Black alumni news from UCSC
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Alumni Voices

Nomsa Khalfani

Hello, I am Nomsa Khalfani, Ph.D. (Kresge ’91, Sociology), a proud Black alumna and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Pi Psi Chapter of UC Santa Cruz. As an Essential Access Health’s Chief Strategy + Equity Officer, I champion access to quality sexual and reproductive health care in California and across the country while ensuring that the organization reflects a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and advancing health equity for all. Essential Access is a trusted resource in the field of sexual and reproductive health care and the administrator of California’s Title X federal family planning program—the largest Title X system in the nation.

I didn't recognize it then, but UCSC taught me to be strategic, resourceful, and how to network. UCSC gave me my voice, moved me to always challenge the status quo, and unveiled the beauty and power of my Blackness, to love and protect Black people. It was more than what happened in the brick and mortar of campus that influenced me. It was my community that instilled in me a revolutionary understanding of being Black, especially on a predominantly white campus. Zizwe and Evelyn, Michael Grigsby, Sister Paula Powell, Belita McGee, Don Williams—the list goes on. Summer Bridge, the Big Sister/Big Brother program, African/Black Student Alliance, African Gospel Ensemble, Stevenson, Kresge, and the EOP office. All of this along with the fellowship stories, long talks, and getting to know folks. UCSC made me a leader. Every lesson I learned and person I met shaped who I am today.


Navigating systems that weren't designed for you is difficult. Being Black at the University of California, Santa Cruz was a challenge. By the grace of God and the community that breathed life into me, I survived, graduated, and have excelled. As Black alumni, we must keep the tradition going of pouring back into the experiences of current and future Black UCSC students. No one can understand or support the student body as we can. One way to make a difference is to engage in campus activities and events with your time, talent, and resources. Let's exhaust all means to ensure Black students feel seen, valued, welcomed, respected, and heard at every point of contact. I would love for them to experience the community that I benefited from. I plan to be more involved and invite you all to do the same. If we aren’t connected and engaged, the shifts in culture we want to see in the recruitment, retention, and graduation of Black students won't become a reality. It's up to us to reach back and give back.

Profiles in Excellence

Aaron Samuel Mulenga

Aaron Samuel Mulenga receives 2021 Coha/Gunderson Prize in Speculative Futures


Aaron Samuel Mulenga (Graduate Division, '26) received a Coha/Gunderston Prize in Speculative Futures, a Humanities Institute Award honoring works of speculative fiction. Mulenga's project “From the Ground Up! Ulubuto” was selected by the committee for its originality, cultural relevance, and its beautiful combination of compelling images and conceptual elaboration.

Ashley Nicole Black

Ashley Nicole Black featured in W Magazine


Ashley Nicole Black (Porter ‘07, theater arts), writer and star of HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, breaks down what it was like filming the second season in quarantine, and gives some insight into her pandemic hobby: watching every single Marvel movie ever made

Proud Slugs making a difference through public service

Proud Slugs making a difference through public service


A Superior Court judge. The director of the public art program for Los Angeles. A defense attorney. All believe in public service, and  all say their time at UC Santa Cruz changed their lives in permanent ways. Meet Kelvin (judge), Felicia (public art administrator), and Kree (lawyer), three members of a respected Los Angeles–area family and all proud Slugs

Career and Network Support

 Navigating the hiring process as an experienced professional graphic

Navigating the hiring process as an experienced professional


Jun 22, 2021 12:00 p.m. (PDT)

This webinar is specifically designed to offer insights and strategies to help experienced professionals who may be dealing with age bias in the workplace or recruitment process. Register to join live or to receive a link to the webinar recording.

Congrats Class of '21!

hats up in the air

Dear Class of 2021 Message Board


Help us wish UC Santa Cruz's Class of 2021 well as they embark upon their next journey! Post your messages of congrats, love, and hope from students, alumni, and family.

UC president michael drake

In Case You Missed It

visualizing abolition art

Visualizing Abolition Series


This yearlong series presented by the UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with Gina Dent, associate professor, feminist studies, featured artists, activists, scholars, and others united by their commitment to the vital struggle for prison abolition. All events are recorded and available for viewing.

sammy the slug and Alumni Week graphic

Nostalgic week for Banana Slugs


Thousands of Banana Slugs celebrated, learned, and played in an all-virtual Alumni Week, a gathering that made the most of its online format, with more than 70 live events. If you missed any part of Alumni Week, you can catch recordings of the events here.

Ways to Give Back

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Give Advice


The UC Santa Cruz Alumni Council is spearheading a series of short videos on social media known as 'Ask an Alum', where we invite UCSC alumni to provide a short video clip with advice they would give current students and young alumni. Sign up to provide advice and/or nominate a fellow alum!

students with computers

Give to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund


Alumni Association scholarships, funded by alumni like you, enable students to stay in school and give them a chance to take on new opportunities and internships that they otherwise wouldn't have as an option. Support the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund to provide crucial support for students in need.

Work at UC Santa Cruz!

UCSC flags

UC Santa Cruz wants to see an increase in Black representation at all levels of the university. Please consider applying, and pass along these job announcements to other Black folks in your networks. You'll find a comprehensive list of all open positions here.


Building and Customer Service Coordinator | Real Estate Services
Application review begins on 5/31/21


Corporate Development Associate | University Relations
Application review begins on 6/14/21


Associate Director of Annual & Digital Giving, Integrated Marketing | University Relations
Application review begins on 6/17/21

Land Acknowledgment

UC Santa Cruz is located on the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.

This newsletter was produced by the Alumni Engagement office at UC Santa Cruz. If you have suggestions for content you'd like to see featured, please contact our office at



UC Santa Cruz
1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064


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