I.D.E.A. Collective members include staff from across the division.
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I’m Danielle Difato (she/her). I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, moved to UF for undergrad and master’s, and have been here ever since! I currently serve as the graduate assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and prior to this role I worked in the Department of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs for a few years. When it comes to IDEA work, I am energized by the lightbulb moments that come after deep reflection and tough conversations. I find myself using my Clifton Strengths of activator, developer, positivity, relator, and discipline quite often in my approach to IDEA work – which is leaning into meaningful conversations with folks to learn and unlearn together, with lots of humility and grace. I am thankful for colleagues within our Division who see a need to move forward not only in education but in action, both within our units and across the greater Gainesville community.
Outside of work, you can find me journaling in a coffee shop, road-tripping to try a new foodie spot, or working on home reno projects with my husband. I also love engaging with the community through service and mentoring initiatives. Gainesville is such a unique bubble of people and opportunity and I love doing life here!!
My name is Jerri Berry Danso and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I consider Kingston, Jamaica to be my birth place and hometown, but after moving to the U.S. my family put down roots in West Palm Beach, FL. I currently serve as the Assistant Director for Analytic Services in Student Affairs Assessment and Research. My educational background includes degrees in Business Administration (major in Management), Student Personnel in Higher Education, and Research and Evaluation Methodology (in progress). My top strengths based on the CliftonStrengths assessment are Analytical, Relator, Learner, Responsibility, and Individualization. One of the things that excites me about IDEA work is that I get an opportunity to be a part of meaningful change divisionally, institutionally, and personally. In terms of growth, I see room for me to continue to step outside of my often times boxed and limited view of the world and continue to challenge my own biases. Making an effort to do this helps me to promote and foster an inclusive space for the students and staff I serve. As a Division, there is room for us to acknowledge, assess, and dismantle systems and processes that continue to disadvantage certain groups. There is also room for us to be proactive about making changes and moving the needle in ways that are tangible and impactful. I continue to educate myself by reading peer-reviewed articles and books related to IDEA work, seeking opportunities to learn from critical scholars, and engaging in relevant trainings. When I’m not at work, I’m spending time with my family, reading, taking a walk, or napping 😊. Finally, some of my favorite things about Gainesville include the diversity in restaurants and the abundance of cool nature trails.
I’m Loren Israel (he/him/his) and I currently serve as the Division of Student Affairs’ Director of Risk Management Services. I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri) and was first introduced to IDEA work through my parents and my synagogue (the ideas of social justice and repairing the world being central tenets of Judaism). I received a BS in psychology from the University of Houston and a JD from the University of Kansas School of Law. After 20 years of being a lawyer, I returned to school part-time and got my masters in Higher Education Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have long been a believer in the basic premise of the “Stronger Together” concept – that organizations and communities are so much stronger when they are diverse and inclusive and that all their members feel valued. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and subscribe to a number of listservs and newsfeeds to keep current on a wide variety of issues, include IDEA matters. My family and I have been so happy here in Gainesville. We love the feel of a college town – how there are so many educational and cultural events (especially theater) to attend (when allowed) and how close we are to key destination hotspots like Orlando (we love DisneyWorld), St. Augustine, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. We also enjoy many of the great restaurants here in town. When not at work, I’m likely spending time with my family, reading, watching TV or playing board games.
My Strengths are: 1. Analytical; 2. Connectedness; 3. Relator; 4. Responsibility; and 5. Harmony.
Greetings fellow Gators and friends!
My name is Nathalie Turenne (she/her/hers) and I currently serve as the Associate Director for Multicultural and Diversity Affairs! Originally from Delray Beach, FL, I received my Master of Science degree in Health Education here at the University of Florida and am a two time Gator. I have spent the last eight years in Student Affairs, serving students and staff through a variety of roles related to student housing, health promotion, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion.
As a Black woman in Higher Education I am committed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access work as it allows me to advocate for my own community and for those whose voices are not always represented at the institutional level. Though I consider myself to be a resilient and versatile servant leader, serving as a member of the Student Affairs I.D.E.A. Collective continues to push me to consider the experiences of our staff not just as practitioners, but also as people with lived experiences beyond the university setting. I look forward to growing by engaging in crucial conversations, considering diverse perspectives, and seeking intentional avenues for on-going development. I am eager to see the Division create proactive and sustainable opportunities for dialogue and learning, which our staff can then put into action to better serve students of diverse backgrounds.
Having lived in Gainesville as a full time professional for the past four years, I’ve come to love the small town feel with access to major cities and attractions. There are so many opportunities to engage with others through food, art, and nature - it underscores that no matter who you are and what you’re looking for, you’ll likely find it here. In addition to enjoying the general Gainesville community, my time outside of work is dedicated to cooking, traveling, natural hair and being Auntie Nat to my nieces and nephews.
I’m Sara Donals, pronouns she/her, and I serve as the Assistant Director, Care Area, Dean of Students Office. I’m originally from the Rochester and Syracuse areas, NY and I received my B.S. in History and Women and Gender Studies and an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Advanced Certificate in Interdisciplinary Trauma Studies. What excites me most about IDEA work is the opportunity and ability to make systematic changes that will have micro and macro impacts. I enjoy being able to identify and critique areas of need and concern regarding Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access within the Division of Student Affairs at UF and the opportunity to develop and implement resources and programming that will establish and enhance student and staff experiences related to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access. I believe an area of growth for myself and the division is focusing on the reduction of neoliberal ideals and ending the reliance on meritocracy. I would like to continue and enhance focus on how power systems, policies and procedures impact a staff and student’s experiences as related to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access so needed changes can be made to benefit students and staff. By continuing education through applying for a second Master’s in the field of Women’s Studies, facilitating and participating in book clubs outside of work, and community engagement, I am thrilled for the opportunities I have to continue to grow in IDEA work. Lastly, when I’m not at work I am with my spouse reading, watching TV and movies, or traveling. I also am a big fan of Gainesville’s trees and birds!
I am Dr. Shaun Boren, pronouns he/him/his. I am originally from Washington DC, and I came to the University of Florida in 2017 to direct the new Office of Assessment and Research in its mission to champion a culture of evidence-based decision making for the Division of Student Affairs. My collaborative leadership style and strategic approach to building assessment capacity draw from my bachelors in animal behavior, masters in experiential education, and doctorate in physical education and health. I am excited about IDEA work because I enjoy learning and making a difference, and there is much room for both in myself and the Division. The work of assessment is inherently a process of learning and growing, to be constructively skeptical in order to prove and improve the value of our work. Outside of work I enjoy outdoor recreation in the parks around Gainesville, music, movies, games, woodworking, teaching dad jokes to my daughter, and wondering where the time goes.
I’m Will Atkins (he/him/his) and I’m originally from Tampa, Florida. I came to UF to pursue my B.A. and then received my M.A. from the University of Michigan. I currently serve as the Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. In this role, I envision a campus experience for students, staff, and faculty where they feel affirmed, included, have a strong sense of belonging and can fully participate in all UF has to offer. I am excited for positive, sustainable change.
There’s a lot that I am continually learning in the IDEA space and my growth comes from remembering that it’s ok to not have all the answers, though that is sometimes the expectation. IDEA work is always evolving so what we think is relevant today may be outdated next week. The continual cycle of learning and unlearning when presented with new information and perspectives is where growth takes place. That can be frustrating for some because we’ve been conditioned to always have answers or be “experts” when responsible for something. I don’t know if experts exist in this space and that is ok. I am excited to grow by trying and making purposeful decisions to advance IDEA work. I think our division has the opportunity to grow when we realize that we are all responsible for IDEA work and we all have a duty to be learners so we can best serve our students. This allows us to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Personally, I plan on engaging with continued growth by active listening, ongoing dialogue and processing, and lots of reading and research. Outside of work, you can find me resting, spending time with family, working out, listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks, road-tripping, cooking, and eating. Favorite thing about GNV? The food and people of course!
Strengths: Context, Connectedness, Harmony, Arranger, Intellection