Celebrate our graduates!

A few of our amazing grads

The Class of 2022 is giving voice to the challenges of our time—leading to transformative change. Here are a few of their stories.

Joy and perseverance

Commencement week was a grand celebration that included Slug Crossings, heartfelt speeches, cap tossing, photo ops, and accessorized cap-and-gown outfits. Graduates spoke of the challenges they faced on the way, savored time with their families, and discussed future plans.

Chailen August

Chailen August’s time at UC Santa Cruz put him on a path he never expected. Not only did he embark on a study of drill rap and its interpretation in Ghana, Africa, but, as part of a study-abroad program, he also had a visceral experience of what his enslaved ancestors may have endured.

Brittany Caldwell

Brittany Caldwell, a scholar focused on the impact of early-grade math instruction, has pulled off an impressive feat: earning her Ph.D. in math education and teaching hundreds of students in seminars, all while raising three children.

Teresa Faasolo

Teresa Faasolo decided to study computer engineering because she was good at math and highly interested in computers. The major proved more difficult than she had expected, but with help from the Multicultural Engineering Program, she regained her confidence—and found a family.

Sean Lawrence

With his work studying the relationship between Germany’s Deutsche Bank and the Ottoman Empire, Sean Lawrence shows that many things we think of as unique to our modern capitalistic world really have roots dating back much further.

Candy Martinez

The daughter of Oaxacan migrants, Candy Martinez has found a meaningful way to reconnect with her roots, investigating the ways in which Indigenous communities process and heal grief and trauma.

Benny Mosqueira

Benny Mosqueira felt driven to make something of himself, and he arrived on campus intending to become a medical doctor. Instead, the first-generation college student was captivated by the research opportunities he found at UC Santa Cruz and decided to pursue biomedical research as a career.

Amanda Quirk

Amanda Quirk's research on galaxy mergers showed evidence that the Andromeda galaxy had some kind of major galactic collision in the past 4 billion years, and survived—which has implications for our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

Nicole Rudolph-Vallerga

Being half Latinx and half white, Nicole Rudolph-Vallerga always felt like she didn’t quite fit into either group. So she created her own community with her fall senior art show.

Tiffany-Ellen Vo

Tiffany-Ellen Vo encountered some initial difficulties in college, but with support from the Multicultural Engineering Program she regained her footing. She went on to take advantage of every opportunity she was offered at UC Santa Cruz—and she has already secured a job as a software engineer at Cisco.

Maxwell Ward

Maxwell Ward always wanted to be an archeologist, following tales of adventure like the search for the tomb of Genghis Khan. But he realizes now that treasure hunting is the smallest part of being an archaeologist. The biggest part today is ethics, and helping make the discipline accessible to native people who have been historically shut out of it.