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Points of Departure: “I’m Going to Hustle as Hard as I Can”

Cynthia Hass (CAS’15)

A native of Modesto, Calif., Cynthia Hass (CAS’15) grew up in a neighborhood that she says was pockmarked by crime, gang violence, and “shootings probably every other night.”

The daughter of immigrants, Hass was the first in her family to attend college. And even though she had a full scholarship, she knew when she arrived at BU that she was going to have to work hard to pay for food and housing.

“Coming to college was the biggest culture shock, because I realized I was broke,” Hass says. She told herself, “I’m going to work my butt off. I’m going to hustle as hard as I can.” And hustle she did.

During freshman year, she worked seven different jobs, from waitressing to tutoring to threading eyebrows. But Hass missed her real passion, human rights. Starting at age 13, she had begun volunteering with nonprofits like the Girl Up United Nations Foundation, the Red Cross, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees so she could “help people and make a difference.” She joined campaigns that addressed teen pregnancy, refugee relief, and sex trafficking.

By sophomore year, the international relations major decided she wanted to spend more time working on behalf of human rights organizations. She began to pursue her passion advocating for issues like education for young girls, gun violence, and race. She worked as an intern at the US Department of State, as a youth innovation advisor for Dell, and as COO of Gimme Mo’ Productions, created by actress and philanthropist Monique Coleman. Hass has also traveled widely as a speaker at events promoting social engagement.

With all these accomplishments under her belt, Hass says she’s proudest of becoming the first in her family to graduate from college.

“When you grow up in a certain environment, you aren’t told all the time that you’re going to college,” she says. “But my dad rang that in my head ever since I was born. ‘You’re going to college. You’re going to college.’

“That’s where my ambition came from. That’s how I got through college.”

Watch more “Points of Departure” videos here.

More information about Commencement can be found here.

Alan Wong

Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu.

3 Comments on Points of Departure: “I’m Going to Hustle as Hard as I Can”

  • Charlott on 05.06.2015 at 9:21 am

    Wow. Impressive achievements! Congratulations!!

  • Jenn on 05.06.2015 at 9:28 am

    What a tremendous young lady, I wish her all the best. She should be so proud for all the hard work she put in. Just: WOW!

  • Robert Oresick on 05.18.2015 at 1:48 pm


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