Study Trip to UC Santa Cruz

Attending Spring Spotlight on April 21st at UC Santa Cruz was not only insightful, but very fun as well. Zuhair, the Ed. Fund Program Assistant, Nelly, an LPS-Richmond student whom I befriended quite quickly, and I met at the Richmond BART station and drove to Santa Cruz to be welcomed by faculty and volunteer workers. We were directed to the Cultural Center for refreshments and then we sat and listened to a presentation about UC Santa Cruz, its colleges, and important deadlines for admitted students. Next, we were paired with our tour guide who showed us a dorm room, the quad (from which you could see the ocean), and one of UC Santa Cruz’s five dining halls and one of its five libraries. The tour guide was really funny and charismatic, so he made the tour very enjoyable. We learned that UCSC was rated one of the most beautiful campuses by Forbes Magazine and has some of the happiest and healthiest students. While I was there, I felt like I was at Yosemite because the school looks like a national park. UCSC is also the largest of the UCs in terms of land, with the least amount of students. I liked this because even though the school is big, I felt like I was at a small school like Saint Mary’s. Everything felt close-knit.

6:30pm came around and we had the pleasure of sitting in on an introductory course to Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) taught by Assistant Professor Hector Perla. This was probably one of my favorite things we did at Santa Cruz because I am considering majoring in Latin American and Latino Studies and then becoming a professor. I found the lecture very interesting, except I was unfamiliar with a term the professor used: “neo-liberal” which he later defined for me. He ended lecture early and we had the pleasure of meeting him. I spoke to him about research opportunities at UCSC and the LALS major. He told me that the professors in the LALS department are passionate about what they do and care a lot about helping students achieve their goals. He also informed me that in three to four years they will offer an LALS Ph.D program which will be perfect timing for when I graduate with my bachelor’s degree. He gave me his business card and said that I could get a copy of the course syllabus if I emailed him. I plan on enrolling in his class this fall.

The visit to UCSC allowed me to make my decision between attending Saint Mary’s College and UC Santa Cruz. Many of the resources I thought wouldn’t be available to me at UCSC are actually there. I was scared that at UC Santa Cruz I would get lost in a pool of students and not get the help I may need. After visiting the school, I can see that UCSC is a great fit for me, and what I wish to accomplish in the future.

– Margarita, UC Santa Cruz ’15