I grew up in a Mexican immigrant family household in Southeast Los Angeles. I am the oldest and the first to attend college in hopes of being a role model for my younger siblings. I was encouraged to go to college by my middle school teachers and my dad, who told me to aim higher and never give up. Because of them, college was something I knew I wanted, and I got it. And I never gave up on school, even in those moments when it got tough and I was worried about failing.
Irving Huerta '20 - Sustainable Environmental Design and Political Science - Public Service
By Irving Huerta with Hailey Chatterton '20
I graduated in the middle of a pandemic with two degrees in hand, and my dream job as an urban planner. I could not be more proud of how far I have come.... If I made it this far, I know that you can too!
Eric Thai '20 discovers his academic pathway and his family history converge in research.
“What is a Ph.D.?” My immigrant father asked.
He was understandably concerned about my plans to spend another 4-5 years pursuing another degree.
“A Ph.D. is a degree that prepares me to ask questions and contribute knowledge to the world.”
Seeing how stumped my dad was, I pulled out a pen and paper and started drawing concentric circles representing expanding bands of knowledge, with a Ph.D. as a mountain rising on the outer layer – and at its peak, an academic career.
Stefany grew up in Sacramento, California where she is the oldest of three and the daughter of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants. Stefany decided she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field when her brother was diagnosed with Leukemia shortly after she started community college. When she found out about the affiliation UC Davis has with the hospital and the student-run clinics, she realized she couldn’t wait to be an Aggie!
My ancestors originated from China, but during the Japanese invasion, my family moved to Vietnam hoping to live a better life. To avoid the Vietnam war, they sought refuge in Hong Kong before finally taking a boat to San Francisco, where my family settled. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, my family split. Half of them stayed in SF, and others migrated to Oakland, where I grew up.
Diana is a first-year transfer, first generation student studying Communication at UC Davis. She is the first in her family to attend a four-year university. She wants to make her family proud and is grateful to her parents for all of their sacrifices. She celebrates her education as not just hers but rather the efforts made by her parents, and she dedicates her hard work to them.
In search of a better life in the United States, Joyce and her family immigrated from Mexico when she was almost two years old. Her background has helped her stay motivated and achieve many accomplishments in college. After she graduates, she hope to inspire many and provide other first-generation students support.
I was born in the Philippines and migrated to the U.S. when I was 11 years old to meet my parents for the first time. At 16 years old, my parents divorced. After the divorce, my dad lost his job and we lost our home too. By 18 I was homeless, so my best friend’s family took me in. I lived with friends or other relatives until my dad got back on his feet again.