Alumni Outreach

Alumni Spotlight

Here is a look at some of the Graduating Seniors through the years and an opportunity to network with them on their current endeavors!


 

Name: Angela Cantu

Class of 2020

Current projects and involvements: "Currently a featured artist at the Melanin Gallery in Downtown Santa Barbara and working with the Alain Locke Academia at UCSB as the Assistant Project Director along side Professor Jeffrey Stewart."

How Black Studies influenced your post-graduation plans and/or successes: "The various disciplines and connections made within the Black Studies department has given me the chance to continue learning and working with the department along with its research center post-graduation."

What you learned by getting a degree in Black Studies that is still applicable/useful knowledge today: "You need to find that power and motivation to keep going within yourself. That is really the factor between personal success and being stagnant in life, your education, and career."

Contact info to network with prospective Black Studies students and graduated majors/minors: Feel free to reach out via email: angelakcantu@ucsb.edu and on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angela-cantu-0978b817b/


 

Name: Bridget Kyeremateng

Class of 2017

Major: Black Studies and Feminist Studies

Extracurricular involvement: Orientation Programs, Coordinator; Women’s Ensemble Theater Troupe, Director; Gaucho Tour Association, Vice President; Women’s Center, Programmer; Resident Assistant

Most Influential Professor(s)/Faculty Member(s): "Dr. George Lipsitz in Black Studies 1 was the first course I took within the department. I’m sure Dr. Lipsitz has heard this many times, but his presence and passion in the work he does inspired me to be a Black Studies professor. I still lose myself a bit whenever he walks in my presence. I have to remember to breath. One of my favorite and most challenging courses with Dr. Ingrid Banks for Women, Body & Politics. You never walked into her class unprepared; you’d be a fool to step up in class empty handed. Thank you both and every professor who has pushed boundaries for this department and continue to do so. Rest In Peace Professor Madison. You are loved and missed."

Post-Graduation Plans: "I am planning to hopefully travel to Europe after 15 years of not being back to Italy since I was born there. After some weeks of traveling, my plan is to move to New York City to pursue opportunities that involve or intersect the arts, social justice and international work. I plan to go to Grad School in the near future :)"


 

Name: Janet Lopez

Class of 2017

Major: Black Studies and Sociology

Extracurricular involvement: Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative; Sigma Omega Nu, Latina Interest Sorority Inc.; Cal-SOAP; USEU(Salvadoran Student Union)

Most Influential Professor(s)/Faculty Member(s): "I remember being a shy and confused freshman and stepping into my first Black Studies course with Professor Akudinobi and completely feeling a purpose. After taking Black Studies 3, I completely fell in love with the discipline and I wanted to learn more. Shortly after, I remember stepping into the office and meeting Joseph Tapiro and declaring myself a major. I haven't regretted ever since. I also want to honor Professor Madison who pushed me to think critically and question the world we live in today. His Black Studies 50 course really opened up my eyes to the continuous injustices the black community face in media and society in general. It is really hard to pick one or two courses when I absolutely love my whole black studies undergraduate trajectory. I would not have been here if it wasn't for this awesome department!"

Post-Graduation Plans: "Study Abroad in Barbados and eventually pursue a Masters in Education for School Counseling"


 

Name: Mi'Chael Wright

Class of 2017

Major: Black Studies and Sociology

Minor: Education

Extracurricular involvement: UCSB Division I Women’s Basketball; Team Captain, 2015-2017; Black Student Union; UCSB Gospel Choir

Most Influential Professor(s)/Faculty Member(s): "Dr. Jude Akudinobi always came to class with a positive attitude, positive smile and excited to teach us something new. I will never forget seeing him around campus and hearing him say “HOMEGIRL! GOOD TO SEE YOU!”. He was a reminder that even in spaces that you sometimes felt weren’t made with you in mind, being Black, proud and myself would always be the better option."

Post-Graduation Plans: "I will be attending Howard University Graduate School to continue my studies in the Sociology. My future research is focused on Blackness in America, primarily focusing on the disregard and insensitivity to the lives and care of Black Women."

 


 

Name: Yoel Haile

Class of 2014

Major: Black Studies & Political Science

Current Involvements: Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy.

Quote: “I believe the critical thinking skills and intellectual training I received from the Black Studies Department will prove invaluable as I continue my education.I urge you to take advantage of the most incredible department UCSB has to offer and learn from our amazing faculty and students.


 

Name: Lauren O’Brien

Class of 2014

Major: Black Studies

Current Involvements: Masters in History at Loyola University Chicago Graduate School

Quote: “As an aspiring historian in Black History and Museum Curator/Educator I am very excited to explore the continuous opportunities I am being granted in Chicago! However, regardless of where life takes me, I will be a carrier of the love and wisdom bestowed upon me by the UCSB Black Studies Department.


 

Name: Jorge Ramirez

Class of 2014

Major: Black Studies & Sociology

Current Involvements: PhD student in History at University of California, San Diego

Quote: “The Black Studies Department has been crucial in my academic pursuits while teaching me the importance of bridging university-community work through community-based projects, the critical mentorship from faculty, and the valuable lessons of history. Furthermore, the Black Studies Department pushes me to continue listening to the voices most marginalized in our society, and how their situated knowledge can teach us about the possibilities for a new future being crafted today.


 

Name: Luis Trujillo

Class of 2012

Current projects and involvements: "I completed my PhD in Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside in 2020. I am currently teaching at CSU San Bernardino and UC Santa Cruz."

How Black Studies influenced your post-graduation plans and/or successes: "Black Studies is the reason I got into grad school. I was fostered by amazing professor like Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, Dr. George Lipsitz, Otis Madison, and many others in the department. The classes I took with those professors taught me more about the world and how it worked than any other class I took at UCSB in all my four years there. The Black Studies Department at UCSB was and is exceptional. I consider myself blessed to have been a small part of it."

What you learned by getting a degree in Black Studies that is still applicable/useful knowledge today: "At UCSB's Black Studies department I learned how to conduct critical investigations of popular media and mainstream political-economic institutions. I learned how to read culture and history from a subaltern and Black Marxist tradition. All of this has informed how I carry and conduct myself in the world. It has influenced my motivations and actions for social and political change."

Contact info to network with prospective Black Studies students and graduated majors/minors: Luis.DeLA.Trujillo@gmail.com


 

Name: Bipandeep Ahdi

Class of 2011

Current projects and involvements: "Currently evaluating data for space & propulsion systems. Previously assessed health outcomes for low-income residents of Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire."

How Black Studies influenced your post-graduation plans and/or successes: "Black Studies provided perspective on the roles of race, poltics, and culture in American society."

What you learned by getting a degree in Black Studies that is still applicable/useful knowledge today: "One of the best decisions I've made is using that perspective and combining it with my love of data."

Contact info to network with prospective Black Studies students and graduated majors/minors: Best way to contact is via email. Will assess each opportunity on a case-by-case basis: bahdi28@gmail.com


 

Name: Kena Cador

Class of 2010

Current projects and involvements: "I am currently a union side labor and employment attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area."

How Black Studies influenced your post-graduation plans and/or successes: "Being a Black Studies major was the starting point for my exploring racial and economic justice issues and questioning inequality. My Black Studies education continues to be my starting point in my professional career."

What you learned by getting a degree in Black Studies that is still applicable/useful knowledge today: "Black Studies helped me to focus my thinking critically about the world we live in and questioning the systemic aspects of inequality. I use these skills in my everyday life both personally and professionally."

Contact info to network with prospective Black Studies students and graduated majors/minors: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kenacherriececador


 

Name: Myeshia "MY" Abdul-Hakeem

Class of 2001

Current projects and involvements: "I started a real estate brokerage that specializes in the needs of our first time home buyers as well as our 55+ population. Our services include the selling and buying of homes, liquidation of estates (properties), trust/probate services and are certified international property specialists.  In the last 14 years, we have added the sale and purchasing of manufactured homes to our repertoire at the request of our clients to help close the wealth gap of home buying.  With over 26 years of experience, we are here to help with all your home selling and buying needs. "To Sell, Lease or Buy, ALWAYS Call Homes with TeamMY"

How Black Studies influenced your post-graduation plans and/or successes: "Being a Black Studies major inclined me to specialize in the helping of people of color buy or sell homes. Due to our lower access to and representation in the housing market, we felt this is where our services are best needed."

What you learned by getting a degree in Black Studies that is still applicable/useful knowledge today: "With my degree in Black Studies, I learned how to better understand myself, the African diaspora and how we relate to the world. I use this to help us get access to housing we don't believe we qualify for or don't have the knowledge of how to obtain.  My staff and I try to bridge the gap between us and the rest of the world."

Contact info to network with prospective Black Studies students and graduated majors/minors: Our offices are located in La Mesa, CA (San Diego) at 7938 -7940 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, CA 91942.  You can find us online at www.homeswithmy.com & www.hwmyteam.com. We are on all social media sites under, "homeswithmy." Please call or text our office at (619) 887-4969