Meet the TRIO Staff

Celeste Donovan, Director


TRIO Celeste Donovan wearing green shirt with brown shoulder length hair smiling.

Celeste comes to TRIO with a broad range of professional experiences in education. Before moving to Western Massachusetts, she lived in New York City where she tutored and mentored adult GED learners and high school students.

She has extensive training in Writing Across the Curriculum pedagogy and practice and she also teaches undergraduate courses in Art History. Since joining TRIO in 2008, Celeste aims to help students identify their strengths, chart a path to their goals, and feel active and engaged in their own education and learning process. Celeste enjoys an ocean view and a good laugh.


Charlotte Capogna-Amias, Assistant Director

TRIO Charlotte Capogna-Amias wearing pink shirt with glasses and short brown hair smiling.

Charlotte has over twenty years’ experience working in various aspects of higher education. A first-generation college student herself, Charlotte is passionate about supporting students from marginalized backgrounds to help them harness their strengths and achieve their goals. Prior to working with the TRIO Program, Charlotte worked with various social justice and public health non-profits and in higher education. Charlotte holds a Masters in Social Justice Education. Charlotte is also the co-chair of the university's Campus Pride Committee. In her life outside of Westfield, Charlotte serves as a peer facilitator for support groups for Empty Arms Bereavement. In her free time, Charlotte loves to spend time with her family and friends, run, garden, read, listen to podcasts, and paint.


Shakira Alvarez-Ferrer, Program Coordinator

TRIO Shakira Alvarez-Ferrer wearing black shirt, glasses, and a colorful necklace smiling.

Shakira has worked in TRIO since 2011. Previously, she was a case manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County and a third-grade teacher in a two-way bilingual program. Shakira grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has lived in New England since 1994. A graduate of UMass Amherst and Brown University, her hobbies include baking bread and daydreaming about a beach vacation.


Kaitlin Karetka, Program Coordinator

TRIO Kaitlin Karetka wearing black and gray shirt smiling with shoulder length hair.

Kaitlin joined the TRIO team in 2023 with fifteen years of experience in higher education.  Previously, she was the Access Advisor in Disability Services here at Westfield State.  Before coming to Westfield, Kaitlin worked at American International College in advising, student services, and logistics for their extended campus programs.  She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, as well as a master’s degree and a CAGS in educational psychology.  Kaitlin strives to be a positive resource for students throughout their journey at Westfield and as they prepare for life after college.  She is a certified yoga instructor and loves sharing the benefits of yoga with others.  She also enjoys reading, exercising, gardening, and most of all spending time with her family and friends.