Asian American Pacific Islander alumni news from UCSC
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MARCH 2021

Alumni Voices

Anna Gururajan
Hello fellow Banana Slugs!

My name is Anna Gururajan, (Oakes '15, molecular, cell, and developmental biology) and I am a Clinical Trial Manager at Applied Molecular Transport, a biopharmaceutical company in South San Francisco, CA. Since graduation, I have been working in clinical trial management and research to advance new therapeutics globally in virological, dermatological, and inflammatory diseases.

As I fondly reminisce about my time as a
UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug, I remember the
many connections I made with friends, mentors, professors, and teammates – all of which profoundly impacted my time at UCSC. Being in an environment with a diverse student body and devoted faculty was refreshing. UCSC fostered an environment where creativity of thought, research, and innovation was celebrated. Such an environment served to empower its students such as myself, who were eager to make a positive impact in their communities and the outside world.

I came to Santa Cruz as a transfer student my junior year—bright-eyed and bushy tailed—ready to step up to the challenge and follow my passion. However, my journey was not all sunshine and daisies. Juggling upper division courses with two jobs while competing on the NCAA UCSC track and cross country team proved to be a real challenge; one that took true grit and resilience. Two professors in particular, Professor Manuel Ares and Professor Bhakthan Singaram took me under their wing my senior year. They saw my passion and potential, even when I struggled to see it within myself. Their support and mentorship gave me the confidence I needed to expand my horizons and accomplish my goals, many of which I thought were impossible.

My experience at UCSC went beyond the classroom—it ultimately gave me a purpose: a desire to innovate, serve, and heal in the healthcare field. We oftentimes think of success as linear, but I have learned that there is no straight line to success and that it truly does take a village. As an alumna, I have found it important to pay it forward to my fellow banana slugs as a mentor and volunteer. Together hand in hand, there’s nothing we can’t achieve. Sharing our knowledge, experiences, and cultures with each other can only serve to enrich and cultivate meaningful discussions and connections.

On that note, I encourage you to come join me and others at Alumni Week (April 19-25) to reconnect with campus and your other alumni fellow slugs!
Register for Alumni Week!

Special Announcements

Doctors in PPE speak with patient

Let’s get vaccinated, for our families and communities, says UC President Drake in a new video


“I’m here to reassure you that the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective,” Michael Drake says in his public service announcement. “All of us have a role to play in bringing the pandemic to an end. As a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a doctor, I got vaccinated to keep my family and my community safe.”

Profiles in Excellence

Harrison Shieh

Harrison Shieh wins the 2020-2021 Eileen Brooks Memorial Scholarship in Economics


Harrison Shieh is a graduate student in the Economics department. He aspires to become a professor of economics himself and says that "this scholarship is a great honor and gives me a sense of validation for my research agenda and the work I’ve put in since starting here.”

Yang Liu

Computer scientist Yang Liu wins $1M grant for research on fairness in AI


Yang Liu, assistant professor of computer science and engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, has received $1 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Amazon for research on the long-term effects of human interactions with artificial intelligence (AI) systems used to support decision-making. Liu’s project is funded through the NSF’s Program on Fairness in AI in Collaboration with Amazon.

Melanie Dang Ho

Three UCSC film alumni recognized by International Documentary Association


Alumna Melanie Dang Ho (Social Documentation, 2020) was nominated in the Best Short category for her M.F.A. thesis film, sống ở đây (to live here), which focuses on the lives of Vietnamese shrimpers and elderly farmers in New Orleans, exploring the relationship between land and labor.

Career Events

Launching your job search in 2021 poster

Launching Your Job Search in 2021


Mar 31, 2021 4 p.m.

Learn tangible steps to launch and manage your job search. Hear what’s different for searchers in 2021. This event is perfect for alumni in their early career or students looking for employment for after you graduate. Presented by Eric Morse, Kresge '07, health sciences.

Entrepreneurial career series poster

From Working for Steve Jobs to Starting a Wellness Company

April 2, 12-1 p.m.

With alumna Naz Beheshti (Cowell '99, Psychology)


Am I an Entrepreneur?

April 16, 12-1 p.m.

With alumna Kimberley Bueno-Schonig (Crown '16, politics and legal studies)

Navigating racism in career advancement poster

Navigating Racism in Career Advancement


Apr 19, 2021 12 p.m.

From racial microaggressions in the workplace to White-centric organizational culture, structural racism can serve as barriers to career advancement of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) professionals.

Work at UC Santa Cruz!

UCSC flags

UC Santa Cruz wants to see an increase in Asian and Pacific Islander representation at all levels of the university. Please consider applying, and pass along these job announcements to other Asian and Pacific Islander folks in your networks. You'll find a comprehensive list of all open positions here.


Diversity and Inclusion Program Coordinator | Genomics Institute
Application review begins on 3/29/21


Grant Implementation Manager | Campus Advising Coordination
Application review begins on 4/5/21


Marketing and Editorial Specialist | Admissions
Application review begins on 4/8/21


Land Acknowledgment

UC Santa Cruz is located on the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.

This newsletter was produced by the Alumni Engagement office at UC Santa Cruz. If you have suggestions for content you'd like to see featured, please contact Rhonda Kinard at



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Santa Cruz, CA 95064


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