Shelley Wilson Gentile joined the Rollins community as Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in January 2013. With more than 20 years of experience in student affairs that includes developing and leading multicultural affairs and diversity programs on four very different campuses, she is committed to the ideal of a campus environment that thrives on diversity of heritage, identity, and perspective; where encounters between people who are different from one another truly enhance the college experience. She was previously director of leadership and diversity programs at Stetson University, managed the Center for Multicultural Affairs and the Women’s Center as part of her role in the Dean of Students Office at Eastern Michigan University, and was the first director of multicultural affairs at Albion College.
“Mrs. G” is a native of Detroit, Michigan and an alumna of Cass Technical High School and the University of Michigan, where she majored in linguistics. Graduate studies followed, in counseling and college student personnel at the University of Florida, and later at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) where she earned a master of liberal studies degree in interdisciplinary technology. Also at EMU, she was the founding advisor for the LGBT Resource Center; convened a group that eventually became the LGBT Faculty and Staff Association; was chair of the Black Faculty and Staff Association; served on the Women’s Commission, the Religious Life Committee, and many other University committees and councils; and advised scores of student organizations and programs. She also served in leadership roles with the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA).
In her role as director she will focus on establishing OMA and Chase hall as a welcoming location for all, as well as a “home base” for those with an affinity towards any or all of OMAs organizations and programs. “Everyone has to belong somewhere before they can belong everywhere” is a guiding principle for OMA that she hopes will be adopted throughout the Rollins community.
In addition to overseeing student programs, she will also work with an array of campus partners to foster cultural competency across campus and with faculty to formulate strategies and identify resources for curriculum development.
Shelley lives in Deltona with her husband Gary, daughter Sydney, and an array of two- and four-legged family members including dogs, cats, birds, a giant bunny and a skunk; most are rescues, and each has a special story.
Zakiya Brown, Assistant Director at OMA, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Central State University in rural Wilberforce, Ohio (20 minutes east of Dayton, Ohio) where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics. During college Zakiya was involved in Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), Beta Chi (a national Association of Black Professional Women), and a Resident Advisor. During her involvement, she realized she enjoyed working with her peers and mentoring the incoming students. From this she began her "phases of passion" (a list of life objectives that ties to her fulfilling career aspirations focused around her passions).
Zakiya has worked in Higher Education in the Divison of Student Affairs since 2005. Prior to her joining the OMA Team in March 2012, she worked in College Student Housing at both Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, Louisiana. At both institutions, she continued to expand her passion for Multicultral Education and worked on various campus committees such as the President's Diversity & Cultural Initiative Committee at Central State University where she was the Chair of the Campus Climate Sub-Committee; the Women's History Month Planning Committee where she was the co-chair alongside the first lady of Central State University; the Black History and Women's History Month Planning Committee at Centenary College of Louisiana; the founder of the Women in Leadership Speaker Series at Central State University; the Women Empowering Women Mentoring Program at Central State University; and the Staff founder of the first LGBT Student Organization that was formerly named G.L.U.E. (Gays & Lesbians United for Equality), which was later renamed Diversity Integrated.
As Assistant Director, Zakiya works closely with the cultural student organizations that are associated with OMA by helping them develop their various cultural events as well as their leadership potential. She also assists in planning the Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Week, represents OMA during the Summer and Fall Orientations, connects our student organizations to the Winter Park and Orlando communities, and represents OMA on various campus committees.
Zakiya is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, a National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Member Organization, Central Florida Urban League, National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Consortium of LGBT Professionals in Higher Education, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, visiting the local cultural attractions, reading, and spending time with family and friends. Her life's mission is to ensure that each young person has a visible and vocal support system, receives the same opportunities available, and focus on their passion while they matriculate through college.
Colette is a graduate assistant with OMA for the 2012-2013 school year. In 2011 she graduated from the University of Central Florida with her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Colette is now a second year graduate student working towards her Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling here at Rollins College. She has many different interests in the counseling field including working with adolescents, the elderly, and working with specific issues and disorders such as depression, grief counseling, and interpersonal problems.
Colette first became involved with OMA in April 2012 developing the Hope/Apopka Mentoring program. In this program, Rollins' students partner with Apopka High School students and they work together to educate their high school peers about various multicultural and diversity issues such as bullying, racism, immigration, and homophobia. This year she will continue the Hope/Apopka project as well as collaborating with the Sandspur writers to get more exposure to OMA events in the campus newspaper. She will also be working on getting a more diverse group of students to become Ambassadors and Diplomats and to participate in Alumni Relations.
Colette is a native Floridian and has always lived in Lake County, Florida. She is a middle child, with an older brother and a younger sister whom she is very close with. She loves most sports, reading, and being outdoors iwth her family.
"It's important for me to support, educate, and be educated on multicultural perspectives because only in acknowledging and educating ourselves about our culture and other cultures can we truly understand and respect each other. Diversity is beautiful and it should be fed and nurtured so it can flourish.
Alexis Goolkasian is a graduate assistant with OMA for the 2013-2014 school year. She graduated from Rollins College with her Bachelor’s degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. She is now in her first year working towards her Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling at Rollins College. At OMA, Alexis will be working with and encouraging collaboration between OMA organizations and other organizations at Rollins.