Meet UC Santa Cruz’s FY24 Alumni Council

Introducing five new alumni volunteers to the Alumni Council

From left to right: John Madrid, Shelly Meron, Juliet Musso, Jessica Lum, Meredith Vivan Turner, Sareil Brookins, Corinne Kappeler, Lakeya Cherry, Julia Dolloff Armando Flores, Patrick Garcia, Gardenia Guerrero, Annapoorna Gururajan, Judith Gutierrez, Walter M. Joyce, Claudine Lim, Abel Mkulama, Diane Nguyen, Max Ortiz, Susan Tappero, Shonté Thomas, Brian Turner, Kevin Volkan, April Yee

UC Santa Cruz Alumni Association is governed by an elected board of alumni volunteers called the Alumni Council. Twenty-four members make up this year’s Council, with each councilor serving two-year terms upon being elected. Incoming councilors were selected by fellow alumni during the annual elections held this spring.

UCSC’s Alumni Association is excited to welcome five new members: Lakeya Cherry, Julia Dolloff, Patrick Garcia, Abel Mkulama, and Diane Nguyen. 

John Madrid will continue to serve as the Alumni Council President alongside Meredith Vivian Turner, Past President and Shelly Meron as Executive Vice President. Two new officers were elected to begin their one-year term: Juliet Musso as Vice President of Finance and Jessica Lum as Vice President of Administration. 

At the beginning of Madrid’s leadership as President, three priorities within a strategic work plan were identified. This includes (but is not limited to) solidifying scalable alumni engagement, increasing organizational health, and increasing alumni giving participation. In addition, the Council will continue to aid in, solidify, and grow diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within the Alumni Council and its work.

“It has been the greatest honor to lead such an exemplary group of councilors over the past year,” Madrid said. “I am deeply thankful and amazed by the amount of work they have been able to accomplish this past year and look forward to the impact we will have with our five new exceptional volunteers.” 

Alumni Councilors serve as advocates for UCSC and the UC system and primarily focus on engaging and strengthening the university’s alumni network. They do this by sharing and promoting UCSC’s vision, leading projects and initiatives to support the Alumni Council Strategic Work Plan, and periodically act in an advisory role when called upon for specific initiatives. 

Executive Director of Alumni Engagement Shayna Kent supports the work of the volunteers and helps guide their volunteer efforts to current initiatives and needs. 

“The Alumni Council is an essential component to strengthen and support UCSC and our network of 140,000 plus alumni,” Kent said. “We rely on the experiences, volunteer time and networks to guide our work and support the alumni engagement programs. I am honored to work with such a dedicated group of people who love UCSC.” 

Welcoming five new councilors 

With a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences, UCSC’s newest Alumni Council members will hold a vital part in ongoing Council efforts.   

“I am so thrilled and excited to work with our five new alumni councilors,” Madrid said. “I am certain that each will bring a unique and robust set of skills to the team and our work. A special thank you to the Nominations Committee for their work in selecting the five new councilors.”

Lakeya Cherry (Rachel Carson ’04, psychology and legal studies) joins UCSC’s Alumni Council with degrees from USC, UCSC, and Columbia University. She has a diverse skill set partly gained by her experience as a Founder for Lakeya Cherry LLC. She is dedicated to fostering alumni involvement and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a first-generation college student, Lakeya is motivated to give back and leverage her experience to positively influence the Alumni Council’s impact on students and alumni.

Julia Dolloff  (College Nine ’13, environmental studies) is a Senior Environmental Scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with a Master of Public Policy and Administration from CSU Sacramento. With a strong event planning, mentoring, government advocacy, and volunteer outreach background, Julia has actively supported UC Santa Cruz since graduating in 2013. She has engaged with the Alumni Association, spoken on panels, and mentored students through the online mentorship program. Julia aims to contribute to the Alumni Council to further promote UC Santa Cruz, support students, and foster alumni engagement.

Patrick Garcia (Merrill ’76, politics) is a graduate of Merrill College with a degree in politics and extensive experience in public service, advocacy, and community leadership. With experience as Director of Administration for Santa Clara Co Behavioral Health Services, Patrick has a strong background in human resources, career counseling, and mentoring; he brings valuable expertise to the UCSC Alumni Council. Patrick actively engages with UC Santa Cruz, participating in alumni events and contributing to the Latinx Alumni Association. He  hopes to utilize his varied skill set to aid the Alumni Council in helping current students and alumni achieve their academic and professional goals.

Abel Mkulama (MS ’21, coastal science and policy), a graduate with a Master’s degree in Coastal Science, is eager to contribute his expertise and educational background to the UCSC Alumni Council. Abel is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion, particularly by improving access to campus programs for students of color. With his experience in education working at UC Berkeley as a Program Associate, civic engagement, and business, Abel is well-equipped to engage with university administration, students, and fellow alumni. Through mentorship programs and social media initiatives, he aims to empower current and future UCSC students while highlighting the impactful work of alumni.

Diane Nguyen (College Nine ’11, sociology) is motivated to join the Alumni Council and give back to UC Santa Cruz. As a re-entry student, she appreciates the university’s support in helping her achieve her goals and wants to contribute her expertise in philanthropy, mentorship, and advocacy. Diane hopes to help expand AAPI’s impact and representation within UCSC, supporting the Strategic Work Plan and strengthening the alumni community. With her consulting firm, Diane has the necessary outreach and communication skills to positively impact all communities surrounding UC Santa Cruz through the Alumni Council.


UCSC is grateful for the service of the returning Alumni Councilors: John Madrid (Oakes ’98), Shelly Meron (Stevenson ’05), Juliet Musso (Cowell ’82), Jessica Lum (Rachel Carson ’09), Meredith Vivan Turner (Rachel Carson ’09), Sareil Brookins (Stevenson ’19), Corinne Kappeler (Kresge ’11), Armando Flores (Stevenson ’15), Gardenia Guerrero (Oakes ’21), Annapoorna Gururajan (Oakes ’15), Judith Gutierrez (Rachel Carson ’18), Walter M. Joyce (Cowell ’67), Claudine Lim (Cowell ’14), Max Ortiz (Cowell ’09), Susan Tappero (M.A. ’88, Ph.D. ’92), Shonté Thomas (Rachel Carson ’99), Brian Turner (Cowell ’04), Kevin Volkan (Kresge ’81), and April Yee (Oakes ’02). (Learn more by reading these Alumni Councilor’s bios.)

If you are interested in learning more about the Alumni Council or volunteering, please contact the UCSC Alumni Association: