ACE Faculty and Staff

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Office Location: A3551 University Center
phone: 850-645-7885

Dr. Sara Hamon

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Sara Hamon serves as the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Florida State University. Her role includes oversight of academic support services, the Strategies for Academic Success (SLS1122) course, Living-Learning Communities, and the High School Dual Enrollment program. Dr. Hamon has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, including teaching, administration, planning, policy analysis, and consulting. A native of Ohio, Dr. Hamon earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education from Heidelberg College (Ohio) and a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University (Ohio). Dr. Hamon has worked at a range of diverse institutions, from small private colleges to large research universities. In 1992, she took her first job at Florida State University, working in student housing. After a brief hiatus working at the University of Florida, she returned “home” to earn a Ph.D. in Higher Education at Florida State. Dr. Hamon also has previous experience at the Florida Department of Education, including positions with the Postsecondary Education Planning Commission and the Division of Community Colleges. Additionally, Dr. Hamon has worked as a consultant with MGT, a nationally-known firm that specializes in education research and planning. Outside of work, Dr. Hamon enjoys the natural beauty and southern way of life in Tallahassee with her husband Kurt and their two children.

Courtney Barry







Office Location: G050 Johnston Ground (WJB)
phone: 850-645-9361

Dr. Courtney Barry

Director of the Academic Center for Excellence

Dr. Courtney Barry serves as Director of the Academic Center for Excellence. A three time alumna, Dr. Barry earned her bachelor’s in communication, her master’s in Higher Education, and Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology from Florida State. Dr. Barry previously served as Chief of Staff for the Vice President for Student Affairs from 2008-2014. Prior to that role, she served for over 13 years as a college administrator working in Residence Life, Student Activities, and Greek Life. She also has experience teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses. Her research interests include motivation and failure, as well as first-year retention and transition.

Holly Hunt







Office Location: A3600 University Center
phone: 850-645-8253

Holly Hunt


Holly Hunt serves as the Associate Director within Florida State University’s Academic Center for Excellence (ACE). Holly comes from the great state of Alabama where she received her undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Holly moved to Tallahassee shortly after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2006 to pursue her Master of Science in Higher Education here at Florida State University. After completing her M.S. degree, she took a position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she worked for three years as an academic advisor for exploratory students. Holly returned to Tallahassee in June of 2011 after marrying her FSU sweetheart, James Hunt, and continued her work in exploratory advising as a member of the Advising First Center for Exploratory Students. As a member of the ACE family, she looks forward to the opportunity to help students reach their full potential and to be successful both here at Florida State and beyond.

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Office Location: G050 Johnston Ground (WJB)
phone: 850-645-9151

Dr. Samantha Nix


Dr. Samantha Nix coordinates the new early alert program at Florida State University. Her interest in this work was cultivated through both her previous professional roles and her scholarly research. Before coming to the Academic Center for Excellence, she worked as a program coordinator for the FSU Certificate in Institutional Research and Women in Math, Science, and Engineering living learning community; in various roles for the FSU Department of Physics and the Center for Leadership & Civic Education; and, as managing editor of The Southerner. Her research focuses on college students' experiences with academic challenge in STEM contexts. This work has been published in Frontiers in Psychology, Research in Higher Education, and Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. Dr. Nix earned her B.A. degree in English Literature and French from the University of Southern Mississippi and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Higher Education from FSU.

Pat Golay







Office Location: A3600 University Center
phone: 850-645-8394

Dr. Patricia Golay

Teaching Faculty III

Dr. Patricia Golay serves as an instructor for the Strategies for Academic Success course and coordinator of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) Program Series. Dr. Golay hails from Los Angeles, California and attended California State University, Los Angeles where she received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in History. She taught middle and high school history, English, and special education classes in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 13 years. Dr. Golay earned her doctorate in Higher Education Administration in 2006 from Florida State University. She has a wealth of international experience including working for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Before joining the ACE team in the Division of Undergraduate Studies, she worked at FSU Center for Leadership and Civic Education as the grants coordinator for the Florida Learn & Serve program. Her research interests include service-learning, intercultural competence, and academic self-efficacy. Dr. Golay is committed to serving students and to ensuring that all students develop the skills and confidence needed to be academically successful.

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Office Location: A3600 University Center
phone: 850-645-8215

Todd Rakes

Teaching Faculty I

Todd Rakes serves as an instructor for SLS 1122: Strategies for Academic Success within the Florida State University Academic Center for Excellence (ACE). Todd grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and attended George Mason University, where he earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in History. Mr. Rakes enjoyed a ten year career in banking before returning to his passion for learning and education.  He completed a second Master’s degree, this time in Education, from the University of Michigan and began his teaching career.  Todd taught history and education classes at both the high school and college level before joining the ACE team in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. Todd is dedicated to working with Florida State students and helping them reach and exceed their academic goals.


Other staff:

Andrew Dentzau
Program Coordinator
Office Location: G015 Johnston (WJB)
Phone: 850-645-0186

Angela Hockin
Administrative Assistant
Office Location: UCA 3600
Phone: 850-645-0852


Hua (Kim) Jin
Program Associate
Office Location: G052 Johnston (WJB)
Phone: 850-645-9151

Brooke Athey
Program Associate
Office Location: G051 Johnston (WJB)
Phone: 850-645-9151





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