Hybrid Alumni Week festivities highlight Slug’s ingenuity, camaraderie and social conscience

Drones soared overhead, familiar places and faces were rediscovered, cocktail glasses clinked and old friendships were renewed during the hybrid. Graduate Week 2022 festivities, which mixed analog fun and virtual symposiums.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous two editions of Alumni Week were mostly virtual, but this one included plenty of opportunities to meet and greet in person, including a kick-off gala for graduates in downtown Santa Cruz at the Museum of Art and History (MAH).


Slugs pride themselves on their blend of excellence and social conscience. This combination was very present during a virtual meeting Academic Forum Tuesday highlighting the work of three alumni of UCSC’s prestigious science communication program who are covering the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists, Julia Calderon (’14 SciCom), Nicolas Sainte-Fleur (’14 SciCom) and Nsikan Agpan (’14 SciCom), who was appointed in January 2021 as health and science editor at WNYC public radio in New York, rose to the challenge of covering a crisis that also affects them personally.

Calderone, editor-in-chief at New York Times, was part of a large team of reporters and editors honored on June 11 by the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service 2021. The prize, considered the most prestigious of the annual Pulitzer Prizes for journalism, recognized a comprehensive package of 15 data analysis stories and displays on the coronavirus pandemic brought together in 2020 by the New York Times.

Calderone was asked to work on the New York Timesof the COVID monitoring project in the spring of 2020.

“I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that those were some of the darkest, most humbling and rewarding times of my life,” Calderone said.

Consider climate change

the Conference on the fight against climate change Thursday brought together scientists, artists, policy experts and community members to discuss the well-being of the planet and share solutions for the future.

The conference kicked off with presentations from experts on how climate change is affecting the Santa Cruz County community through sea level rise, storm intensity, water supply, health fishing and food production.

Katherine Seto, assistant professor of environmental studies, spoke about the complex ways in which climate change can impact fisheries around the world. Small island states in the Pacific have economies that depend on their commercial fisheries, but warming waters have caused many tuna to migrate to open waters away from island jurisdiction, Seto said.

As a result of this migration, places like Santa Cruz are expected to see an increase in tuna stocks.

“But when that happens, these small island nations will no longer be entitled to the revenues, which in some cases represent 84% of their government’s total revenues. Things like hospitals, education and roads will no longer have the support they need.

“So when you think of climate change, it’s often easy to think of the direct effects, isn’t it?” said Seto. “What’s harder to think about are the indirect and more complex things like ocean acidification or saltwater intrusion, or increased frequency and intensity of storms.”

The panel also included Borja Reguero, Research Associate, UCSC Institute of Marine Sciences; Sherry Flumerfelt of the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust; and Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun tribal band.

“Art can be a bridge”

The slugs took their time Friday night enjoying the exhibit strange weather, which brings together works from the collection of Jordan Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, illuminating and reframing the boundaries of bodies and the environment, with works by renowned contemporary artists.

The exhibition, which runs until August 14, is curated by Rachel Nelson, director of the Institute of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with Jennifer González, professor of art history and visual culture. The exhibition is organized by the Institute of Arts and Sciences and the Museum of Art and History of Santa Cruz.

Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Dean of the Arts Division at UCSC, encouraged attendees to get lost in the artwork.

“You will be frozen in your feet because your mind will be blown away,” she said, pointing out that strange time is freely available to UCSC faculty, staff, and students.

Addressing the crowd at the weekend’s kick-off event, UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive said the MAH exhibit was a great way to start the festivities on Saturday and Sunday during alumni week.

“It’s a great place to come together and reflect on campus-community collaborations.

“Art can serve as a bridge,” she continued. “The arts really bring the soul to UC Santa Cruz, especially since Dean Celine joined us.”

A new look on campus

While most activity was land-based on Grad Week weekend, some Slugs enjoyed breaking free from gravity with high-flying drones at the Drone flight demonstration. A group of alumni had fun learning to fly the buzzing, remote-controlled aircraft of FAA-certified undergraduates working in the CIDER (CITRIS Initiative for Drone Education and Research) program on campus.

Some have stopped there for fun, others because they are thinking about a professional retraining and consider the many applications of drone work as a major opportunity. A future robotics student from UCSC and his father passed by and stayed for over an hour. In fact, they were so taken with the drone demonstration that it sealed the deal: The young man is coming to UCSC.

At Crown College, UCSC Foundation Trustee Henry Chu (Crown ’72, History) and Diane (Pearson) Elliot (Crown ’73, Biology) were attending the 50th Crown College Meeting, which featured a conversation around the topic ” Who we are and who we have become.

When asked why he attended the event, Chu said, “A lot of my identity is tied to Crown College and UCSC, and a lot of my good friends are from here. We are five to hang out together quite frequently, and one of them was the organizer.”

He added that he was also involved with Crown College as a trustee and part of the event was to encourage alumni to think about the future, especially at Crown, and to consider doing gifts.

Elliot – who met her husband, Robert Elliott (Crown ’72, psychology), at orientation during their first week of college – heard about the 50th reunion through the college roommate by Robert, Mark Alexander (Crown ’74, information science).

“We decided it would be kind of fun to come back and review things,” Elliot said. “I don’t know what I expected, but it was really interesting to see where people have gone over the last 50 years.”

Graduates reconnect, change the world

At the Cowell Coffee Shop Saturday event, Cultivating Access to Food and Student SuccessCowell Coffee Shop Supervisor Brooks Schmitt (Porter ’12, Classics and World Literature) explained how the cafe employs 13 students and 30 interns, and serves 200-300 students a day with free, nutritious food, thanks in part to in the basic program at the University of California. Initiative of needs.

“We’re trying to create this visualization of what the food system is and how students fit into it, and then address food security at the same time,” Schmitt said, adding that 80% of products in the coffee come from the campus farm. , with the remaining 20% ​​coming from the farmer’s market.

Cynthia Hernandez-DeLuca (Oakes ’99, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology) from Milpitas went to Graduate Week for the first time this year and was attending the Gathering of Graduates in Latin American and Latin American Studies– she had been interested in Latin American and Latin American studies as a student but had not had much luck exploring it – and then planned to head to the Oakes College Welcome Barbecue to see if she has met old friends and acquaintances, and possibly to network.

As Saturday’s dynamic slate of events drew to a close, Sterling Scott (Rachel Carson 2017, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology) had the opportunity to relax at the Long live 30 years! Graduate reception and meeting on Cowell Court. Scott, who was part of the founding class of Focus on Africa (FOA), was invited by FOA management to speak at the group’s event, Merrill College: Focus on Africa Reunionearly in the day.

“They wanted me to come back and talk about my experience and how it changed my life. It really opened my eyes and changed my perspective on a lot of things and how I see the world and interprets what we’re going through, and it’s opened so many doors,” Scott said. “I hope to continue to open those doors for other students at UCSC to be involved in world class.”

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