Brian L. Watkins, M.Ed.
Brian joined the University of Maryland community as Director of Parent and Family Affairs in January 2005. He has overseen the expansion of parent and family programs and services within the Division of Student Affairs and has been instrumental in helping Student Affairs and departments across the campus develop a more cohesive approach to partnering with parents/families to support student success. In recognition of his dedication and commitment to UMD, Brian received the Division of Student Affairs Outstanding Service Award in June 2015.
A first-generation college graduate, Brian earned a Master of Education degree in higher education and student affairs administration from The University of Vermont and a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in psychology from Hope College (MI). Brian has worked in higher education and student affairs for more than 20 years in a variety of leadership positions focused on new student and family transition and support; student engagement and success; leadership development; service learning; diversity and inclusion; and communication and crisis management. Prior to joining UMD, Brian served as assistant director of Academic Enhancement at DePaul University (IL) and director of campus activities and student involvement at Arcadia University (PA). While at Arcadia, Brian also served as adjunct professor in sociology and was appointed by the president to serve on the Affirmative Action Committee.
Brian’s leadership on a national level includes serving as president of the Association of Higher Education Parent/Family Program Professionals (AHEPPP) and two terms on the Board of Directors. He is an active participant with the Big Ten Conference parent and family programs directors, and is a member of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and ACPA – College Student Educators International. He is frequently asked to consult with colleges and universities on creating partnerships with parents and families. Brian is a contributor to stories in local and national media and is a published author on diversity issues in higher education.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Brian is the faculty advisor for Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at the University of Maryland and is also active in the local community. He currently serves on PTA leadership for his son’s school, and previously served on the board of Rainbow Families. Brian lives in Maryland with his husband, son, and beloved pets (a dog and a cat).
Cait Bjellquist, M.Ed.
Cait joined the University of Maryland in July 2016. In her role with the Office of Parent and Family Affairs, Cait is responsible for the coordination of marketing, communications and publications; execution of on-campus and regional involvement/volunteer opportunities for family members; facilitating collaborations with departments across the university; and assessment of programs and initiatives.
Before joining the University of Maryland, Cait worked in Residential Life at American University, Bucknell University, and Long Island University on first year experience, faculty engagement, and student conduct initiatives. In 2011 Cait was awarded “Best of the Northeast” by the North Eastern Association of College and University Housing Officer’s for a presentation on fostering inclusive community for all gender identities and sexual orientations. Cait earned a Master of Education degree from The University of Vermont in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration, a Bachelor of Fine Arts magna cum laude from Arcadia University (PA), and a certificate in Art Museum studies from Smith College (MA). Cait has previously volunteered for the Long Island GLBT Network, a non-profit organization supporting GLBT youth, and currently serves as a mentor with the Foster Care to Success program and as a board member for the Washington Area Women's Soccer League. Cait lives in Washington D.C. with her wife and their two dogs.
Chandra has more than 25 years of experience in Human Resources and joined the University of Maryland Student Affairs team in 1999. Chandra is responsible for supporting the Parent Helpline, managing special projects, and providing general office management. Prior to joining the University family Chandra served as a human resource manager handling payroll, hiring, training, and supervision for staff for Marriott, Shoney's Restaurant, and Central Carwash. Chandra earned a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from the University of Maryland University College and is enrolled in the Masters in Human Resources program. Chandra holds a number of certifications and accolades. Chandra's number one interest is her love for her family!