Micherlange Francois-Hemsley
Class of 2022 graduate Micherlange Francois-Hemsley, B.A. in African American studies. Steve Zylius/UCI

Micherlange Francois-Hemsley has always had a unique perspective on the world. She sees it as interdisciplinary and interconnected, and her goals and interests reflect that as well. She’s a dancer, a photographer, a sorority sister, an activist, a student and much more. Francois-Hemsley has spent the last three years thriving at UCI, majoring in African American studies and minoring in criminology, law and society. She has worn many hats in the UCI community: captain of UCI’s mock trial team, photography intern for the School of Humanities, vice president and treasurer of the historically Black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, and student researcher for the Asian American and Pacific Islander VOICE project and UCI’s Oakland Community School Project, to name a few. After graduating this spring, Francois-Hemsley plans to fill a gap year with an internship before applying to law school.

What is your favorite memory at UCI?

The first programming meeting of the UCI mock trial team! Everyone was so eager to meet and welcome us to the team. That night was the start of a lot of lifetime friendships.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m taking a gap year, but I’ll still be busy studying for the LSAT and applying to law school by the end of the year. I also hope to get an internship in photography, archival work or the legal field.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would have graduated from law school a year prior, so hopefully I’ll be starting my legal career in public interest law. My photography goals are to win a Pulitzer Prize and become a Gordon Parks Foundation Fellow, so maybe I would’ve made that happen by then too.

“My most memorable encounter with Micherlange was meeting her at a Black hair care event before COVID. She introduced herself during a get-to-know-you activity. She was the only person in that room whose answer to the question ‘What language/s do you speak besides English’ was French. Then she shared that she’s Haitian, and I was overjoyed because I have known only two other Haitian American women during my time at UCI: Ella Turenne and Nathalie Guerrier, two of the most creative and visionary people I have ever met. Like these other women, Micherlange walks in her truth. And she leaves places more beautiful than when she found them.”

– Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, associate professor of African American studies

Who was your biggest influence at UCI?

That’s a difficult question, but I’d have to say Dr. Tiffany Willoughby-Herard. She has supported me since my freshman year and always thinks of me when opportunities in my interests arise. It’s really inspiring just getting to be in the same space as her – even over Zoom.

What do you know now that you wish you had known before coming to UCI?

That there are a lot of like-minded individuals here and opportunities for my interests, as that’s something I was worried about coming to UCI.

Read more #IamUCI – Class of 2022 stories