College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

From Farm Worker to PhD: My 10-Year Journey

February 27, 2020
Erika Estrada BS, Biological Science '16; PhD Student, Food Science

Ten years ago I arrived alone in the US with nothing but a dream. Now I am proud to call myself a scientist, a PhD student, and a mentor. My family, while loving and supportive, never imagined that I would become a scientist. To be honest, neither did I.

Finding Common Ground in Food - Lucero Morales

March 08, 2019
Lucero Morales '20 Biotechnology

From a young age, Lucero Morales’ parents instilled in her the importance of a higher education. Seeing the spark for knowledge they’d set in her had caught fire, they fanned the flames and offered to support her financially while she went to college. Her high school was considered “low performing” and many of her friends were the first in their family to go to high school. Of her graduating class, she was one of five students to get into a UC and one of only two to get into UC Davis.

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.

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.

Defying the Odds to Make It Happen - Izaac Ornelas

April 23, 2018
Izaac Ornelas Managerial Economics '19

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.