Nyereath Nhial

nyereath-nhial-400-walsh.jpgName:  Nyereath Nhial

Department:  Sociology

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive?  I received the 2020 Walsh Family Scholarship.

What year do you expect to graduate?  I will be graduating this June, 2020.

Where do you call home?  San Diego, CA is home for me.

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?  My senior year of high school I was blessed to be presented with an opportunity to visit UCSC during the Student Initiated Organization weekend as part of Destination Higher Education which was designed to support newly accepted African, Black and Carribean students in an effort to retain students that are a part of our community. During that time I met students/student leaders, staff and faculty from different resource centers and basically got an overview of what life at UCSC could be like. Shortly after that weekend, I made my decision to commit because of the number of possibilities that were made possible and the new opportunities I could embark on to expand my horizons and interests. Plus, all of the beautiful nature was too amazing to pass up on.

What is your field of focus?  I will be graduating with a BA in sociology as well as critical race and ethnic studies. Within these two disciplines some of my focuses have been youth civic engagement/youth power, the South Sudanese diaspora, as well as envisioning new futures and possibilities for the most marginalized people in our communities who have been rendered structurally vulnerable and futureless.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?  Upon graduating from UCSC, I will be moving to Japan and working in the JET Program as an Assistant Language Teacher and represent the US as a cultural ambassador.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?  One (or two) memorable moments that stand out for me during my time at UCSC would definitely have to be when I had an opportunity to introduce Kimberle Crenshaw at the MLK Convocation in front of a massive audience of students, staff, faculty and community members from all throughout Santa Cruz and other nearby counties. One other moment that stands out was after receiving the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award for an original research project on South Sudanese Refugees and Youth: Complex Narratives of Gender, War, and Diaspora. At our award reception the amazing Angela Davis was in attendance and to be able to have her hear about my project and be in conversation with each other afterward was such an amazing feeling.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz?  One piece of advice I would have to offer incoming students about life at UCSC and just life in general is to seek out opportunities and resources everywhere you go; and if you can’t find what you’re looking for or your specific niche, create it for yourself. The academy is without a doubt intense and oftentimes can feel extremely isolating, especially if you come from a historically marginalized background where nothing ever comes easy. Because of that I would say find the people who see you beyond your role as a student because those will be the people who are willing to invest in you holistically. Try to look past the academy as only an institution and instead look to it as a site of opportunity where you can know yourself better and build a perspective on the world around you so that you can one day be a resource to others.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research?  This scholarship will impact my life in a number of ways. With these funds I will be able to support my family especially in the midst of this global pandemic to provide some financial support and cushion. I will also be able to use these funds to prepare for the biggest transition of my life as I prepare to move across the world and embark on a new journey.

See Also