Meet Your GA's

Nicholas Manai

Nicholas Manai

Graduate Assistant for Community Outreach and Programming

Hi, I’m Nick and I am very excited to be a part of the CASA team this year. At Villanova I will be enrolled in the English Department and plan to study the contemporary American novel to learn more about how writers view the relationship between the individual and the community. Originally from the Philadelphia area, I was an undergraduate at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA where I discovered collard greens and ate my first plate of grits (they’re both incredible). In addition to studying literature and creative writing, I also played baseball. Being a collegiate athlete was a major time commitment, but it taught me some seemingly cliché lessons, like how to lose gracefully and monitor my ego.

After college I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, or what kind of person I wanted to become, so I looked for a job I could work online in order to do some traveling. I got certified in ESL and started teaching English over an internet phone to Korean Businessmen in Seoul, South Korea. I used the opportunity to backpack through Europe, visit some of my students in Seoul, and travel through South America. The majority of the time I stayed with locals kind enough to host me on their couches. My experiences taught me a lot about bridging cultural gaps, but also gave me a lot of time to think about more personal issues, like my relationship to technology. However, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in Philadelphia and to take part in the incredible music scene here.

In the end, all of the many, many profiles we create and update for our online selves are inadequate. I think these profiles try to pin down our personhood into a definable object, when in fact we are all too many things, forever changing, to adequately describe with a profile pic and a few words. To slightly misquote the great American Walt Whitman, “we are large we contain multitudes.” So stop by CASA and say hello to the real me!

Maurice Mitchell

Maurice Mitchell

Graduate Assistant for Retention

Hello! I am Maurice Mitchell, a Graduate Assistant for Retention this year in the Center for Access, Success and Achievement. I was born and raised in the Olney section of Philadelphia. My undergraduate education is in Criminology and Computer Science. During my time at Villanova I was involved in the AAP program, UNITAS, Prison Literacy Program, Sister’s Returning Home, Black Cultural Society, and National Society of Black Engineers to name a few. For the next couple of years, I’ll be working towards a MS in Cyber Security.

I believe that guidance is an essential factor for the best results during the undergraduate years of education and I’m happy to provide that assistance. We are a product of everything we go through and we all excel in different ways. I’m excited at the opportunity to interact with the students this year and help cultivate their talents.

Pierre Venescar

Pierre Venescar

Graduate Assistant for Retention

Hi there!  My name is Pierre, and I am a Retention & Program Coach Graduate Assistant in the Center for Access, Success and Achievement. I feel very privileged to be a part of the CASA staff while I pursue my Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling here at Villanova.

I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the College of New Jersey, where I collaborated with professors on many research studies. I found interest in investigating factors that promotes the development of healthy individuals and communities, as well as positive youth development among low-income, ethnic minority urban youth. I studied abroad for a semester in England and I was able to travel to twelve European countries in that time span. Studying overseas was an opportunity of a lifetime and the experience expanded my yearning to understand, work with, and help others. Since my time abroad I have been an avid traveler, mainly by going to different parts of the United States. I enjoy hiking, running, and meeting new people.

I am very thrilled to bring my experiences to the Villanova community, and to support as many students as I can during my time at Villanova. I am committed to creating and supporting an inclusive learning community and to assisting students from diverse backgrounds grow and develop to the fullest degree possible.

Raven Young

Raven Young

Graduate Assistant for Retention and Outreach

Hello everyone! My name is Raven Young, and I am very excited to serve as a Retention Coach Graduate Assistant in the Center for Access, Success, and Achievement this year! I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been a part of the CASA family since 2013, as I was a beneficiary of the Center’s advising, programs, and resources throughout my undergraduate career at Villanova, and I am even more grateful for the opportunity to join the CASA staff!

I graduated from Villanova in May 2017 with my B.A. in Political Science, in addition to minors in Public Service and Administration, as well as Spanish Language and Literature. I was involved in numerous student organizations throughout my time at Villanova, and I devoted a significant amount of my time serving on the MLK Day of Service Committee.

I am thrilled to start my final year in the Five-Year B.A./M.A. program in Political Science, and I look forward to working with the amazing CASA staff to help as many students as possible have an enriching Villanova experience. I hope that I can help students thrive as they navigate and narrate their own college experience, and I am eager to play a positive role in their journey!