Alumni Profiles

Savor and celebrate the legacy of proud Banana Slugs who have made their mark as they've gone on to successful careers. Below we share profiles of alumni who embody the values and qualities that represent UC Santa Cruz—social justice, public service, environmental stewardship, a dedication to exploring the human condition, and a determination to change the world. And join us for Alumni Weekend next year!

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From galaxy to grassroots

UC Santa Cruz graduate alumna Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (M.S. astronomy and astrophysics ’05) splits her focus on issues of both galactic and national scales.

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Mythologizing for a purpose

After years working across industries from filmmaking to horse-wrangling, alumnus Justin DiPego channels both his vast career experience and his UCSC creative education into his latest novel—"Wrong Side of a Workingman."

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Turning awareness into action

After years of working to bring feminist history and thought to a young audience through her popular Rad Women series, author Kate Schatz (Stevenson ’03, literature and creative writing) moves to turn teaching history into teaching practice and show adults what they can do to combat racism.

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Establishing traditions, Cowell alumni organize to give back

UC Santa Cruz alumni Florence Nelson (Cowell ’72, psychology) , Stephen Klein (Cowell ’72, religious studies) and Nadene Thorne (Cowell ’72, literature) are at the forefront of alumni volunteering at Cowell College.

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Meet UC Santa Cruz's 2023 alumni council

Dedicating over two decades of service as an alumni volunteer, John Madrid (Oakes ’98, language studies) will now step into the role of alumni council president. The UCSC alumni council will also be welcoming seven new councilors to join the current board totalling a 25 person volunteer board.

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UCSC alum creates transformational opportunities in the Arts

Best known for producing the U.S.'s longest running daytime soap opera, “Days of Our Lives,” UCSC alumnus Ken Corday is a nine-time daytime Emmy nominated producer. Corday has ushered in new opportunities for the film department at UCSC, and has now expanded his generosity to the music department.

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Allied for exponential impact

The Black Men’s Alliance, established in 1994 as an organization to create community for Black students at UC Santa Cruz, now boasts a population of 60 engaged and active alumni—and wants to expand further.

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Invaluable connections through alumni networks: How three slugs came together to help one another

With the help of UCSC alumni Marcia Wall (Stevenson ‘92, English and American literature) and Frank Marquardt (Stevenson ’92, American studies), alumna Morgan Jones (Stevenson ’04, linguistics and cognitive science) was able to land her dream job in UX design.

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Stories of UCSC rugby: Leslie Riehl and Pam Krone, the first women on the team

Alumni Leslie Riehl (Cowell ’78, Mathematics) and Pam Krone (Cowell ’75) were the only women on UCSC’s rugby club in 1974, making their stand as women in the sport years before the women’s rugby club formed in 1979.

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Nearly 30 years of conservation in Santa Cruz, alumna stays connected to the university and invests in students

UCSC alumna Jodi McGraw (Rachel Carson ’94, Environmental Studies and Biology) founded her conservation consulting firm in 2001 and has since hired upwards of 15 UCSC graduates and has sponsored almost 50 UCSC interns.

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Alumnus covers breaking news in Ukraine

UCSC alumni and New York Times reporter Andrew Kramer (Cowell ’94, history) is on the ground in Ukraine, breaking news for the New York Times.

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International stages to the Quarry, alumna Terisa Siagatonu returns for dedication ceremony

UCSC alumna and award-winning poet, Terisa Siagatonu (John R. Lewis ’11, community studies), will be a keynote speaker at the John R. Lewis College dedication ceremony on May 6.

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Wisdom Cole: Paving the way for a new generation of Black leaders

National Director of the NAACP Youth & College Division and UCSC alumnus Wisdom Cole (Oakes ’15, chemistry) will be a keynote speaker at the John R. Lewis College dedication ceremony on May 6.

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Alumna’s foreign service success earns her a new post as U.S. Ambassador

Claire Pierangelo (Kresge College, History ’82) will be sworn in as Ambassador to the Republic of Madagascar and the Union of the Comoros on May 2.

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Risa Wechsler named 2022 Physical and Biological Sciences Distinguished Graduate Student Alumna

UC Santa Cruz alumna Risa Wechsler (Ph.D. Physics ’01) has played an instrumental role in groundbreaking research in the cosmology field, with pioneering galaxy structure and cosmic structure surveys, and more than 300 widely cited publications. Wechsler has also been committed to ensuring the growth of diversity and inclusion within the physics and astronomy community.

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Sarah Peelo named 2022 Social Sciences Division Distinguished Graduate Student Alumna

Sarah Peelo (Ph.D. Anthropology ’09) looked to UC Santa Cruz as an institution beaming with women in leadership. Now company president and co-owner of cultural resource management firm, Albion, Peelo is at the forefront of cultural preservation in the Bay Area.

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William Long named 2022 Arts Division Distinguished Graduate Student Alumnus

William Long’s (B.A. Music ’11, M.A. Music ’13) passion for music began when he was six years old. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. from UC Santa Cruz, Long went on to conduct for San Francisco Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis/St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, and the London Symphony Orchestra.

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Harryette Mullen named 2022 Humanities Division Distinguished Graduate Student Alumna

The Humanities Division’s 2022 Distinguished Graduate Student Alumna, Harryette Mullen (M.A. Literature ’86, Ph.D. Literature ’90), published her first poetry book Tree Tall Women in 1981 and has since published dozens of poems, stories, books, and essays that have been published worldwide and reprinted in over one hundred anthologies.

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How mentorship and a transformative graduate experience inspired alumnus Brian Levine to build a legacy of socially responsible innovation

Baskin Engineering’s 2022 distinguished graduate student alumnus Brian Levine credits his time at UC Santa Cruz for giving him the tools to become a life-long educator and socially impactful researcher.

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Ricky Bluthenthal announced as 2022 social sciences distinguished alumni award recipient

The Social Sciences division is proud to announce trailblazing health equity researcher and advocate Ricky Bluthenthal (Merrill ’86, History and Sociology) as the recipient of the 2022 Social Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award.

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Rekindling friendships through volunteering: Pioneer alumni organize Crown’s 50th

UC Santa Cruz pioneer alumni Lisa Rose, Jim Lapsley and Susan Nerton have spent three years planning Crown College’s first-ever 50th reunion. With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the reunion back multiple years, Rose, Lapsley and Nerton are excited to invite a five-year range of pioneer Crown alumni back to the campus they love.

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Pioneer Alumna Marion Howard Hoekenga announced 2021 Alumni Survey giveaway winner

All participants of the 2021 Alumni Survey were automatically entered into a drawing. Marion Howard Hoekenga is the winner of the giveaway.

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UCSC alumna Kira Gaber announced 2021 alumni survey getaway winner

All participants of the 2021 Alumni Survey were automatically entered into a drawing. Kira Gaber is the winner of the getaway trip to Santa Cruz with hotel accommodations at the Dream Inn.

David Schulkin (Oakes '00, psychology) is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice a

Keeping the stoke fresh

Alumnus David Schulkin, who has taught surfing to UC Santa Cruz students for more than two decades, is 'all about joy and about passing on the joy of surfing.'

David Schulkin (Oakes '00, psychology) is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice a

Sareil Brookins: The path to fearlessness

UC Santa Cruz Alumna Sareil Brookins (Stevenson ’19, Intensive Psychology and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies) grasped every opportunity that came her way during her time at UCSC. She says that being a Black and Queer womxn at UCSC pushed her to go above and beyond in everything she accomplished and encouraged her to become fearless.

David Schulkin (Oakes '00, psychology) is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice a

Mario Galdamez: Determination. Hard-Work. Perseverance.

UC Santa Cruz alumni Mario Galdamez (Merrill ’06, Politics and Latin American & Latino Studies) was born in a rural, impoverished town in El Salvador. After immigrating to the U.S. in 1993, Galdamez worked part-time jobs while in high school and was determined to pursue higher education. His time at UCSC changed his life.

David Schulkin (Oakes '00, psychology) is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice a

Danielle Dadiego named recipient of 2022 Society for American Archaeology Dissertation Award

UC Santa Cruz alumna Danielle Dadiego (M.A. Anthropology, ’17; Ph.D. Anthropology, ’20) has worked in the archeology field for nearly two decades. Her dissertation, Beads, Bullets, and Brokerage: Exploring Economic Agency in Eighteenth-Century West Florida, has been nationally recognized by the 2022 Society for American Archaeology Dissertation Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the archeology field.

David Schulkin (Oakes '00, psychology) is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice a

Marizza Delgado Leads in the Era of Multipotentialite Women

UC Santa Cruz Alumna Marizza Delgado (Rachel Carson ’21, Technology and Information Management) is a data scientist at Etsy in New York City, fashion model, and Miss Earth New York 2021. Her experiences at UCSC helped inspire Delgado to pursue all of her passions in life.

Fred Mednick (Stevenson ’76, literature), founder of Teachers Without Borders

Bridging the educational divide on a global scale

Alumnus Fred Mednick, founder of two-time Peace Prize–winning NGO Teachers Without Borders, has worked to expand worldwide educational access for over two decades.

Andy Sartori (College Nine ’13, economics) leads online meal-prep delivery service MealPro

Appetite for entrepreneurship leads alum to launch successful meal-prep business

Economics alumnus Andy Sartori, a Sacramento Business Journal 40 under 40 honoree, helps people eat with purpose.

Ally Walker

Hollywood trailblazer: Ally Walker

Oakes College alumna Ally Walker's career went from sequencing genomes to solving crimes on television

David Young

Alumnus David Young is transforming the field of AI-driven digital artwork

Baskin Engineering alumnus David Young (Crown ‘86, computer and information science) employs AI tools to create digital artwork.

Egill Bjarnason (M.A. '15,  social documentation), a native of Iceland, wrote about how th

How one tiny island influenced the world

Egill Bjarnason, journalist and Soc Doc alumnus, explains the big history of his native Iceland in a "joyously peculiar book."

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Wild, wild life

Alumnus Sebastian Kennerknecht cares so deeply about animals that he built a career in wildlife conservation photography to help fight for their survival.

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Searching for answers in the cosmos

Alumna Olivia Ross, winner of this year's prestigious Steck Award, took on the daunting quest of trying to find primordial black holes. Her faculty mentor calls this young, tireless scientist a "one-in-a-generation gem."

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Found in translation

Marine scientist Stacy Jupiter, the 2020 Alumni Achievement Award winner, translates science and analysis in ways that inspire people to change behaviors.

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Bearing witness to COVID at UC Santa Cruz

Stories of resilience and loss are preserved in The Empty Year: An Oral History of the Pandemic(s) of 2020 at UC Santa Cruz, an immersive project that includes a 540-page published book