Stories: Students

Discovering my voice at UC Davis - Jennifer La

January 11, 2019
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.

Refuge - Jessica Ison

December 05, 2018
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.

Failures Are The Best Motivation - Miguel Paulo Flores

November 01, 2018
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!

A Journey through Five Colleges - Dave Ivan Cruz

October 19, 2018
Dave Ivan Cruz '19 International Relations

Tell us about your first generation background. Where did you grow up and what is your family history? What is unique about your story?  

An Ode to Mom and Dad - Ariana Nagainis

October 11, 2018
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.

Discovering My Second Family - Jose Macias

October 02, 2018
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.

Mentorship and Finding Your Balance as Keys to Success - Chris Nosala

September 12, 2018
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.

Family Inspiration - Semaj Troupe

June 08, 2018
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.

Athletics as a College Pathway - Ryan Han

June 05, 2018
Ryan Han ‘19 Aerospace Engineering

By Sharon Knox

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.

Finding My Place at UC Davis - Daniel Ryn Van Patten

May 24, 2018
Daniel Ryn Van Patten '18 History


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.