition to his legal career, Adam had brief stints working on political campaigns and substitute teaching in the Syracuse City School District. In his free time, Adam enjoys cooking, reading, and collecting vinyl records.

As an Academic and Scholarship Advisor, Adam helps students navigate the Honors curriculum and plan their thesis projects. He also works with the Center for Fellowship & Scholarship Advising, assisting students with their applications for nationally-competitive scholarships and fellowships.

Robin Berkowitz Smith - Academic Advisor

Robin Berkowitz-Smith

Robin Berkowitz-Smith - Academic Advisor 

Robin Berkowitz-Smith was born in Philadelphia PA, the land of steak sandwiches, WAWA, and the Liberty Bell. Robin was a first-generation college student and an alumnus to Syracuse University where she completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition Management.  Robin then attended Kent State University to earn her M. ED in Higher Education Administration while simultaneously working as a Resident Director.

After completing her M.Ed. at Kent State University, she returned to Syracuse University to work as a Resident Director in the Office of Residence Life.   Robin eventually became the Associate Director for Residence Life and after 30 years she decided she wanted to have more contact with students and became an Academic and Career Advisor for the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and the Maxwell School and currently an advisor for the Honors Program.

Robin loves to travel, loves to sit by her koi pond and overfeed her Koi, and adores her grand puppies-“Thor” and “Codie”.  Robin has two children that both graduated from SU and are now elementary school teachers in the Syracuse area.

Robin values her time working with students, and she understands the importance of having strong support systems and meaningful relationships with staff and faculty to help students achieve their goals.

Blythe Scherrer - Functional Business Analyst

Blythe Scherrer

Blythe Scherrer - Functional Business Analyst

Blythe Scherrer is the information architect and 'data guru' of the Honors Program. Because Honors students come from all  schools and colleges, Honors requires a complex 'data and web footprint' at Syracuse.  Her job is to ensure that all the processes and systems that comprise the Honors 'digital space' run smoothly.  

A Seattle native, Blythe graduated with a bachelor's degree in Marine Zoology from the University of Washington in 1999, but became preoccupied with developing a database and website to showcase her undergraduate thesis project, so decided to embark on a career in information management instead.

Over her career, Blythe has worked at a software startup, a cancer genomics research lab, an automotive engineering firm, and finally in higher education at Syracuse University.  She earned her Master's Degree in Information Management from the iSchool at Syracuse University in 2015.  

Maya Falkner-Guidice - Administrative Specialist

Maya Falkner-Guidice

Maya Falkner-Guidice - Administrative Specialist

Maya Falkner-Guidice is the administrative assistant of the Renee Crown Honors Program. Maya supports the department with budgeting, academic scheduling, event planning/recruitment and Honors communications that impact our daily operations and processes.

Prior to joining the Honors team, Maya lived in NYC for several years, after completing her Fashion Marketing degree at Berkeley College in White Plains. Maya focused using her creative coordination skills within a variety of fashion, beauty and online marketing roles. Maya was raised around the Syracuse University community, and previously worked as an Operations Coordinator in Student Living for 3.5 years where she gained an interest and recognition for diversity and inclusion student initiatives on and off campus.

Honors Core Faculty

The Honors Core Faculty help shape the program's curriculum, policy development, and strategic planning. Their academic vision guides the Honors Program in matters crucial both to the larger Honors faculty and to Honors students. They are an extraordinary group of scholar-teachers, accomplished in their disciplines and dedicated to the Honors Program. Each teaches in Honors, participates on working groups and oversight committees, or advises Honors students.


Jean-Francois Bedard

Professor - Architecture

Jean-Francois Bedard

Professor Jean-Francois Bedard

Read more about Professor Bedard

Rick Burton

David B. Falk Endowed Professor

Rick Burton

Professor Rick Burton

Read more about Professor Burton

José (Peppie) Calvar

Associate Professor - Setnor School of Music

Jose (Peppie) Calvar

Professor Jose (Peppie) Calvar

Read more about Professor Calvar


Harriet Brown

Professor - Magazine, News & Digital Journalism

Harriet Brown

Professor Harriet Brown

Read more about Professor Brown

Can Isik

Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Can Isik

Professor Can Isik

Read more about Dean Isik

Shannon Novak

Professor - Anthropology

Shannon Novak

Professor Shannon Novak

Read more about Professor Novak

Ramesh Raina

Professor, Biology, College of Arts & Sciences; Interim Vice President for Research

Professor Ramesh Raina

Professor Ramesh Raina

Read more about Professor Raina

Steve Sawyer

Professor, Director of the Doctoral Programs, School of Information Studies (iSchool)

Steve Sawyer

Professor Steve Sawyer

Read more about Professor Sawyer

Minet Schindehutte

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship  - Whitman School of Management

Minet Schindehutte

Professor Minet Schindehutte

Read more about Professor Schindehutte

George Theoharis

Professor - School of Education, Teaching & Leadership

George Theoharis

Professor George Theoharis

Read more about Professor Theoharis