Senior named Forbes scholar for local activism

Senior Sofia Bosch founded the University Park Action Coalition, an organization based in Los Angeles that attempts to start conversations between various stakeholders from USC and from the University Park community. 
(Krystal Gallegos | Daily Trojan)

When senior Sofia Bosch told a local stylist while getting a haircut that she was majoring in journalism, the woman burst into tears and told her about issues in the community that had gone uncovered by news outlets. 

“She pulls me aside, starts crying and was like, ‘I have been in this community for so long, and nobody cares,’” Bosch said. “‘The University keeps expanding; I feel very helpless. Nobody is helping the community, the people who’ve lived here forever can’t live here anymore because it’s too expensive, and they’re being bullied out of their neighborhood by private developers.’” 

Bosch spent months following hairdresser Aurora Becerra around the neighborhood to film a video for Intersections South L.A., a community reporting outlet under Annenberg Media. 

Becerra eventually approached Bosch about creating an organization to help the community, leading Bosch to decide she would stop covering the issues and instead actively work to address them. 

In November 2017, Bosch and Becerra officially founded the University Park Action Coalition, a community-based organization that attempts to bridge the communication gap between the community, USC and the city of Los Angeles.

“The primary, central goal is just to be a forum where the community can feel that they’re being heard,” Bosch said. “UPAC played a really important role in my love for grassroots community organizing and impact.” 

Thanks to her leadership in the organization, Bosch was selected to attend the Forbes Under 30 Summit at the end of the month, where she’ll meet 1,000 other students from across the country.

“More than anything else, I was really surprised and shocked. Forbes is very business and tech-focused, so most of the people that get Forbes Under 30 are from that world,” Bosch said. “I’m excited for the conference because there will be a lot of people with backgrounds similar to mine and a lot of people who are nothing like me.” 

Forbes will give the Under 30 Scholars the opportunity to meet with recruiters from American companies. At least three other students from USC, junior business administration major Diego Garza Gonzalez, sophomore business administration major Krish Abrol and junior communication and philosophy, politics and law major Manda Bwerevu, will also attend the summit. 

“I’m just excited to be there and to have the opportunity to be curious and to just talk to people and understand how they got to where they are,” Bosch said. “I’m going, more than anything else, to learn and to be open to other points of view and different  perspectives.”

To pursue her interest in journalism at USC, Bosch also worked as an assistant city editor and writer for the Daily Trojan, an executive television producer for Annenberg Media and an intern at CNBC over the last few years. 

“I think one of the beautiful things about journalism [is that] you really learn how to ask the right questions,” Bosch said. “I think journalism has given me a lot of confidence. Even if I’m not the smartest person in the room, [I] can gauge the situation and be perceptive of how to tell a story about whatever it is or to understand whatever the concept or topic is.” 

Zoe Ginsberg, a junior majoring in political science and journalism, said Bosch’s mentoring helped her grow as a journalist and become executive producer of “See It Live!” a show on Annenberg TV News. 

“I was a really nervous, anxious freshman who didn’t have a voice yet,” Ginsberg said. “But [Bosch] really took me under her wing; I would not be where I am without her. She gave me that stepping stone that I think everyone needs. If anything, she gave me the confidence to put myself out there in a really scary environment.” 

Bosch became interested in international relations, one of her minors because of her frequent moves while growing up. She’s lived in five countries, including the United States, Mexico, Japan, Italy and Spain, thanks to her father’s career in international business. After a Maymester course in which Bosch produced fieldwork in Mexico about finance development, her professor of international relations Pamela Starr suggested that Bosch take on the minor. 

“She’s fascinated by what’s going on in the world, to start with, particularly what’s going on in Latin America,” Starr said. “But she also has a very analytical mind which does lend itself to being a good journalist. It lends itself to somebody who can really understand and analyze international affairs and what’s going on in both international and domestic politics.” 

In addition to her involvement in UPAC, Bosch also volunteers for the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project and is a mentor for Troy Camp.

“[Troy Camp is] what helped me realize that my interests specifically lie in universal access to education under the umbrella of human rights,” Bosch said. “The girls that I met [as a cabin leader] made Los Angeles feel like home.”

Bosch recently applied to the Fulbright Program in hopes of conducting research after graduation on the aid provided to Venezuelan migrants in Colombia. After graduate school, she hopes to work in international human rights policy and law for the United Nations or the European Union. 

“I hope to walk away [from the summit] with some contacts — a network of people that are big, young industry leaders,” Bosch said. “At the root of anything, whether that be law, policy or business … is people.” 

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Under 30 scholars received complimentary lodging. Scholars do not receive free housing. The Daily Trojan regrets this error.