Melissa L. Jones | she, her, hers
University of Mary Washington
Melissa L. Jones currently serves as Associate Dean of Student Involvement at the University of Mary Washington, a small, public liberal arts institution located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In her role, she oversees Campus Recreation, the University Center, Student Activities and Engagement, and Orientation. She also serves as instructor of record for the First-Year Seminar Peer Mentor Program, a credit-bearing course designed to pair upper-class students with first-year students to facilitate a supportive environment of transition for new students. A graduate of the University of Virginia with a BA in History and English, Melissa received her M.Ed. in Social Foundations of Education from UVA and went on to continue her education at James Madison University where she received her M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in College Student Personnel Administration. Melissa has a passion for helping emerging leaders explore their own strengths to enhance their leadership style, particularly in the context of the political environments of higher education. She has stayed active in the field by serving ACPA as President of the Virginia College Personnel Association, Assembly Coordinator for State Divisions, Co-Chair of the Next Generation Conference, Directorate member for the Commission for Student Involvement, member of the Presidential Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Certification, member of the Credentialing Implementation Team, Chair of the Involvement Team, and currently serves as the Secretary for the ACPA Foundation.
Danielle Morgan Acosta | she, her, hers
Danielle Morgan Acosta is passionate about finding and cultivating potential, facilitating change, developing socially just spaces, and investing in students and staff so they grow personally and professionally. She currently serves as Associate Dean of Students at Clark University and ACPA’s Vice President. Throughout her career, she has cultivated vibrant and inclusive student experiences, supporting student governance, advocacy, engagement, and community building. She has written about leadership, student governance, identity and student organization advising. Danielle, a first generation college student from California, received her BA and MAT from Clark University, her M.Ed in Higher Education Student Affairs from Salem State University, and her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Florida State University where she explored how the parental divorce experience during childhood influences female undergraduate student leaders. An active member of ACPA since graduate school, Danielle has served ACPA through numerous leadership roles, including representing graduate students and new professionals, chairing the ACPA17 Annual Convention, and currently serving on the ACPA Governing Board.
Wilson Okello | he, him, his
University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Dr. Wilson Kwamogi Okello believes in the power of creative expression to generate critical self-reflection, inspire confidence, and achieve agency. Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Dr. Okello attended Youngstown State University where he earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Education. He accepted the selective IRT fellowship to attend the University of Rhode Island, where he earned his Masters of Science degree in College Student Personnel. Wilson earned his Ph.D. from Miami University, where he also taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Black Studies in the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies. His research draws on Black feminist theories to think about the relationship between history, the body, and epistemology; racial violence and stress in educational contexts; and anti-deficit curriculum and pedagogical praxis. His work is published in the Journal of College Student Development, the Review of Higher Education, and elsewhere. He is the founder of the Truth to Power Project and recognized for his expertise in agency and self-determination. Fundamental to his work is reinforcing the fact that one’s story and voice are both legitimate and relevant. He is the recipient of the University of Rhode Island’s Distinguished Alumni Rising Star Award, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ (NASPA) Outstanding Professional Award, Youngstown State University’s Outstanding Alumni Award, and he received Dissertation of the Year recognition from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education. This fall, he will join the faculty at the University of North Carolina Wilmington as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Watson College of Education.