AACC Center Director: Alicia McKenzie (she/her)

I was born and raised in Bridgeport, CT with my parents and 4 siblings where I attended Warren Harding
High. I graduated from Eastern CT State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. During
my time at Eastern, I was an RA, captain of our dance team YNot?, and involved in a few campus clubs. I
graduated with my Master’s from Central CT State University in Counseling w/ a Specialization in
Student Development in Higher Education. I have worked in Higher Education since 2011 in positions
ranging from Residence Life, Students Affairs, and Diversity & Inclusion. I am passionate about
empowering our underrepresented students and assisting in their overall development. I am a proud
member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my
daughters, husband, family and friends. I love spending long days on the beach, practicing yoga,
journaling, meditating and music. I am a city girl with a love for the outdoors and activities that ground
me. Dancing is a core peace of who I am and an outlet for expression. I am an avid football fan and have
played in a co-ed flag football league for 8 years.

E-Mail: alicia.mckenzie@uconn.edu


 AACC Center Assistant Director: Velda Alfred-Abney (she/her)

I am St. Lucian born and raised, I migrated to Brooklyn, NY as a teenager where I attended Boys and Girls High School.  I graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2002 with an MBA.  I joined the UConn Staff in 2004 as a Residence Hall Director with the Department of Residential Life.  I enjoy working with and advocating for students.  I am interested in Social Justice, Multicultural Affairs, and Student Leadership Development.  I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.  

Outside of work, I enjoys spending time with my partner, two daughters, family, and friends.  I also enjoys traveling and learning about different places, people, and cultures.  

E-Mail: velda.alfred@uconn.edu

Graduate Assistant: Ahmed Abohamad (he/him)

I am a Ph.D. student at the Philosophy Department. I obtained a B.A. in Biological Sciences and Philosophy, summa cum laude, with honors in 2021 from Connecticut College, where I had some experience working with the Division of Institutional Equity and Inclusion to support first-generation students in their transition from high school to college. I was born and raised in a small village in the Nile Delta, near a city called Tanta, and I was fortunate to attend STEM October – a USAID-funded Egyptian public boarding high school near Cairo. I came to the U.S. for the first time in Aug 2017 to start my undergraduate education. Some of my areas of interest in Philosophy are the Philosophy of Education, Ethics, and Decolonial Theory.

Outside of work, I can be found cooking, walking/hiking, spending time with friends, and sleeping.

E-Mail: ahmed.abohamad@uconn.edu

Graduate Assistant: Lex Greene (they/she)

I am a first-year masters student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program. I was born
in the Bronx, NY and raised in Bridgeport, CT. I began my college career at Hamilton College in 2016;
however, took a two-year leave of absence to pursue makeup artistry before transferring to the
University of Bridgeport (UB) in 2020 and graduating with an English: Creative Writing degree in 2023. At
UB, I engineered a qualitative data-based research project called "The Bias(Ed) Discussion: Expanding
Educational Narratives" (TBD) and became passionate about helping BIPOC and QPOC narrate non-linear
stories of educational trauma. Through my experiences with HESA and AACC, I strives to liberate the
collective voice of minorities, as well as create avenues for artistic expressionism; identity exploration;
activism; education; accessibility, representation, and visibility as a multimedia artist.

E-Mail: alexis.greene@uconn.edu


Graduate Assistant: Ananda Griffin (she/her)

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, I am a Philosophy Ph.D. Student here at UConn. My areas of study are epistemology, moral psychology, affect theory, and Black Feminist thought. I primarily study the ethical and epistemic implications of emotion for marginalized communities, with a focus on the African diaspora. With my work, I seek to affirm often neglected aspects of Black experience like emotion, embodied knowledge, and feeling. My goal is to blend my research with social justice educational work that helps oppressed communities understand themselves and work toward what liberation for all could look like. Alongside my main studies, I have interest in Native American philosophy, metaphysics of time, and philosophy of film. I received by B.A. in Philosophy Summa Cum Laude from Spelman College in Atlanta, where I graduated as a member of the Ethel Wadell Githii Honors Program, a UNCF Mellon-Mays Fellow, and a Spelman College Social Justice Fellow. As a proud HBCU/Spelman alumna, I am excited to help foster community for students who find themselves in the AACC.

E-Mail: ananda.griffin@uconn.edu

Graduate Assistant: I'jaaz Muhammed (he/him)

I was born and raised in Bloomfield, CT where I was homeschooled from childhood to college age.  Thereafter, I matriculated to UConn in 2015, and in 2019 with a B.S. degree in biomedical engineering and am currently pursuing a doctorate in the same field with a concentration in biomaterials.  Mentoring and growing people into their best selves is my passion and a considerable part of my life's purpose. I am highly interested in the discipline of self-improvement, for that is the basis of community development.

Outside of work, I can be found spending time working on my three PhD projects, volunteering in Hartford, generally mentoring students, working out or generally educating myself.

E-Mail: i'jaaz.muhammad@uconn.edu