Jennifer La '19
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Tell us about your first generation background. Where did you grow up and what is your family history? What is unique about your story?
My family is part of an ethnic minority group from Vietnam known as the Hoa people, ethnically Chinese people who fled to Vietnam to escape economic hardship and violence during the founding of the Republic of China.
First generation college student Jessica Ison found refuge at UC Davis. The FilAm community has helped her connect with her heritage, while the Women's Resources and Research Center provided a sense of belonging when she first arrived on campus. An environmental toxicology major, Jessica is also a talented poet.
Miguel Paulo Flores is in his last year before achieving his Bachelor's degree, but his education is not stopping here. After college, he will then work towards becoming a consumer or product analyst to support his mother and brother. And of course, he wants to make them proud!
Ariana Nagainis ‘19
Animal Biology, Minor: Global Disease Biology and Medical Entomology
I grew up in So. Cal, but my parents and sisters moved from Latvia in 1993, just two years after Latvia re-gained independence from the USSR. My whole family was born there and I still have a lot of family there. My mother frequently sends my extended family money and goods. My first language was Latvian and when I started preschool, the teachers were upset that I could not speak English.
Jose Macias student majors in Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations. He's used his job experience to help him succeed at school, and found a support group with the Chicanx and Latinx community.
Chris Nosala earned his PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from UC Davis in June 2018. He researched giardia in Scott Dawson’s lab, where he mentored a number of undergraduates. He received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research in 2018, and was recognized as a strong promoter of women in STEM, and as a confidence builder among his undergraduate mentees. He is currently a postdoc at Indiana University – Bloomington.
Semaj Troupe’s family has been his biggest motivation for coming to UC Davis. The third oldest of ten children, he is the first to go to college. Throughout high school he was inspired by his dad, who took college classes while working and being involved with his kids.
It’s been a busy quarter for Ryan Han. The 2018 Big West Conference Champion golfer has been balancing post-season tournament play with pursuing his degree in aerospace engineering. We caught up with Ryan after his recent success at the NCAA Stockton Regional to learn about this student athlete and the role of athletics in his pathway to college.
I was born in a small town called Murrieta, California, but soon afterwards moved to an island village off the coast of Belize known as San Pedro Town. A fishing village popular with tourists for its laid back environment and beautiful weather, I grew accustomed to that lifestyle before I moved back to the states around the beginning of my middle school years.
Yilda Korpela '19
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; minor in Public Health
I was born and lived in Oaxaca, Mexico until I was eight years old. My father came to the US in search of a better source of income so he could provide for our family of eight. After years of living in Mexico without my father, my mother decided to follow him and take us all to the United States. My family and I eventually joined my dad and we moved to Santa Maria, California. My father was a field worker and when we arrived to the US my mother and three older siblings joined him.
I am double majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior as well as Psychology. I am also an undergraduate research assistant in the Bales lab at the California National Primate Research Center and am starting a clinical internship at Sutter Sacramento.
I grew up in San Juan Bautista, CA with four brothers including my twin, two parents, and several other family members and friends. Both sides of my family emigrated from Mexico before my parents were born, and most of my family does some kind of work with landscape or construction. My parents were very young when they started our family, which meant they weren’t able to go to college. They were always working hard, so my brothers and I spent a lot of time growing up with our grandparents.
I was born and raised in San Francisco. Both of my parents are immigrants and have an 8th grade education. After the 8th grade, they had to get out and work to support their families. They don’t speak any English, so I learned to translate for them at a very young age, from phone bills to conversations with our neighbors. Learning two languages has allowed me to become the bridge that connects two worlds together.
Not many have the pleasure of being able to say they were raised in a barn! Yet, here I am. From around the age of 5 to 16, I lived in a refurbished barn on a small plot of farmland in southern California, packed in with my five siblings. We grew corn, peas, and other crops, which we harvested together as a family. My siblings and I would bond and play by sprinting through the tall fields of corn, loving the feel of the earth pounding against our bare feet and the burn of our lungs as we ran and laughed all the while.