Bobbie Joe Garcia

bobbiejoe-garcia-400-zimmerman.jpgName:  Bobbie Joe Garcia

Department: Community Studies

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive?  Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship

What year do you expect to graduate?  2021

Where do you call home?  Greenfield, Monterey County, California

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?  Besides being offered a large scholarship, the fact that UCSC was only about an hour away from my community of the Salinas Valley was a big motivator for attending; I wouldn’t be completely cut off from my support systems and people, but I could still experience growth from being on my own.

What is your field of focus?  I am currently double majoring in Community Studies and Politics, synthesizing the knowledge I gain from both fields in order to better understand the current state of the world, how communities are impacted on both macro and micro levels, and the potential avenues for radical transformation in order to create a more equitable society.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?  While graduate school is definitely something I am considering, I plan on taking a break from academia once I graduate in order to fully return to the community organizing spaces I had occupied prior to attending UCSC. It is my goal to eventually start my own community organization within my hometown of Greenfield.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?  The most memorable moment would have to be when I was watching police in riot gear arrest protesting students at the base of campus who just wanted graduate students to be compensated adequately so they could survive while doing crucial work for the university.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz?  Build community! Talk with your classmates after class, debrief about your day with your housemates, rant with your coworkers, ask your TA’s how they are doing and listen. You are only alone in your struggle until you discover that everyone else is struggling too, and that is when radical love and action can sprout.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research?  I will be going on field study this summer and fall at the community organization, Motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement (MILPA), in Salinas, California. This scholarship will help me support myself financially while I am on field study, allowing me to better focus on my research and work.

Comments from Bobbie Joe Garcia's faculty mentor:

In recommending Bobbie Joe Garcia for the Zimmerman award, her faculty mentor described Bobbie Joe as “that gifted student raised in close quarters among family members experiencing a range of traumas who heeded her teachers and made school her refuge and vehicle for upward (and outward) mobility. Bobbie Joe earned five associate degrees at Hartnell College before transferring to UCSC. She also received recognition at Hartnell as class valedictorian for a second time (the first being in high school). Some of her most significant education took place outside Hartnell’s classroom in the community service internship. Her work as a health equity promotora was life changing because the success of the promotora model depends on community solidarity and collective action rather than the up-and-out rationality. This recognition was bolstered in her subsequent work with MILPA, an organization founded and run by formerly incarcerated people of color, for formerly incarcerated people of color. Last fall, Bobbie Joe transferred to UCSC as a Karl Pister scholar and became something of an immediate sensation. Professors who had her in class began telling me about her—her intellectual agility, work ethic, communication skills, social justice commitments and, through it all, her baseline goodness as a person.”

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