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.


2022 Student Affairs Fellows Program Cohort


Greg Bailey Headshot
Gregory P. Bailey
Senior Associate Director, Business and Administrative Services
Recreation & Wellness Services

Gregory P. Bailey is the son of an enlisted US Navy veteran (deceased) and a US Navy Civil Service worker and lived in Texas, the Philippine Islands, and Florida as a child. Greg started his undergraduate degree out of high school but spent five years in the restaurant industry before going back to school to finish his degree. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular & Molecular Biology (Pre-Med) from the University of West Florida (UWF). Greg moved from Florida in August of 1998 after completing one year of graduate school at UWF to be the Intramural & Extramural Sports Graduate Assistant at Kent State University. Greg started working full-time at Kent State University in May 2000 and has been at Kent State University ever since. He has served in several adjunct faculty positions teaching in the EHHS program from physical activity classes, Administration of Leisure Services and developed the Intramural and Club Sports Administration graduate level course. Greg was a certified high school basketball, volleyball, soccer, and football official. He met his spouse, Darcy Mathias-Bailey, while she was an undergraduate student. Grey and Darcy were both attending Kent State University at the time. They have been married since June 2001 and have two wonderful children Jaxon,14, a freshman at Roosevelt High School and Maxim,11, a fifth grader at St. Patrick’s School in Kent. Greg’s claim to fame is that in college he surfed and survived through two hurricanes Erin and Opal; and played high school football against two NFL Hall of Famers – Emmitt Smith and Derrick Brooks.


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Christian Booher
General Manager
University Culinary Services

Christian Booher is a General Manager at Kent State University’s (KSU) Culinary Services. He has worked for KSU since 2003 and has held positions as a Chef, Executive Chef and recently General Manager. He graduated with Bachelor’s (1998) and Master’s in Hospitality (2021) from KSU. Christian’s niche is working with international students. He grew up as a child in Saudi Arabia, and his life experiences growing up in a foreign country helps him identify with international students and anticipate their needs. He is interested to understand their culture, language and cuisine. He takes the effort to help them get acclimated to KSU and way of life in the United States.


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John Borawski
Assistant Director, Residential Communities
University Housing

John Borawski currently serves as Assistant Director, Residential Communities in University Housing and Culinary Services.  John oversees the Quad and Eastway residence hall areas.  John previously served Kent State University as a Residence Hall Director (3 years) and Academic Advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences (8+ years).  John also served in academic advising at Cleveland State University, prior to coming back to housing in his current role.  John has previously served on ACPA’s Commission for Housing and Residence Life and OCPA’s Executive Board.  John has earned bachelor’s degrees from both Bowling Green State University and Kent State University, and his master’s degree from Ohio University.  John is currently enrolled in Kent State University’s Higher Education Administration Ph.D. program.


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Alice Fermaintt
Program Coordinator
Student Multicultural Center

Alice Fermaintt (she/her/hers) is a Program Coordinator for the Student Multicultural Center (SMC). In this role, she oversees their Residential Initiatives including the Academic STARS program, leading the Multicultural Living Learning Program (LLP), and overseeing the SMC Satellite Space. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Kent State University in May of 2022. During her time as an undergraduate student, she was a part of many student organizations including Kent Interhall Council, The National Residence Hall Honorary, Undergraduate Student Government, and Sister Circle. Alice is extremely grateful for this opportunity to develop professionally and connect with colleagues across the division.


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Carmen Grubbs
Addministrative Assistant
Kent Student Center & Involvement

Carmen Grubbs is an Administrative Assistant with five years’ experience working alongside the Kent Student Center & Involvement team Carmen graduated from the University of Akron in 2000 with an associate degree in business management and in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration.  In her free time, Carmen enjoys spending time with family, camping, hiking, and riding our HD.


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Jennifer Knott
Outreach Coordinator
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Jennifer is a licensed therapist and certified prevention professional, with prior experience in Education. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from Ashland University, and her Master of Education degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Kent State University. Jennifer joined CAPS in 2021 as the Outreach Coordinator, where she oversees programming and efforts to promote mental health and wellness on campus, in addition to providing clinical services to students. She previously held clinical and administrative positions in community behavioral health agencies, having served children, adolescents, adults, and families in several different settings. She also managed various programs including suicide prevention, community outreach, school-based initiatives, and trauma-informed services, and served on the Summit County Suicide Prevention Coalition.


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Shana M. Lee
Assistant Dean of Students and Director for Parents and Families Engagement
Office of the Dean of Students

Shana serves as the Assistant Dean of Students and Director for Parents and Families Engagement. In this role, she leads the division’s efforts to build and strengthen relationships with parents and families of Kent State students. As an employee with over 28 years of experience, she has held several leadership roles working to build strategic opportunities, internally and externally, in alignment with the university-level priorities. Shana is also currently enrolled in the second cohort of the Educational Doctorate program in the College of EEHS at Kent State University.


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Ash Mierau
Interim Director
Office of International Student Affairs

Ash Mierau (they/she) is the Interim Director of the Office of International Student Affairs. Gaining both their degrees in Maryland, they earned their BA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College and their MS in Higher Education Policy, Research, and Administration from Goucher College. They joined Kent State in 2020 after moving here from New Jersey where they worked and lived in a residential high school program for international students. They are thrilled to have the opportunity to combine their experience with international students and their passion for community building in their role at Kent State. They are grateful for the opportunities to learn and grow in the Division of Student Affairs and are excited to be a part of the 2022 Student Affairs Fellows Program. 


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Nikki Mills
Business Officer Finance Administration
University Culinary Services

Nikki Mills has worked for Kent State University since 2018. Before coming to Kent State, Nikki was a Store Manager for The Honey Baked Ham Company for 20 years.  Nikki currently works as a Business Officer Finance Administration/University Culinary Services. Inspired by colleagues, her children, and the students at Kent State, she is currently pursuing a Business-Finance degree at Kent State University. Nikki resides in Rootstown, Ohio but was born and raised in a large Italian family from New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Nikki is married and a major mama bear to three amazing children, Hailey who will be attending Kent State next year and two sons Spencer and Louie.  She loves spending time with her family outside, golfing, playing games, and cheering her children on in any activity or sport. Nikki is honored and grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Student Affairs Fellows Program and looks forward to the knowledge that she will gain during the experience.


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Adam Nowicki
Access Consultant
Student Accessibility Service

Adam Nowicki (he/him) is an Access Consultant. He meets directly with students with disabilities to help them succeed during their time at Kent State University. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, and a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs, all from Kent State University. Throughout Adam's educational journey, he worked at Parking Services, first as a student employee, and later as a part-time and then full-time employee, until joining Student Accessibility Service in December 2021. Adam started his tenure at Kent State in Fall of 2010 and enjoys being a member of the Kent State University community.


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Joe Robinson
Student Activities Coordinator
Center for Student Involvement

Joe Robinson joined Kent State in November 2021 as the Student Activities Coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement. He is the staff advisor for the Flash Activities Board (FAB), which plans and executes over 100 events each academic year. Also, as Student Activities Coordinator, he oversees the administration of Kent State University’s 300-plus registered student organizations. These duties include registration assistance, student/adviser trainings, and holding weekly office hours for stakeholders to come in with questions or concerns.

Prior to coming to Kent State University, Joe worked at Oak University in Auburn Hills, Michigan in the athletics compliance office helping to ensure compliance to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Horizon League Conference rules for over 300 student athletes. Joe received his bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 2017 and his master’s degree from West Virginia University in 2020. Originally from Delaware, Ohio, Joe enjoys sending time with his loving parents, younger brother, older sister, two nieces, and his pet cat Mookie.


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Adam Santavy

Access Coordinator
Student Accessibility Services

Adam Santavy comes from western Pennsylvania where her earned his M.A. in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Prior to coming to Kent State University in January 2022, he worked at Hiram College in Academic Development. His role here in Student Accessibility Services focuses on the coordination between students and instructors to set in place course policy flexibility accommodations. Outside of work Adam enjoys hiking, swimming, zumba, and playing his Nintendo Switch.  


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Staci Tessmer

Training Coordinator Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Staci joined CAPS in 2021 as the Training Coordinator and serves on the DSA Professional Development Committee. She has a variety of experience working with adolescents and adults at both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Staci graduated from Hiram College in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Humanities and graduated from Walsh University in 2014 with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Staci is currently a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at KSU. Since 2013 Staci has been active in a variety of counseling organizations and advocacy work. She has held numerous leadership positions within these organizations and most recently is the President of the Ohio Counseling Association.


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Ilianna Velez

Assistant Director
Student Multicultural Center

Ilianna Velez is from Lorain, Ohio and is a proud, first-generation, two-time college graduate of Kent State University. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies in 2016 and her Master of Education in Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel in 2019. Ilianna currently serves as the Assistant Director for the Student Multicultural Center (SMC) at Kent State University. In this role, she assists with staff supervision, oversees the SMC training and education initiative, leads intentional engagement of students from their sophomore year through graduation, and leads their marketing and assessment efforts. 

In 2022, Ilianna was named ONE of the 100+ Latinos Cleveland Must Know. Ilianna has a passion for justice, equity, and the advancement of communities of color and first-generation individuals, especially within higher education. She serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Ellington Foundation which provides financial and career readiness support for first-generation students and students of color. Ilianna is also passionate about all things fitness and earned her personal trainer certification in 2020 from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She enjoys working out, spending time with her family and friends, and playing with her dog, Bea.