By Julia Ann Easley on June 9, 2020
"An English major — who aims to use fiction to address climate change and help its refugees — will be honored as the top graduating senior at the University of California, Davis, during its online graduation celebration for undergraduates this Friday (June 12).
Jumana Esau is being awarded the University Medal, which recognizes excellence in undergraduate studies, outstanding community service, and the promise of future scholarship and contributions to society.
Raised in Jordan and the San Francisco Bay Area, Esau had found comfort in imagined stories as a child and chose to study literature at the university. Once on campus, she discovered academics and community service that she knit together for her future.
She studied literature about issues of Palestinian erasure and misrepresentation, took a course in climate change fiction, wrote a 26-page honors thesis about African futuristic works in climate fiction and served refugees.
'My goal has always been to try to improve the lives of others,' Esau said."