Denishia LaVonne Clark

Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership

Honors

Outstanding Doctoral Research

Hometown

Hayward & Oakland, CA

Award Bio

A Bay Area native, originating from Oakland by way of Hayward, Denishia Clark is a public health advocate and higher education professional in career services. She holds a Bachelor of Science from San Diego State University and Master's in Urban Public Health (MPH) from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. She is graduating with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership (EdD).

My Greatest Supporters

The most incredible support on this journey comes from the prayers and dreams of my ancestors. I feel their strength and spirit every day. My parents Edward Ray and Sharon, and sister Sharonda are the heartbeat of my support system. I am grateful for the Clarks, Smiths, best friends, sorors, Cohort 17, and so many others, too many to name from my beloved tribe.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Every moment shared with C17 makes up my favorite memories. From our first meeting four years ago to the abrupt and virtual shift for our final class last year. I've been blessed to share learning spaces with (and often life support from) Jeannine Manguiat Megia, Marci Van Horn, Susan Lemke, Holly Joshi, Moira Delgado, Kelly Duncan, Christy Glaser, Esther Berndt, and the wise Elizabeth Valadez.

My Next Chapter

I will continue to learn daily, advance professional aspirations in higher education, and explore research opportunities focused on emerging leaders, ethics, and social justice.

Clubs and Activities

P.S. Another favorite SMC memory was that a deer chased Marci and me on campus one time!

P.P.S. I probably have 4+ pages about my supporters and inspiration. So, after it's published, you can read the Acknowledgments section plus a WHOLE lot more in my dissertation.
*smile*

Favorite Quote

"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."
— Shirley Chisholm

Imbamba Mansaray

Master of Arts in Counseling, School Counseling With a School Counseling Credential

Hometown

Portland, OR

My Greatest Supporters

My greatest supporters are my older brother, Siyaka Jaka, and my mom, Kathie Mansaray.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

My favorite St. Mary's Memory was visiting the campus for the first time and seeing how beautiful it was and how I couldn't wait to officially enroll as a graduate student.

My Next Chapter

My next chapter after graduation is entering my doctoral degree program (EdD). I am both anxious and excited for this next chapter in my life.

Clubs and Activities

Counseling Department Graduate Students of Color group
Afro-Latinx/Latinx/Indigenous People's Action subcommittee

Favorite Quote

"Always give it your best and be content with that."
— Bimba Mansaray

Quaneesha Ta’Quan Shields

Master of Arts in Counseling, School Counseling With a School Counseling Credential

Hometown

Horsham, PA

My Greatest Supporters

I give thanks to God for guiding me down different paths and placing numerous blessings along the way. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I am also grateful to have a family who loves me, supports me, and encourages me to become better versions of myself each day. Thank you mom, grandma, Oscar, Gabriela, and my angel Milo, for being my joy and reason to smile every day!

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

There are two Saint Mary's memories that I will cherish forever. The first memory is when my family and I attempted to walk up to the SMC cross during their visit on campus. Long story short, they refused to walk all the way up the hill! The second memory that I will forever hold close to my heart is traveling to Rwanda during Jan term and meeting some of the most beautiful souls.

My Next Chapter

Whatever the next chapter of my life is, I trust that God has already paved the way for me and is working it out in my favor. Wherever I am supposed to be, I will be. I take full comfort in knowing that God already has a plan for me. In my waiting, God is working!

Favorite Quote

"Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you doesn't mean you can, should, or need to do it alone."
— Lisa Olivera
SMC Seal for placeholder image

Jourdan Oliver

Master of Arts in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Clinical Counselor and School Psychology With a School Psychology Credential

SMC Seal for placeholder image

David Adrian Freeland Jr.

Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts: Liberal Education for Arts Professionals (LEAP)

Honors

Graduating With Honors

Rai Maia Ahmed-Green

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction

Honors

School of Liberal Arts Dean's Award

Hometown

Irvine, CA

Award Bio

Rai Ahmed-Green is committed to writing about the struggle and necessity of finding joy where it exists. Her writing explores the nature of truth in memory, often captured in essays about home, nature, love, and grief. Her current projects include a collection of nonfiction essays about love in its many facets and an Afrofuturistic novel that questions the relationship between God and humanity.

My Greatest Supporters

Many thanks to my greatest supporters and sources of inspiration, my parents, Zahra Ahmed, Darian Green, Jonathan Gilmer and Natasha Green. My grandmothers Grandma Z and Grandma Dorothy. My grandfathers Grandpa Abah and Grandpa Benny, my cousin Whitney Smith and my dear friend Nyasha Makaza.

Antonio O’keef Colvin

Master of Business Administration

Honors

Graduating With Honors

Hometown

Concord, CA

My Greatest Supporters

My greatest supporters are my husband, two beagles, and friend/family circle!

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Favorite memory was hanging out with our cohort in between classes on campus before the pandemic hit. Once at home we switched to zoom hangouts and never skipped a beat!

My Next Chapter

Being open to whatever comes my way.

Favorite Quote

Never turn down an adventure without a really good reason.
— Rebecca Solnit

Leah Mieko Brown

Master of Business Administration

Honors

Graduating With Honors

Hometown

San Jose, CA

My Greatest Supporters

I was able to complete my MBA with the amazing support of my husband, Jamar, and my parents, Marina & Lawrence. The long days and nights I had class, they would watch my son so I could focus on getting my work done.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Spending time with my classmates before class!

My Next Chapter

I recently bought a home in Los Angeles, and I am working as an Enterprise Project Manager.

Favorite Quote

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
SMC Seal for placeholder image

Myesha Patrice Kendrix

Master of Science in Management and Technology

Tom Muyunga-Mukasa

Bachelor of Arts: Politics

Hometown

Westwood, California

My Greatest Supporters

The SMC Community has been my greatest fall back support and family. I made the decision to return to College, applied through the Common Admissions App to several Colleges. Then, Saint Mary's sent a great looking mail. it was my acceptance letter! That started my SMC journey.

Favorite Saint Mary's Memory

Prayer time at the Marian Grotto in the forest park! Up the hill where that bright cross looks upon Moraga! The tree of life and swing all stress away! The Library! The Brothers' Residence and dinners with them! The walks at night despite Coyotes and Mountain lions at least the turkeys and squirrels were my guards! The SMC Community!

My Next Chapter

One day I want to be able to confidently say I am a Political Science and Public Health Scholar! I want to write books on race, poverty, wealth, nature conservation and the dignity of racial harmony. I want to write fiction thrillers to make into films, documentaries and movies. One day I shall contribute to a foundation dedicated to facilitating the real SMC diversity and inclusion activities.

Clubs and Activities

Collegian Contributor
BSU
ASA
Best Buddies
Reading Partners SF Bay Area
NetImpact
Republican Party Students
Democratic Party Students
Student Leadership
Class of 2020 Chairperson
MMC/Lasallian Clubs
Green Dot

Favorite Quote

"The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
— C.S. Lewis