No shortcuts for first-year Tim Henry

henry looks at the camera outside sather tower

Tim Henry, a first-year media studies major, is a winner of an African American Initiative (AAI) Scholarship. (UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser)

First-year student Tim Henry doesn’t believe in shortcuts.

“A big reason I came to Cal was to challenge myself,” said the media studies major. “My mother always encouraged responsibility. I worked two jobs in high school, at a movie theater and a restaurant. I feel that made me more independent. Being at Cal takes it to the next level for me.”

Henry wears a Los Angeles baseball team medallion and a gold lion pendant close to his heart. The first doesn’t show a sports loyalty. It represents his roots: South Central Los Angeles.
The second symbolizes courage.

Because of his demonstrated leadership in different facets of his life, Henry was awarded an African American Initiative (AAI) Scholarship. Support for the AAI scholarships is part of a new $10 million gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, which represents a significant step toward greater diversity at UC Berkeley.

In addition to focusing on his coursework, Henry is planning to show up at this spring’s open tryouts for the California Golden Bears football team to try out as an outside linebacker. Many college athletes are in fact walk-ons, not scholarship athletes. But Henry knows joining the team as a walk-on will be difficult.

“They’ve already recruited their team,” Henry said. “They’re thinking, ‘What do you have that we don’t already have?’ So I have to work that much harder.”

When Henry graduates from UC Berkeley, he’ll be the first in his family to graduate from college. His mother Carmen had to drop her college studies when she became a mom. Henry has three older sisters and a younger brother who is a high school sophomore.

Ultimately, Henry is interested in a career in sports. Broadcasting, representing athletes as an agent, recruiting, and sports management all interest him. Right now, he is volunteering for the Cal football team’s scouting and recruiting department. He said he is using his time at Berkeley to look for ways he can help youth in his community see brighter alternatives for their lives.

“I want to set the right example for my brother and also for African American males in my community. Going to college is rare for people from my neighborhood,” he said. “I want to do something to change the dynamics not just as an example but to give back to youth.”

Henry said his 15-year-old brother Jacob is already earning higher marks on tests than he was at that age.

“He’s really intelligent,” Henry said with a smile. “I want to help him stay motivated by my example.”