Meet the Leadership

Critical partners in HLLC students growth and success.

HLLC leaders share a passion and commitment to recognizing and amplifying the dynamic talents of each HLLC scholar. They have a unique perspective on the path of the HLLC scholars, because for many of them, that path was one they embarked on many years ago. Today, the special community that is the HLLC leadership inspires students as thought leaders in both the academic and social world. They are educators, researchers, authors, social activists, and counselors who have a passion for subjects ranging from LGBTQ rights, community development, mentorship, advocating for undocumented and underserved students, cultural competence, equity in higher education, and, above all, championing and supporting their students’ future leadership.

Dr. Timothy Eatman

Dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community

Timothy K. Eatman, Ph.D., is the inaugural dean of the HLLC. Most recently, he held an appointment as Associate Professor of Higher Education in the School of Education at Syracuse University.  From 2012 to 2017, Tim served as Faculty Co-Director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA). He is co-author of Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University, a seminal IA research report on faculty rewards and publicly engaged scholarship.

Tim’s research explores institutional policy and equity issues in higher education. He has published in such venues as the Journal of Educational Finance, Readings on Equal Education, Diversity and Democracy, and The Huffington Post, and has written several other book chapters and reports. He is co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Service Learning and Civic Engagement, released in 2017.

He serves in national roles including as a faculty member for Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Summer Institutes on High Impact Practices and the Advisory Panel for the Carnegie Engagement Classification for Community Engagement.

Tim sits on the editorial board of University of Michigan Press – The New Public Scholarship book series, Urban Education, Diversity, and Democracy and reviews for several scholarly journals and publications. The recipient of the 2010 Early Career Research Award for the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) and now a member of the board, Tim often consults with Higher Education associations and institutions for collaborative research, keynotes, workshops and consultancies

Marta Esquilin

Associate Dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, American Studies

Marta Elena Esquilin is the Associate Dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community and Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the American Studies Program within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-Newark. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Vermont in 1999, and her Master’s Degree in 2003 from Teachers College, Columbia University in Higher Education Administration. In 2005, under the leadership of Dr. Derald Wing Sue within the Counseling & Psychology department at Teachers College, she was a co-author of the seminal article, “Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice.” American Psychologist, 62(4), 271-286. From 2005 to 2015, Marta served as the Director of Social Justice and Intercultural Programs within the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Columbia University. Prior to her role at Columbia, she worked at The Posse Foundation and in a variety of community based organizations focused on youth development, college access & equity, and community building. She is currently the Board chair of CLAGS (Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies), the oldest LGBTQ research center in the country, and she is the first Latina to serve in this role. She works as a diversity expert and consultant within educational settings including secondary schools, community-based organizations, and higher education institutions around the United States.

Marta’s passion and current work focuses on creating educational environments that encourage the positive development and success of all students. She is particularly interested in raising awareness about how microaggressions manifest to create hostile environments for marginalized social identities within work and school settings. Most recently, she has been developing trainings and assessment tools aimed at increasing cultural competence, addressing the impacts of microaggressions, and creating sustainable infrastructures to support student success within educational settings. Her work aims to equip administrators, faculty, staff and students with the skills necessary for creating environments that are affirming to all identities and experiences.

Engelbert Santana

Assistant Dean of Advisement

Engelbert Santana is the Assistant Dean of Advisement for the Honors Living-Learning Community at Rutgers University-Newark. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Latino Studies with a Minor in Psychology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in 2005, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education in 2008. Prior to joining the HLLC, Engelbert served in various roles at Rutgers University-Newark. First, as an Assessment Counselor with the Student Support Services Program (2005-2009) where he provided students opportunities for academic development, assisted with basic college requirements, and motivate students to successfully complete their postsecondary education. He then transitioned to the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program (2009-2016) as a Senior Counselor where he advised ambitious first-generation, low-income college students in successfully navigating their collegiate experiences and post-graduation goals. Before joining Rutgers, he worked at Aspira, Inc. of New Jersey as a Program Coordinator reintegrating juveniles back into a school setting. Professionally and personally, Engelbert is a passionate advocate and staunch supporter of programs and initiatives that provide access and opportunities for talented students who are often marginalized in higher education.

He constantly advocates for opportunities for undocumented students and has given numerous workshops focusing on access to higher education, best practices, and development initiatives for underrepresented students. He also has presented on the psychological stressors of higher education and ethnic identity development. Engelbert serves on the Rutgers University Senate and is a Board of Trustees member for Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity, Inc., the oldest Latino fraternity in the United States.

Tsihai Hanson

Director of Special Projects

Tsihai Hanson is the Director of Special Projects for the Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC). In this role, she oversees several leadership and curricular programs that enhance the scholar experience, fortifying the pathway to successful pursuit of advanced degrees and professional careers.

A two-time Rutgers alumna, Tsihai first returned to Rutgers—Newark as the inaugural national director of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, a cross-institutional, co-curricular program dedicated to developing courageous leadership among young women in higher education.

Having worked for and with a number of leading organizations throughout her career including The Posse Foundation, Uncommon Schools, Teach for America and the ACLU, Tsihai has played key roles in developing programs and strategies to effectively engage communities, support student, school and organizational growth and prepare underrepresented youth for academic and personal success.

With a special commitment to equity and excellence for women and girls of color, Tsihai has served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Union County, New Jersey, and as a member of the Leadership Council for the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. She has also volunteered as a leadership coach for an all-women cohort with Braven—a college to career accelerator course, and as a facilitator for Bel Kan “beautiful camp,” an enrichment camp for girls in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Tsihai earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies at Douglass College, the women’s college at Rutgers University; and master’s in public administration at Rutgers University—Newark.

Dr. Jennifer Bucalo

Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Development

Jennifer (Rodriguez) Bucalo is the Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Development for the Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC).  Jennifer earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy from Rutgers University – Newark.  She works with diverse high school and undergraduate students to create successful pathways to complete college.  Jennifer knows firsthand as a former English as a Second Language (ESL) student, how challenging it may be for students to learn a new language while transitioning back and forth from one’s heritage culture to the “new” mainstream. As a result, she was a public-school teacher for close to ten years in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

Jennifer has been working closely with the HLLC over the past few years as an instructor, mentor, and graduate fellow.She co-founded, ImVisible, an HLLC peer initiative which focuses on expressing the migrant experience through music, art, and poetry.  In addition, she co-founded Healing Sounds of Newark (HSN), a monthly platform which honors incredible sounds and talent from students and community members performed at Clem’s Place located at Rutgers University-Newark. Jennifer has been published and presented research on cancer prevention among Hispanic Mothers in urban communities. She is a recipient of the HLLC-PSEG STEAM Fellowship, Latino Studies Research Initiative Fellowship, and the Graduate School of Newark Dissertation Fellowship.  Her groundbreaking research, College Persistence, Resiliency, and Factors Contributing to the Latina Collegian Experience received honorable mention for the 2019 AERA Latina/o/x Research SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award.


Rabeya Rahman

Department Administrator

Rabeya Rahman is the Department Administrator of the Honors Living-Learning Community. A double Rutgers alumna, Rabeya Rahman obtained her B.A. in History and South Asian Studies from Rutgers College, Rutgers-New Brunswick and her M.A. in History from Rutgers University-Newark and New Jersey Institute of Technology, where she concentrated on the development of educational systems and venues.

A Newark native, Rabeya has previously worked with Newark’s high school students through the Jersey Urban Debate League (JUDL) and youth groups at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A long-time member of the Rutgers-Newark community, she held prior positions with the Talent Search program and the Departments of History and African American and African Studies.


“I come from an orientation of community/institution builders…when I think about what’s possible I think about Rutgers-Newark, and that the game is coming to these types of institutions precisely because there is an energy, passion and hunger to understand what we have not tapped into in terms of our resources in these kinds of communities.”

Hometown: Harlem, NY

“Newark, New Jersey is the perfect place for the Honors Living-Learning Community because we really believe in bringing diverse students together who have critical insight about issues related to social inequity.  There is no one better equipped to come up with innovative solutions, to think about how these issues are impacting their lives and communities, than students who have on-the-ground knowledge or may have experienced it themselves?”

Associate Dean
Hometown: Montclair, NJ


“I am grateful to be involved with HLLC because I have a chance to witness another example of the University’s storied commitment to academic, social, and civic growth.”

–Aaron Gibbs, Associate Dean, School of Public Affairs and Administration