Abeeha Hussain uses her personal and familial experiences to drive her politically active focus on garment labor

Learn more about Abeeha’s journey in getting to UCLA, why she chose the Labor Studies program, and her plans after graduation.

This story forms part of our 2023 Labor Studies Graduation Stories series.

Marcos Ruiz Rojas | May 22, 2023

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

My name is Abeeha, I’m a fourth-year, second-year transfer, and I am studying Labor Studies and Political Science at UCLA. My family and I are originally from Pakistan and immigrated to San Diego, specifically the Oceanside Vista area. Growing up, I have always been aware of the differences between my two homes, Pakistan and San Diego, which made it hard to ignore that my future had to acknowledge this global awareness. This awareness also prepared my education at UCLA and the direction I decided to take in my academic journey. 

Why did you choose Labor Studies?

I graduated high school in 2020 amid the pandemic, so I was very conflicted about what route I would take after graduation, whether it’d be a 4-year university or community college. I ultimately decided to attend community college and am so thankful. In this journey, I was exposed to people who have gone through different tracks in their education. It was refreshing to see people like my mom, who had taken 15 years off her education before returning to school. Community college was also an enriching and fulfilling opportunity to understand the power of education and access.

I knew I wanted to major in labor studies because my family in Pakistan has been around sweatshops as far as my family can remember. When my mom immigrated to the US, she majored in fashion because it’s what she knew from home. This is where I developed my politically active labor focus, specifically on garment labor. 

What opportunities have been the most meaningful within the Labor Studies program and while at UCLA? 

One of the most meaningful things I’ve done at UCLA is working at the Transfer Student Center (TSC). Through the TSC, I have built a community at UCLA that has supported me and pushed me to conduct my own research and teach a class during my undergraduate journey. 

Additionally, through the political science departmental honors program, I have been able to write my thesis on working immigrants in America and the socio-political impacts of recent xenophobia on immigrants, more specifically in Los Angeles. Through this ethnographic research, I have been able to learn how connected issues are by cross-referencing what I have learned in labor studies and other material in other departments.

In a general sense, I’m incredibly thankful to have my education and professors like Caroline Luce, who supported me. 

What are your goals after graduating? Where do you see yourself going in the future with a degree in Labor Studies?

In the long term, I would love to get my Ph.D., where I will continue researching and teaching the intersection between labor and political science. But in the meantime, I am taking some gap years in between because I want to work more hand-in-hand with communities. 

That’s kind of where I’m at right now. If this changes and I don’t do anything like this, that is completely fine. My baseline goal is to be happy.

Learn more about commencement activities for the UCLA Labor Studies here.

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