Dr. Ilan Goldberg – Founder
Ilan Goldberg, MD, graduated from Amherst College, magna cum laude, with a double major in chemistry and philosophy. He earned his medical degree from McGill University and completed his residency training at Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program (Harvard Medical School). Dr. Goldberg completed a fellowship in medical ethics, also at Harvard Medical School. In the course of his academic career, Dr. Goldberg has been awarded teaching honors from Tufts Medical School and Harvard Medical School for excellence in medical student education. Dr. Goldberg is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Philosophy at Framingham State University (FSU), and the course he teaches at Semester Off is eligible for college credit through FSU.
Kate Capecelatro, MA – Instructor
Kate Capecelatro, MA, graduated from Cornell University, cum laude, with a BS in natural resources. After working and volunteering in several fields of interest, including hospitality, animal advocacy, and emergency medical services, Kate came to understand that her true career goals include writing and teaching a love of writing to others. She earned her MA in English and MAT degrees from Simmons College and has taught writing at the college level, the Advanced Placement (high school) level, and at the middle school level since 2012. Kate is beloved by Semester Off students for her boundless patience, her positivity, and her passion for teaching writing in an organic and non-formulaic manner. She enjoys reducing her students’ anxieties related to writing and helping them find their voice. In her free time, Kate serves on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Animal Advocacy (NIFAA).
Jessica Cronin, MA – Instructor
Jessica Cronin, MA, graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in European Studies. Jessica has always valued physical fitness and exercise and served as a certified personal trainer, as well as a group fitness instructor while she was living in Seattle, San Diego, and Florida. These experiences allowed her to connect deeply with her clients and inspire positive change in their behaviors and routines. She obtained her MA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has taught English and traveled extensively in the continental United States and abroad. Jessica has been very active in CrossFit as a participant and as a coach. She maintains a book review blog, reads all genres of fiction avidly, and is in the midst of writing a murder-mystery novel.
Stephanie Lucero, MSW, LICSW – Instructor
Stephanie Lucero, MSW, LICSW, earned her BA in psychology (major) and education (minor) from Clark University and her Master’s of Social Work (MSW) degree from Boston College. Earlier in life, Stephanie was a recruited tennis player and attended high school at The Rivers School in Weston, MA on a tennis scholarship. After suffering several sports injuries, Stephanie ultimately pursued training in yoga. She has attained the highest level of yoga teacher certification — 500 hours — and has divided her professional time between clinical work and teaching yoga. Stephanie is highly regarded in the Boston and San Francisco yoga communities and has taught at the top yoga studios in these cities. She also has taught yoga to patients overcoming addictions in drug and alcohol rehabilitation settings and has worked with a variety of clinical populations as a licensed social worker including homeless individuals and those suffering from anxiety and trauma. Stephanie’s warmth and deep-seated belief in “the goodness within” allow her to bring light to those individuals who need it most.
Elizabeth Vail, MS – Instructor
Elizabeth Vail, MS, is a graduate of Drew University, earning her BA in behavioral science, summa cum laude. She later earned her MS and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in school psychology at Northeastern University. When she is not serving as an Instructor at Semester Off, Liz is a high school psychologist and cross country/track coach at Dedham High School in Dedham, MA. Liz is a 200 hour certified yoga instructor and regularly incorporates yoga and mindfulness strategies into her psychotherapy sessions and into her athletic coaching. In addition to teaching yoga in school environments, Liz teaches various yoga classes throughout the Greater Boston area. Liz is thrilled to help Semester Off students learn, discover, flourish, and overcome their inner obstacles.
Dr. Brenda Hawks – Expert Consultant – Career Counselor
Brenda Hawks, Ph.D., attended the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University where she earned her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She has extensive experience working with college students having been a faculty member, a higher education consultant, and on staff at two counseling centers (Bentley University and Emmanuel College). She has published and presented extensively on college mental health and career development. Currently, Dr. Hawks serves as the Director of the Counseling Center at Emmanuel College, consults, and maintains a private practice in Belmont, MA. Dr. Hawks provides individualized career assessments and consultations to Semester Off students.
Lauren Mahoney Keville, M.Ed. – Expert Consultant – Re-matriculation Specialist
Lauren Mahoney Keville, M.Ed., earned her BA in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and her Master of Education degree in Higher Education from Suffolk University. Lauren has worked within higher education institutions for over 15 years. She currently is the Student Retention & Graduation Success Coordinator at Framingham State University, and she previously had served as an Assistant Dean in the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University. She also has been the Senior Director of the Undergraduate Academic Advising Center in the Division of Student Success at Suffolk University. In her university roles, she has worked with countless college students before taking a leave of absence and upon their return to campus. Lauren has served on committees responsible for determining a student’s appropriateness to return to campus after his/her leave of absence, and she has a clear understanding of what these committees are considering when making these determinations. At Semester Off, Lauren serves an invaluable role as Re-matriculation Specialist to assist our students in presenting themselves and their experience at Semester Off in the most accurate and effective way possible.