Tafari Alan


Tafari AlanSuper Cool & Unique

All her life, Tafari Alan worked hard to perform in a world “that wasn’t built with my super-cool and unique brain in mind.” As a neurodivergent student with undiagnosed ADHD, she kept running up against rigid systems. After trying three different high schools, she graduated early by passing the California High School Proficiency Exam. She spent the next three years healing in therapy and independently reading feminist theory.

In 2017, Tafari decided to give formal education another try. She enrolled at SMC, and found faculty mentors like Lisa Collins (Earth Science) and counselors like Tiffany Inabu (Student Life) and Sherri Bradford (Black Collegians) —and she thrived, both academically and socially.

“Having ADHD is only one facet of who I am. It makes me creative, a quick thinker, and a good brainstormer,” says Tafari, a gender studies major who graduates today with high honors and five Associate degrees, including one in General Science and two in Liberal Arts, Public Policy and Social Justice/Gender Studies.

Tafari found her community at SMC: volunteering with Basic Needs, launching the Women in STEM (WiSTEM) club, and participating in Indigenous artist Matika Wilbur’s yearlong residency. Tafari became Associated Students’ director of student outreach, then president. She helped develop the Student Equity Center and serves on the committees for Racial Justice and Pride Centers.

With admission offers from the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Barbara, Tafari has not yet decided where she will transfer. Her longterm plan is to become a community college professor and help students, especially minoritized ones, achieve their goals.