Sequilla Lee (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)
Name: Sequilla Lee
Hometown: Rialto, CA
UCSC college: Oakes
Favorite class or professor and why?
My favorite professor is Francesca Guerra. I have taken four courses with Professor Guerra, and in every course I learned something new. The first course I took with her was Introduction to Sociology; it was in her course that I learned the value of people in a society and how every action can shape different things in life. Professor Guerra is a very motivational person. Since my freshman year, she has talked me through tough situations and taught me so many things that have opened my eyes to larger horizons. I know that in my future endeavors I will apply some lesson she has taught me.
Most memorable experience at UCSC?
My most memorable experience at UCSC is the night that President Barack Obama won candidacy. I remember being in my apartment with close friends waiting in anticipation for the final results. When it was finally official, I began to scream at the top of my lungs and then followed the tears. I went outside and there was a huge march taking place on campus. We walked and shared testimonies for hours--it was truly a memorable experience. It was definitely a landmark in my life because it was one of the first times I felt so proud to be an African American woman in the United States.
Favorite spot on campus and why?
The Oakes path. It is my favorite spot because I remember my sophomore year I was under a lot of stress, and not knowing where to turn. I went into the EOP office and had a conversation with the advisers, and on the way home, as I was walking down the Oakes path I heard a voice tell me that everything was going to be OK and that I would make it no matter what. At that moment I felt the sun shine on me. It was then I came to love the Oakes path. Whenever I feel down and out I go to the path to pour out my heart and wait for the sun to shine on me.
How has UCSC shaped you?
UCSC has helped me grow tremendously. I have learned to understand so many different backgrounds. I have learned to be a very independent and outspoken person. I have learned to fight for what I feel is right and hold on to my beliefs. The most important thing that UCSC has taught me is to always make it through. Coming to college without parents taught me discipline. I learned to always prioritize and be reliable.
What are your future plans?
I am currently applying for the master of arts in education teacher credential program at UCSC. I plan to become a history teacher back at home. I want to go back to my community and share knowledge that I got from college. I want to teach for a few years and later open up my own nonprofit geared toward former foster youth. As a former foster youth I had a very hard transition once I turned 18, and I want to be able to help youth in their own transition.
How did you choose your college, and how has your college affected your education?
I chose Oakes College because of a student-initiated outreach program called Destination Higher Education. During this program I was able to learn and see the environment of the college. Oakes helped me to feel secure in college. I truly learned what community meant. I was reached out to as a freshman by many upperclassmen who shaped me to do the many things that I do today. As a senior at Oakes, I give back to the community still, hoping that I can help out underclassmen as I was helped out.
At UCSC I have had the opportunity to work with many entities. I am a fourth-year member of the African/Black Student Alliance, where I have had the opportunity to be the student adviser and the publicity chair. In A/BSA I have had the opportunity to help out my community by providing a safe space for other African American students.
I have served as the primary core leader of Black Sistahs United, where I have had the opportunity to work with women in the community on issues that directly affect us.
I am the current vice president of the local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., which is a national public-service sorority based on the betterment of all people, but focusing on the African/black community.
I was a Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for the Oakes Mentor Program, where I matched underclassmen with upperclassmen in mentor pairs. I have had many positions, and I am a part of many groups, including the Oakes Residential Life staff, a Student Affairs vice chancellor's Appreciative Inquiry, Destination Higher Education, Page and Eloise Smith Scholastic Society, and United Friends of the Children.
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