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Student Advisers

As part of Kaplan’s ‘Adviser for Life’ program (AFL), when you first become a student with us, you are allocated a dedicated Student Adviser who will be your contact throughout your studies. Your Student Adviser is there to keep you up to date with important information as well as being available to assist in decisions about subject enrolments and to offer general advice.

Meet our team of dedicated Student Advisers below:

Dianna-La-Grassa

Dianna’s passion for education and financial services shines through at Kaplan Professional. With an investment and relationship management background, she believes in building strong relationships and working collaboratively to achieve success. Dianna holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Criminology), Master of Business Administration and RG 146 in Securities.

 

How long have you been at Kaplan Professional?

Five years.

 

Best study tip for students?

We all have busy lives and other things that tempt us from completing our studies. When completing courses online, it’s about self-discipline and planning. Plan for the unexpected and stay focused; distractions are everywhere!

 

Favourite movie?

Way too hard to answer as I am a huge movie fan.

 

You can invite three people to dinner (living or dead, real or fictional). Who do you invite and what do you cook?

Ernst Hemmingway, Michelle Williams and Oprah

I would cook Italian, need to stay true to my heritage. Way too much pasta, cheese, cannoli, cured meats, and bread.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Working with our team to help build and improve on our student experience. Continuously looking for ways to make things more streamlined and efficient allowing for a better overall experience for our students. It’s great when our team receives positive feedback and a student is really happy with their studies.

 

Favourite food?

Indian.

 

Tell us a little bit about your hometown.

I grew up in a small developing suburb in Toronto, Canada. There were only six houses on the street, rowdy young kids, and lots, and lots of land to run around on. Making ice forts, building snowmen, snowball fights, and tobogganing were all fun past times. It was spectacular!

 

How do you like to unwind on the weekend?

I enjoy catching up with friends over brunch, hanging out at the beach, reading, and cooking. I am also a pretty big gym junkie, so head there as often as possible.

 

Do you have any interesting hobbies / interests?

My biggest hobbies are cooking, enjoying a whiskey and watching a good film.

 

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to become a voice or advocate for people with disabilities. Working to give them the same opportunities as others within our communities.

 

Contact Dianna – 

Email: d.lagrassa@kaplan.edu.au

Alex

Despite being from Philadelphia, PA, Alec spent so much time in Hawaii as a child, as well as attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa that he feels almost at home when he steps off the plane at Honolulu International Airport.

While completing his BA in Asian Studies, he spent a year studying abroad in Japan at JF Oberlin University in Machida, Tokyo.

 

How long have you been at Kaplan Professional?

I started working for Kaplan Professional in March 2015.

 

Best study tip for students?

Create a flexible study plan that allows you to review the material on a regular basis and not cram in the weeks leading up to an assessment. I’ve never found last minute cramming to help retain the studied information and more often than not, it just increases the stress you feel before an exam.

 

Favourite movie?

I love comic books so at the moment, it’s probably Avengers, if only for the pure spectacle and experience.

 

You can invite three people to dinner (living or dead, real or fictional). Who do you invite and what do you cook?

Patrick Stewart, Roger Federer, Anne McCaffrey

I would cook the only thing I know how to cook without a recipe: fried rice.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Helping students adapt to the technological challenges of online, distance learning.

 

Favourite food?

Chinese food, though I wouldn’t say no to a good slice of pizza.

 

Tell us a little bit about your hometown.

While I spent my summers in Hawaii, and ended up living in NJ for most of my teenage years, I always consider Philly (Philadelphia) my home town. It’s a great sized city where everything in the centre of town is within walking distance. One of my favourite features is the use of spare walls next to parking as canvases for murals.

 

How do you like to unwind on the weekend?

I’ve found that starting my weekend mornings with 90 minutes of yoga at 7:30 puts me in a relaxed mood for the rest of the day.

 

Do you have any interesting hobbies / interests?

I enjoy playing tennis or video games and reading comic books.

 

What is your dream job?

There isn’t anything specific but whatever it is will involve helping people integrate technology into their lives.

 

Contact Alec – 

Email: a.rammler-young@kaplan.edu.au

Danielle Hanrahan

A former journalist and media professional, primarily in the resources and business space in Australia, who embarked on a career change in 2014 to undertake the steps needed to develop a coaching and consulting business. Danielle holds Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations and Journalism) and is currently undertaking a Graduate Diploma in Careers Education and Development at RMIT.

 

How long have you been at Kaplan Professional?

Since March 2015.

 

Best study tip for students?

Despite a number of resources discussing effective time management and maximising productivity, this continues to be the main challenge for any individual trying to balance work, study and personal commitments. My advice for any individual is to outline a study plan at the commencement of a subject, with specific times designated for study, and find the self-discipline to stick to it.

 

Favourite movie?

I love Christopher Nolan’s work, with my favourite film of his, Inception (2010).

 

You can invite three people to dinner (living or dead, real or fictional). Who do you invite and what do you cook?

Tavi Gevinson, Oprah Winfrey and Spanx founder Sara Blakely – three strong women who forged successful businesses and empires. I’d cook some of my mum’s home-cooked meals, such as pansit and the most delicious spring rolls you’ll ever eat.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Discussing the professional development plans of individuals with a proactive approach to their careers, and lives.


Favourite food?

Indian.

 

Tell us a little bit about your hometown.

Perth is a beautiful part of the country with some of the friendliest people in the world. Nothing beats a run in Kings Park and along the Swan River.

 

How do you like to unwind on the weekend?

Enjoying a good cider with friends, exercising out in the park and relaxing at home with a big book.

 

Do you have any interesting hobbies / interests?

I have a particular interest in human behaviour, particularly with regard to motivation, so I am developing a project at the moment which would see me interview individuals capitalising on certain interests as either their main or major source of income.

 

What is your dream job?

The dream would be packing up my laptop, and managing social entrepreneurship interests in South-East Asia and beyond.

 

Contact Danielle –

Email: d.hanrahan@kaplan.edu.au

Denise Carretta

With experience in a variety of fields, Denise’s passion is the scaffolding of learning and the development of pathways for student success. She managed a section in the government for several years before seeking a career change into the education industry, where she worked as a high school teacher and a facilitator / trainer in the pharmaceutical industry. She holds a Master of Education.

 

How long have you been at Kaplan Professional?

3 months.

 

Best study tip for students?

I found the best time to study was very early in the morning. It is quiet, your mind is fresh, and there are few distractions.

 

Favourite movie?

The Bucket List.

 

You can invite three people to dinner (living or dead, real or fictional). Who do you invite and what do you cook?

It would be at St Marks Square in Italy eating fine Italian food. I would invite Andrea Boccelli, Monet and Grace Kelly.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Being relatively new it would have to be getting to know students.

 

Favourite food?

Fattoush salad with pomegranate.

 

Tell us a little bit about your hometown.

I grew up in Sydney, Australia. I love Sydney for it’s coastal living, and the ability to travel a relatively short distance to appreciate the beauty of the bush.

 

How do you like to unwind on the weekend?

We often go up to a holiday cottage on the coast a few hours north of Sydney. Clean sandy beaches, dolphin watching, and at night you can almost touch the stars.

 

Do you have any interesting hobbies / interests?

I like to paint and sketch.

 

What is your dream job?

I am fascinated about the power of narrative to effect social change after studying this as a university subject. My ideal job would be one where I could positively effect change.

 

Contact Denise –

Email: d.carretta@kaplan.edu.au

Flladi Myrteza

Flladi’s knowledge and skills honed in a variety roles across the pharmaceutical, legal and travel industries are an asset to the team. Additionally, her experience in both vocational and higher education at Kaplan Professional ensure she’s well versed in dealing with student needs.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Advanced French and Greek) from UNSW.

 

How long have you been at Kaplan Professional?

Since February 2014.

 

Best study tip for students?

Plan your time, discover your learning style, stay motivated and ask for help!

 

Favourite movie?

I have lots, but one of them is ‘Good Will Hunting’ by Gus Van Sant.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I really enjoy interacting with my students and getting to know them on a personal level. The idea that I am contributing to someone’s future success gives me great satisfaction, and keeps me motivated to improve myself within the role.

 

Favourite food?

Definitely Mediterranean food.

 

How do you like to unwind on the weekend?

Going for a run, spending time with friends and family, and of course, shopping!

 

Do you have any interesting hobbies / interests?

Reading, travelling and singing.

 

You can invite three people to dinner (living or dead, real or fictional). Who do you invite and what do you cook?

I would invite Jesus Christ, Robin Williams and Princess Diana. No idea what I’d cook, so I would probably make it a potluck.

 

Tell us a little bit about your hometown.

I come from a small, alpine town called Ersekë, which is located in south-eastern Albania, but I also lived for many years in Athens, Greece, before moving to Sydney 10 years ago.

 

What is your dream job?

My dream job would be to work for the United Nations, in the political, peace and humanitarian sector.

 

Contact Flladi –

Email: f.myrteza@kaplan.edu.au

Mercedes Dent

Mercedes comes to Kaplan Professional with a wealth of student services experience and an in-depth knowledge of the finance industry, particularly in cross-cultural communication. She worked in advertising for many years as an account executive before moving to Australia in 1999, and has since worked in customer service, student engagement and as a practice manager for a small financial planning practice.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Advertising).

 

How long have you been at Kaplan Professional?

Since November 2015.

 

Best study tip for students?

Get in contact with our Librarian. I am sure there are many things we all think we know, but we don’t.

 

Favourite movie?

I am a dedicated cinephile therefore it is easier to pinpoint the type of movies I do not enjoy. I don’t like horror movies.

 

You can invite three people to dinner (living or dead, real or fictional). Who do you invite and what do you cook?

Right now I would invite Diana Gabaldon, the author of the Outlander book series; Ludovico Einaudi, the piano composer; and my husband. These three people have the capacity to touch my soul and make me happy. I’d serve beef carpaccio as an entrée, followed by handmade gnocchi in a blue cheese sauce, and then a small portion of pork roast and crackling served with variety of baked vegetables and salad. For dessert, I’d make a light pavlova roulade, which is a version of the traditional dish but looks prettier on the plate.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Helping students achieve their goals. I know it sounds like a cliché but it really gives me a buzz.

 

Favourite food?

Dozens of dishes. I try everything … and I always close my eyes for the first mouthful!

 

Tell us a little bit about your hometown.

I grew up between Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and Parma, a small city in Italy. Each city has a different fragrance. Parma is earthy and smells like nature and ripe tomatoes. Caracas smells like a new building of concrete and new things at the same time. I can close my eyes and recall them individually.

 

How do you like to unwind on the weekend?

With a good book or gardening during the day and then a glass of good wine in the company of friends.

 

Do you have any interesting hobbies / interests?

Reading and gardening.

 

What is your dream job?

It changes. I have had a few paths in my life. Nevertheless, I like to be challenged, making decisions that impact others, and in contact with the public.

 

Contact Mercedes –

Email: m.dent@kaplan.edu.au

Swapna Prasad

As a passionate Rotarian, Swapna sees her role with Kaplan Professional as an opportunity to learn and ignite change with her passion for exceptional customer service. As someone who genuinely enjoys helping people, she thrives on providing advice and guidance to her students. Swapna holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Business & Human Resources.

 

How long have you been at Kaplan Professional?

Since March 2015.

 

Best study tip for students?

Give your student advisor a call for all your advice, concerns or questions regarding your study!

 

Favourite movie?

I have a few favourites; I can’t name one in particular.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The opportunity to work in a different industry. More importantly, to help people better their lives through education and also help them achieve their career aspirations.  I am also hoping to add value with my experience and help improve the way we engage with our students and improve their experience in studying with us.

 

Favourite food?

I love Japanese food!

 

How do you like to unwind on the weekend?

As a passionate Rotarian, I usually have a Rotary commitment on weekends. I also enjoy time with my family and my boyfriend.

 

Do you have any interesting hobbies / interests?

I enjoy charity work.

 

You can invite three people to dinner (living or dead, real or fictional). Who do you invite and what do you cook?

Abraham Lincoln, Barrack Obama & Mother Teresa

I would probably invite them to my parent’s place to experience my mum’s amazing cooking! I would love for them to also meet my wonderful family and boyfriend of course!

 

Tell us a little bit about your hometown.

I was born in Fiji. I had wonderful childhood growing up in Fiji and am very fortunate that my family migrated to Australia to continue a fulfilled life.

 

What is your dream job?

Not sure, I think you have a number of jobs in your career that make you the person you are! Lots to do yet!

 

Contact Swapna –

Email: s.prasad@kaplan.edu.au