Carnegie Mellon University

About the Office of First-Year Orientation

The Office of First-Year Orientation supports new students with their intellectual, social, emotional, and cultural transition to campus.

The office provides vision and leadership for a comprehensive approach to new student orientation and transition programs. The office supports new students and their family members as they navigate the transition into the Carnegie Mellon University community.

The university’s best-in-class Orientation program is supported by a team of professional staff and upper-class student leadership, including Head Orientation Counselors (HOCs), Orientation Leaders (OLs) and Orientation Counselors (OCs), and partner with Residential Education staff, including Housefellows, Community Advisors (CAs) and Resident Assistants (RAs), to support students' transition to CMU. 

Professional Leadership for First-Year Orientation


Lexie Elliott | she/her/hers
Assistant Director for First-Year Orientation and Family Engagement

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Lexie's primary responsibilities include coordinating programming and communications to support, educate, and engage family members. In addition to family engagement, Lexie supports programmatic efforts with First-Year Orientation and Transfer Orientation. In 2022, Lexie started her CMU journey as an Assistant Director in SLICE. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Westminster College (PA) and a Master of Arts in student affairs in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Outside of work, Lexie is a national collegiate officer for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, and serves on the Board of Directors for a non-profit drug and substance prevention program called Reality Tour. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, participating in a book club, and traveling. 

Kari Galensky | she/her/hers
Administrative Assistant for the Student Life Suite

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Kari serves as the administrative assistant for the Student Life Suite. She supports staff members of the offices housed within the suite: Community Standards and Integrity, First-Year Orientation and Family Engagement and Residential Education. Kari also assists students and families, and lends a hand to a myriad of projects and programs. Kari graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. She values relationship building and prides herself on her empathy, humor, kindness, and organizational skills and has a deep love of arts and culture. Kari currently resides in Garfield with her pets and plants and lovely friends.
Andrew Greenwald

Andrew Greenwald | he/him/his
Assistant Director for First-Year Orientation and Family Engagement

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Andrew joined CMU in 2016 as a coordinator in SLICE and joined the First-Year Orientation and Family Engagement team in summer 2022 as the assistant director supporting incoming undergraduate students in their transition to campus and their parents and family members. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree in media and communication arts from Pace University and a master’s degree in student affairs and higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys traveling with his partner, spending time with friends, and enjoying time in the park with his French Bulldogs, Sebastian and Vito.

Lauren Moran

Lauren Moran, Ed.D. | she/her/hers
Associate Dean for Student Affairs & Director of First-Year Orientation & Family Engagement

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Lauren came to CMU in 2023 and is responsible for advancing the strategic vision to develop and enhance the university's relationship with parents, families, and incoming undergraduate students. With nearly 20 years of experience in higher education, Lauren has held a number of roles in student involvement, leadership development, fraternity and sorority life, and alumni engagement. She earned her doctorate in higher education management at the University of Pittsburgh, and master's degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University. Outside of work, Lauren serves as a national vice president for her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma. She is a proud aunt, and enjoys traveling, golfing, running, and exploring her hometown of Pittsburgh.

Student Leadership for First-Year Orientation

Head Orientation Counselors (HOCs)

HOCs play a significant student leadership role in the First-Year Orientation program and support the professional staff team in planning and implementing the program. 


Head Orientation Counselors provide leadership, logistics and planning for specific programs during Orientation week.

Head Orientation Counselors provide supervision and mentorship to teams of Orientation Leaders and Orientation Counselors within their housing community. Head Orientation Counselors have significant student leadership experience on campus and most have served the Orientation program for several years in preparation for the role.

Orientation Leaders (OLs)

OLs provide support to the Head Orientation Counselors in the planning and implementation of signature Orientation programs and provide guidance and mentorship to several Orientation Counselors on their teams. Orientation Leaders have typically served the Orientation program as an Orientation Counselor prior to assuming this position. 

Orientation Counselors (OCs)

OCs are assigned to a specific housing community and floor and serve as a main point of contact for first-year students during the Orientation program. The OC staff introduces new students to the Carnegie Mellon community and are as eclectic as the first-year class. Orientation Counselors are committed to building meaningful, genuine and one-on-one relationships with each member of the incoming class.

Sunflower, hedgehog, whale and koi fish line up

Penguins, Pineapples, Pandas (& More) Assemble!

Select your first-year residential community to learn more about the Orientation student staff in your community.

Residential Education Staff


Housefellows are professional staff who cultivate meaningful, one-on-one mentoring relationships with students in our house communities.

Meet the Housefellow in your residential community

Community Advisors (CAs)

Each house community is served by one Community Advisor. In concert with professional staff members, CAs provide the leadership for the vision, direction, and daily activity in each of our residential house communities. They are upperclass or graduate students who develop a strong sense of community in each house by getting residents involved and fostering an environment that contributes to the personal and academic success of all who live there.  

Resident Assistants (RAs)

Each floor in our residential communities is served by a Resident Assistant. RAs develop supportive relationships with individual residents and create strong floor and house communities. They educate residents about campus-wide programs, resources, and opportunities while serving as a peer advisor and community role model.  

First-Year Housing Communities