BAEC - Our Teamgold divider bar

Picture of lead coordinator Anya Booker smiling at the camera





Anya Booker (She/hER/hERs)

Lead Coordinator for Black Academic Excellence 


Anya is the coordinator for the black Academic Excellence Center at Cal Poly. She has devoted her life to the excellence and growth of black students in higher education.


Educational Background

Master of Fine Arts- American Film Institute

Master of Fine Arts- Antioch University, Los Angeles

Bachelor of Arts - University of California, Berkeley

"Send an Email to Anya" Schedule a Virtual Appointment with Anya

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Picture of Lani

“here and there

in the barrios and the favelas,

among those who have least,

beat hearts of hope,

fly sparks of Overcoming.”

- Mumia Abu-Jamal




Leilani Hemmings Pallay (They/ Them / THEIRS)

Americorps Fellow


Leilani has been in San Luis Obispo for 4 (going on 5) years now. They recently graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies with minors in Womxn's and Gender Studies, Queer Studies, and Science, Technology, and Society (with a concentration in Gender, Race, Culture, Science, and Technology). During their time as an undergraduate, Leilani worked as a Student Assistant for the Gender Equity Center (GEC) for 3 years; within this role, they also served as the Producer for the 2019 and 2020 production of the GEC’s Original Womxn’s Narratives (OWN). Outside of Student Affairs, they worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Ethnic Studies Department and were involved with many student, community, and activist organizations; it is through this coalition-building and organizing that they were given unique opportunities such as giving a TEDx talk at the 2018 conference on campus and presenting their Senior Thesis “Tree Rings as an Ecofeminist & Decolonial Alternative to the Feminist Wave Theory“ at the National Women’s Studies Association.


In line with their ongoing commitment to communal care and (re)distribution of resources, they will be serving as the Americorps VIP Fellow for the Black Academic Excellence Center for the 2020-2021 academic year. In their free time, Lani is thinking of their nephew Dorian, scheming on when they’ll be able to get a dog and/or a frog, and tending to their plants.


Educational Background

Bachelor of Arts - Cal Poly, SLO

Send an Email to Lani Schedule a Virtual Appointment with Lani

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Picture of Kianah Corey in front of greenery

“I am aware that I am rare”




Kianah Corey (She/hER/hERs)

Student Assistant


Hello everyone, I am Kianah Corey and I am a Child Development major at Cal Poly. I strive to be the best version of myself so that I can provide the best support for others. I am also a student athlete here at Cal Poly and I have high hopes to assist all Black students, especially other Black student athletes.


Educational Background

Bachelor of Arts - Cal Poly, SLO

Send an email to Kianah Schedule a virtual appointment with Kianah

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Picture of Marlena Jackson-Retondo

"My authenticity is my rebellion" - Viola Davis




Marlena Jackson-Retondo (She/hER/hERs)

Student Assistant 


Marlena grew up in Oakland, California, and spent most of her free time out of school doing ballet. Before coming to Cal Poly she was a professional ballet dancer. Marlena is now a third year English major hoping to go into film writing after graduating. She is so excited to be working as a student assistant at BAEC this school year, and looks forward to all the amazing programming coming up. 


Educational Background

Bachelor of Arts - Cal Poly, SLO

Send an email to Marlena Schedule a virtual approintment with Marlena

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Picture of Zane

"I think that the past is all that makes the present coherent, and further, that the past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly"  - James Baldwin




Zane Ellis-Rector (he/him/his)

Student Assistant 


Born and raised in Oakland, Zane Ellis-Rector is a 5th year architecture student who loves the simple joys in life, like a nice breeze and good company. In his free time he enjoys skateboarding, playing/ watching soccer, and starting (but rarely finishing) various art projects. He looks forward to assisting with BAEC's continued excellence. 


Educational Background

Bachelor of Architecture - Cal Poly, SLO

Send an email to Zane

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Operating Virtually Only

Black Academic Excellence Center
Building 52, Room E23
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407


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