Student Affairs Fellows Program

The Student Affairs Fellows Program (SAFP) is a year-long professional development opportunity for professional staff who are entry to mid-level in their career. 

Participants in this program will: 

  • Learn more about the landscape of student affairs and higher education from a practitioner-based point of view.
  • Be exposed to key decision-making leaders at Kent State in an intimate setting that allows for more direct engagement with these leaders.
  • Develop a career action plan that maps out potential opportunities for professional growth and development.

The fellows were selected through a nomination process to participate in the first cohort of the SAFP. The cohort will have monthly meetings with Dr. Hylton, and key senior/executive leaders at Kent State, and will engage in a variety of discussions on key issues affecting student affairs and higher education, broadly. Participants will also develop an action plan for navigating their career trajectories that will assist them in identifying potential career positions to aspire to, professional development opportunities, and other learnings.


2021 Student Affairs Fellows Program


Alex Bakhaus headshot
Alex Bakhaus
Area Coordinator
University Housing

Alex Bakhaus (she/her/hers) is an Area Coordinator in the Department of University Housing, overseeing the Quad Area (Lake, Olson, Stopher, and Johnson residence halls). She attended Eastern Michigan University where she majored in Women’s and Gender Studies and obtained a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in College Student Personnel. Alex has been at Kent State for over two years and originally started as a Residence Hall Director. She has loved getting to know the residents that make up the Quad community during her time at KSU and finds joy in supervising student and graduate staff and providing much needed support for residents in various stages of the college experience. In her free time, Alex enjoys hiking and being outdoors with her husband and border collie, Rory. Alex’s home is Southeast Michigan where she often visits to spend time with friends and family. Also, Alex enjoys cooking and baking, listening to true crime podcasts, and traveling to new places.


Winnie Bush Headshot

Winnie Bush
Program Coordinator
Women’s Center

Originally from West Africa, Nigeria, Winnie Bush (she/her/hers) earned her bachelor's degree in Multimedia Journalism from Jackson State University and her Master's in Higher Education Administration here at Kent State University. Throughout her collegiate experience, she has worked in various functional areas that included: Student housing, Student Activities/Programming, International student affairs and Student Government. Winnie currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Women's Center and oversees the center's programs and initiative such as Where do Black Women Go, Feminist Friday, Black Moms Matter and the Elect Her program. She strives to create programs that are fun, intentional, and educational. On a more personal note, she loves cooking traditional Nigerian dishes, traveling, and creating content for her YouTube channel.


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Jayita Datta
Staff Psychologist
Counseling and Psychological Services

Jayita Datta works as a Staff Psychologist for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).  Her drive came from helping people and because of that Jayita choose Psychology as her career. She has been practicing psychology in India and America for over 20 years and has a large range of experience working at a research heart hospital, psychiatric hospital, community mental health, college counseling centers, and a maximum-security. After earning graduate degrees in India, Jayita completed her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology program at Wright State University.  She has worked at Kent State University for 10 years and considers Ohio her second home.  She enjoys the journey of assisting students towards achieving academic and personal growth. Jayita cherishes the consultative and immense learning opportunities that her job offers, including providing group therapy to students, imparting training to incoming graduate trainees in our field, and providing professional presentations at psychology and counseling conferences.  She is inspired by her parents and twin nephew and niece, and for them she daily strives to succeed.  Jayita Likes to play digital piano keyboard and has found a recent love for Zumba dance.


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Lo Denmon
Assistant Director
LBGTQ+ Center

Lo Denmon (they/them/theirs) is the Assistant Director of the LGBTQ+ Center. They joined the Kent State community in January 2021 from their home state of Georgia, where they earned both of their degrees (B.A. Psychology, M.Ed. Professional Counseling and College Student Affairs) from the University of West Georgia. In their role, Lo leads the QUEST Mentorship Program and LGBTQIA Living Learning Program, and supports other center initiatives. Lo has a long history of supporting equity and inclusion, from their time as an undergrad, through their graduate assistantship in Georgia Tech's Women's Resource Center, and in their previous role in UWG's Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Living and working with LGBTQ populations in parts of rural Northwest Georgia, Lo is passionate about busting myths about rural communities and providing counternarratives that tell a truer story about who exists in those places. Lo loves to have conversations that challenge and change broader preconceptions about our world, especially those from academic perspectives. When they're not at work, you can find Lo sewing, crocheting, or wandering through craft fairs.


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Joshua Dietrich
Competitive Sports Coordinator
Recreation & Wellness Service

Joshua Dietrich, from Dover, OH, attended Ohio State University where he worked in the Department of Recreational Sports for 4 years in the Intramural Sports program. He graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. From there, he took his talents down to the University of North Texas (Denton) where he was the Graduate Assistant of Intramural Sports. He graduated with a Master of Science in Recreation & Leisure Studies in 2011. In his professional career, Joshua was hired at the University of North Texas as the Coordinator of Competitive Sports until late 2013. Joshua’s next stop took him to Amherst, MA, at the University of Massachusetts, where he was the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports. His time in New England ended in late 2018 when an opportunity to come back home presented itself in Ohio. Joshua has been at Kent State University since late 2018 and is currently the Competitive Sports Coordinator. Outside of work Joshua is a Cleveland Indians Season Ticket Holder and attends as many games as he possibly can during a season. He has also been umpiring baseball for the past 16 years and next season he will begin working college baseball.


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Dennis Gregory
Assistant Director
University Housing

Dennis Gregory first came to Kent State University as a first-year student on who lived on campus. Dennis moved into Humphrey Hall (which no longer exists) back in Fall of 2002. I’ve worked in various student and staff roles and have been an Assistant Director in University Housing (FKA Residence Services) since 2013. In 2018, Dennis graduated with my Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. And for a fun fact, in his spare time, Dennis likes to read nonfiction (history and biographies), sci-fi, and fantasy. He is currently currently reading The Wheel of Time series (14 books!).”


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Crystal Hamon
Administrative Assistant
Office of the Dean of Students

Crystal Hamon has been an employee of Kent State University since November 2018. In her current role in the Office of the Dean of Students, she helps oversee the day-to-day functioning of the office as well as being the point contact for all calls related to the Care Team. Prior to her employment at Kent, Crystal worked for a foster care agency for twelve years as the Assistant Development Director. She helped to cultivate relationships with donors, wrote grants, and organized fundraising events. Crystal is currently pursuing her degree in Communication and Information Studies. Born and raised in Ohio, Crystal currently lives in Cuyahoga Falls with her husband and two daughters that are currently attending Kent State University.


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Parry Lopez
Assistant Director
Kent Student Center

Parry Lopez, Assistant Director of the Kent Student Center and Involvement, has worked in the Kent Student Center since 2010 when he became a student at Kent State University. In his time at Kent State, Parry studied Classical Music Performance and Jazz at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music while working for Student Center Operations as a Crew Member and Audio/Visual Operator. Since obtaining a B.A. in Music, he has moved through various positions in the Student Center staff to support events and conferences with an emphasis on training the KSC student staff in conference technology and customer service.


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Jennie O’Connell
Director
Center for Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services

Serving as the Director for the Center for Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services is not only an honor for Jennie but also a passion. Since 2012, Jennie has provided oversight for the university’s prevention education, awareness, and advocacy support around power-based personal violence. Jennie believes that to truly prevent harm in a community it takes everyone.  We need to not only educate members of the community on what sexual and relationship violence can look like, but also to educate them on healthy relationships and positive sexual communication.  As a certificated educator for the Green Dot Bystander movement, Jennie also incorporates proactive bystander action into her education to help all members understand the role they play in keeping the community safe.

Originally from Stow, Ohio, Jennie spent 12 years in New England working with college students and the community. As a certified prevention specialist, she worked as coordinator for a youth alcohol and drug prevention coalition in a city of 30,000 and as the Coordinator of Education and Outreach with A Safe Place, a domestic abuse support services organization.


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Yewande Odunaiya- Moore
Student Leadership Coordinator
University Housing

Yewande Moore (she/her) is from Columbus, OH.  She started her journey at Kent State in 2012 as a Residence Hall Director.  In 2017, Yewande became the Student Leadership Coordinator for University Housing.  In this role, she advises Kent Interhall Council, National Residence Hall Honorary, and develops leadership programs for students’ staff and leaders!  Yewande feels it is an honor and a point of pride to work in The Division of Student Affairs at Kent State University.

Yewande is married to DC and together they have the best 1st grader in the world, Carter. She loves spending  ger free with her family.  They love exploring the hidden goodies and nature in this region of Ohio.  For self-care Yewande, enjoys riding her Peloton spin bike, investing in her nail business, reading James Patterson novels, and binging shows on all the major streaming platforms. 

Yewande is appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Student Affairs Fellows Program. She says it is an honor and a point of pride to work in The Division of Student Affairs at Kent State University.


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Valerie Purdy
Assistant Director of Residential Communities
University Housing

Valerie Purdy has been an employee of Kent State University since July 2013. She serves as an Assistant Director of residential communities in University Housing. In her role, she provides leadership within a designated area of campus supporting students living in a traditional residence hall, suite-style residence hall or apartment community. Prior to her higher education career, Valerie worked in the private sector for The Allstate Corporation. Valerie received her Master of Arts, Teaching and Learning with Technology and Master of Arts, Organizational Management with a specialization in Human Resources Management from Ashford University and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Kent State University. Valerie is an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and has professional memberships in NASPA, ACUHO-I, PAFSA and Kent State University Alumni Association. In her spare time, she enjoys domestic and international travelling, watching Western movies, walking and home décor.


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Jessica Roshak
Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development and Fraternity & Sorority Life
Center for Student Involvement

Jessica Roshak serves as the Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development and Fraternity & Sorority Life. In this role, she provides oversight for leadership development programs, as well as advises the Integrated Greek Council (IGC) and Panhellenic Council. Prior to working at Kent State, Jessica served as a Greek advisor at Texas & University-Commerce and Sonoma State University. She completed her Master’s degree at Baylor University in Higher Education Administration and her Bachelor’s degree at Bowling Green State University in Applied Health Science. Jessica lives in Tallmadge, Ohio and enjoys being outside and spending time with her husband, kids, and Australian Shepherd.


Ani Solomon headhot

Ani Solomon
Assistant Director of Residential Communities
University Housing

Ani Solomon serves as one of the Assistant Directors for Residential Communities in University Housing. Ani’s division, affectionally called Team Towers, includes Beall, McDowell, Korb, Leebrick, Koonce, and Wright Halls. Before joining the Kent State community, she served as the Assistant Director for Diversity Programs at Youngstown State University and spent the four years prior to that as a Residence Hall Director at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Despite her time in Nebraska, Ohio is Ani’s home and she enjoy being close to family in both Pittsburgh and Toledo. When She is not at work you will often find Ani baking, hanging out with her wife, or strolling around campus and the local parks.


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Zachary Strickler

Neurodiversity Coordinator
Student Accessibility Services

Zachary (Zach) Strickler serves as the Neurodiversity Coordinator in Student Accessibility Services. Zach decided to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology at the University of Akron to learn about his communication style and help others who are like Zach, on the autism spectrum. After completing his Bachelor's, he went on to complete his Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling here at Kent State University. As the Kent State Neurodiversity Coordinator, Zach helps neurodivergent students successfully transition to college life, both social and academic aspects, to give them the tools they need to succeed and reach their goals. In addition to helping Kent State students, he also performs community outreach to those in the greater Akron area. Zach is on the governing board of the Autism Society of Greater Akron and leads their social club for adults.


Nickole Watson headshot
Nickole Watson

Safety and Security Coordinator
University Housing

Nickole Watson currently serves as one of the Coordinators for Safety and Security in University Housing. She recently started her position in February 2021. Before this, she worked as a Hall Director at University of Toledo for 3.5 years. She received her Masters in College Student Personnel from University of Dayton in 2017 and received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 2015. Nickole is a dog mom to a 7-year-old black lab mix named Bella, and she loves everything Disney! As a newer employee here, she is very excited for this opportunity to learn more about the Division of Student Affairs and to connect with colleagues.


2020 Inaugural Cohort