Alliance 2019 Breakout Session

Presented by: Ifeoma Amah, Ph.D., Director of Peer Learning, UCLA; Jonli Tunstall, Ph.D., Director of the VIP Scholars Program and Summer Programs, UCLA; Ashley Williams, M.Ed.; Assistant Director of the VIP Scholars Program, UCLA; Markeith Royster, Ed.D., Community Director, UCLA

Educators and programs alike are challenged with developing strategies that prepare African American students in California to not only become college-ready, but also prepare them for college success. Increasing African American College Access and Success takes a holistic approach that will challenge educators, practitioners, and leaders to be mindful of the historical, cultural, and familial contexts of African American students’ experiences. We will also provide practical tools that support academic preparation and achievement at the high school and post-secondary levels.

Participants will engage in an interactive discussion about:

  • some of the historical and current impediments to African American students’ college access, preparation, and success;
  • the theoretical underpinnings that support African American students’ academic underachievement and success across the Preschool-16 continuum;
  • the critical role of care and high expectations in institutional and community contexts;
  • effective ways to engage families in supporting students’ college preparation and success as well as provide examples of culturally relevant programming efforts;
  • innovative practices and strategies (e.g., culturally relevant pedagogy, etc.) to enhance African American students college-going identities and outcomes; and
  • critical conditions necessary to increase higher education access and success for African American students

Join the “Increasing African American College Access and Success” session on November 21, 2019, at the Millennium Biltmore in Downtown Los Angeles to learn how you can support the increase of African American college access and student success. Register here.

Dr. Ifeoma Amah earned her B.A. degree in Psychology with a Minor in Education from UCLA. She also obtained her Ph.D. in Education, Urban Schooling concentration from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. After graduate school, Ifeoma was a Chancellor Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Read More.


Dr. Jonli Tunstall oversees several programs and initiatives that works with first-generation, low income, underrepresented students, in her current role as a member of the senior leadership team in the Academic Advancement Program (AAP) at UCLA. Currently, she directs two programs as part of the AAP team: VIP Scholars, a social justice college access program, and the Freshman and Transfer Summer Program. Read More.


Ashley Williams, M.Ed. received her B.A. degree with departmental honors in Afro-American Studies and a minor in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA, Ashley was involved in several initiatives that sought to educate and empower students of color in the greater Los Angeles area. Most notable was her work with the UCLA Black Male Institute and the Vice-Provost Initiative for Pre-College Scholars where she specifically worked with the directors of the programs in mentoring, research, and program development. Read More.


Dr. Markeith Royster earned his B.A. in Applied Mathematics from Norfolk State University. Upon graduation, he worked in secondary education as a mathematics instructor in Norfolk, Va. Witnessing the disconnect between secondary education and access to higher education, he earned a M.Ed. in Education Curriculum and Instruction from Averett University. Continuing to serve at the secondary education level, he developed a number of college access programs to assist in the transition from high school to higher education. Read More.