Asian American Pacific Islander alumni news from UCSC
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Alumni Voices

24 years ago Politics Professor Isebill Gruhn said the value of a liberal arts degree is "to listen and to ask an intelligent question, not to remember what happened in 1882." That phrase stuck with me, and it’s something I share when talking about why UC Santa Cruz is special.

Like all students, I wanted to belong. As a

hapa (half Polish, half Japanese), I searched for a safe community where I could explore my identity, gain confidence, and create a space for others. I wanted to be understood and to build, and I found that community in SOAR/Student Media/Cultural Arts and Diversity (SOMeCA).


I got my first post-college job because of the experiences I had with SOMeCA, like the planning of the Multicultural Festival, an amazing eight month partnership with over 40 ethnic and cultural organizations to bring new experiences to the campus. Years later, at my Tesla interview, I was asked “why here?” Simple answer: I want to build, and I will figure it out. For me, college introduced concepts, and SOMeCA was a safe community that gave me the skills to build something new and help others. Now I am part of Tesla's new auto insurance program, building something from scratch.

My time at SOMeCA taught me to connect to something larger than myself. I am a member of the UC Santa Cruz Alumni Council, and recently I was proud to work on a strategic plan to support critical career development skills for students.

It’s amazing how people touch our lives. Sayo Fujioka was my mentor (as she is to so many others). I am who I am because of her and SOMeCA, and because I wanted it. Each of us have our own “Sayo”—a person who touched our lives and opened new doors. Many of us are still looking for advice as we navigate our lives. We are in a cycle of responsibility—being helped, and helping others.  

Please join us at the upcoming Communities of Color Career Series (3C Series) sessions in late January to be inspired and to help someone else.


—Brian Sniegowski (Rachel Carson '96, politics and business economics)

Learn more about the 3C Series

Special Announcements

photo of chancellor larive

A message from Chancellor Larive to the UC Santa Cruz Community


As the year comes to close, Chancellor Cynthia Larive recounts the university's journey through 2020 and shares her goals for the New Year.

Juhee Kang, an assitant teaching professor in the Sociology Department,

Two UC Santa Cruz programs win funding for public interest technology


Juhee Kang, an assistant teaching professor in the Sociology Department, recently received $90,000 from the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) for the Everett Program, a student-led initiative pursuing technology and social change work since the late 1990s. The money will be used

to develop online teaching modules and curriculum disseminating best practices for supporting student-led tech projects.

Profiles in Excellence

Julia Cheng is a junior sociology major

Julia Cheng wins Fanny Carruthers Award in Sociology


Julia Cheng is a junior sociology major planning to graduate from Crown College in 2022. She is the recipient of the 2020 Fanny Carruther's Award in Sociology which will help her continue her education in light of the impact COVID-19 had on her family's financial situation. Julia is studying the use of media and how knowledge and truths are constructed in global society. To Julia, "this is a positive affirmation to the learning I’ve done during my time at UCSC."

Garima Desai , First UCSC Rhodes Scholar

UC Santa Cruz celebrates its first Rhodes Scholar


Garima Desai made history earlier this month, when she became UC Santa Cruz's first ever Rhodes Scholarship winner. The awards were announced virtually, and Desai was named among the top 32 scholars from across the U.S. who will have all of their expenses paid to attend graduate school at Oxford University. There were more than 2,000 applicants to the program this year.

Yuan Ping, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz

Materials theorist Yuan Ping wins grant from Air Force Young Investigator Program


The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) has awarded a three-year, $450,000 grant to Yuan Ping, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz. Ping is one of 36 scientists and engineers to receive grants this year through the Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program.

Alumni Notes

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Fall 2020 Alumni Notes


News, notes, updates, and announcements from Slug alumni!



Education and Training Opportunities

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Alumni Course Discount at the UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Extension


UCSC Extension is excited to offer

UCSC alumni a special spring and summer quarter discount for all courses over $500! Check out our full catalog of online and live-online courses and connect with our Student Services team to retrieve your discount promo code. Sign up today!


Career Events

How to Get hired graphic

How to Get Hired Webinar Series


The "How to Get Hired" webinar series is a great way to learn tips and tricks on how to get hired from an industry professional in a particular area of study.


Arts: January 6, 2021, 4 p.m.

Life Science: January 13, 2021, 4 p.m.

Public Service & Helping Professions: January 20, 2021, 4 p.m.

Computer/Engineering: January 27, 2021, 4 p.m.


3C schedule

Communities of Color Career Series


January 25–28, 2021

The Communities of Color Career Series (3C Series) provides a safe space for students and alumni of color to engage in honest dialogues and networking opportunities. Attendees develop career strategies, establish mentor relationships with alumni, and leave equipped with knowledge that will help them thrive in the professions they pursue after graduation. The conference is organized annually by a team of students and staff from Career Success, Alumni Engagement, and the Ethnic Resource Centers.

Work at UC Santa Cruz!

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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.


CITRIS/CPSRC Administrative Assistant | Baskin School of Engineering
Application review begins on 1/02/2021


Software Engineer | Baskin School of Engineering
Application review begins on 1/02/2021


Research Development Analyst (ARI) | Arts Institute
Application review begins on 1/25/2021

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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