Jovita Angel-Sebastian is a recently graduated sociology major. During her undergraduate collegiate career at UC Merced, she was the outreach coordinator for Lambda Alliance, chair for the multicultural center student council, and the diversity commissioner for Associated Students at UC Merced (ASUCM). During her role as an outreach coordinator for Lambda Alliance, she provided an intersectional lens in order to widen support within the LGBTQ+ community. Andre Frise, president of Lambda Alliance, in the 2016-2017 academic year explained, “The time and energy Jovita has dedicated is invisible labor that may go unnoticed by many, but benefit many within the LGBTQ+ community… All in all, Jovita is an empowering individual that springs up the potential in others to participate in queer liberation.”
In order to fully acknowledge the support needed by students, Jovita often checked in with a variety of identity organizations on campus such as: Black Student Union, SALE, MEChA, PAA, and MSA. Her passion to increase inclusivity through Lambda is indicative of Jovita’s character to change the world for the better. She wishes to support the diverse student population through her leadership positions. “I think I took it for granted,” explained Jovita as she discusses the diverse student population, “It’s so nice to see so many diverse students and not be in a prison setting,” Jovita then continued to explain how the diverse student population should be represented through faculty. She was fully able to critically analyze others ideology as well as her own, after being exposed to her first professor of color her freshman year. After taking a course with him, she understood she was destined to become a professor in order to shape the future through her coursework.
Jovita’s passion to improve the lives of others stems from her own hardships she has had to endure throughout her life. As a queer woman of color, Jovita has faced several emotional barriers that have shaped her future. The constant endeavor to understand her sexuality has influenced her efforts at Lambda Alliance. The deportation of her brother constructed her devotion to step out of traditional bounds people of color are often barricaded in. “I belong to a variety of different communities,” explains Jovita, “I think that made me a lot more loud and unapologetic.”
A piece of advice Jovita has for undergraduate students is to get involved in organizations that support student success such as the University of California Student Organizing Summit (UCSOS), University of California Student of Color Conference (UCSCC), and attending University of California Student Association (UCSA) meetings. Jovita is adamant about getting involved in discussions that shape the future of students. Overall, Jovita is passionate about serving her community and is a representation of the radical mindset that is fueled to uplift student efforts.
Photo Credit: Marcus Fox