Friday, May 28, 2021

Shanae James-May: Cuyamaca College commencement speaker

Shanae James-May is a Communications and Behavioral Science major at Cuyamaca College, where she has been selected as the commencement speaker for the June 10 virtual ceremony. She is transferring to San Diego State University to purse a degree in Urban Planning and Development.

Like many college students, in her five years at Cuyamaca College Shanae juggled a full-time job, a family with small children, school, and community volunteer work. She took a break from school, but persisted after finding a better way to organize her responsibilities, and with the support of her husband and family. 


While a student, Shanae was actively involved in UMOJA, a college support program for underserved students. It is through her engagement with the organization that she met her “wonder-counselors” who provided her the one-on-one attention she needed to prepare and excel in school. Through UMOJA she met peers, friends, and found another community that could help her to succeed. 

A Lemon Grove resident, Shanae is deeply committed to her community. She serves as a board member and garden volunteer for the Lemon Grove Community Garden, and she supports events and outreach for Thrive Lemon Grove, a community organization that seeks to improve Lemon Grove.

Currently, she is a student worker for the County of San Diego and loving it. Long term, Shanae wants to serve the community by creating better infrastructure – buildings/housing, transportation, and/or better resources for children.

“I want to see my people succeed and be proud of where they come from,” said Shanae.

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