Closing the Gap Welcomes 2024 Cohort Participants, Mentors

ACUI’s Closing the Gap professional development program is announcing a record cohort of 15 student affairs professionals for the 2024 edition of the program that is now in its fifth year. Closing the Gap is a cohort-based mentorship initiative tailored for mid-level BIPOC professionals striving to excel in their careers. The program addresses the “gaps” that impact professionals of color, offering a safe space for participants to share and plan their career goals. The six-month program provides access to valuable knowledge, guidance, peer support, and a network of experienced professionals.

This year’s cohort participants are:

  • Alexandria Collins, Assistant Director of Student Development, Multicultural Center, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Denesha Henderson, Associate Director of Event & Tech Services, Sam Houston State University
  • Charlene Hendricks, Event Coordinator, Emory University
  • Ty Hollowell, Director for Orientation, Transition, & Family Programs, Coastal Carolina University
  • Dr. Jazzmyn Ivery-Robinson, Assistant Director, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Kristina James, Senior Scheduling & Event Specialist, College of William and Mary
  • Dante Jones, Associate Director, Student Programming and Involvement, University of Notre Dame
  • Latoya Laryea, Management Accountant, University of the Arts London
  • Lashay Long-Boyd, Assistant Dean of Admission, Catholic University
  • Dr. Jorden Melton Jr., Academic Success Coach, University of Louisiana–Lafayette
  • Joshua Moore, Director, Intercultural and Inclusion Student Services/Interim Director, Lib Jackson Student Union, Coastal Carolina University
  • Jack Nesmith, Coordinator of Student Activities, Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Aries Powell, Associate Director of the Center for Trans and Queer Advocacy, West Chester University
  • Domonique Sak, Assistant Director of Clubs and Organizations, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Jevon Smith, BSC Operations Manager, California State Polytechnic University–Pomona

Supporting the 2024 cohort participants are 10 senior-level professionals who have committed to being a part of this transformative experience. Mentors and mentees have been intentionally paired to cater to the individual needs of each participant, providing tailored insights and resources to help them achieve their career aspirations

This year’s mentors are:

  • André Adams, Director, A.D. Bruce Religion Center – University of Houston
  • Michael Coleman, Dean of Student Support – Wake Technical Community College
  • Yemi Gbajobi, Chief Executive of Arts Students’ Union – University of the Arts London
  • Hayden Greene, Associate Dean of Students, Marymount Manhattan College
  • Dr. Jan Javinar, Director of Student Engagement – University of Hawaii-West Oahu
  • Yakima Melton, Director, Student Unions and Centers – Arizona State University
  • Massiel Munoz, Assistant Director – University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley
  • April Joy Nietes-Rudnick, Senior Director of Event Services, San Francisco State University
  • Bridget Portier, Associate Director, Student Centers – University of Houston
  • Dr. Phillip Smith, Assistant Dean of Students – Rutgers University

Closing the Gap continues to make a significant impact by fostering an environment of support contributing to a more equitable and inclusive field. The program was initiated in 2020 as an education and mentorship program focused on Black, Indigenous, and other professionals of color looking to advance into senior leadership roles. Participants and supporters engage in virtual gatherings, one-on-one meetings, and offline connections.


  • Steve Chaplin

    Steve Chaplin is managing editor of ACUI’s The Bulletin and manager of the ACUI College Union and Student Activities (CUSA) Evaluation Program. A former newspaper writer, editor, and manager, he has volunteered as a student mentor as a member of the National Association of Science Writers, and received awards for his writing and reporting from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Kentucky Education Association, and the Kentucky Press Association.

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