Continuing an Academic Legacy

Dr. Aaronette White Scholarship supports student

Guneet Hora (College Nine, ’23).

Guneet Hora (College Nine, ’23) started her academic journey at UCSC with a clear vision of how her education could help fix the injustices in immigration and criminal law. UCSC’s history of student activism and advocacy inspired Hora to follow the university’s tradition of confronting social issues. By pursuing an education in Intensive Psychology and Legal Studies, Hora aims to raise the mental health of marginalized communities in the face of the impact left by the immigration and justice systems. Hora was awarded the 2022 Dr. Aaronette White Scholarship in recognition of her work.

The Dr. Aaronette White Scholarship is named in tribute to the late Dr. Aaronette White, former associate dean of equity and social responsibility in the Division of Social Sciences. The award honors students who are continuing Dr. White’s legacy in Social Psychology—working with an intersectional perspective to show the roots of race, ethnicity, culture, nationality and gender in shaping lived experience. The scholarship awards undergraduate students for their work in Social Psychology, and in preserving and continuing the ethos of Dr. Aaronette White—an ethos embodied in Hora’s dedication to activism and psychology.

“I decided to attend UC Santa Cruz because of the rich history of student activism and advocacy that exists here,” Hora says, “I was inspired seeing how students have stood up for themselves and others on important social issues, and wanted to see myself doing the same.”

Hora is working to remedy injustices of immigration law. As a student, Hora worked at the Davenport Resource Service Center through UCSC, where she provided pro bono legal services to help undocumented immigrants attain immigration services. Hora identifies with a low-income immigrant community and is familiar with the issues immigrants face. Conducting legal research at the Santa Cruz County courthouse to assist a client in a U-VISA immigration case is an experience that continues to resonate with Hora. 

“The experience was transformative [...] it allowed me to explore my interests in criminal and immigration law, and showed me more about what a career in those fields might look like.”

Hora aims to continue her studies in graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and a J.D. with a focus in immigration law, but beforehand she plans to take a gap year to pursue further research into criminal and human rights law.

“This scholarship will impact my academic life/research because it will allow me to support myself as I pursue graduate school under a joint program,” Hora says. “Identifying with a low-income immigrant community comes with its own unique set of challenges; this scholarship will aid me as I navigate these obstacles.”

For those following in Hora’s footsteps, she offers some advice. Just as Hora came to UCSC to join a community and university written in the history of activism, she emphasizes incoming students to prioritize finding and creating connections above all.

“Form strong connections with your professors and teaching assistants,” Hora says. “These connections will undoubtedly help you in your future pursuits, whether that is graduate school, landing a job post-graduation, or another path.”