Njelama Dacas, Ed.M. – Head Counselor
Caitlyn Barrows, Ed.M. – Head Counselor
Your counselors aim to help you have a fun, safe and memorable experience at Rutgers. As alumni and students themselves, with impressive performing and teaching resumes, they are an excellent resource for questions about the nature of college dance study.
All counselors are either alumni or current graduate students enrolled in the Graduate Dance Education Program, a partnership program between Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, an elite program leading to a master’s degree and PK-12 teacher certification in dance. Some have also completed the Pilates Teacher Certification program or the Yoga Teacher Certification program at Mason Gross, Rutgers as well. All of your counselors completed a BFA dance major at Mason Gross or other undergraduate institutions.
- American Red Cross CPR and AED
- Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Prevention
- Protection of Minors
- ConcussionWise Training
- HeatWise Training
- HeartWise Training
Caitlyn Barrows – Program Coordinator
Njelama Dacas – Program Coordinator
Njelama Dacas is a 2017 EdM in Dance Education graduate as well as a 2015 graduate of Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. She holds her Bachelor in Fine Arts in Dance Performance and is the Dance Educator at Hedgepeth Williams Middle School of the Arts in Trenton, New Jersey. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York she spent her junior year of undergrad studying abroad at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, United Kingdom. During her time abroad she was privileged enough to travel to over five different countries and perform in the Trinity Laban Theatre. Also during her Undergraduate years she has served as Head Counselor, movement and workshop instructor at the Rutgers Pre College Summer Dance Program. During her studies she has gained experience in Dance pedagogy, Dance technique, Dance history, choreographic and improvisational skills, and kinesiology. She has also been privileged enough to perform works by Keith Thompson, David Parker(The Bang Group), Kendra Portier , Marina Collard and Summation Dance.
Veronica Cheeseboro is a native New Yorker who has served her community in a variety of ways. Throughout her life, her profound grounding in culture expresses itself in her choreography, teaching, community based practice and work in youth empowerment. In 2016 -2017, she received many awards regarding her leadership skills and ability to lead the youth in her community. These awards reflect her strong commitment to service in her New York community while pursuing bachelors and masters studies at Rutgers University, New Jersey. In 2016, she attained a Bachelor Fine Arts in Dance at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University; where she received an academic scholarship. Alongside studying modern, ballet, improvisation, and choreography at Rutgers, she has had the opportunity to work with many professional choreographers. Currently, she sets work for various New Jersey high schools.She is a student in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University;pursuing an EdM degree in Dance Education with a K-12 certification; anticipated graduation May 2018. Upon graduation, she aspires to teach, choreograph and dance simultaneously in the professional realm.
Thea N. Grier
Lauren Raffaelli received her BFA in dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She is currently in her fifth year, studying dance education in the EdM program at Rutgers. She had the pleasure of studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in her fall semester junior year as well as traveling to Yucatán, Mexico with the Graduate School of Education to engage in a community-based teaching experience in January 2018. During her time at Mason Gross she performed in works by faculty members Keith Thompson and John Evans and guest artist Jodi Melnick. Her passion for dance and teaching has brought her to many places and people, which she plans to continue throughout her life!
Some of your counselors began their careers at Rutgers by attending the summer program in the past!
2015 BFA Dance
2016 EdM Dance Education
It is great to come back as a teacher and head counselor because I have the insiders scoop of what it was like to be in the throws of everything and feel unsure during the first couple of days…BUT IT IS OKAY! You will have so much fun dancing, learning and networking with new people. You meet friends that last a lifetime! I’m excited to meet you (dancers) and LETS HAVE SOME FUN! – Nje Dacas
In 2007 I attended the summer dance program at Rutgers and had the experience of a lifetime! I remember my favorite part of the summer program was the fact that I was getting to experience dance in so many new ways. I was so excited to be completely immersed in dance for an entire two weeks with so many other passionate dancers, many of whom I still keep in touch with today! After attending this program I felt extremely confident when applying to colleges as a dance major because I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. From living in a dorm, to eating in the dining hall, to studying from notable college professors, attending the program really gave me a sense of what it would be like to be a dance major. I was so excited to return to the program as a counselor and teacher! It was so fulfilling to watch the students have a blast and continuously improve each day. I am so thankful that I am able to contribute and give back to the program that was such a memorable part of my personal dance history. A piece of advice that I have is don’t be afraid to take chances and try something new…really go for it and take advantage of the fabulous dance community we will create together! I am excited to meet you (dancers) and I can’t wait to have a blast together this summer! – Caitlyn Barrows