Center for Academic Excellence

Achieving excellence

Excellence is a goal of all students at Eckerd. The Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) offers students the resources and opportunities to achieve academic excellence in the classroom and after graduation.

  • Peer mentoring helps create community among new students and fosters the development of the academic skills necessary to be successful in college.
  • Academic coaching, workshops on study skills and time management, and tutoring enhance students’ learning.
  • Access to graduate school preparation, scholarship and fellowship opportunities, and personal advising set the stage for continued post-graduate work.

Peer mentoring

Peer mentors help incoming students transition to Eckerd College. A peer mentor is assigned to each section of Autumn Term, and the peer mentors work closely with the Center staff and faculty to help incoming students develop the academic skills they need to be successful and to find their niches among the Eckerd community.


Peer tutoring is available in many subjects, including Behavioral Sciences, Communication, Computer Science, Foreign Language, Natural Sciences and Quantitative Sciences/Mathematics.

Academic Coaching and Skills Workshops

Academic coaches can help you set and meet your academic goals while maintaining a healthy school-life balance. Workshops offered by the Center include surviving midterm exams, more efficient test-taking, and how to make the best academic use of your smartphone.

Creating  a Recipe for Success

  • Set goals
  • Manage your time
  • Go to every class
  • Study every day
  • Utilize campus resources

Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants

Eckerd has a distinguished history of NOAA Hollings Scholars, Fulbright award winners, and Rhodes Scholars. In fact, Eckerd leads the nation for Hollings Scholarship winners all-time.

We help students to learn more about award opportunities that align with their interests and program major, monitor award deadlines, and peruse tips designed to ensure a successful application. A scholarship advisor is available to work with students interested in these opportunities.

Seven proud NOAA Hollings Scholarship winners from Eckerd College pose in front of Fox Pond

Take your pick!

Fulbright, Goldwater, Hollings, NSF, Rhodes, STAR, Udall and more — our students win these prestigious fellowships and scholarships and more, each year. Check out our winners listing.

Peace Corps Prep

Eckerd’s Peace Corps Prep program provides preparation and certification to students seeking to develop the competencies critical to the intercultural fieldwork of its volunteers. Students can meet with trained faculty and staff advisors to apply for the program.

Peace Corps | Prep

From its inception in 1958, Eckerd has emphasized global responsibility and citizenship as part of its liberal arts curriculum. As a result, more than 150 of our graduates have been inspired to serve in the Peace Corps or other international development organizations.

Meet the Staff

Marjorie Sanfilippo, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Brown Hall 101
Make an appointment with Margie

Margie received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami. After many years as a member of the psychology faculty at Eckerd, she has turned her attention to issues affecting the broader college community. As the Associate Dean of Faculty, she oversees all student academic issues, and as the Executive Director of the Center, she oversees the Peer Mentoring Program, Academic Coaching Program, and Accessible Education Services.

Kelly Douglass, B.S.
Academic Coach
Brown Hall 101
Make an appointment with Kelly

Kelly received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Pace University in Pleasantville, NY. She has worked in the educational setting for the past 18 years mainly in the area of special education. Kelly specializes in the areas of Time Management, Organization, and Study Skills. She enjoys helping students sort through the chaos of college requirements to reach their full potential as students and lifelong learners. In addition to her educational background, Kelly has raised two sons. Her eldest, Matt, graduated from Eckerd College in 2010, and Brian from Yale University in 2011.

Marra Piazza Brass, M.S.
Director of Accessible Education Services
Brown Hall 117
Make an appointment with Marra

Marra received a dual B.A. in Spanish and International Studies from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. She then earned a Master of Science in School Counseling from Syracuse University. Marra has spent over a fifteen years working in various aspects of secondary and higher education. After spending several years as a counselor for admission and financial aid programs at Cazenovia College and Le Moyne College, Marra became a school counselor and later a Director of Guidance at a high school in central New York. Upon moving to St. Pete in 2015, Marra joined the Eckerd College community as an Academic Success Coach and now serves as the Director of Accessible Education Services, where she works to provide equal access to facilities, programs and services at the college.

Kat Robinson (Robinson-Malone) Ph.D.
Fellowship and Scholarship Advisor
James Building (CMLS128)
Make an appointment with Kat

Kathleen “Kat” Robinson received her Ph.D. in Literature from the University of South Florida, after having completed her Master’s and Bachelor’s in Literature. She came to Eckerd College in 2008, after teaching at the University of South Florida. She is currently the Fellowships and Scholarship Advisor for Eckerd College. Her research interests include the study of trauma and narrative in modern American and British Literature and the presentation and representation of war in narrative. She has published and presented on Ernest Hemingway, on treasure and treasure-hunting in Florida, and on the effect of war on the narrative structure of Ernest Hemingway and Norman Mailer. She is involved with the local sailing community. She enjoys traveling and sailing (especially when the two coalesce).