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Meet the Center for Career Development Staff


DIRECTOR

 Nicole Nicole Van Den Heuvel 

 Contact:  713-348-5781  |  email    
  Nicole Van Den Heuvel, a Rice alumna, is the Director for the Center for Career Development and brings over twenty years of industry experience. Prior to assuming the current Director role, she worked at Rice's Jones Graduate School of Business as Associate Director of Career Management, counseling and advising MBA students on career planning and development. She has an extensive business background in public, private and not-for-profit organizations having worked for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies for more than 14 years in Houston, Washington, D.C. and Montreal, Canada. She also brings across-the-board expertise in career counseling, leadership training, recruiting, and human resources. Van Den Heuvel also brings an international perspective to CCD as she speaks French, Spanish, and German and has lived throughout Europe. She continues to actively contribute to the Houston and Rice alumni community through her community service and fundraising activities.  

 

COUNSELING TEAM


 

 Ivette headshot Ivette Mekdessi, M.Ed.  •  Assistant Director, Career Development

Contact: email 
Ivette Mekdessi develops and implements instructional programming related to post-graduate planning. She provides individual counseling and assessment interpretation to assist Rice students and alumni in making informed career decisions and to prepare them for professional advancement.  Mekdessi joined Rice in 2015 from the University Career Services at the University of Houston, where she was a career counselor intern. At University Career Services, she provided career exploration, professional correspondence reviews, interview preparation, and assessment overviews and interpretations to undergraduate and graduate students as well as alumni. She also served as a research assistant in varying fields of psychology including: job satisfaction, employee well-being, stress overflow, and gender roles and differences. Mekdessi holds a bachelor's of science in Psychology, a bachelor’s of business administration in Marketing and a master’s of education in Counseling from the University of Houston. Mekdessi also brings an international perspective to the CCD as she speaks French, Spanish, and Arabic and attended international schools her entire life. 

  

  andrew headshotAndrew Tessmer, M.Ed., LPC-Intern  •  Assistant Director, Career Development

Contact: email 

Andrew Tessmer develops and implements instructional programming related to post-graduate planning. He provides individual counseling and assessment interpretation to assist Rice undergraduates and graduate students in addition to recent alumni in making informed career decisions and to prepare them for professional advancement. He also coordinates special sessions meant to meet the needs of graduate and post-doctoral students. Tessmer joined Rice in 2015 from University Career Services at the University of Houston, where he completed his graduate internship and served as a career counselor. At University Career Services, he provided career exploration and development to both undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Science, the College of Education, and the Graduate College of Social Work. Tessmer also served as a pre-law advisor for the University of Houston. Tessmer has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Houston.  Tessmer is an active member of the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) and is currently serving as the Secretary for the Houston Area Consortium of Career Centers (HACCC).  Tessmer is also an active member of the Texas Counseling Association (TCA), with divisional memberships in the Texas Career Development Association (TCDA) and the Texas Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling (TALGBTIC). Tessmer is in the process of obtaining licensure as a professional counselor, and is currently a licensed professional counsleor inter (LPC-intern, license #77644) under the supervision of Becky Reiter, LPC-S (license #66507). 

 


ashley headshot Ashley McTaggart  •  Assistant Director, Career Development

 Contact: email  

Ashley McTaggart develops and implements instructional programming related to post-graduate planning. She provides individual counseling and assessment interpretation to assist Rice students and alumni in making informed career decisions and to prepare them for professional advancement.  Ashley joined the CCD in 2016 and has worked in career services for over 7 years.  Prior to joining the CCD, she spent five years at Rice Business advising MBA students on career assessments, resumes, cover letters, networking, and job search skills.  In addition to her experience at Rice, Ashley has worked for Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, and EY in recruiting/human resources roles.  Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Mississippi. 

  

 

EMPLOYER RELATIONS TEAM


Jessica Headshot Jessica Campbell  •  Associate Director, Employer Relations

Contact:  713-348-2297  |  email     
Jessica Campbell oversees the employer relations program for the Center for Career Development. She works with employers to develop recruiting strategies and discover the most effective ways to connect with Rice students. Campbell joined Rice in 2011 after four years of managing the employer relations program at the University of Houston. Prior to that role, Campbell spent two years as an Employment Counselor with Houston Works USA. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston and is a member of the National Association for Colleges and Employers and the Southern Association for Colleges and Employers. Campbell has also served in various leadership roles for the Houston Area Consortium of Career Centers.

  

 

  Ann headshotAnn McAdam Griffin  •  Assistant Director of Employer Relations & Alumni Engagement

Contact:  713-348-4143  |  email     
Ann McAdam Griffin develops and maintains relationships with Rice recruiters, alumni, parents and friends of Rice to create opportunities for Rice students through internships and full-time positions, externships, and mentoring opportunities.  She also manages recruiting programs, including assessing the effectiveness of all aspects of the on-campus recruiting process.  Ann joined the Center for Career Development in 2015.  Prior to that, she served as an Academic Advisor and Associate Director of Corporate Relations, both at Rice.  She has a broad business background, having spent many years as a Management Consultant and Lecturer at the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology from Tufts University and an MBA degree with a Finance concentration from Boston University.  Ann and her family were the Hanszen College Masters from 2009-2014. 

  

 Michelle Headshot

Michelle Passo  •  Experiential Education, Program Manager 
Contact:  713-348-3776  |  email     

After working as a Campus Recruiter for Academy Sports+Outdoors Corporate Office, Passo is thrilled be back in the CCD working on Owl Edge initiatives including its externship and internship programs.  Passo initially joined Rice in 2008 from the University of Iowa, where she was a graduate teaching assistant for the Department of Communication Studies.  Previously, she worked as adjunct faculty at El Centro Community College in Dallas, Texas. Passo brings several years of professional experience to Rice.  Through the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences she served as a programming intern at USA Network.  Prior to that role, Passo spent over four years with the National Basketball Association (NBA) - working in the Commissioner's Office and then for NBA TV.  She holds a master's degree in Cinema-Television from Southern Methodist University and a bachelor's degree in Telecommunications from Indiana University.  

  

 Leora headshot   Leora Gabry Semble  •  Recruiting Coordinator & Alumni Liaison 

 Contact:  713-348-4055  |  email    
Leora Gabry Semble coordinates recruiting systems and manages relationships with Rice recruiters to provide mutually beneficial career support for Rice students and employers.  She joined the Center for Career Development from the MBA Career Management Office at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she coordinated and developed career related programming for students, alumni and employers.  Prior to that, she served as a staff attorney and volunteer coordinator at Whitman-Walker Health, a community health center located in Washington, D.C.  Leora also spent several years working as an economic consultant before attending graduate school.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a graduate degree from Columbia University.

   

Katelyn headshot Katelyn Holm  •  Marketing and Events Specialist 

Contact:  713-348-4008  |  email       
Katelyn Holm develops and implements CCD marketing plans, creates CCD collateral, manages CCD marketing interns, and plans and executes all CCD events. Holm joined Rice in 2016 and brings a variety of communication skills from her experience in nonprofit marketing and event planning. Previously, she worked at Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse in Downtown Houston, where she created visual marketing, coordinated communication strategies with government entities, and assisted in grant management to benefit victims of family violence in gaining civil legal aid. She also worked in foster care with Arrow Foundation as Communications Associate and spent three years in newspaper publication as Editor-in-Chief at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. There, Holm participated on Campus Activities Board and worked with alumni through Student Foundation, and she is thrilled to be back on a university campus. 




 

DEPARTMENT COORDINATOR

 Christine Headshot

Christine Hebert
Contact:  713-348-4029  |  email    
Christine Hebert manages the administrative and office operations, and oversees financial processes for the Center for Career Development. She also coordinates the student employee program. Hebert joined Rice in 1997 from the University of Houston. There, she held roles as an Office Manager in the International Student and Scholars Services Office and as a Business Administrator for the Computer Science Department. She served in a similar capacity for the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. Hebert holds a bachelor's degree from the University of the Philippines, Quezon City.