Student Stories

SARAH MIRZA

Home

Grand Island, NE

School

Arts and Sciences

Major

Spanish, Human Geography

Why did you choose to attend UGA?
Although I grew up in Nebraska, my mom is from Athens and most of her family still lives here. The Foundation Fellowship really put UGA on my radar when I was applying to colleges, and after I received it, my family connection and burgeoning love of the city made UGA the obvious choice.
What is your most memorable UGA experience or memory?
What is your favorite campus setting and why?
Ever since Fellows interview weekend when I was still in high school, standing at the top of the Moore College steps looking out over Herty Field toward the rest of campus has always made me feel ready to take on the world. Whether I'm going home after talking over a major life decision or just rushing to a Spanish class with a recently-completed paper in my hand, I try to always take a second at the top of those steps and recapture that feeling of invincibility. Since returning to campus this fall after a semester abroad, I'm struck daily (if not hourly) with 'homesickness' for Oxford. But while there's certainly a lot to be said for a view of the Radcliffe Camera accompanied by a hot chai tea from the Missing Bean, the view of Herty Field with a Jitjoes cup in my hand belongs to me and I belong right back to it.
What student organizations are you involved in?
Undocumented Student Alliance (co-founder; strategist; outreach and fundraising chair), Redcoat Marching Band (trumpet), WUOG 90.5 FM (DJ, specialty show, promotions and publications staffs)
What are your career plans/aspirations?
After graduation, I plan to move back to Austin, TX to intern and eventually work full time with Workers Defense Project, a non-profit where I've previously interned. I'm considering an MA in Human Geography with focus on labor and migration, and later (or perhaps instead) a JD with focus on immigration once I have a few years of organizing work under my belt and am more able to decide what will be most useful.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In a pipe-dream world, Madrid would be nice.
How will you make a positive difference in the world?
I am doing my best to learn more about the world and myself so that I can better stand in solidarity with undocumented students, immigrant workers, and other disadvantaged or systemically vulnerable communities. That work is fundamentally and universally human, but it begins right here in Georgia with ongoing work to remove Board of Regents policies 4.1.6 and 4.3.2.3 and promote equal access to higher education.
What message would you like to send to alumni and friends who support UGA financially?
I love this school and this city with all my heart, and I'm so thankful for all the opportunities I've had in my years here. UGA has given me both the resources and the room to grow and become a person I can be proud of, and those who support the university financially are a huge part of the chances I've had. But I want them to think about the chances that other students – who are just as driven, involved, and talented as me or any other UGA student, but do not share our immigration status – do NOT have, and the ways the rest of us are missing out because of those students' absence. Judging by their generous donations, these folks love UGA as much as I do. They should then have the university's best interests at heart and help uphold its dedication to the "conservation and enhancement of the state's and nation's intellectual, cultural, and environmental heritage" and responsiveness to "the evolution of the state's educational, social, and economic needs."
Names of scholarship awards you have received?
at UGA: Foundation Fellowship beyond: Truman Scholarship
What has your scholarship meant or enabled you to do?
The Foundation Fellowship is, in one way or another, almost entirely responsible for every good thing about my college career. It brought me to UGA; it immediately inducted me into a fabulous community and introduced me to some of my very favorite people; it sent me to New York, Washington, Oxford (twice!), Costa Rica, and soon to Cuba; it will allow me to finish undergrad without taking on any debt; and it was largely through Honors and the Fellows program that I was able to become a Truman Scholar and open up a slew of similar opportunities for graduate school and beyond. Also, we get free printing.