Helping Hands - Adilah Barnes

Photo: Ben Balagot

Adilah Barnes

Career Advice Network

An accomplished actress with numerous theater, film, and television roles to her credit--including five years on ABC's Roseanne--Adilah Barnes (Cowell '72) long ago left Santa Cruz for Hollywood. Nonetheless, she maintains her connections to her alma mater, driven by the influence that one of her UCSC mentors had on her life.

Herman Blake, founding provost of UCSC's Oakes College, has Barnes's life long gratitude for the counsel he provided to her and fellow African American students during their UCSC years. "He was our father, our therapist, our friend, our educator--he was everything to us," Barnes says. "If I could give to another student half of what Herman gave to me, I would be happy with that."

In many ways, Barnes has followed Blake's example. As a participant in UCSC's Career Advice Network, she makes herself available to students who are interested in the entertainment business. She also offers internships with the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival, of which she is executive producer.

Barnes, who serves as an active member of the Alumni Council, also travels to UCSC yearly to dispense career advice at the Multicultural Connections Conference (formerly Students of Color Conference).

Like her UCSC mentor, Barnes sees the value of nurturing students outside the classroom--especially minority students who may feel isolated in the university environment.

"By hearing of their struggles and what they're experiencing," Barnes says, "I can let them know they are not alone in whatever challenges they face."

--Francine Tyler

Return to Helping Hands | Winter '99 Issue Contents