Kaelyn Moon, a sophomore at The University of New Mexico, was recently named the 2022 Undergraduate Student of the Year at the recent Association for Black Culture Centers (ABCC) conference hosted by the UNM African American Student Services (AASS).

Kaelyn Moon

Moon, who majors in Sociology and Africana Studies, is a student success leader for AASS where she oversees department publications and serves on the ABCC planning committee. She is also president of the Powerful Movement of Educated Sistas (PMES), secretary of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Nu Tau Chapter, a Black Overt Student Success Mentor, and an ASUNM senator.

Moon received the award for her efforts in expanding the membership by over 400 percent and assisting in increasing the budget for PMES, a student organization dedicating to uplifting and empowering Black women and femmes at UNM. She first got involved in the organization as a first-year student and in her first semester stepped into the role of vice president. 

Other highlights of the ABCC conference include American author, anti-racist activist, and historian Ibram Xolani Kendi as the keynote speaker. Other speakers included social historian and UNM graduate Rita Powdrell, director of the African American Museum and Cultural Centers of New Mexico; Anne Edwards and Sean Palmer, who offered key insights for cultural affairs newcomers and mid-level professional; and Stephanie McIver, executive director of Student Health and Counseling at UNM and founder of the New Mexico Black Mental Health Coalition.

Attendees connected with innovative culture center professionals to discuss center development, identity expression, and academic strategies, according to AASS director Brandi Stone, who currently serves as a national board member for ABCC. Other members on the host committee were AASS student success specialists J Gourdin, Dannelle Kirven, and Anu Somoye, and graduate assistant Celine Ayala.

The Association for Black Culture Centers is committed to professional development, offering conference workshops and book recommendations to help attendees better understand history and culture.