Jennifer Gerz-Escandón and Hoi Ning Ngai join Graduate School team

Jennifer Gerz-Escandón
Jennifer Gerz-Escandón

Two new associate deans joined The Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill during the fall 2017 semester: Jennifer Gerz-Escandón, associate dean for interdisciplinary education and fellowship programs, and Hoi Ning Ngai, associate dean for student affairs.

“Their appointments were the result of highly competitive search processes,” said Steve Matson, dean of The Graduate School, “and I am confident that Dr. Gerz-Escandón and Dr. Ngai will provide strong leadership toward The Graduate School’s support of a diverse and talented graduate student body that makes up almost 30 percent of the overall student population.

“We welcome their strong professional experience in many facets of student success and their demonstrated commitment to collaborating with faculty, staff, students and academic programs.”

Gerz-Escandón previously served as director of National Scholarships and Fellowships in the Honors College at Georgia State University. Within this role, she focused on helping honors undergraduates and alumni prepare for competitive scholarships – such as the Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Fulbright and Goldwater – and other competitive programs.

Within her 15 years of administrative leadership within higher education, Gerz-Escandón also served in the roles of chair and associate professor within the International Relations Program, and director of the Center for International Programs and Services (all within Lynn University).

Hoi Ning Ngai
Hoi Ning Ngai

She received her bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University, and her master’s degree and doctorate in international relations from the University of Miami.

In her role as associate dean for interdisciplinary education and fellowship programs, Gerz-Escandón’s top goals include: enhancing communication about fellowship opportunities, supporting opportunities to expand graduate funding, increasing awareness of the critical role of interdisciplinary education programs and promoting professional development offerings.

“The opportunity to build on a well-developed graduate education funding model and see the transformative impact financial support has on research outcomes is what attracted me to Carolina,” she said.

Ngai previously served as dean of academic advising and support within Kenyon College’s Academic Affairs Division. Within this role, she worked extensively with students, faculty and staff toward supporting academic integrity, student accessibility and support services, faculty mentorship, national fellowships and scholarships, and academic advising. She also worked collaboratively to develop communication channels for most effectively sharing academic policies and procedures.

Within her 13 years of administrative leadership within higher education, Ngai also served as associate director of academic affairs and advising within the Undergraduate Division of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.

She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dartmouth College and her master’s degree and doctorate in higher education from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ngai hopes to build community in her role as associate dean for student affairs.

“We could all communicate more authentically and directly about what our expectations and needs are,” she said. “We could all spend more time thinking about how to build relationships within our immediate spheres as well as across the academy.”

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