Meet the Balch Residential Staff

Residence Hall Director (RHD): The Residence Hall Director is a full time, live-in professional staff person, and is not a student. The RHD oversees the day-to-day operations of the building, supervises the student staff, and envisions long-term planning for Balch. They are the Balch representative to its parent organizations, Housing and Residential Life, Student and Campus Life, and Cornell University.

Residential Advisors (RA): Resident Advisors (RAs) live in the undergraduate residence halls on campus and act as community leaders and peer educators, encouraging residents to respect one another and get involved with floor, hall and area activities, and providing information about campus resources. There are 12 RAs in Balch, one on each unit. They are here to support you as you transition into college life, answer questions, host programs and help build a sense of community with each other. SEE THEIR PROFILES BELOW.

Senior Resident Advisor (SRA): The Balch Senior RA is a staff member with at least one year of RA experience who is on staff and provides additional support in programming, advising and mentoring newer staff members, and serving as a liaison to the Balch Womyn's Center.

CORE RAs stands for COmmunity and REspect Resident Advisor. Balch Hall has two CORE RAs. The CORE RA program is comprised of a select group of resident advisors from each residential community. They receive on-going training designed to help them craft a critical lens, and become cognizant of aspects within our society that are nuances of sexual and relationship violence. In turn, they actively engage their peers to help them become more aware of these issues. They also inform the students of the many supportive campus and community resources that are available to assist individuals that have been impacted by any form of sexual misconduct. Through programming, students learn how to cultivate healthy relationships in intentional ways, and how to be an active bystander within their communities.

Balch Residential Staff 2020-2021

Residence Hall Director, Natalie Ovalle

I am originally from the best coast, WEST COAST! I was born and raised in California and attended UC Santa Barbara for undergrad. After 3 beautiful years by the beach I decided to move to the east coast and attend the University at Buffalo for graduate school.

During my time as a college and graduate student I participated in hosting student run conferences that focused on destigmatizing mental health, assisted with the creation of the ALANA (African, Latino/a, Asian, Native American) ceremony at a small private college, and helped establish a food pantry for students on campus.

I love all things Disney and am a devoted Mariah Carey fan!

RA Abegale McDermott
Units 2-1, 2-2 (Rooms 2132-2235)

I am a Sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. I'm on the pre-medical track while studying Math and Spanish. I am from the beautifully green city of Tacoma, Washington, where I live with my parents and my dog Rose.

On campus, I am a tour guide and a chemistry TA as well as an active member of both the APO Service Fraternity and Christian Union. Off campus, I love to explore Ithaca’s amazing restaurants. Fun fact: I was an exchange student in Chile in high school!

CORE RA Supriya Pandit
Unit 3-1 (Rooms 3112-3159)

Welcome to Balch! I am a Junior Human Bio, Health and Society major in Human Ecology. I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York.

On campus, I am involved in research, community service, and advisory council for my college. In my free time, you can find me doing yoga, practicing calligraphy, writing, rock climbing, and shopping at Wegmans.

A fun fact: I have never eaten eggs!

RA Jeniviv Bansah
Units 3-1, 3-2 (3162-3276)

Hey all! I am a Junior in the School of Hotel Administration. I was born and raised in Ghana but I live in Westchester, NY now.

On campus, I am a part of AKPsi, a hotelie ambassador, play tennis, and in Cornell Marketing.

I love music, especially in car rides.

SRA Isabelle Aboaf
Unit 3-4 (Rooms 3432-3485)

Hi everyone! I'm a Senior studying Government at Cornell. I was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado and love all things outdoors-related, especially hiking and skiing in the mountains!

Here on campus, I play violin in the Cornell Symphony and do outreach with Body Positive Cornell, as well as staying involved in residential life. I also LOVE movies and am a loyal fan of Cornell Cinema.

Off campus, I volunteer with the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County and enjoy heading to the Commons for the many festivals throughout the year. In my spare time, you can catch me jogging around the hills of Ithaca, reading a good book, or playing frisbee.

Fun fact: I can sing the alphabet backwards (feel free to ask for a demonstration). I'm excited to meet you all!

RA Grace Staes
Unit 4-1 (Rooms 4113-4159)

Hey everyone! I’m a Junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying anthropology on the pre-med track. I'm from Atlanta, Georgia.

On campus in addition to being an RA, I work as a tour guide, I’m Co-President of the Black Biomedical and Technical Association, and I’m a high school tutor with Upward Bound.

I love reading young adult novels, watching sports or hanging out with my friends. One fun fact about me is that I have the same birthday as my older brother, he's exactly 3 years and 9 minutes older than me.

CORE RA Kerry Wong
Unit 4-2 (Rooms 4212-4277)

Hi everyone! Welcome to Balch Hall! I am a Junior from New York City, majoring in Policy Analysis and Management. I am particularly interested in non-profit management, criminal justice reform, and exploring the development of effective social inequality and welfare policies.

On campus, I'm involved in the Willard Straight Hall Student Union Board, the Undergraduate Labor Institute, and the Cornell Policy Review.

In my free time, I enjoy journaling, reading, exploring restaurants, and trying out new baking recipes. A fun fact about me is that even though they have become less and less popular, I still avidly collect machine pressed souvenir pennies!

RA Catherine St. Hilaire
Unit 4-3 (4310-4364)

I’m a Junior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. I’m from Long Island, New York where I live with my parents, my younger brother, and our dog, Snowball.

On campus I’m involved in Mock Trial, the Haitian Students Association, and the Black Ivy Pre-Law Society. In my free time I like to listen to music, watch TV(if you ever want to talk about The Office please just come knock on my door), cook (especially when it comes to chopped salads), and travel.

A fun fact about me is that I spent last winter in Cambodia! I’m so excited to be in Balch again this year with you all! I can’t wait to meet you all and have a wonderful year together!!

RA Crystal Wu
Units 4-3, 4-4 (Rooms 4365-4485)

I am a Junior studying Computer Science in the College of Engineering. I am from Poughkeepsie, NY.

On campus, I am involved in Alpha Phi Omega, CUSail, and am a TA. In my free time, I love watching movies, playing Tetris, and drawing!

Fun fact: Once, I watched 38 movies in 2 weeks.

RA Carina Garcia
Units 5-1, 5-2 (Rooms 5110-5235)

I am a sophomore Biological Sciences major in Arts and Sciences. This will be my first semester as a Balch RA.

On campus, I am involved in research at the Group and Interpersonal Communication Research Lab. I am also a Biology Scholar in BSP and I write and do cover artwork for the Cornell Healthcare Review.

In my free time, I love doing yoga and watching cooking videos. I can’t wait to meet you all and have an amazing year!

RA Olivia Roberts
Units 5-2, 6-2 (Rooms 5237-6276)

Hello everyone! I am a Senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Design & Environmental Analysis. I’m from Austin, Texas, but after three years in Ithaca, I think I’ve finally learned to like cold weather.

On campus I’m involved in the DAIL lab in Human Ecology, I work in the Engineering Advising office, and I’m a member of Alpha Chi Omega. In my free time, I love exploring the gorges, trying new restaurants, watching suspenseful movies, and looking at memes.

A fun fact about me is that I am SCUBA certified! I also consider myself somewhat of a TCAT expert so reach out to me for some navigation tips.

RA Mariam Obaji
Unit 5-3 (Rooms 5314-5375)

Hi everyone! I am a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering. I am from Rochester, NY.

On campus, I am involved in the Society of Women engineers, the Cornell American Civil Liberties Union, and MECA. In my free time, I love hiking around "gorges" Ithaca and watching Netflix.

I can't wait to meet everyone and have an awesome year!

Units 5-4, 6-4 (Rooms 5412-6468)