Roshawnna Novellus—Baskin Engineering computer engineering undergraduate alumna, entrepreneur, and nationally recognized financial inclusion advocate—will deliver the UC Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering 2022 commencement address.
In her career, Novellus has successfully uplifted diverse communities and advocated for equal business opportunities for women and people of color. She is the founder and CEO of EnrichHER, a financial technology platform that connects revenue-generating companies founded by women and people of color to funding sources.
Since founding EnrichHER, Novellus has deployed $14 million in capital to more than 200 businesses founded by entrepreneurs from historically excluded groups. In addition to helping secure funding, Novellus provides mentorship, especially to women founders who have historically faced bias, to help grow and sustain their businesses.
Novellus double majored in computer engineering and business management economics while studying at UC Santa Cruz. In addition to her two bachelor’s degrees, she holds an M.S. in information technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in systems engineering with a minor in finance from The George Washington University.
“As an alumna of our computer engineering program at UC Santa Cruz, and as someone who has devoted her career to advocating for equal opportunities for women and people of color, we’re extremely honored to have Roshawnna speak at our 2022 commencement ceremony,” noted Alexander Wolf, dean of the Baskin School of Engineering. “Like Roshawnna, our engineering students are creative and highly innovative. A motivating speech from her will resonate deeply and inspire them to continue leading with a social change mindset as they embark on their next endeavors.”
Novellus’s work has been recognized nationally. She’s been featured in top media outlets such as Bloomberg, Fortune, Fox Business, Yahoo, and Finance, and has partnered with Logitech, Mastercard, and Hennessy on national brand campaigns. She is the recipient of many awards, including the National Coalition of 100 Black Women “Excellence in Sister-Nomic$ Award,” Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “2016 Women Who Mean Business,” Georgia Trend’s 2017 “40 Under 40,” and Washington Life’s “25 Disruptors in Tech.”
As commencement nears and nostalgia for alumni kicks in, Novellus is looking forward to speaking at her alma mater’s 2022 commencement ceremony.
"When Dean Wolf reached out to ask if I’d be this year’s commencement speaker, I was beyond excited! To have the opportunity to address an audience of future change-makers on one of the most important days of their lives is an incredible honor,” Novellus said. “It’s also a huge responsibility that I do not take lightly. My goal is for every Baskin grad to walk away with a sense of pride in themselves for arriving at this moment. I want them to feel confident that their dreams for their life are achievable and that they have the power to create their reality—no matter what the world says.”
Novellus continued, “These are the messages that helped me through my journey as a computer engineering student at Baskin. During moments of self-doubt, I had a mother who poured words of encouragement into me until I felt whole again. Now I have a similar opportunity, but instead of making students whole, I get to energize them for the next chapter of their lives. What a full circle moment! I am eternally grateful."