Berhan Hagezom

What does inspiration mean to you and how would you use your platform in your future career to inspire others?

When referenced, inspiration commonly means to admire a person, object, or concept that drives new ideas, interests, and actions. Though this interpretation is simple and helpful, inspiration personally means to guide and motivate someone or something to achieve new heights that they never thought they could have, or they lacked belief in from themselves and others. Throughout my life, I have always been asked the question of who inspires you, and I often come up with a superficial answer to a celebrity that was famous and did good work. However, due to the experiences I have encountered and the positions I have taken, I learned that inspiration can be found anywhere around you if you look closely, and pay attention to the people you care about and that care about you. As the former Executive Officer of my high school's NJROTC program, I never thought of myself to be inspiring when I felt like I had the lowest self-esteem in the room, and constantly judging myself on every effort and work I put in. Despite this, many people admitted that they found me inspirational to them, and I'm still learning that inspiration is not always a feeling or concept in one's mind that is doing the action, but is a perception from another on how their work and interactions affect themselves and recognizing the potential they have within them.

Through this thought, I plan to increase my output towards fighting for human rights through social activism and working towards justice of victims and survivors through advocacy. Within my university years, I plan to major in both pre-law/criminology and pre-medicine studies, in order to pursue a J.D. and M.D program at an accredited university afterwards. As a first generation student, this path will inspire my family, especially my younger siblings, to achieve complex career fields and to not limit themselves on their background and identity, but instead push through with hard work and dedication to their passions. After fulfilling the J.D. and M.D. program, I plan to become an international human rights lawyer, and apply for a position at the UN towards solving cases of genocides, sexual violence, and mass atrocities overall that needs to be dealt with justice. In my free time, I plan to mentor and tutor younger generations on important subjects such as human rights, peace vs conflict, sustainability, etc…, through in-person workshops in local communities, as well as through social media platforms. By doing so, I am able to raise awareness on certain human rights violations, increase efforts and work towards solving and confronting them, as well as increase media sensitization to these issues.

What are you currently doing to inspire those around you?

Throughout the 2022-2023 school year, I was the Executive Officer of my high school's NJROTC program, and helped the program by ensuring various department heads understood the tasks that needed to be met, and were able to execute them as much as possible and had the proper assistance to do so. Through overlooking the departments and their tasks, it allowed for events, activities, etc… to take place smoothly and efficiently, and allowed Staff members and Cadets alike to push new ideas and initiatives for the program to take and implement instead. I inspired others as well through my compassion and consideration for others, and caring for their well-being by putting their health first over the task that needs to be done. By doing so, many people felt comfortable speaking up for themselves and asking for assistance whenever needed, and helped to contribute to a positive atmosphere and work environment. Thus, in my respective position as the Executive Officer, I was able to help the program reach new heights in the tasks that needed to be met, encouraging new outputs and initiatives, and leading with compassion through every interaction I had with my Staff members and Cadets.

As the current Advisor of NJROTC, I am working on providing potential scholarships for current Juniors and Seniors to apply to, and to help the current TRIAD in achieving more initiatives, trips, activities, etc… than I was previously able to do prior through advise, research, and collaborative techniques. As the Personal and Professional Development Chair of Tegaru Professionals Network (TPN) in Las Vegas, I am helping to inspire those around me with workshops that help to increase individual development for students and adults, as I have led an exam workshop for students in April regarding studying and preparing for upcoming finals. Throughout the summer, I plan to raise awareness regarding rate and risk of incarceration of LGBTQ+ individuals compared to the straight and gender conforming population through my IB Public Engagement Activity (PEA) within the Las Vegas community. I hope to do so through my research and interviews I will conduct from members of the community and law enforcement, as well as resources that focus on confronting this issue.

What you would do with the scholarship award if you were to receive it?

If I were to receive the scholarship award, I will use it towards covering a portion of my tuition costs at a university towards my pre-law and pre-med studies, and use these fields towards helping people in receiving justice through advocacy and medicine. In addition, I plan to use it towards launching an organization within the university focused towards human rights and advocacy, and teaching those crucial concepts within the community through in-person workshops and events. Through this scholarship award, I plan to also save a bit of the money towards helping my little sister for her own education, as she is planning to go into university as well after high school.

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