Rezina Habtemariam, a 2009 Shoreline Community College graduate transferred to Seattle University with a 3.75 GPA and a scholarship. During her first year at Seattle U, she was awarded another scholarship which provided funding for an internship position in Washington, D.C.
This past spring, Habtemariam found herself in the nation’s capitol working behind the scenes as a research intern for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which is responsible for international broadcasting. Her job involved working in the new media arena where she looked at new innovative technologies in the context of meeting the needs of the countries they served.
“For example, not all places across the globe have internet and text messaging capabilities,” Habtemariam said. Her research was critical at helping the BBG determine what countries/locations needed the help of innovative technology to access international news.
Habtemariam found strong support from Shoreline faculty and administrators in her scholarship pursuits even after graduating and moving to Seattle U. They were not surprised to hear that she got the internship.
“Her passion and enthusiasm for international studies, deep interest in working in the political sphere, enjoyment in learning new things, intelligence, determination and interpersonal skills made her a very competitive and deserving candidate,” said Samira Pardanani, Assistant Director, International Admissions and Immigration, International Programs at Shoreline.
The internship also provided an opportunity for Habtemariam to attend classes at Georgetown University where she completed classes in Comparative Economics and Transformation of American Politics.
At Shoreline, the 19 year-old found the one-on-one mentoring and supportive atmosphere she had hoped to find after experiencing none of it at the four-year university she had begun her college education at. She found the faculty at Shoreline to be engaging, supportive and challenging, and these human characteristics were what motivated her to learn more, to ask herself questions that she had not thought about before.
Ernest Johnson, Habtemariam’s Multicultural Studies professor at Shoreline credits her as an exceptionally hard working and gifted young person and someone who deserved the scholarship.
“She was literally the driving force behind the BSU, which I advised, while she was President. Rezina's dedication to maximizing her learning during the study abroad experience paid dividends with the other students.”
The 21 year-old doesn’t believe she would have gotten the internship had it not been for the letters of recommendation she got from Johnson and Samira Pardanani, Shoreline’s International Programs Assistant Director of Admissions and Immigration. “I believe his letter and Samira’s really helped me,” she said. For her application, Habtemariam said her paper on American healthcare challenges also helped catch the judges’ attention.
The knowledge and personal growth she experienced at Shoreline took Habtemariam into roles that provided her more opportunities for growth, including leadership skills. Her role as president of the Black Student Union was an experience she will always remember as influential as did her work on the college student newspaper, ‘The Ebbtide.’
Habterariam said that several of her instructors at Shoreline helped put her on the road to self discovery. “Dr. J. and Rachel David are the on
es who encouraged me to think about who I am, who I want to be,” she said. Her study abroad experience with Dr. Johnson in South Africa was another level of discovery for which she thanks Shoreline.
|"I formed my world view here. I have Shoreline to thank for that," Rezina said. |
Although Habteraiam had thought about a career in international studies previously, it was her study-abroad experience that refined her commitment to African Studies and foreign policy. She plans to attend graduate school and commit her work to the challenges faced in Africa.
The Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship made it possible for her to study abroad again, this time in Senegal, where she took classes in French language, the native language of Senegal, African Literature, Culture & Society and African Development.
There is no turning back now. Habtemariam plans to study African Studies at graduate school before applying for a fellowship to live in Africa to complete research. Her last stop will be a career focusing on Africa and foreign policy.
“I want to help Africans have as good a life as possible,” she said.