Driven Ethiopian Refugee Wins SF State Scholarship

Betsaida Abraham (top) is one of the 2011 recipients of the William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement. Her family fled persecution in Ethiopia and settled in the U.S when she was 12. (Courtesy photo)

San Francisco Examiner

By: Amy Crawford | Examiner Staff Writer

Betsaida Abraham moved to California from her native Ethiopia at age 12. She didn’t know any English and had never attended school. Back then, her dream of being a doctor seemed unattainable.

Ten years later, the young woman who now goes by Betty is a senior at San Francisco State University, taking classes for her microbiology major and studying for the medical school admissions test.

For her triumph against the odds, Abraham learned this month that she had won the William Randolph Hearst Award, a $3,000 scholarship bestowed by the California State University trustees. She was one of 23 winners across the 400,000-student system.

“I’ve gone through so much,” Abraham said. “I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride and going where I want to go, whereas before I was just keeping my head above water.”

Abraham’s father fled political persecution in Ethiopia when Betty was a baby, leaving his wife and two daughters behind. They planned to follow him, but applying for asylum took longer than they expected.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner.


















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