College of Letters and Science

Fire in the Belly - Shiang-Wan Chin

January 17, 2019
Shiang-Wan Chin '17 Managerial Economics & Communication

My parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan, and they did it without speaking English. My siblings and I grew up in San Francisco. When applying for college, I knew I had to stay close to home so I could visit my family easily, so I applied only to UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

UC Davis was always my top school. I first became interested because of its world-renowned agriculture economics program.

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?  

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.

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. 

"I am the only person who can change my world" - Marina Farr

May 03, 2018
Marina Farr NPB and Psychology

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.

Doctor Dreams to Research Reality - Susanna Zheng

April 23, 2018
Susanna Zheng '19 Psychology 

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.

Working to Relieve Poverty, From a High School Internship to a Sociology Degree - Samantha Dunn

April 17, 2018
Samantha Dunn '20 Sociology 

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.

"A lot of pressure, but a lot of hope, too" - Ahash Francis

April 13, 2018
Ahash Francis '18 English

My parents were refugees from the Sri Lankan Civil War. There was a genocide in our home country for much of the 80s and 90s, and Canada took thousands of victims, ethnic Tamils, in to protect them. My parents were both among these Tamil refugees, and they met and married in Toronto in the 90s. My sister and I were born in Scarborough, Ontario, and we moved to Gilroy, California when I was two, where my parents had my little brother.

Adversity to Advantage: What Led me to UC Davis - Jenny Aguiar

March 27, 2018
Jenny Aguiar '19 Psychology 

My parents immigrated to the United States as young adults with the intention of one day giving their children a better life than back home. My two brothers and I were raised in Vallejo, California- a location once known for being the first decent-sized city in California to file for bankruptcy. My parents were stressed by the demands of living in California -- they both worked two jobs for the majority of my childhood -- and became alcoholics. My home life was unstable, and to this day things have not gotten much better there.