Beginning this week, there will be 809 new people on campus at UC Santa Barbara. Stateside, they’re coming from Alaska and Arizona, Minnesota and Michigan, Colorado and Connecticut, Tennessee and Texas. Elsewhere across the globe, they’re traveling from Pakistan and Poland, Mexico and Mongolia, China and Chile, India and Israel. They are aspiring engineers, environmentalists, educators, fine artists and social scientists. Some are still in their teens, and others are in their mid-60s.
This diverse group of individuals is the newest crop of graduate students to UCSB.
Men outnumber the women among this group, but not by much. There are 441 men and 368 women beginning their graduate studies here. Two 18-year-olds are the youngest new grad students, and the oldest is 66, proving there is no age limit to pursuing the dream of a graduate degree.
Electrical and computer engineering will see the highest number of new grad students — 116. The Teacher Education Program will welcome 80 new students, and Environmental Science & Management follows closely on its heels with 76 students. By division, the most new grad students are in engineering (235), followed by mathematical, life and physical science (215) and education (121). The majority of new grad students are pursuing Ph.Ds (420). Master of science degrees are being sought by 132; MAs, 82; master of education, 74; and master of environmental science and management, 73.
There are 553 U.S. citizens born in 42 states or the District of Columbia, and 256 non-U.S. citizens from 29 countries. It’s no surprise that among U.S. citizens, most of the new students were born in California (274). Other states of birth with high numbers of incoming students are New York, 21; Massachusetts, 19; and Texas, 16. Among non-U.S. citizens, 90 are citizens of China; 55 are from India; and 16 are from Taiwan. Also represented are Mexico, 11; Iran, 10; Canada, 10; Korea, 9; and Turkey, 6.
UCSB’s grad students are truly global, with citizenship from these additional nations: Austria, Australia, Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Egypt, Spain, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Israel, Jordan, Japan, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Some of these new students had a chance to get acquainted recently through social activity meetups — a campus tour, a visit to the university's touch tanks and a happy hour at Woodstock's Pizza.
The UCSB Graduate Division interviewed six new grad students and asked them what degree programs they will be pursuing; their first impressions of UCSB; and what they are looking forward to most both on campus and off. Here’s what they said.
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Derek Haddad grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and started taking Latin and Greek in high school. After graduating from Boston University with a bachelor of arts degree in classical languages, he taught Latin in secondary education for three years. He then earned his master's degree in classics from Tufts University.
Haddad is starting his Ph.D. program here in classics with a focus in ancient history and historiography. His research interest is in the ancient middle and lower classes of the Roman Empire, party politics, trade, and how Greeks and other foreign subjects viewed the Roman Empire.
“Having spent my whole life in the Northeast, I am excited to be living on the West Coast,” Haddad said. “I'll try not to send too many pictures of sunny Santa Barbara this winter to friends and relatives around Boston.
“Everyone around UCSB is as warm and friendly as the weather. I look forward to spending the next few years here, taking an interdisciplinary approach to the ancient world of the multicultural Mediterranean basin.”
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Aubrie Adams participated in the ARC/Sally Casanova pre-doctoral program this summer, so she got a head start in becoming acclimated to campus life at UCSB. (Click here to read the Graduate Post Summer Research Scholar in the Spotlight article on her.)
This Sacramento native earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Sonoma State University, and a master's degree in communication studies from Cal State-Sacramento. At UCSB, she will be pursuing a Ph.D. in communication.
“I’m in love with UCSB!” Adams said. “All of the students, faculty and staff I have encountered have gone above and beyond in helping to enable a smooth transition to grad school. I’ve been impressed by the web resources and the online ‘GradSpace: New Graduate Student Community’ in particular. This website [created and run by the Graduate Division’s academic peer advisor Torrey Trust] allows new students to network with each other, watch videos, create an academic plan, join a book club and participate in discussions. It’s a great use of technology and it has helped me to feel better connected to UCSB.”
Adams said she is excited about starting her studies here.
“I am looking forward to growing academically, professionally and socially," she said. "The faculty in the Communication Department are phenomenal, and I’m thrilled to work with them. UCSB has a great research reputation, and I’m also looking forward to working with faculty and students from other departments to build and share knowledge between disciplines.”
For Adams, many extracurricular activities will center on food.
“I’m a foodie and I love to cook, bake and visit new restaurants. It’s an added bonus that many Santa Barbara restaurants promote local and organic food," she said. "I am crazy about McConnell’s Ice Cream on State Street so far. They are a local company and they have a variety of delicious flavors, including Churros con Leche, Dark Chocolate Orange and Summer Peach, just to name a few. ... So good!
"The climate here is also amazing and great for growing plants. I’ve got my own passion fruit tree growing in a pot on my deck that has produced a number of fruits so far. Overall, I’m excited to continue to explore Santa Barbara and to learn more about events, festivals and opportunities to try new food."
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Colin Stewart comes to UCSB from Arlington Heights, Ill. He received his bachelor of science degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here he will pursue a Ph.D. in materials Engineering.
“When I told friends back home I was going to UCSB, the first thing they said would always be, ‘It's beautiful there,’” Stewart said. “This is undeniable, but UCSB is also so much more: a community of friends, a way of life, a home.”
Stewart expects that graduate school will change him, and that’s not something he fears.
“When my friends ask whether they should also pursue a graduate degree, I say, ‘I can't tell because I'm not you, and you're not the you you will be after a graduate program,’" he said. "At UCSB, I'm looking forward to the me I become once I'm done.”
He intends to maintain a work-life balance, and plans to enjoy “all the fun things to do with friends: hiking, kayaking, surfing, just about any sport you can dream of.”
In summing up his positive outlook, Stewart says: “Everything about UCSB is my best-case scenario.”
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Crystal Bae came to UC Santa Barbara from Washington, D.C., but she didn’t travel here the conventional way (by car, bus, plane or train). Bae bicycled here, part of a summer bicycle tour with her partner in which she cycled 4,651 miles, with 88 days on the road riding a daily average of 61 miles. Over the summer, the couple consumed 11 jars of peanut butter, 43 scoops of ice cream and countless pancakes. They applied 32 ounces of sunblock and experienced four thunderstorms — all in Montana.
Bae, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in English literature with a minor in geography from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., plans to pursue a master's degree/Ph.D. in geography at UCSB.
“The faculty and graduate students seem receptive to interdisciplinary work,” Bae said, “so I expect to hear and learn a lot about collaborative research between different UCSB departments. It's also a shift being on a more traditional college campus, since GWU was nestled right into the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of D.C. and fairly integrated into the city.”
She’s excited about the new avenues and opportunities that await her.
“I'm looking forward to exploring potential research ideas here with supportive faculty members who have a huge variety of focus areas, including some exciting new areas of geographic study that I'm less familiar with," she said. "I also look forward to working as a teaching assistant for the first time this fall.”
Bae will be putting her bicycle to good use here.
“I like that downtown Santa Barbara is an easy bike ride away, and that there's a huge range of opportunities for enjoying the outdoors around here: hiking, bird-watching, surfing, and just picnicking amongst gorgeous vistas. Getting outside is a great way to take a break from sitting at your desk all day.”
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San Jose native Laura Urbisci earned her bachelor of science degree in environmental science and management with an emphasis in ecology, biodiversity and conservation and a minor in Spanish from UC Davis.
She will pursue her Ph.D. studies at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.
“My general impression of UCSB has been a positive one,” said Urbisci, who attended a New Grad Meetup recently that included a campus tour and a visit to The REEF touch tanks.
What she looks forward to most about living in the Santa Barbara area are “the delicious French pastries, hipster coffee and the beach."
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Mohit Hingorani is one of the 55 new graduate students coming to UCSB from India. He earned his bachelor of science degree in electrical and electronics engineering from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in Delhi, India, and will work toward a master of science degree in through the Media Arts & Technology (MAT) Graduate Program at UCSB.
He described his experience thus far at UCSB as “incredible.” He praised the Office of International Students and Scholars and the Graduate Division for being helpful and efficient.
Mohit is excited to start his studies here, where he looks forward to “exploring new ideas in the field of media arts and creating multimedia installations at MAT. I shall also be working with Dr. Pradeep Sen in the field of HDR photography at the Mirage Lab.”
Studying amid the beauty of the Santa Barbara area is a definite plus for Mohit.
“The campus is gorgeous, the beaches are magnificent and the sunset here is amazing,” he said.
He plans to make time to explore the Central Coast, hike and learn to surf and scuba dive.