Reed Asselbaye

reed-asselbaye-400-zimmerman.jpgName:  Reed Asselbaye

Department: Politics and Legal Studies

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

What year do you expect to graduate?  2021

Where do you call home?  Honolulu, Hawaii

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?  I have always harbored a passion for activism and social justice, so it was important for me to be part of a politically active student body where I could engage in organizing work. Beyond that, UC Santa Cruz is set in a redwood forest overlooking the Pacific Ocean—how often do you get that on a college campus?

What is your field of focus?  My studies focus on the intersections of labor, poverty, and workers’ rights in American politics. I am also deeply interested in critical race theory, law and social change, and political economy.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?  I aim to pursue a PhD in Political Science while remaining active in community organizing work. UC Santa Cruz has equipped me with the knowledge to make inquiries, conduct research, and communicate my voice—these tools are invaluable as I venture forward in my educational journey.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?  I will never forget the field trip to San Francisco that I co-led as a mentor for the Rosa Parks African American Theme House (RPAATH). We drove a 12-passenger van to the city, toured the Museum of the African Diaspora, and spent the day exploring San Francisco together. It was a truly special experience, and it permanently cemented RPAATH as my home away from home.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz?  Take advantage of the abundant leadership opportunities here! Your college years are meant to help you develop both personally and professionally. Don’t be afraid to take on leadership roles that might challenge you. Serving as a student leader at UC Santa Cruz will not only provide you with job training for the real world, it will ultimately teach you about triumph, failure, and resilience in the face of adversity.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research?  This scholarship means that I can conduct research for my undergraduate thesis in Legal Studies, which I will begin writing this upcoming fall. I am honored to be selected for this award that recognizes my work thus far, and it motivates me to continue cultivating change within my community.

Comments from Reed Asselbaye's department:

In nominating Reed Asselbaye for the Zimmerman award, the Politics Department noted that “Mr. Asselbaye has impressed the department in many respects, starting with his strong academic performance. He has maturity, poise, and thoughtfulness beyond his years, and outstanding leadership potential. With that as backdrop, Mr. Asselbaye’s [application] statement presents a compelling narrative of the ways in which his childhood and upbringing as the son of an immigrant from Chad motivated his commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. He has sought out several ways to contribute to public service during his time at UC Santa Cruz, working as a student government intern, contributing to a research project developing the School Climate for Diversity Scale, coordinating student programs at the African American Resource and Cultural Center, and interning at the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. He aspires to be an advocate for marginalized communities through social-justice oriented research.”

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