A word of warning, alumni and friends of the Gevirtz School: if Waid Ibrahim, our new Associate Director of Development, comes to speak to you, don’t try to get away. He’s fast. Born in Ghana, Waid came to the U.S. when his soccer skills won him a scholarship to the Dunn School in the Santa Ynez Valley, and then a scholarship to UCSB’s soccer team (he even scored a golden goal in the NCAA tournament in 2010).
But what’s more, he’s incredibly persistent. After graduating UCSB as a Communications Major in 2012, he worked in marketing for the MLS club the Chicago Fire while earning a Masters of Business Administration at Northwestern. Still, all that time he admits his Gaucho roots were calling, “I wanted to come back to campus and contribute to this fantastic institution.”
Waid is particularly excited about working for the School of Ed. “I grew up in an environment where education wasn’t promoted to us,” he explains of his childhood in Ghana. “Your parents tell you to go to school but only because everyone did it. I didn’t grow up thinking it would change my life. Now all doors are open to me because of education. I really wanted to be a fundraiser for education as I know first-hand it can be a life-changing experience.”
His enthusiasm extends to the Gevirtz School’s current direction. “That we have a new dean is an indication the school is taking that next step,” he says. “To bring in someone like Jeff Milem is a great statement that there’s only one way and that way is forward.” Waid looks to social media as one of the main ways to build a stronger GGSE community, claiming, “I want to help create a culture online that makes it clear all the good we are doing here. I want our ground-breaking research to be well-known and shared by our proud alumni.”
For instance, he points to the February kick off of the new lecture series “Fast & Curious: ED Talks from UCSB’s Gevirtz School.” “That was an eye-opening event for me,” he admits. “The range and diversity of the research our faculty and alumni are doing is so impressive. It’s great that even our alumni not in the Santa Barbara area can see the talks on video, too.”
He also asks that everyone follows the GGSE on its new unified school Facebook page—like us, join the conversation, be social!