AARCC Director

  • Autumn Johnson

    Autumn Johnson

    Hey folks!

    Thanks for stopping by the AARCC page! My name is Autumn Johnson (She/Her/Hers) and I am the Director of AARCC. I’m an alumni of UCSC from Kresge College and I am so honored to be back on campus serving the ABC Community. I am dedicated to continually learning and evolving, and passionate about community-based organizing, environmental equity, interrogating carceral systems, youth development, and youth program funding. I am a Rainbow & AATAT Alum, I enjoy being outdoors, and love connecting with folks. Don’t be a stranger, feel free to reach out via email (autumn@ucsc.edu) to connect or stop by the Baytree Building. 

  • Program Coordinator

  • Melissa Chimwaza

    Melissa Chimwaza

    Hello Everybody! 

    My name is Melissa Chimwaza and I am the Program Coordinator for the African American Resource and Cultural Center. I am dedicated to the planning and execution of programs that will engage, inspire and uplift UCSC’s African/Black/Caribbean students. I am eager to build community and work with students to create the programs and systems that will best serve them. If you would like to connect, please reach out to me through my email at mchimwaza@ucsc.edu

    In Peace & Power!

  • ABC Retention Specialist

  • Shannel Joseph

    Shannel Joseph

    Thanks for stopping by to read a short bio about me! My name is Shannel Joseph and I am serving as the Interim ABC Retention Specialist for the African American Resource and Cultural Center. I am originally from Los Angeles CA (I grew up in many areas, specifically, South Central and Inglewood). I am Afro Latin, with family who come from Central America (Belize and Guatemala). Some fun facts about me is that I LOVE food, music (Ari Lennox & Rhianna are my favs), art, kayaking, hiking and cooking. I am part of the Banana Slug Alum Club, graduating from UCSC in 2017 with my degree in Psychology from OAKESSSS College. In my role, I plan to work to ensure success for all ABC students through community building, mentorship, and programming. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work closely with the ABC student population which has been a community I've been wanting to give back to for the longest. I look forward to meeting with you all this academic year! <3
    If you would like to connect, please reach out at stjoseph@ucsc.edu. 

  • Graduate Student Intern

  •  Breanna Byrd

    Breanna Byrd

    Hey there, My name is Breanna Byrd and I'm a second-year graduate student in Feminist Studies. I'm originally from Durham, North Carolina, and always ready to talk about the South I study narratives of world-ending/world-making centering black womxn’s stories and practices of care. I joined the AARCC’s team in order to help continue to support African, Black, Caribbean identifying graduate students as they navigate UCSC. I also want hope to be able to connect graduate students to each other and to the resources offered through the AARCC. I enjoy dancing, finding random places to do handstands, geeking out over sci-fi, creative writing, and diving down research related rabbit-holes.

  • F.R.E.D. Student Coordinator

  • Victoria Akinsanya

    Victoria Akinsanya

    Hello, my name is Victoria Akinsanya (she/her) and I am a proud first generation Nigerian-American, specifically Yoruba. I am a third year Business Management Economics and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies double major. This is my second year as the program coordinator for the Facilitators for Racial and Ethnic Diversity (F.R.E.D.) Program and I'm really excited about getting to continue working towards improving campus climate for ABC students by facilitating conversations on race, ethnicity, and gender with student staff across campus. I love working at the African American Resource and Cultural Center because it has helped me find community, friendship, and work that I love which has redefined my UCSC experience. Please feel free to reach out if you ever want to ask about FRED, or just to chat about random things like outdoor backpacking, music, Nigeria, the majors I'm in, or the freedom of not having to use GPS to get around, etc. vakinsan@ucsc.edu


  • AARCC Programming Interns

  • Nailah Smith

    Nailah Smith

    Hey everyone my name is Nailah she/her pronouns, I am a Media Intern with AARCC and I run the Instagram page. I am a second year Film major and Stevenson college affiliate. Some of my hobbies include sketching portraits, roller skating, making desserts, listening to RnB music, eating street tacos, and caring for my cacti and succulent babies! I am involved with Stevenson Student Council and I am the Internal Administrator for SCOC. I started the group Melanin UCSC which is a safe space for all African, Black, and Caribbean identifying students to connect. Follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with social activities @UCSC_Melanin and follow the AARCC Instagram page @UCSC_AARCC to learn more about resources and upcoming events. If you have questions for me specifically or just want to reach out feel free to email me at nsmith7@ucsc.edu (:
  • Seeyade Gizachew

    Seeyade Gizachew

    My name is Seeyade Gizachew and I am a third year Community Studies and Psychology double major. I am affiliated with Stevenson college and I serve as a Student Program Coordinator with the AARCC, a peer sexual health educator with SHOP, and as a Textbook Lending Library intern with EOP. This is my second year working with the AARCC team and I am so excited to continue serving my UCSC Black community!  I am passionate about sexual health, specifically within the Black community to help bridge the gaps in education and support resources. I hope to continue creating safe and fun spaces for our community while meeting as many people as I can! If you ever want to talk about anything I am involved in, please feel free to reach out to me at sgizache@ucsc.edu :)


  • Savannah Powell

    Savannah Powell

    My name is Savannah Powell and I am an Academic intern for the African American Resource and Cultural Center. I am a third year student affiliated with Stevenson and I am majoring in Feminist Studies and Education. Moreno Valley, Ca is my hometown and I have eight siblings! Among my favorite activities, I enjoy family time, writing poetry, and playing basketball. Social activism is important to me, and my passion is to develop community and create safe spaces for people of color. I am an empathetic listener who embraces every season of life and loves to spread encouragement and hope. So if you need a listening ear or simply need information about resources, I am here to support your journey !!!!
  • Egypt Chin

    Egypt Chin

    My name is Egypt Chin and I am a programming intern for the African American Resource and Cultural Center. I am a second year student affiliated with Merrill College and I am majoring in Political Science. I am from Bellflower, CA which is in Socal, and I have 3 siblings. I am a part of the Jamaican-American community and I love Black culture. I am passionate about learning new skills whether that may be cooking, sewing, or baking. Some of my hobbies include playing with my dogs, reading new books, and shopping online. I enjoy meeting new people and listening to my favorite music artists. I’m excited to be serving this academic school year.
  • Byron Belcher

    Byron Belcher

    Hello everyone, my name is Byron Belcher and I am one of the Program Interns for the African American Resource and Cultural Center. I am a fourth year student affiliated with John R. Lewis College and I am majoring in Biology. I am from Los Angeles, CA and this will be my second quarter working with the wonderful AARCC team. My hobbies include photography, raising plants, hiking and making collage art! I’m excited to connect with the African/Black/Caribbean community here on campus and help students stay connected and updated on campus events and resources!