In Their Words: Samantha House, Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship recipient

May 27, 2015

Samantha House, a student in the division's Legal Studies department, received the Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship for her engagement with a wide range of social justice issues and problems.

Congratulations Samantha!

Department: Legal Studies

What year are you?

4th Year



Where do you call home?

Those small cities where SFO is actually located -- Millbrae and San Bruno.

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?

Before I even accepted UCSC I came for a tour and the minute I stepped onto campus I knew it was for me. Unbeknown to me, my parents thought the same thing but in avoiding pressuring me to pick a school, they let me feel it out for myself. So I did. The people walking around, the beauty of the campus, the inexplicable atmosphere of acceptance and openness -- that got me.

What is your field of focus?

Originally I was only a history major. Slowly that developed into a focus in the Civil War Era. However, once I found out I could graduate in four years with a double major, I tacked on Legal Studies. Within Legal Studies I really like focus in on how the law treats and affects minorities and most importantly, means to change the results of injustice.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?

My plan is to take a year off, study this summer for the LSATs, take the exam as well as apply to law school in the fall. Then, hopefully, I start my next step to becoming a public defender.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?

The day of the 2013 Practical Activism Conference. I had spent six months planning a student-led, social justice conference in which over 500 people typically attend, choosing from 10 different issue-related workshops, listening to a guest speaker, spoken word and enjoying hands-on informational booths. Those moments when people were filling in for the guest speaker were nerve racking, would enough people come to listen to me introduce our guests on stage? Finally they did. However the moments in which people left resonated more with me because it was then I saw, on the attendees faces, the impact educating others in social justice issues had and I knew that continuing that education was my true calling.

What does this scholarship mean to you?

The Gabriel Zimmerman scholarship means a few things to me: public service, social justice, dedication and passion.As those who support and fund this scholarship know, Gabe passed  while pursuing his passion as a dedicated public servant to social justice. Individuals like Gabe are to be valued in society, they evoke change and incite others to desire justice. If I can ensure that, if I can reincarnate Gabe’s views in my own life, then I am pursuing the right life. Receiving awards like the Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship are incentives to keep going, to ensuring justice is spread through passion and dedication to public service -- that’s what this award means to me. 

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