“I said, ‘I have the ability to do it. I can do it,’” she said. “We’re not doing enough to make sure marginalized people have a seat at the table. Hopefully, my presence will encourage other people to participate.”
Her parents emigrated from Ethiopia during the 1983-85 famine when the country was in the midst of a decade-long civil war. The family settled in Maryland, and then in Centerville, Ohio, just south of Dayton, where she and her older brother, Gabriel, were born and raised.
While at UC, Habteselassie has traveled to Thailand, where she provided community health outreach to newly arrived immigrants through the student group GlobeMed and its nonprofit partner Social Action for Women. She likes the idea of working abroad for a global nonprofit such as the Gates Foundation. After graduating from UC, she plans to continue her education in public policy and health or international law in Washington, D.C., where many global nonprofits and policy organizations are based.