Omari Allen received two bachelors degrees from Pepperdine, one in Political Science and the other in French. He hails from the Atlanta, GA area by way of Pennsylvania. Omari's work on campus began in the first semester of his freshman year. Since then, he served in the Student Government Association (SGA) for 3 years and as the Community Service / Spiritual Life Chair of the Black Student Association. Omari was one of the leading student voices in chartering a chapter of the first Black collegiate fraternity on campus, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Over the past two years, Omari has been a large contributor to student-led demonstrations and he acted as the main author for the Nov. 13th recommendations and the Columbus 2016 recommendations. In the Fall of 2016, Omari partnered with his dear friend, Isabella Ordaz to co-found the Beloved Community Initiative, a student-led organization that seeks to teach Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s concept of "beloved community." Following graduation, Omari joined the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence as a community organizer.
Rahje Branch is pursuing an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Rahje graduated from Pepperdine University cum laude with a B.A in Political Science and a minor in Rhetoric and Leadership. During her time at Pepperdine, she served as a member of the Pepperdine Ambassadors Council and a resident advisor. For two years, she led Pepperdine's Black Student Association as the Vice President of Membership (2015-2016) and President (2016-2017). With fierce precision and tenacity, Rahje worked with others in a grassroots collective action movement, charging Pepperdine to strengthen its commitment to diversity and inclusion. In addition to her work at Pepperdine, Rahje's commitment to serving others is evidenced in her previous work at Hope4Families: A Special Education Law Firm. While interning in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Department of Education and the White House, Rahje further developed her passion for social justice and education. She is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of race and income, receive a quality education. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
ANAKA JACQUELINE OSBORNE
Anaka Osborne came to Pepperdine in 2012 as a Posse Foundation scholar from Washington, D.C. for her outstanding leadership in high school. Since her time at Pepperdine, Anaka continues to be an exemplary leader through her involvement and commitment to creating an inclusive and beloved community on campus. On a mission to build community on campus, Anaka served as a student leader as student facilitator of Project Lead: Civil Rights tour, Resident Advisor, and member of the Social Action and Justice colloquium, teaching assistant for a First Year Seminar and Special Events board member. However, it was her three year commitment as an executive member for the Black Student Association that grew her into a dynamic leader with a heart to inspire change. She looks forward to continuing her social justice and inclusion work during her time with Teach for American as a special education instructor.
DAVID JOHN HYLTON
David attended Pepperdine University on the Posse Foundation Scholarship, a scholarship given to young leaders from diverse backgrounds. He quickly became an advocate for fellow marginalized students, serving on Seaver's Student Government Association for three years. While on SGA, David pushed for initiatives for multiple cultural communities on campus - most notably the LGBTQ+ community. One of David's biggest accomplishments while attending Pepperdine has been serving as the Co-Founder and Co-President of Crossroads, the University's very first officially recognized LGBTQ+ student organization. He is beyond humbled to have been a part of very important conversations about race, gender, sexual identity and interfaith relations while at Pepperdine and is honored to receive this award.
GEORGE MAXWELL MASAYOSHI MUKAI
G. Maxwell "Max" Mukai has been a part of the Pepperdine community since 2010. He has just recently completed the Five-Year Business Administration and MBA program. He came to Pepperdine with the motivation to return to his home of Hawaii with the knowledge and skills that could make him a competent leader and be a force for positive change for his community. Aside from his academics he had the privilege of studying abroad visiting many places and increasing his appreciation for diversity. He served as a Resident Advisor in the Heidelberg Music Summer Program of 2013. He was also involved with the professional business fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi. During his career at Pepperdine, Max was heavily involved with the Hawaii Club and its efforts of educating and creating community. He served as the Luau Chairman and played other supporting roles. This summer he will begin his internship with the Kamehameha Schools Sustainability Division, as their Sustainable Punaluu Business Project Manager, where he hopes to find a model that optimizes natural resources to benefit future generations.
WINONA GABRIELLE GARCIA
Winona "Winnie" Gabrielle Garcia was born in San Jose, California but grew up in Cebu, Philippines. Having resided in a third world country, she developed a desire to help others less fortunate than her. At sixteen, she moved back to California to study International Studies with an emphasis in Intercultural Communications at Pepperdine. It was here where her faith grew in her two year term as the President for the Filipino American Student Association as she led club convocations focused on Christian disciplines. As an educator of Filipino Culture, she created the first multicultural talent show at Seaver College, which featured a cross section of the vast diversity of Pepperdine University. Aside from creating spaces for ethnic diversity on campus, Winnie has impacted the greater community as a bible lessons teacher for Mexican orphans during her Spring Break, helping new students as a First Year Seminar Mentor, and playing her ukulele for senior citizens with Alzheimer's. Currently interning at a nonprofit organization who works to rebuild typhoon-devastated schools in the Philippines, Winnie looks forward to pursuing a master's degree in Social Work to continue her passion for social justice.
Alex Booker was born and raised in Southern California and has always been passionate about making a positive difference in the world. As a political science and sociology major, Alex has used his appetite for knowledge of the social sciences to understand and impact real world concerns. He has served as a member of the Student Government Association for the past two years, first as a Junior Class Senator and then as the Vice President of Administration, and has used this opportunity to advocate for policies that would make a positive impact on the student body. These have included creating a resolution recommending new cultural educational policies for Seaver faculty and helping to start the campus-wide conversation regarding the high rate of loneliness among Seaver College students. In the future, he hopes to work in the area of public policy and government to improve the lives of as many individuals as possible.
DEMI S. MCCOY
Demi S. McCoy is a Posse Scholar from the Washington DC Tri-State Area. Through her gift of spoken word poetry, Demi has captivated many from coast to coast. Her poetical topics are inspired by the Christian message and give primary emphasis to diversity and self-esteem. Aside from poetry, Demi has spent much of her time serving as a Spiritual Life Advisor for first-year female students at Pepperdine. Additionally, she has served in leadership positions for Women of Color, the Black Student Association, Project Serve, Genesis Gospel Choir, and the Volunteer Center. Her close work with the Intercultural Affairs office has also led her to create an annual Poetry Slam event on campus that gives students the chance to share their voice through spoken word art. Demi has received a prestigious fellowship to attend Wake Forest University School of Divinity and will begin her graduate studies there in the fall.
Nduka Nwankwo was born in San Francisco, California, and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. As an Economics major and creative writing minor, Nduka began taking classes in financial markets and mathematics, encouraging his vision of one day serving as a finance liaison between Nigeria and the rest of the world. Nduka has worked in the Housing and Residence Life community as a spiritual life advisor and a resident advisor. As a student leader, he has worked in a variety of departments at Pepperdine including: the Career Center, Student Employment, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Inter-Club Council, Special Programs, the Office of Judicial Affairs, and Church Relations. He has also served on the executive board for the Black Student Association for two years in the role of vice president, finance. In this role, Nduka created a funding strategy that both maximized the club's financial resources and established new funding partnerships. Nduka has accepted a full-time position with Goldman Sachs as a credit analyst in their Credit Risk Management and Advisory Division. His long-term goal is to bring more sophisticated financial products to emerging markets and developing countries.
Sarah Poblete was born and raised in Southern California and has had a heart for serving others since childhood. At a young age, she volunteered in community clinics and shelters with her local church, which influenced her to pursue a career where she could merge her passion for nutrition and serving the underserved. As a nutritional science major, she has completed the first steps in becoming a registered dietitian and hopes to become an advocate for alleviating food insecurity and health disparities among minorities. Aside from her academics, Sarah has actively served as a spiritual life advisor for Housing and Residence Life and has used this opportunity to mentor and educate first-year students. As cofounder and president of the Pepperdine Filipino Club for four years, Sarah has strived to promote Filipino culture through entertainment, education, and service on campus. In the fall, she will be attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo to complete a dietetic internship and in the future, she hopes to work in the area of public health nutrition.
Adrian Aurrecoechea was born and raised in South Florida where he learned about his American culture, his mother's Dominican culture, and his father's Cuban culture. Adrian has volunteered in Miami and Santo Domingo as a medical technician, and interned in a low-income suburb of Philadelphia to research predictors of infection progress. He has also majored in International Studies with an emphasis in Intercultural communication, taught English to Malibu migrant workers and children in rural Dominican Republic, encouraged conversation and action related to the Middle East at Pepperdine, wrote his senior thesis on the Future of Medical Travel between the US and Cuba, and spread awareness of HIV prevention and support to the Los Angeles Native American community. Next year he will be attending University of California in San Francisco in pursuit of a combined MD degree with a Masters in Public Health. He hopes to teach as a physician in an emergency room and make a positive impact on public health nationally and internationally.
OLORUNTOBI IBUKUN "IBK" JAIYEOLA
Oloruntobi "IBK" Jaiyeola was born and raised in the city of Lagos, Nigeria where she began her journey of faith and diversity. As an Integrated Marketing Communication major, IBK began taking classes in media and communications, encouraging her vision of using media to understand and influence cultures. IBK has worked in the Housing and Residence Life community as a Spiritual Life Advisor and a Residence Advisor. She has had the opportunity to study abroad in India, where she learned about the five major religions of the nation; Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Islam. In her capacity as the group's President, IBK rebranded the organization and created the conceptual definition of "connect, educate, and celebrate." Next year, she will be attending American University to pursue a Masters in International Media. She hopes to continue to travel and impact the world, especially the African continent. Her long-term goal is to establish a media marketing company in West Africa, and create effective integrated marketing communication strategies for businesses and organizations in the region.