In Their Words: Keelyanne Hyland

May 18, 2017

Name: Keelyanne Hyland

College: Oakes

Department: Sociology

What award/scholarship did you receive? The Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship.

What year do you expect to graduate (e.g. 2017)? June 2018

Where do you call home? The greater Los Angeles area.

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? During my college application process, I did not have the opportunity to visit any of the schools I was applying to. I remember having to pick out which UC’s to send my application to and I was sort of lost in which schools to choose from. I remember seeing Santa Cruz listed as an option, but at the time, I didn’t know anything about the school. After some intense internet research on UCSC, I quickly fell in love with the beauty of the campus and really appreciated what a tight knit community there is on campus. UCSC became my number one choice.

What is your field of focus? I am a sociology major and my focus is on community and resource building for underprivileged populations.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? Once I graduate, I want to take a year or two off and study, work, and live in either China or South Korea. I then plan on studying for the GRE and applying to graduate school in order to fulfill my goal of obtaining a Masters in Social Work.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? The 2015 Music Day event that is hosted by the Smith Renaissance Society. SRS is an on-campus community of students who came from adverse childhood backgrounds and once a year we host an event called Music Day, where we invite local foster youth to our campus. In 2015 I had spent months planning Music Day, this event that I had never even attended before. I was incredibly nervous that these kids were going to feel apathetic or bored at our event. However once the day came, I was overwhelmed with joy seeing all the youth come to our school and appreciate everything we put on for them. We really encourage these kids that attending college is something that can be attainable in their future, and a lot of the kids started to feel empowered by our own stories. I felt a deep personal connection that heavily resonated through the sense of community of my fellow Smith students and the local foster youth. It was that day that I realized that I had a deep passion for social justice and wanted to help disadvantaged populations within the community.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? One piece of advice that I would certainly give is to not be afraid or hesitant to take advantage of the many resources and opportunities around you at UCSC! Many professors and staff are so helpful and accommodating to the students, everyone wants to see you be successful. Whether you're applying for an internship, looking into research, or even just going through a difficult time at school - there is always someone on campus here to help you. That is one of the many reasons why I love this school so much.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life/research? The Gabriel Zimmerman scholarship will help contribute to my academic life as a motivation to further my interests and research in advocacy and community building. I will keep both Gabriel Zimmerman and his family in my heart and mind while continuing my career in reaching out the those who need a voice.