Alumni

Alumni Profile: Dr. Tonya Waller
We’re highlighting Jayhawks leaders from the Black Alumni Network as part of Black History Month.

Mykala Sandifer, b’15, is the director of inclusive programs and talent development for the KU Alumni Association.

What’s an experience that’s shaped your professional career journey. What did you learn?

An experience that has shaped my professional career journey has been working for the Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP) at KU for the past 18 years. I started my professional career as a classroom teacher, and when I was ready for a change, I stumbled upon the GEAR UP program through KU CEOP. The work I do, the support I receive from colleagues and the mentoring I have received from my supervisor, Dr. Ngondi Kamatuka, have literally changed my professional life and my trajectory. I love my work, I respect my colleagues and I feel seen and valued by my bosses. This is a huge professional win because so many people dread going to work on Monday mornings, and I never feel that way.

What resources or communities positively impacted your student experience at KU?

The Office of Minority Affairs (now Multicultural Affairs) and the Black Student Union (BSU) were saving graces for me during my time as an undergraduate student at KU. I came to KU from Brooklyn, NY as a first-generation college student and the culture shock was real. I found my people through BSU and I found my voice and my activism with the assistance of OMA. I will always cherish my time at KU, and believe I would have left if I hadn’t found these communities of support.

In celebration of Black History Month, who has had a significant impact on you in your personal or professional life?

On a personal level, my parents have always been a big influence in my life, as they always have and continue to make me feel like I can do anything. They have always been my biggest cheerleaders throughout my life, and that has given me the confidence to try new things. Professionally, my supervisor, Dr. Ngondi Kamatuka (Director of CEOP) has been incredibly influential in my professional growth and development.

You can learn more about the KU Black Alumni Network at kualumniassoc.wpenginepowered.com/ban.

The Copy the Leader program is brought to you by SumnerOne. SumnerOne is one of the largest independent office technology dealers in the Midwest, with offices in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We’re a family of respected companies united by ONE goal: to exceed your expectations and help you get the most from your investments in printing, IT, and document technology.

More Headlines

Career
Copy the Leader: Crystal Fong

Crystal Fong, c’15, j’15, is a DEI and Talent Development Leader. We sat down with Crystal to learn what leadership means to her.

Driving with Jayhawks
Driving with Jayhawks: KU mascot coach Brian Carpenter

KU mascot coach Brian Carpenter, c’02 joins Driving with Jayhawks. Learn what it takes to fill the boots of Big and Baby Jay!

News
‘Hawks & Highways’ brings KU Alumni, KU Endowment across Kansas

The University of Kansas Alumni Association and KU Endowment are hosting “Hawks & Highways” gatherings in several Kansas communities this summer.

Career
Copy the Leader: Stephanie Wittman

Stephanie Wittman, d’10 is a Health and Strength and Conditioning teacher at Tonganoxie High School. We sat down with Stephanie to learn what leadership means to her.

Career
Copy the Leader: Jon Sabillón

Jon Sabillón, c’11, is an international DJ, entrepreneur, and music futurist. We sat down with Jon to learn what leadership means to him.

Jayhawks Give Back
Jayhawk helps communities grow through The Giving Grove

Tucked away in urban neighborhoods across the U.S. are little orchards making a big impact.

KU Alumni Association
KU Alumni receives Insight Into Diversity Magazine’s Inclusive Excellence Award

The KU Alumni Association will be featured, along with 31 other recipients, in the June 2024 issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

Driving with Jayhawks
Driving with Jayhawks: Flying Jayhawks

In the monthly Driving with Jayhawks series, we’re taking the best of KU on a ride through campus as we talk about their Jayhawk experience.

Students
Tradition of Excellence Award honors student leaders

Eleven University of Kansas students were honored for their leadership on the Lawrence.

Welcome to the University
of Kansas Alumni Association

Your membership in the KU Alumni Association is the single most powerful way to make all of KU stronger, including the value of your own degree. Through your membership, the Association: