For Simonne Horman Paparella, Phi Sigma Sigma is more than just a sisterhood — it’s an experience that has shaped her entire career.
She was first initiated into the sorority as a freshman pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Now, six years after first joining UF’s team in 2016, Horman Paparella is the university’s director of Sorority and Fraternity Life.
“For a lot of people in student life, our career trajectory is influenced a lot by our experiences as undergraduate students,” she said. “And when I was an undergrad, I was really involved with Greek life.”
During her junior year, Horman Paparella took over as chapter president, taking on even more roles as senior year rolled along. By the time she graduated, she had served as both chapter and Panhellenic Council president.
After graduation, she was hired by Phi Sigma Sigma, Inc. as an educational leadership consultant — starting a new chapter at Salem State University and working closely with its student affairs team. Receiving a promotion to membership manager, she went on to oversee more than 30 chapters across the country.
“At that point was when I had decided, ‘Okay, I think I want to go into higher education. I think this is the path for me,’” Horman Paparella said.
She earned her master’s degree in higher education at the University of Mississippi while also doing graduate assistantships in student conduct and with the Panhellenic Council. Upon graduation she returned to Phi Sigma Sigma, Inc. as the Director of Chapter Services. This new role enabled her to form meaningful connections with many different chapters and members, Horman Paparella said, but she was ready to get back to working with students on a single campus — bringing her to UF.
Horman Paparella has fulfilled a lot of roles in UF’s Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, beginning as program coordinator and working her way through assistant and associate director. In her current role as director, she oversees the office’s day-to-day operations, works to ensure it achieves its goals and focuses on risk management and education.
Horman Paparella also works tirelessly to support students in Greek life directly.
“We’re here all day in the office, but then we stay late to accommodate our students with programs, events, recruitment — you name it, we probably do it,” she said. “I’m down there with them doing all of those things because I want to ensure the students within the Sorority and Fraternity community at UF, know that we are all here to support them.”
One program Horman Paparella said she is especially proud of is the Member Development Program, which was first launched in Spring 2021. The program centers around introducing students in Greek Life to practical life skills that may not come up in the classroom.
Sessions often partner with community partners and Greek alumni.
Local real estate agents and loan mortgage officers came in to walk students through the process of buying a house. To help students learn how to buy a car, the general manager from a local Kia dealership answered questions about the process. For a session on auto care, students went over to a local auto repair shop, where employees shared tips and tricks on how to check a car’s oil and tire pressure.
In one of the most well-received lessons, UF graduate student and owner of Luke’s Bagels Luke Vescovi led a discussion on entrepreneurship.
“We did not have enough seats in the room,” Horman Paparella said. “People were sitting on the floor. I love to see those types of situations — to serve our students in the best way and prepare them to be successful after graduation.”
Looking forward, Horman Paparella said she is eager to continue serving the community she’s been a part of for years. With so many new staff members, the university is entering a new era of Greek life, she said.
“I think that the sky’s the limit for us, and I’m already really proud of what the team is doing,” Horman Paparella said. “I know there’s so much more to come, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Writer: Veronica Nocera, email@example.com
Sources: Simonne Horman Paparella, firstname.lastname@example.org