Pre-Transfer Advising Program Highlights

  • New in 2017! Launched on-campus presence with Pre-Transfer Advisors at local community colleges

  • Selected as an Exemplary Practice Program by NACADA (the National Academic Advising Association) and included in the NACADA monograph Advising Student Transfers: Strategies for today's realities and tomorrow's challenges

  • Awarded the 2016 ACPA (College Student Educators International) Innovative Academic Support Initiative

  • Presentations at professional conferences, including national and regional NACADA conferences and the NISTS (National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students) annual conference

  • Consultations with other transfer student programs across the country, including the STEM Transfer Student Success Initiative


Leah Howell,
Assistant Director

Megan Forbes Cleaver,
Assistant Director

Liz Murdock LaFortune,
Pre-Transfer Advisor, AACC

Lee Ann Lewis,
Pre-Transfer Advisor, CSM

Alex Pianim,
Pre-Transfer Advisor, PGCC

Tyler McClenithan,
Pre-Transfer Advisor, MC

Megan Forbes Cleaver                       

Assistant Director, Pre-Transfer Advising

Megan Forbes Cleaver is a long-time-Terp, having been on campus first as an undergraduate student, then as a graduate student, and now as a member of staff for over the past 10 years. Before joining Pre-Transfer Advising, she was a graduate advisor and then senior academic advisor in the College of Arts and Humanities.

She has written articles and book reviews for NACADA (the National Academic Advising Association), and presented at regional and national NACADA conferences, the NISTS (National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students) annual conference, and the University of Maryland Office of Undergraduate Studies Advising Conference.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Education in College Student Personnel from University of Maryland.

Leah Howell                                       

Assistant Director, Pre-Transfer Advising

Leah Howell has been at the University of Maryland since 1999. Before joining the Pre-Transfer Advising Program in 2011, she held roles in several departments, working on academic integrity issues, interdisciplinary and experiential education, and student success through learning communities. Throughout her career, Leah has focused on non-traditional education, international education, and students in transition, running programs and writing or presenting extensively on these topics.

Prior to working in higher education, Leah taught English to students in Japan, taught government and civic engagement to high school students in DC at the Close Up Foundation, lived abroad in Thailand, and studied abroad in India.

Leah received her M.Ed. in higher education/student affairs from the University of Vermont and her B.A. in history from Davidson College.

Liz Murdock LaFortune

Pre-Transfer Advisor, Anne Arundel Community College (AACC)

Liz joined the Pre-Transfer Advising staff at the University of Maryland after serving as Academic Advisor in the Department of Communication, where she advised over 800 undergraduate students as well as students interested in applying for the Limited Enrollment Program major. She helped students determine their interests, review requirements, map out academic plans for 4-year graduation, and think through challenges they may encounter inside and outside the classroom.

Prior to coming to the University of Maryland, Liz worked as an Academic Advisor in First Year of Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, where she enjoyed the opportunity to work with students in making the transition from high school to college, identifying their talents and educational and occupational interests, and helping them complete major, college, and university requirements. As Assistant Director of the Office of International Studies at Notre Dame, she prepared students for their internships in the Washington Program and administered various international programs. A former high school teacher and administrator, Liz earned her Masters Degree from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. She is a native Texan and she and her husband now live in Annapolis.

Lee Ann Lewis

Pre-Transfer Advisor, College of Southern Maryland (CSM)

Lee Ann is the UMD Pre-Transfer Advisor at the College of Southern Maryland. Her prior experience includes working as one of the STEM Coordinators in the Office of Letters and Sciences, assisting University of Maryland undergraduate students who had not yet declared their major as they made their academic choices and moved to their degree-granting colleges.

Lee Ann is familiar with the College of Southern Maryland, having worked there before as an Academic Advisor on the La Plata campus. Her previous experience at CSM included assisting students in their adjustment to life as a college student. She mentored them as they decided on their academic and professional goals. While at CSM, Lee Ann was an adjunct professor in the Math department, ITS department and Student Success Office. Prior to working at CSM, Lee Ann was an admissions officer for Morgan State University, where she also was the Assistant Women's Bowling Coach and monitored Athletic Study Hall. Lee Ann was born and raised in Niagara Falls, NY and now lives with her family in Calvert County.

Tyler McClenithan                                       

Pre-Transfer Advisor, Montgomery College (MC)

Tyler McClenithan is advising MC students who intend to transfer to the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). He comes to the Pre-Transfer Advising staff at UMD after having served as a Graduate Professional Advisor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the George Washington University. While there he advised a caseload of over 300, mostly international, Masters and PhD students. He supported students' transitions to living in the U.S., helped determine their academic and student activity interests, reviewed degree and visa requirements, explored gainful employment opportunities, and identified hurdles they may face throughout higher education.

Before his professional roles, Tyler was a graduate student in the Student Affairs Program in the College of Education at UMD. Inspired by his experience as a community college transfer student himself, he dedicated his academic and professional life to supporting community college transfer students. Outside of class, Tyler worked on developing practical skills for supporting transfer students on UMD's campus. He worked with transfer students in academic advising at Montgomery College, Pre-Transfer Advising, Transfer2Terp, and Alternative Breaks. A native of Pennsylvania, he and his wife now live in Silver Spring.

Alexander Pianim                                       

Pre-Transfer Advisor, Prince George's Community College (PGCC)

Alexander Pianim is the UMD Pre-Transfer Advisor at Prince George’s community College. Over the past 15 years, he has held positions within admissions, college retention, academic advising and other areas of student support services. All along the way, he has dedicated himself to fostering strong partnerships with business, educational, and community organizations to help support the efforts of increasing college access and degree attainment for first generation college bound students.

Before joining the Pre-Transfer Advising team, Alex served as an Academic Advisor and College Coach at Prince George’s Community College. In this capacity, he assisted students and families​ by providing educational guidance on college selection, major exploration, career planning, financial aid and scholarships. It has always been a passion of his to give back to the community by educating students on the importance of becoming a life-long learner and ​the necessity of completing a four-year degree in this global economy. Alex was a three-year letterman for the Frostburg State University tennis team, where he received both his B.S. in Business/Sociology and his M.Ed in Educational Administration. He currently resides in Crofton, MD with his wife and three daughters.

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0110 Hornbake Library, South Wing
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
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