Black Student Engagement Program

The Black Student Engagement Program (BSEP) was launched in September 2016 as a student-led initiative of the Black Resource Committee, which is housed in the department of Student Affairs Academic Initiatives. The program aims to connect Black students with campus resources and to provide mentorship and academic support with the goal of facilitating an environment wherein students can thrive holistically in the university and beyond.

Program Staff

Graduate Student Coordinator

Kendra Calhoun

Kendra Calhoun received her B.A. from the University of South Carolina, double majoring in English Language and Literature and Psychology. She is a 4th year Ph.D student in the Department of Linguistics, with a research focus on language, race, social media, and Black digital activism.

Graduate Student Assistant

JamaalJamaal Muwwakkil is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Linguistics department and a native Californian, originally from the beautiful city of Compton. For undergrad, he transferred from Los Angeles City College to UCLA, where he majored in Applied Linguistics. His current research investigates the discourse of politically conservative student groups.  He is also the president of Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA)

Team Leaders

Jordan-Pope_400Jordan Pope
Major: Political Science
Minor: Black Studies 

Edan Tessema
Major: Global Studies and History of Public Policy

Program Goals

Connect Black students to campus resources & services to facilitate transition to  and success in college

Facilitate networking and mentor-pairing with Black faculty, staff, and graduate students

Research development: Introduce students to research opportunities to prepare students for graduate and professional schools (including Introduction to Research course)

Career development: Provide leadership and professional development opportunities through the BSEP internship and workshops with alumni and local professionals.

Program Components

  • Mentorship: Mentor-pairing with faculty, staff, and graduate students
  • Individual Advising: check-ins on academic progress and review of action plan Appointment with EOP counselor at least once a quarter.
  • Peer study sessions: We host study jams during midterms and finals in collaboration with other Black student orgs (twice a quarter)

Office Hours

Provided by our graduate student staff in the AdCRC (weekly)

Kendra Calhoun: Wednesdays at 2-4pm

Jamaal Muwwakkil: Wednesdays at 4-6pm

Community-Building: Group mentorship luncheons, workshops facilitated by grad students/staff/alumni/local professionals, community-building events (quarterly)

Research development: INT 95B: Introduction to research course offered in Winter Quarter

Contact BSEP

You can learn more at the BSEP Facebook page:

Program Ambassadors

Casandra-Phillips_400Casandra Irene Phillips 
Major: Chicana/o Studies; Minor: Applied Psychology 


Louis Hill
Major: Communication; Minor: French

Gabby-Grafton_400Gabby Grafton 
Major: Economics 


Kiyloni Richardson
Major: Sociology and Black Studies