Academic Services for Student-Athletes
ASSA Staff
Tara Helton
Associate Director, Lead Football Advisor (Offense)

Tara Helton joined the ASSA staff as Associate Director in August 2016. At UCF, Tara serves as the lead advisor for the football team and helps to oversee the day to day operations of the program. Prior to UCF, Tara spent eleven years at Marshall University where she was the Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services, responsible for the daily operation and oversight of the Buck Harless Student Athlete Program.

Under her direction, Marshall’s athletic teams continuously improved their grade point average, graduation success rate and APR. More than 50% of all student athletes earned a 3.00 or higher every term beginning in the 2006 academic year until her departure in June 2016. Marshall athletes were also well represented at the Conference level placing in the top six in the number of recipients on the Commissioners Honor Roll. For the 2015-16 school year, Marshall finished first in Conference USA with 60 recipients of the Commissioners Academic Medal, which recognizes student athletes who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher. In addition to her academic duties, Tara was also an adjunct faculty member in the undergraduate Counseling Education Program for eight years.

Tara received both her Bachelors of Art and Master’s degree from Marshall University, and is married to fellow UCF employee Brad Helton. They have two children, Ryan (18) and Haley (15).

Derick Brown
Assistant Director/Lead Learning Specialist - Men's Basketball, Track & Field, Cross Country

Derick Brown joined UCF in fall 2012 as a strategic tutor and then intern with the Football program. He is now entering his second year as a Learning Specialist and Academic Advisor for the Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country program. Prior to UCF Derick spent five years at the University of Arkansas as graduate assistant working primarily with the Men's Basketball program.

Brown earned Academic All-Conference accolades while playing basketball at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina. He completed his master's degree in Recreation and Sports Management at the University of Arkansas in 2009. He is currently working towards completing his doctorate in the same field.

Derick is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas and has a lively daughter, Azaria Brown. His mother and older brother live in Arkansas, while his older sister resides in Texas. In his spare he likes to spend time with his wife and daughter, play basketball, cook, and play the PlayStation4. Derick is also an active member of the N4A.

Danilsa Andujar
Academic Advisor - W Basketball, W Soccer

Danilsa Andujar joined Academic Services for Student-Athletes (ASSA) in August of 2017 as an Academic Advisor for the Women’s Basketball and Women’s Soccer teams. As a former graduate assistant Danilsa worked with Women’s Basketball, Women’s Soccer, and Men’s Soccer for almost two years while completing her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership here at UCF. A former student-athlete herself, Danilsa played basketball at Indiana University (Go Hoosiers!) and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Upon graduating she went on to teach fourth grade for three years.

In her spare time Danilsa enjoys cheering on the Knights at different sporting events, working out, playing basketball, drinking coffee, and spending time with her family. She especially enjoys the time spent bonding with her hubby and baby girl, Lina. Danilsa is originally from Miami, FL.

Favorite Quote: “It’s meant to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”  

Traci Bonds
Academic Advisor - Football (Defense), W Golf

Traci Bonds joined the UCF family in October of 2015 as one of the Academic Advisors for the Knights football program. As a full time staff member with Academic Services for Student-Athletes (ASSA), Traci works directly with her defensive players to encourage academic success and promote life-long learning. Traci supplements her advisor duties by also serving as ASSA's Academic Mentor Program (AMP) Coordinator.

Traci comes to UCF from the University of Kentucky where she worked as an Academic Services Assistant to the Kentucky football team. In 2014, Traci earned her Masters of Education in Sport Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University while helping to build Richard Bland Community College's first ever academic success program for student-athletes.

When time permits, Traci enjoys spending time at the beach, brunch-ing, and eating as much Jeremiah's as possible.

Favorite Quote: "The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nicci Hopps
Academic Advisor - Rowing, Softball

Nicci Hopps joined the full-time staff in November 2015 as the advisor for the rowing and softball teams. She had been a graduate assistant with Academic Services for Student-Athletes since August 2014. As a graduate assistant she worked with men’s and women’s tennis, men’s golf, women’s volleyball, and softball. During her time here at UCF, Nicci has earned her MBA and is working toward earning a Master’s in Sports Business Management from the DeVos Sport Business Management Program.

Prior to UCF, Nicci graduated from Southeastern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management with a minor in coaching and was a student-athlete on the softball team and a team captain for two years. Nicci was born and raised in Tampa, FL.

In her free time, Nicci enjoys working out, attending Celebration Church, and spending time with family and friends.

Favorite Quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” –Tim Notke

Kirby Lee
Learning Specialist - Football/ Academic Advisor - W Tennis

Kirby Lee joined the full time staff at Academic Services for Student-Athletes (ASSA) in January 2017 as a Learning Specialist and Academic Advisor for Women’s Tennis. He had previously worked at ASSA as a Graduate Assistant, working primarily with football since August 2015. Kirby is working toward earning a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from UCF, which will allow him to further serve student-athletes within a capacity that fosters personal growth and development.

Prior to UCF, Kirby graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Management. He also worked with the University of Michigan Academic Success Program during his final two undergraduate years, assisting student-athletes as the Lead Building Supervisor to ensure for a productive study hall environment. Kirby is also an active member of N4A.

Favorite Quote: “Speaking to five thousand people is no more important than quietly teaching one.” – Tony Dungy

Lucas Noboa
Academic Advisor - M Soccer, Spirit / Tutor Coordinator

Lucas Noboa has been with Academic Services for Student-Athletes (ASSA) since Fall 2015, he is currently serving as the Academic Advisor for the women's golf and men's soccer teams. In addition to his duties as an academic advisor, Lucas coordinates all tutorial services for student-athletes.

Prior to his arrival at the University of Central Florida, Lucas served as a Student-Athlete Academic/Tutoring Coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) working with the Men’s Golf and Field Hockey programs and coordinating all tutorial services for student-athletes. He is a former men’s soccer student-athlete and received his Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at Barry University in 2013.

Lucas is an active member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A), receiving his Individual Certification in 2012.

Carly Place
Academic Advisor - Baseball, Volleyball, M Tennis, M Golf

Carly Place joined the full time staff at Academic Services for Student Athletes in June 2016. She serves as the academic advisor for Volleyball, Men’s Golf and Men’s Tennis, and also coordinates Orientation and the CAP program. Previously, she worked as an intern with ASSA starting in June 2015. During this role she worked with men’s basketball, baseball and served as the Assistant Tutor Coordinator.

Prior to joining UCF, Carly attended Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. While there, she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Sport Management and Minor in Communications. She also played Divison I tennis for all four years and was a SAAC representative. Carly went on to receive her Master’s of Business Administration from East Carolina University. She worked in the Office of Student Development during her time at East Carolina University as the Assistant Tutor Coordinator, as well as an Assistant Academic Advisor with the Softball and Swimming and Diving Teams.

Favorite Quote: “Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present.” – Roger Babson

Danielle Traylor
Officer Manager / HR Liaison
Academic Assistants (DAAP Program)
Brittany Noble
Academic Assistant
Emily Pearson
Academic Assistant
Kayla Lee
Academic Assistant
Graduate Assistants (DAAP Program)
Ashley Jocelyn
Graduate Assistant
Cristina Vazquez
Graduate Assistant
Lisa Payton
Graduate Assistant
Ryan Trent
Graduate Assistant

Hours Mon-Fri: 8am - 5pm
Phone 407-823-5895
Fax 407-823-3761
Location Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership, Room 201

Computer Lab / Study Hall Fall/Spring

Hours Mon-Thurs: 8am - 9pm
Fri: 8am - 5pm
Sun: 6pm - 9pm

Computer Lab / Study Hall Summer

Hours Mon-Thurs: 8am - 5pm

Tutor Appointments

Hours Mon-Thurs: 8am - 9pm
Fri: 8am - 5pm
Sun: 6pm - 9pm
Phone (407) 823-5895