Ari Udeze “I’m one of the ten people in Los Angeles who were born, raised, and—undoubtedly—will spend their entire life in this city.”

When you walk into SMC’s Job Center, you’ll find any number of very good reasons to listen to what Ari Udeze—student worker—has to say. First, at 6'5" and 276 pounds, he has a certain ‘command presence.’ Then you catch the quick smile, the generous laugh, and you can’t help but feel good about what he’s saying. But whatever advice he offers—on finding a job or about interview techniques—will be delivered in spoken English that’s nothing short of dazzling. Ari Udeze, the son of Nigerian immigrants, is a virtuoso of the spoken English language.

“I come from an academic family. My father’s a professor at Cal State Dominguez, and the idea that education can lead only to achievement is something very nearly second nature to me,” says Ari. “I’ve grown accustomed to certain ideals about spoken language and all students—no matter their chosen field—must be able to speak clearly if they’re ever going to reach their goals in life.” It’s Ari’s goal to bring his skills in speech into the courts of law someday. “I hate to trivialize motivations, but I’m afraid it has a lot to do with the ‘Almighty Dollar,’” he says with a laugh. “But I certainly hope that I’ll also be given the chance to help others as well.” Which is exactly what he’s been doing at the Job Center.

“When I initially looked for work on campus, I had the great good fortune to find work in this office—with five women bosses!” says Ari. “They’ve had the most profound impact on me, all of them helping me in some way. They’re inspirational, and more students should take advantage of all their hard work. We’re able to help students with resumes, job placement, and the art of making presentations,” says Ari. “It’s all about empowering people to move up with their lives, and not just settle for less.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.