By Alana Penny
Ethiopia Yemiru was the first international student to apply to SUNY Plattsburgh as a gender and women’s studies major. She later added a second major, psychology, and a minor, economics.
“I knew I wanted to work with women, I knew I wanted to work on equality and to make a social impact, but as I started speaking with my advisor, jobs with just a gender and women’s studies degree were not that many, especially if I planned to go back home later on.”
She wanted to add something that would go hand in hand with gender and women’s studies, and when she took psychology 101 with Katherine Dunham, she fell in love.
“Ethiopia is very intelligent, and also thorough in her work,” Dunham said. “She is a dedicated student and values her education tremendously. She has excellent oral and written communication skills.”
Yemiru was a teaching assistant for Dunham’s psychology 101 course last year.
“She had performed very well in it and in her other psychology classes, and had the professional skills to be an excellent teaching assistant,”Associate Professor of Psychology Katherine Dunham said.
Yumiru said her greatest accomplishment so far has been giving it her all.
I have done all that I can with what I was given like I’ve been involved,” Yemiru said. “I’ve tried, and used my time and opportunity that I was given to the fullest. I am a CA, and of course, my grades aren’t that bad either.”
She was the social media intern for the Title IV office last semester and used to tutor at the learning center. She also used to be the president of Global Initiative for Gender Issues and was on the executive board of African Initiative.
She is currently the president of Triota honor society, the gender and women’s studies honor society and a member of Psi Chi, the psychology honor society.
“This may sound odd, but she is like a warm summer day. Things are bright, warm and comfortable as soon as she enters the room,” Dunham said.
In her free time she likes to listen to music and spend time with friends.
“I don’t really have hobbies now that I think about it, that will be my next adventure,” Yeriru said. Music is my life. I just like to sit down and listen to music. I’m a huge J Cole fan.”
Soyam Mamo, a senior management information systems and business administration major with a minor in computer science, has been friends with Yemiru, or ET as she calls her, since they were in sixth grade. They went to the same middle school, separate high schools and then came to SUNY Plattsburgh together. Mamo said when they hang out they like to stay in, watch movies and sleep.
We literally do everything together,” Mamo said.
Mamo said Yemiru is multifaceted, strong, dependable and passionate about the things she cares about.
“She grew up right before my eyes for sure,” Mamo said. “A lot of her good qualities I’ve seen blossom over her four years here and I feel like the experience she got here from SUNY Plattsburgh for sure made her focus on the good things that she had and made her shine in the best way possible.”
Yemiru said the big community of international students and students from Ethiopia made SUNY Plattsburgh a nice school to go to.
“One of the things I like about Ethiopia is sometimes you’ll say something and you can see she’s thinking,” Connie Oxford, associate professor of gender and women’s studies and chair of the gender and women’s studies department said. “She always thinks before she speaks and shes articulate, and I think she’s incredibly thoughtful.”
Yemiru is currently working on applying to graduate schools across the U.S., Canada and Europe, to study public policy.
“I would say [my long term goal is] to have some sort of impact for women and women’s rights,” Yemiru said. “Especially back home and the whole of Africa in general. Before I pass away I have to make some change and impact.”