Sr. Leandra Kosmoski, ssj
Pastoral Associate
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Sr. Leandra joyfully joins the RIT Newman Community this fall as Pastoral Associate! She is a Buffalo NY Native, and has over 30 years of Ministry Experience. Sr. Leandra has been a Sister of Saint Joseph for 55 years. She has Bachelors in Biology from D’Youville College, a degree in education from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University, and a Masters in Christian Spirituality and Certificate of Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats from Creighton University. In her free time, Sr. Leandra enjoys kitting or crocheting blankets and sweaters and visiting her family!


Rev. Brian C. Cool, EdD
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Fr. Cool has served as Director at RIT since 2015. He is a lifelong fan of Syracuse University Athletics (basketball, football and lacrosse); and added the Buffalo Bills and Boston Red Sox to the sports portfolio later in life.  He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of Rochester and previously chair of the Diocese of Rochester’s Public Policy Committee, and as a member of the New York State Bishop’s Public Policy Committee. Fr. Cool has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Nazareth College of Rochester; a Pontifical Bachelor’s of Sacred Theology and Masters of Divinity degree from St. Mary’s Seminary & University; and both a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and Doctorate degree in Human Development from the University of Rochester. In his free time, Fr. Cool enjoys working as a high school and collegiate lacrosse referee.


Kristen Smith
Campus Minister and Program Director
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Kristen has 9 years of professional ministry experience. She has been the youth minister and/or religious education coordinator for three parishes in the Rochester area and involved as a diocesan volunteer. She is newly married to her husband, Don, and loves her time with students and the RIT community. In her free time, you might find her kayaking or walking the zoo.

Mike Vernarelli
Campus Minister
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Mike holds a Masters in Pastoral Studies from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry.  He has 20 years experience in youth catechesis at the parish level including 8 years as Youth Minister at Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Anne Cluster in the Diocese of Rochester.  He just retired as a Professor of Economics at RIT with over 40 years experience.  Mike is the RIT Newman student Eboard adviser, and he eagerly helps plan and implement various Newman events and programs.

Jimmy Miller
Business Manager
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Jimmy has been with the Newman Community at RIT since November 2017 as the Business Manager.  He’s an Ordained Deacon at Trinity Communion Church which is part of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC).  He and his wife, Chase, an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon) at the U of R, have three children.  Jimmy also started and runs a non-profit [501 (c) (3)] called “Pure Water for Africa, Inc.”.  He and his wife travel twice a year to Kenya.  While there, Chase trains Kenyan Medical Residents in ENT surgery, and Jimmy raises money to purchase Sawyer Water Filters and then he gives them to orphanages, schools, and local Kenyan residents.  They have been doing this work since 2011.  You can check out their blog at