Alumni Profile: Mykala Sandifer
Mykala Sandifer, b’15, is the director of inclusive programs and talent development for the KU Alumni Association.
Share an experience that’s shaped your professional career journey. What did you learn?
The importance of representation and advocacy—in one of my previous roles, I took an event from ideation to fruition because I identified a gap based on student feedback and their longing for connection to a larger community.
The combination of my skills and held identities presented the space for students to come and share openly with me about what they felt they were missing in their campus experience. I took that feedback and was able to elevate their concerns and turn that into action through a new targeted event aimed at helping the students connect to that larger community.
Once my team and I were able to host the event, students left so thankful and excited to tell their peers about the next one! In that moment, I realized the importance of representation and advocacy in professional spaces.
My positionality within the organization (representation) allowed me to advocate on behalf of the students who needed something they weren’t getting. This translates into any space in the professional realm. Diversity can really shape innovation and connection, and the organizations that rally behind that will be so much better for it.
What resources or communities positively impacted your student experience at KU?
KU Career Center: The KU Career Center staff were incredibly helpful to me in solidifying internships as a student and mapping out the start to my career journey. (Shout out to Julie Hamel, she’s awesome and we’ve stayed connected!)
Mentorship: Through classes as an undergraduate, internships, and jobs I’ve held, I have been able to develop both natural and intentional mentoring relationships with people who I admired for specific reasons that felt important for my professional development. Those relationships have continued to be fruitful as I progress in my professional journey and I recommend students and alumni continue to cultivate meaningful mentor relationships.
In celebration of Black History Month, who has had a significant impact on you in your personal or professional life?
Ruby Bridges is a black pioneer whose story has always been so impactful to me in my own journey. The courage, fortitude, and perseverance she possessed to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the south, at six years old child, is incredible.
I aspire to have that kind of courage, to walk into spaces that have not been traditionally reserved for me and know that I belong just as much as anyone else.