Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives (SODI)

SODI Students and Leaders

Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives (SODI) manages a variety of signature programs - Achieve Atlanta Scholars, Coca-Cola Scholars, REACH Georgia and Thrive-that are in place at KSU to provide resources and services to assist students in their transition into college throughout the way to degree completion.

As part of SODI’s mission of fostering an inclusive and holistic learning environment, the targeted student populations served by these programs are first-generation students, under-served groups and students from rural/urban locations.

The unit's goals for program participants are to improve retention, enhance the opportunities for academic success and promote student engagement by providing academic support services, co-curricular programs, and enrichment workshops throughout their college experience and beyond.

One of the ways this is accomplished is through strategic on-boarding experiences for new students in SODI programs, to support them in their transition to college. For example, each summer students participate in the UP! Conference (university preparation). New first-year students spend the day engaging with each other, faculty, staff, and returning student leaders to become more familiar with college-level requirements, campus resources, and success strategies. Additional programs, workshops, and learning communities address these students’ needs during the transition to college, and prepare them for the many opportunities they have inside and outside the classroom in the years ahead. The connections and preparation lay a foundation for their success on and off campus

    • Daffany Anglin

      Daffany Anglin

      Graduation Coach Coordinator

      Daffany Anglin is a native of Dothan, Alabama and received her dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Health and Human Services and Broadcast Journalism from Troy University in Troy Alabama. Ms. Anglin received her Master of Science degree in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University. She serves as the Graduation Coach Coordinator for Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives. She is a seasoned higher education professional with over 10 years of experience in higher education with the Technical College System of Georgia and the University System of Georgia.

      Ms. Anglin aspires to continue her work with outreach programs that serve first-generation and underrepresented college students at Kennesaw State University. These outreach programs foster a space for growth, equity, and opportunity for students from all multi-cultural backgrounds. She is committed to supporting students through academic success, coaching and co-curricular activities, as she believes they all contribute to the most transformative college campus experiences.


      Building 430, Office 219

      • Christopher Holloway

        Christopher Holloway

        Graduation Coach

        Christopher Holloway joined Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives in January 2021 as a Graduation Coach.  Prior to becoming a KSU Owl, Mr. Holloway worked for nearly 10 years in higher education in the public and private sectors.  He previously served as a Grant Advisor Coordinator of the Strengthening Institutions Program grant at Columbus State University (CSU).  In this role, Mr. Holloway’s experience included department budgeting, conducting advisor and student employee training, and program implementation.

        Mr. Holloway also served as a member of CSU’s Retention, Progression, and Graduation (RPG) committee. During his tenure, CSU adopted the following key institutional policy changes to better address the unique needs of probation students: applying registration holds for probation students, automating an intake assessment that included smart logic for resource referrals, and pairing probation students with peer mentors.

        Mr. Holloway holds a Master of Science in Adult Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Troy University and a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from Georgia State University.  In his free time, he enjoys attending concerts, writing songs, traveling, and spending time with family.


        Building 430, Office 222B

        • Andreea Johnson

          Andreea Johnson

          Graduation Coach

          Andreea Johnson joined Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives in January 2021 as a Graduation Coach. Throughout her career in higher education, Ms. Johnson has served in a myriad of capacities in both public and private universities.  She has worked with students through academic advising, new student orientation, recruitment/promotional events and educational workshop coordination and facilitation.

          Ms. Johnson has also trained new staff and supplemental instruction leaders. In addition, Ms. Johnson has served on various committees to obtain accreditation renewal and distinction of academic excellence in various programs.

          Ms. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations and a Master of Arts in Interpersonal and Public Communication from Central Michigan University.  She is passionate about working with students to help them develop academically and professionally.  In her free time, she enjoys connecting with friends at Starbucks over an iced latte, crocheting, and attending concerts.


          Building 430, Office 222C

          • Lynda Lyons

            Linda Lyons


            Dr. Lyons oversees the Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives (SODI). The unit’s four signature outreach programs serve first-generation and underrepresented students who are entering Kennesaw State University (KSU) with an academic scholarship and/or are PELL eligible. Linda has worked in higher education performing various administrative roles for over 20 years. She received her doctorate from the University of Georgia in Adult Education with a focus on Organization Behaviors, and has a M.S. in Human Resource Development, and a B.A. in Business Management. Linda also has a faculty role as an Associate Professor in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department within the Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences at KSU.  She has built an academic trajectory with a focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning that is germane to multicultural education. Specifically, her research concentration is building intercultural competence in higher education through a collaborative approach with faculty, campus leaders and other campus stakeholders when developing and executing cultural awareness curriculum and co-curricular initiatives. She teaches courses that are connected to leadership development, strategic planning, implicit bias, cultural interactions and sensitivity, global learning, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has managed and directed education abroad programs to Africa, South America, and Italy as well as traveled with colleagues conducting professional development programs to the Republics of Ghana and Nigeria, Africa, Barcelona, Spain and Otzenhausen, Germany.  



            UC 213B

            • Christina Puckett

              Christina Puckett

              Data Analyst

              Christina Puckett joined the Division of Diverse and Inclusive Excellence in July 2020 as the Data Analyst for Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives. Prior to joining this unit, she worked as the Data Analyst for University College. Previously, Christina served as the assistant director of the Science and Mathematics Academic Resources and Tutoring (SMART) Center where she grew her passion for student success. Christina earned her Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Kennesaw State University (KSU) in 2016 and her Master’s in Applied Statistics also from KSU in 2018. 



              UC 213E

              • Shae Smith

                Shae Smith

                Manager, Strategic Outreach Programs

                Shae Smith is a native of Central Florida.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Florida Southern College and her Master of Science degree in Counselor Education from the University of South Florida.  Ms. Smith serves as the manager for strategic outreach programs in the Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives unit.  She has held previous higher education roles leading teams and departments in student activities, orientation, residence life and student success, and also served on the faculty at KSU for over 10 years. Her professional experience also includes non-profit leadership for various organizations in Cobb County. 

                Ms. Smith has a passion for seeing students transition successfully into their college experience, and ultimately thriving as they identify and pursue their own passions and goals.

                She is a mother of four (including Frankie the rescue pup) and is married to an Atlanta native.



                Building 430, Office 216A

                • Ashton Tomlin

                  Ashton Tomlin

                  Thrive Program Coordinator

                  Ashton Tomlin joined the Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives in January 2021 as the Program Coordinator and Thrive Liaison.  Working to recruit and support both Thrive and Achieve Atlanta scholars, Ms. Tomlin desires to see all students succeed. She brings experience in supporting students in the transition from high school to college, coordinating first year university programs, and creating spaces for students to feel at home on campus.

                  Ms. Tomlin has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Geography degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently working toward completing her Master of Education in Higher Education Administration degree at Georgia Southern University. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, traveling, swimming, baking, volunteering, and playing in a recreational kickball league.



                  Building 430, Office 216B

                  • Achieve Atlanta Campus Liaison

                    Duties in this role include assisting incoming students participating in the Achieve Atlanta program with their transition to college, working with campus partners to assure resources and programming are available to the program's scholars, as well as assisting in future initiatives, community outreach programming, and training/workshops for students and Achieve Atlanta stakeholders.

                    • Project Manager 

                      Duties in this role include serving as the point person for project development in the department of Strategic Outreach and Diversity Initiatives. This individual is involved in operations management, analyzing and developing strategies for new projects, and providing recommendations and direction to achieve project goals, ensuring that the unit’s plans relate to special projects and outreach operations. 


                    • Student Leaders 

                      2021-22 Peer Leaders: 

                      • Shariah Aldridge, Junior/Psychology, LC33
                      • Maria Anastasi, Senior/ Exercise Science, LC36
                      • Ivy Anderson, Senior/Biology Pre-Med, LC18 & LC23
                      • Johan Dominguez, Junior/Psychology, LC33
                      • Immanuel Hinton, Sophomore/Undecided, LC35
                      • Gabrielle Jones, Sophomore/Media & Entertainment, LC33
                      • Jayla Lawson, Sophomore/Exercise Science, LC35
                      • Makayla St. Rose, Junior/Criminal Justice, LC33
                      • India Ward, Junior/Nursing, LC34
                      • Summer Williams, Sophomore/Nursing, LC34

                      2021-22 Achieve Atlanta Student Ambassador: Tehya Burton, Junior/Business

                      2021-22 Student Staff - Academic Study Lounge and SODI Office

                      • Tehya Burton, Junior/Finance
                      • Immanuel Hinton, Sophomore/Undeclared
                      • Zoey Knight, Sophomore/Biology

                    SODI Student Leaders