Photo portrait of UC Davis tour guide Jenna Heath

First generation: Yes

Tell us a little about you.

I was born and raised in San Mateo with my family as a first generation student. I am also a transfer student that transferred from College of San Mateo to UC Davis through the TAG program in Fall 2021. At UC Davis, I am a senior and am active on campus by being a part of the Undergraduate Admissions Student Ambassador Team and a research assistant for my college major.

In the context of your background and your time at UC Davis, what makes you unique?

What makes me unique is my ability to connect with others who share similar backgrounds and experiences to myself. I am a big advocate for transfer students and first generation students. I work toward breaking the stigma toward the transfer route and making transfer students feel a part of campus. In addition, I love connecting with new people everyday and learning something new about their experiences or their knowledge in order to become better myself.

Why did you choose UC Davis?

I chose UC Davis for a multitude of reasons, such as the location as it's close from my home and the pretty campus. But the main reason was because I saw myself happy going to class and feeling like I could find my community. Talking with friends and family illustrated to me how friendly and collaborative the community is in not just the academic, but also the social aspect of college. The multitude of communities and clubs that piqued my interests made me feel like I would belong and fit right in as a student.

What do you enjoy doing for fun here?

I love hanging out with friends downtown after class, either going to get boba at Lazi Cow or enjoying the farmers market. I love enjoying the beautiful California weather hanging out with my friends, either staying in Davis or driving to Sacramento to enjoy the beautiful city life it has to offer.

What activities have you been involved in here?

I am involved in multiple different clubs on campus. I am a part of the American Cancer Society and Hiking Club. I work as a Student Ambassador for the Undergraduate Admissions Team and am interning as a Research Assistant for my professor here on campus.

What do you like about academics and student life here?

I overall like the vibes that I get from both my academics and student life here. I feel supported and listened to when it comes to my concerns or questions about my overall academics to my professors and counselors. The classroom environment has a collaborative and friendly nature of communication that comes from both the faculty and students. The students are also supportive and strive one another to be successful, but also are compassionate and willing to help each other in any situation.

Where have you found community and support on campus?

I found one of my support groups which is the TRC, the Transfer and Reentry Center. They have helped me find the best resources and student community where I can feel support and have a social group who share similar experiences to me.

How has UC Davis helped you grow?

UC Davis has helped me grow in my education, both inside and outside the classroom. The unique classes, challenging academic material, and supportive people here have positively changed the way I learn and grow as an individual. I have met so many people from all walks of life who have taught me so many incredible things that have only made me want to learn and appreciate people around me.

What do you hope/plan to do after you graduate?

After I graduate, I hope to help students with their journey in education. I have always had a passion for helping kids and students who share similar experiences as me who I want to mentor. I want to make learning a fun experience and something enjoyable for students to actually take away from and carry with them for the rest of their lives.

What would you tell prospective students about UC Davis?

Push yourself out there. Even if you don’t want to do it or you're afraid, you don't know unless you try it. There have been countless times where I was afraid or nervous that I didn’t feel like I fit in, but then I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and have made many memorable experiences through doing so. There are so many opportunities and experiences you have yet to gain, and UC Davis has so many things for you to explore, whether it's a new class outside your major, a new club or interest of yours, or a job. There is so much more to UC Davis that you would be surprised by the endless possibilities that are waiting for you here.

Social media

Instagram: @jenna.benna2019