Kamasi Kendrick is a double Anteater. Having graduated virtually from UCI with bachelor’s degrees in both business economics and education sciences in the spring of 2021, he’s set to walk the stage in person this July. This time, Kendrick, who grew up in Carson, is graduating with a master’s in teaching from the School of Education, with a credential in middle or high school mathematics. His choice to return to UCI was highly influenced by his professors, many of whom made Kendrick believe that education sciences and teaching were right for him. When he decided to pursue a career as an educator, the decision was mainly rooted in the satisfaction of disseminating knowledge. Later, what appealed to him the most about teaching was the mentorship – being able to have an effect on someone else’s life. Today, Kendrick is interested in learning how school affects students in general, especially in terms of social and emotional health. He looks forward to making education more equitable and hopes to create a comfortable environment for his future students, like the one he found at UCI.
What is your favorite memory at UCI?
Freshman year. I reminisce about freshman year all the time – how I used to just hang out with my friends – and that was honestly the best time. None of us knew anything about UCI, so everything was new. You would explore, and that was entertaining. It was just fun not knowing where we were going sometimes – going out to eat, going to play baseball at the Anteater Recreation Center fields. I do miss hanging out with them.
What are your plans after graduation?
So we graduate in July, and hopefully, we should have our jobs by then, and we start teaching in September. I’m really looking forward to teaching next school year.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I do see myself in the classroom, just teaching my own class – definitely going to be middle school or high school. It just depends on where I get a job. I don’t plan to be super picky with the job application process. I’m the new teacher, after all. But I’m not sure where I’ll be. We’re actually doing a job fair today, so I’ll be meeting the principals and figuring out which districts are right for me.
“Kamasi Kendrick exudes intelligence because he places equity and inclusion at the center of teaching and learning. His cultural responsiveness and ability to maximize potential in students are valuable assets for the teaching profession. An advocate for underserved students, Kamasi inspires others through his actions and service to the community. His efficacy, passion and collaborative spirit make him an asset for any system.”
– Acacia Warren, single subject coordinator in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at UCI’s School of Education
Who was your biggest influence at UCI?
My biggest influence was probably lecturer Diane Nevarez. She actually left the school last year, unfortunately. I had her for the first time in undergrad; I believe it was my third year. She is just really inspirational, a very powerful person. I wanted to be a peer assistant for her, which I did, and I even had her in her last class here. It was part of my graduate program last summer. It was cool that I had her one more time before I graduated, and she even wrote me letters of recommendation. We would email to catch up with each other and sometimes go and get something to eat. It was nice just knowing her and having that inspiration all the time, knowing that I had that backing.
What do you know now that you wish you had known before coming to UCI?
Before my time at UCI, I wish I would have known how friendly the people actually are. I think I came into the school with just a little bit of … not a negative attitude, but a “keep to myself” attitude. I wish I would have known that it’s okay to open up, you know? Just be yourself, and people are going to accept you. You will find your crowd.