Our Staff

The Graduate College Staff is here to support you. For general questions, please contact graduatecollege@kent.edu. For questions related to graduate admissions, please contact Graduate Admissions in the Division of Enrollment Management. For questions regarding existing applications, you may contact gradapps@kent.edu, or gradadmissions@kent.edu.


Headshot of Sarah Beal

Sarah Beal, Ph.D. | she/her | Professional Development Specialist

sbeal5@kent.edu, 330-672-1887, 220C Cartwright Hall

Sarah is the Professional Development Specialist in a joint appointment with the Center for Teaching & Learning at Kent State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Cincinnati, where she studied Roman dining practices. Sarah’s teaching focuses on designing student-centered learning environments that are active and inclusive, and she is interested in incorporating gamification and game-design principles into the classroom. She also has experience with online and hybrid pedagogies. 

Roles: teaching support and programming, including group workshops and individual consultations



Shelby Burkhart Headshot

Shelby Burkhart, M.Ed. | she/her | Administrative Operations Manager, Office of the Provost

sburkha7@kent.edu, 330-672-5813, Office of the Provost (2nd Floor Library)

Shelby is the Administrative Operations Manager in a joint appointment with the Office of the Provost at Kent State University. She holds an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs and a certificate in Institutional Research and Assessment. 



Roles: leaves of absences, additional employment, graduate assistants, academic policies



Sekhar Mamidi Headshot

Sekhar Mamidi, Ed.S., M.Ed. | he/him/his | Student Success Manager, Graduate College

smamidi2@kent.edu, 330-672-1466, 314F University Library

Sekhar is the Student Success Manager in the Graduate College at Kent State University. He recently earned his Ed.S. in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs and has a M.Ed. in Health Education and Promotion, with a concentration in Community Health, both from Kent State University. Before coming to Kent State, he served as the Program Assistant for Multicultural Student Affairs at The College of Wooster. He also has his Pharm.D. and B.S. from West Virginia University.

Roles: leading student success initiatives (such as large- and small-scale programming); working to increase student engagement and belonging; enhancing partnerships with academic colleges and service units


Headshot of Christa Porter

Christa Porter, Ph.D. | she/her | Interim Dean, Graduate College; Special Advisor to the VP, Faculty Development and Retention, DPCB; Associate Professor, HIED

cporte24@kent.edu, 330-672-6273, 314B University Library

Christa is the Interim Dean in the Graduate College; the Special Advisor to the VP, Faculty Development and Retention, for the Division of People, Culture, and Belonging; and an Associate Professor in Higher Education Administration & Student Affairs. As the interim dean of the Graduate College, she oversees graduate education and promotes student success and belonging in partnership with the academic colleges at Kent State University. As a leader, teacher, and scholar, she is dedicated to positively shaping the educational trajectories and socialization processes of students, as well as those who serve alongside them – staff, administrators, and faculty. Broadly, she examines trajectories of development, socialization, and praxis in higher education and student affairs. She has particular interest and expertise in Black women’s experiences into and through higher education. She has been nationally recognized for her scholarship, teaching, and service, and her work appears in various peer reviewed journals and edited texts. Christa earned her PhD in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia; her master’s degree in Higher Education from the University of Maryland, College Park; and her bachelor’s degree in Social Relations and Policy from Michigan State University.

Roles: oversight of graduate education, policies, and standards; advocating for graduate student needs; DEIB efforts; faculty development and retention


Headshot of Alexxus Sidney

Alexxus Sidney | she/her | Special Assistant

asidney@kent.edu, 330-372-4086, 314G University Library

Alexxus is the Special Assistant in the Graduate College. She received her Bachelors degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Kent State in 2020. Prior to her role in the Graduate College, Alexxus gained experience as a Resident Assistant and Conference Assistant at Kent State, as well as experience as a Student Desk Receptionist for University Housing.



Roles: communications, student highlights, award processing and distributions, re-enrollment