Welcome to The SoE First-Year Advising Hub


The School of Engineering Advising Hub is the primary source of academic advising for all Engineering students during their first year at Rensselaer.  The Hub is staffed by experienced advisors who will offer academic support for all engineering majors. Hub advisors assist students to determine their unique academic path through Rensselaer while fulfilling all their degree requirements. 


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What kind of help can I find at the Hub?

The Hub is a resource for all advising purposes, including:

We consider ourselves a one-stop shop! If you come to us for support, we will help you find the answers. Even if it is outside the above bullet points, or our expertise, we will help you to connect with the right office or person on campus. PS: check out the RPI Directory if you are looking for someone specific, or a particular office. You'll find everyone here: info.rpi.edu


Why do I have a Hub Advisor and a Faculty Advisor?

The Advising Hub will offer academic support to students through their first year. Our team helps support the transition into college learning, and understanding the responsibilities of joining Rensselaer as young, academic professionals.

At the start of their sophomore year, students will transition to a faculty advisor and connect to their major's department in the School of Engineering. The faculty advisor will then contribute to the student’s academic success by offering valuable perspective on internships, research, graduate school and job prospects, in addition to graduation requirements.


When can I connect with the Hub?

Office Hours: Weekdays, 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m.

Location: 3306 Jonnson-Engineering Center (JEC), inside the Ansell Louge (look left when you walk into the lounge)


We are now offering either in-person or remote appointments. Choose whichever makes you more comfortable. Please use the button below to make an appointment with your major-specific SoE Hub advisor.  When you book an appointment, you will receive meeting details in your confirmation email from OnceHub. This will include connection information for remote appointments through WebEx. 


Unsure who your advisor is, or which advisor you should meet with?

Keep scrolling down this page or read the descriptions under each name after you click the link!

Schedule a video chat or in-person meeting now!


School of Engineering Advising Resources


The Hidden Curriculum: Your Intro to RPI!

What's your Plan? 4-Year Plan of Study

Major-Specific Advising Handbooks

Industry Hour: Your connection to industry and alumni!

FAQ and Forms

Transferring Credits to Rensselaer


Meet the First-Year Advising Team!


Marie Dieffenbach

Marie Dieffenbach

Manager, Student Services
Advises Class of 2025: Aeronautical, Materials, and Nuclear Engineering

Marie Dieffenbach has been advising undergraduate engineering students at RPI for the past 19 years. Originally from Staten Island NY, Marie came to the Capital District for college, met her husband on move-in day, and never looked back. She enjoys music, kayaking, and completely dominating her Tour de France Fantasy league. Marie and her husband Mark have a grown son who lives in Seattle, and they share their 1821 farmhouse in the Mohawk valley with their two cats, Bubs and Squeaks.

E-mail: dieffm@rpi.edu

Kristin Bergene

Kristin Bergene

Senior Student Services Administrator
Advises Class of 2025: Undeclared Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering

With a background in career counseling, Kristin brings the importance of professional development into her academic advising conversations. She earned an Master’s degree in London, where she lived and worked for nearly two years. After traveling to 13 countries, Kristin is now back in Central New York, close to family, and motivated by her advising career in higher education. At home with her two kittens, Axl and Gaia, Kristin relaxes with a pen in hand, writing and illustrating.

E-mail: bergek@rpi.edu

Karen Lewis

Karen Lewis

Senior Student Services Administrator
Advises Class of 2025: Civil, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering

Karen Lewis joined the SoE Hub in its inaugural year after advising the undergraduate students in the MANE department for three years. Previous to her ambitions in academia, she worked across the street at Samaritan Hospital as their pharmaceutical purchasing agent for over a decade. Originally from Long Island, Karen decided to switch things up by moving to rural Rensselaer county, where she enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, and skiing with her husband and young daughter.

E-mail: phelak@rpi.edu

Valerie Swenson

Valerie Swenson

Senior Student Services Administrator
Advises Class of 2025: Biomedical, Chemical, and Industrial and Management Engineering

Valerie has been with Rensselaer since April 2016, and worked with the Core Engineering office before joining The Hub when it first opened in Fall 2017. A student herself, Valerie is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Policy and Leadership at SUNY Albany, where she also received her Master’s degree. Originally from the Syracuse, New York area, she moved to the Capital District after college and has been a proud resident of downtown Troy ever since. Her interests include traveling, riding her bike, and coffee.

E-mail: swensv@rpi.edu




Advising Support for Upperclass Students!