Road to Commencement

These 2014 graduation candidates have paved their own road to Commencement. Here’s what they have to say about their time at UC Santa Barbara.

Posted on June 12, 2014 - 6:52pm

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José Zenteno

José Zenteno, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By José Zenteno
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
The Bren School, Master of Environmental Science and Management

Born in Valparaíso, a coastal town in central Chile, José Zenteno has always been close to the ocean in every sense, whether snorkeling, scuba diving or working to maintain the health and diversity of coastal ecosystems.

As an undergraduate, he worked with preschoolers, teaching them about the wonders of the marine world, and before coming to the Bren School, he spent more than two years doing research in marine ecology and working on...

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Posted on June 11, 2014 - 5:25pm

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Rahul Madhusadanan

Rahul Madhusadanan, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Rahul Madhusadanan
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
The Bren School, Master of Environmental Science and Management

While pursuing a career in the semiconductor industry, Rahul Madhusudanan, who had a master's degree in electrical engineering, took what was to be a one-year sabbatical in order to travel, volunteer, and broaden his horizons. His varied activities during that time included teaching disabled Iraq war veterans to ski at Whistler, Canada, and working with...

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Posted on June 11, 2014 - 5:08pm

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Alana Yurkanin

Alana Yurkanin, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Alana Yurkanin
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
The Bren School, Master of Environmental Science and Management

Alana Yurkanin is probably one of few people to have spent three years perfecting a description of plankton that would get at its environmental essence. Talk about an elevator speech.

Born on the Hawaiian island of Maui, Alana has a deep affinity...

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Posted on June 11, 2014 - 5:07pm

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Michelle Mak

Freshman year with the original staff of the Office of Academic Programs

By Michelle Mak
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
Communication Major, Chinese Minor

It’s amazing how significantly the people you meet can change your life. Because of my time at UCSB, I have had the privilege of meeting some of the best people I’ve ever known. On my very first night in the Santa Cruz dorms, I hung out with some of the most outrageous girls, whose lives and stories were so different than mine. Those hallmates have since...

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Posted on June 11, 2014 - 5:05pm

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Ivy Ku

Ivy Ku, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Ivy Ku
UC Santa Barbara, Class of 2014
The Bren School, Master of Environmental Science and Management

When Ivy Ku was growing up in the cities and suburbs of Taiwan, “nature” was far away and elusive, something she saw on television or in magazines. But despite being raised in urban settings, she has always been fascinated with the natural world and interested in learning about it and how to protect it. Since moving to the United States with her family when she was 8,...

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Posted on June 10, 2014 - 4:03pm

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Paula Richter

Paula Richter, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Paula Richter
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
The Bren School, Master of Environmental Science and Management

Producing voluminous legal documents during her previous legal career, Paula Richter (MESM 2014) often lamented that she would have to volunteer for the Nature Conservancy to compensate for all the trees she had killed. That might have been the first step.

Another was reading the book ...

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Posted on June 10, 2014 - 3:57pm

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Monica Illes

Monica Illes, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Monica Illes
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
English Major, Professional Writing Minor with a Multimedia Communication Emphasis

When I started as a freshman at UCSB, there were things I never thought I’d do. My life was filled with uncertainty. Would I like it here? Would I fit in? What would college classes be like? As an oldest child, I was so nervous about the whole going-away-to-college thing that practically all I could think about was surviving my first night in my dorm. I never thought I’d try ballroom dance...

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Posted on June 10, 2014 - 3:55pm

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Abbie Broeder

Abbie Broeder, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Abbie Broeder
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
Art Major

My four years here at UCSB have been nothing short of some of the best four years of my life. I came from the Bay Area as an Art major and met some of the coolest, most down-to-earth and talented people I could ever imagine—faculty included. I decided to work in the Carrillo Dining Commons on-campus and got to move in a few days early as a result. This decision shaped my social life and impacted my happiness in an extraordinary manner from the start. Having met dozens of people at work my first few weeks, I...

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Posted on June 9, 2014 - 10:17am

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Taylor Debevec

Taylor Debevec, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Taylor Debevec
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
The Bren School, Master of Environmental Science and Management

Taylor Debevec grew up in the Las Vegas desert, so seeing the ocean for the first time as a child was a mystifying experience. Her world was full of sandstone, cacti, and dry heat ("Much better than humidity," her parents always told her when she complained), but standing on the beach, she gazed across a mass of water that stretched as far as she could see. She...

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Posted on June 9, 2014 - 10:14am

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Jenny Bakos

Jenny Bakos, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Jenny Bakos
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
History & Cultural Anthropology Major

This June, I will be graduating with a double-major in history and cultural anthropology from UCSB (olé olé!). I cannot stress how much I loved my time at UCSB. In college, I participated in a sailboat pirate battle royale with Excursion Club, learned how to ballroom dance, participated in archaeology excavations on the Channel Islands and in Virginia...

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Posted on June 9, 2014 - 8:49am

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Kavitha Nambiar

Kavitha Nambiar, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Kavitha Nambiar
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
The Bren School, Master of Environmental Science and Management

Growing up in the United Arab Emirates, Kavitha Nambiar witnessed some of the most rapid economic development the world has ever seen. But it was not all that growth that led to her environmental awakening. Rather, it came when she moved to India to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology engineering and realized that energy supplies weren’t as abundant there as they were in the Middle East.

...

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Posted on June 5, 2014 - 5:21pm

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Jorcyelin Ani

The Beginning of a Chapter 

By Jorcyelin Ani
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
Sociology Major, Education & Applied Psychology Minor

With the end of my journey here at UCSB fast approaching, it has been bittersweet to reflect on everything that I have experienced since being here. These past 4 years have taught me a lot about myself, who I want to be, and who I can actually be. With my Bachelor’s Degree in such close reach, something that I never truly imagined receiving, I have a new reality and an...

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Posted on June 5, 2014 - 5:02pm

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Melanie Supple

Melanie Supple, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Melanie Supple
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
Psychology Major, Applied Psychology Minor

With graduation on the horizon, I find myself reflecting on the moments that form my UCSB experience. Academically, I have been challenged and inspired by my coursework. As a product of this fine research institution, I have become a student of life who strives to learn about the world around me. Although I am grateful for my academic experience, I have learned even more from the...

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Posted on June 4, 2014 - 10:43am

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Torrey Trust

Torrey Trust, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Torrey Trust
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
Graduate Division, Ph.D. in Education

I still remember the capstone moment of my graduate program like it was yesterday (OK, it was only a few months ago…): I finished my dissertation defense and looked across the table to my faculty advisor, who extended his hand and said, “Congratulations, Dr. Trust.” It felt as though the weight of the world dropped off my shoulders.

Before I...

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Posted on May 29, 2014 - 3:20pm

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Selene Lopez

Selene Lopez, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Selene Lopez
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
Political Science Major, Labor Studies & Spanish Minor

As a first-generation college student, attending UCSB has been an unimaginable privilege. In retrospect, the knowledge and experiences that I was introduced to the past four years have shaped the person that I am today.  At first, I undermined the academic prestige that UCSB offered as a public institution. However, the professors that I have met and TA’s that I have worked with have revolutionized my...

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Posted on May 20, 2014 - 4:35pm

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Jasmin Llamas

Jasmin Llamas, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

By Jasmin Llamas  
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014  
The Gevirtz Graduate School of Education - Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology

Reflecting back on my time at UCSB is bittersweet. When I went hunting for Ph.D. programs, I knew UCSB would be my new home. The academic and professional experiences I had and the lifelong friends I made only reaffirm I made the right choice. Besides, who could argue against graduate school near the ocean!...

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Posted on May 19, 2014 - 12:00pm

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Daisy Gomez

Daisy Gomez, UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014

Photo Credit: 

Andrea Vargas

By Daisy Gomez
UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014
Sociology & Chicano Studies Major, Applied Psychology & Italian Minor

Life at UCSB has flown by faster than expected. It has been an overwhelming roller-coaster ride, but nonetheless a great experience. Coming here was a tough decision. The adjustment to college and my new life caused me to fall into depression after my first quarter. Looking back now I have come to realize what got me through to where I am now are the bonds that I have created. What...

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