I was born in Kemise, Ethiopia. Kemise is a small town about 200 mile from the capital and known for its unique cultural diversity and its open Thursday market (the name Kemise is a derivative of the word Khamis,Thursday in Arabic). The town dwellers in Kemise and surrounding towns gather every Thursday in this open market to buy fresh agricultural produce from the farmers around Kemise.
I am the oldest of my siblings and I had a twin brother named Hussien. Both Hassen and Hussien are derivatives of the arabic word for 'handsome' or 'virtuous'. These names were give to us by my grand mother Sophia Sidiqq, which literally means 'truely wise'. Unlike many women in her times, grand mother Sophia was literate, can read and write Arabic if not Amharic. Unfortunately, my twin brother passed away in childhood but I grew up to be the handsome man you know now. I strive to be true to my name by being good to family,friends,and people in my daily life.
I grew up and went to school in Kemise until 11th grade. As they say,"It takes a village to raise a child", I really had a wonderful childhood and coming of age experiance thanks to the unconditional love and the unwavering support of my family and the people of Kemise. Living with them was a great life lesson for me and I am a better person today because of it.
I was fortunate and blessed with the opportunity to attend UWC in Norway after I finished 10th grade in Ethiopia. This was the life changing opportunity I never dreamed of. In UWC, I benefited and learned from the diversity and the international understanding and cultural exchange that the school emphatically promotes. There, I have met friends and teachers who influenced me to the core!
UWC has also opened up for me the opportunity to attend Princeton University. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I was given at Princeton acadamically and for the free education I recieved. There, I majored in Astrophysics and worked with Prof. Michael Strauss, Prof. Neta Bahcall and Prof. Richard Gott. Likewise, Princeton has also enabled me to make some difference in the lives of my family and community.
I am really happy to be in Santa Cruz and I look forward to the next four years of wonderful learning experiance ahead. Thank you SC!