BERKELEY'S NEWS • SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

UCLA doctoral student Merhawi Tesfai named 2023-24 UC student regent

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JAMIE HALL | COURTESY

Doctoral student Merhawi Tesfai also earned his bachelor's degree in African American Studies and dual master's degrees in social welfare and public policy from UCLA.

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JULY 24, 2022

The UC Board of Regents named Merhawi Tesfai as the UC student regent for the 2023-24 academic year Wednesday. Tesfai will serve as regent-designate during the 2022-23 year.

Tesfai is a doctoral student at UCLA studying social welfare, according to a UC Office of the President press release. He said his main interests revolve around understanding the barriers that students face outside the classroom, especially those in underserved communities in Southern California.

According to Tesfai, he initially became interested in the role of student regent while looking for funding opportunities. He said he quickly realized that the role aligns with previous work he has done at Los Angeles City College and at UCLA when getting his bachelor’s degree in African American Studies, especially as part of student government and the Luskin Black Caucus.

“His experience as a student in these programs and his background in counseling will be a valuable perspective as we continue to navigate the impacts of the pandemic on student life,” said Marlenee Blas Pedral, the current student regent, in an email.

Tesfai said his experience taught him that community college can be a great opportunity for students to orient themselves in life, but it can also be lonely and difficult to navigate.

He discussed his opportunities to participate in transfer programs and educational and career support organizations and noted that he would like to extend these opportunities to other incoming students by researching their needs.

“I hope that I can be as effective as previous student regents have been,” Tesfai said. “(I’ve seen) their example in terms of not just bringing attention to issues that students at various UC campuses face, but also making sure that they really push for the voice of students and their concerns.”

Tesfai’s main goal is to be able to use his voice as a student regent to put his research of student needs into practice.

Outside of the classroom, Tesfai enjoys spending time with his 5-year-old son, watching movies and playing sports. He is also an avid basketball and football fan.

“The chance to go around different campuses, talk to students, to staff, faculty, administration, and really understand the challenges that students face at each particular campus is an opportunity to be a better voice as opposed to just knowing my own experiences,” Tesfai said.

Contact Ratul Mangal at 

LAST UPDATED

JULY 24, 2022


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