Chicanx & Latinx alumni news from UCSC
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Alumni Voices

Reyna Grande

¡Saludos! My name is Reyna Grande (Kresge, ’99) and I majored in literature (creative writing) and film & video. I’m so grateful to be a full-time writer, advocating for my immigrant community through the stories I write. This was the dream that took me to Santa Cruz in the first place.


Surrounded by all that natural beauty, I was encouraged to keep dreaming, to keep holding fast to the vision of the life I wanted to have. In Santa Cruz, I learned how to hold myself accountable for my own progress, how to keep my priorities straight, how to make my own

decisions, and own up to my mistakes. It was there where I learned to love trees and heard the word “compost” for the first time and met my first vegan and vegetarian friends. Leaving Los Angeles to go to Santa Cruz meant stepping out of my comfort zone, exposing myself to a different kind of lifestyle, and learning how to handle myself in new environments. But the best thing that happened in Santa Cruz was walking across the stage to receive my diploma and become the first in my family to graduate from university. My father only went to third grade, my mother sixth grade, and my maternal grandfather was illiterate. But here I am now, a university graduate. I did it for me, for them, for the future generations in my family.


My time at UCSC has truly come to define my writing career. It was there where I learned about the writing craft and honed my skills. It was there where I learned to defend my stories, especially in classes where my teachers critiqued my culture instead of my craft. Back in the 1990s, when the student body at UCSC was only 13% Latinx, it was challenging being a Latina aspiring writer. I felt out of place and struggled to connect with my white professors and peers. But I was fortunate to meet professors who nurtured and encouraged my dreams, and to this day, they are still a big part of my life—Marta Navarro, my Spanish and Chicano Literature teacher, and Micah Perks, my creative writing teacher. These were the two teachers who, through the years, have guided me on my path toward becoming the woman and writer I am today. It was there in Santa Cruz, where I attended my first protest, where I wrote my first collection of stories, where I put on a play I wrote, and where I began my first novel, which was published a few years after graduation (It was rejected 26 times by publishers, but in Santa Cruz, I learned how to fight for my stories).

I am so proud to be a Banana Slug, to be part of a community of amazing men and women who have gone on to use their skills and passions to make the world a better place. Now, I want to pay it forward and help the next generation of Banana Slugs. This is why I started the Reyna Grande Scholarship at Kresge—to fund the creative projects of current students, to encourage them to test their wings, to let their imagination fly. Now more than ever, we need to look out for the next generation. Give them all the support they need.

Reyna Grande (Kresge, ’99), is the author of Across a Hundred Mountains, Dancing with Butterflies, The Distance Between Us, A Dream Called Home, and two forthcoming books—A Ballad of Love and Glory and Somewhere We Are Human: Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival and New Beginnings. She has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature, and she was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Profiles in Excellence

Roxanna Villalobos

Doctoral candidate’s award-winning research documents experiences of Latina girls growing up in rural California

UC Santa Cruz graduate student Roxanna Villalobos recently won a national dissertation scholarship award from Sociologists for Women in Society that will support her research with Latina girls in rural California.

Precarity & Belonging poster

Precarity & Belonging captures insights from global discussion of citizenship, migration, socioeconomic mobility

An interdisciplinary group of leading UC Santa Cruz scholars have released a new book called Precarity & Belonging that culminates more than five years of collaborative research and discussion around the themes of global migration, citizenship, and marginalization. The

work is the collaborative efforts of faculty members Catherine Ramírez, Sylvanna Falcón, Juan Poblete, Steve McKay, and Amaya Schaeffer.

In the News

UCSC student works in lab

Statistical analysis quantifies how chemistry undergraduates benefit from graduate student diversity


A new study by a team of economists and chemists at UC Santa Cruz shows that graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) may be among the most essential factors in retaining underrepresented minority undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, according to statistical evidence.

Career and Network Support

First Paycheck, What To Do? event graphic

2021 Summer Alumni Career Series: First Paycheck, what to do?


September 8, 12–1 p.m.

Learn the ins and outs of spending, saving, and investing in this session. Whether you're new to the world of personal finance, or just looking to spruce up your financial literacy skills, this event is for you! Discover the best way to use a paycheck, and make your money work for you.

When To Look For A New Job event graphic

2021 Alumni Summer Career Series: When to Look for a new job!


September 22, 12–1 p.m.

Join UCSC alums to discuss when it's the right time to look for a new job or to change your career. Whether it's to gain new skills, find a better work environment, or to do something you love, you will learn how to utilize skills from your current job to land your next job.

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Non-Tech Jobs in Tech


September 22, 12–1 p.m.

Think you need to be an expert coder to get a job in Tech? Our panel of UC alumni will share how they’ve positioned their non-technical backgrounds to lead exciting careers in Tech. This webinar will tackle strategies for pivoting into the tech industry and offer insights into the recruitment process.

Ways to Give Back

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UC Advocacy Network (UCAN)


UCAN is a community of committed people who lend their voices to shape state and federal policies promoting the university’s mission. Learn more about their ongoing initiatives and ways to get involved!

Work at UC Santa Cruz!

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


Associate Director of Alumni Diversity Programs

UR Alumni Engagement

Application review begins on 9/21/2021


Assistant Director for Early Engagement

University Relations

Application review begins on 9/21/2021


National Media Relations Manager

UR Communications & Marketing

Application review begins on 9/28/2021


Land Acknowledgement

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.

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