The Kenyon Ten: Sasha Pauline Fanny-Holston

Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sasha Pauline Fanny-Holston ’11 reflects on her time at Kenyon both as a student and a staff member.


(Photo by Isa Bolton '24)

After attending Kenyon as an undergraduate, Sasha Pauline Fanny-Holston ’11 found her way back to campus in 2021 to work as assistant director in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI). In her role, she helps promote diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across campus and explains why they are important in everyone’s lives. Fanny-Holston is active in other ways, too, including as a campus mediator and an advisor to numerous student groups, including Sisterhood, an organization for women of color. She is particularly busy this month as she helps to plan numerous events in celebration of Black History Month.

Besides Gambier, where is your favorite place in the world to be?

Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue, Seychelles. My mom is from Seychelles, and the beach is my favorite place. 

Why did you come to Kenyon?

I came to Kenyon twice. As a student, I came because I received a financial aid package I couldn't refuse, and I also wanted to feel like a student and not a number at a larger school. I came back as an employee because Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Chris Kennerly insisted I apply for this job after learning I wanted to do DEI work instead of working in a big law firm. This is the work I've always wanted to do, and I am grateful to be here and make a difference.

Fill in the blank: My experience at Kenyon would not be the same without ______.

The friends I've made on this campus. Kenyon people stay in your life for the rest of your life, so nurturing those relationships is important. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel as a student and as an employee, and those trips form some of my greatest memories. 

What is your favorite Kenyon tradition?

Reunion Weekend. Now that I get to go every year, I am always excited to reconnect with friends. 

What Kenyon class would you love to take — again or for the first time?

I should have taken an English course when I was a student, either in African-American literature or Dante’s “Divine Comedy” (which was an Integrated Program in Humane Studies class!). 

If there was a soundtrack to your Kenyon experience, what song would be on repeat? 

Walk the Moon! I was here when the band started and "Anna Sun" reminds me of those days, and also of Anna Sun, who was a sociology professor here at the time. Honorable mention: Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster."

Where do you find satisfaction outside of your work?

Going to yoga at the Lowry Center, watching my cats — Mr. Puff and Neemo — play and grow up, getting the opportunity to talk about the importance of supporting DEI initiatives both on campus and off.

What is something interesting that you have read recently?

I have a lot of unread books (both physical and Kindle), but I started reading the (physical) book “Emotional Justice: A Roadmap for Racial Healing” by Esther Armah, and it has shown me a new way of approaching conflict resolution and racial healing. 

What new skill would you like to learn?

I want to learn how to play the piano, the violin (again), the drums and the saxophone.

What is the best piece of advice that you've ever been given?

Stop caring about what other people think about you. I've struggled with this for more years than I can count, but it's important to me that I hear it constantly because it also reminds me to be my most authentic self and to not compromise on that.

The Kenyon Ten is an occasional question-and-answer feature that highlights students, faculty and staff.