raymok ketema


Research Interests

My current research examines the Eritrean-Ethiopian war for Eritrea's independence, paying attention to the ways in which different art forms became technologies of warfare for the resource-limited Eritrean people. I am broadly interested in all things revolving around Africa and its diaspora, as Blackness is a key concept that I enjoy grappling with regularly.

Mentoring Experiences

I've had the fortune of being able to work with students on campus in a variety of capacities. I was the graduate research assistant for the Center for Black Studies research in my first year here, which allowed me to supervise undergraduate research and connect with Black undergraduates on a more personal level. During my second year, I worked for the Promise Scholars program as a time management advisor, a program dedicated to supporting low-income and first-generation students at UCSB. Having attended UCSB for my own undergraduate career has allowed me to empathize on a very personal level with the experiences that Black and Brown students face on our campus. I have found that mentorship requires surpassing your role and providing space for the students to come to you for a variety of issues. Many of the mentorship skills I developed working for both programs have seeped into my pedagogical practices as well. Our students are multi-faceted and multi-dimensional people who are facing their own daily hardships, and despite our heavy workloads as graduate students, we should be as present for them as possible in whatever ways we can.

Meaning of the Award

This award is incredibly validating to have won. Most of the work I do on behalf of undergraduate students is unpaid, and this award acknowledges the efforts that I have made towards improving our campus' livability for students of color. I'm very appreciative, as a first-generation low-income Black woman graduate student, to continue being in a position to be able to mentor and advocate for my students.