Photo portrait of UC Davis tour guide Justin Gambill

Tell us a little about you.

I tend to describe myself as someone who actively likes to get lost in the woods. I am an extremely outdoorsy person; anything an everything relating to the environment is something that I am passionate about. It has stemmed from my background as a trail runner, exploring the canyons and open spaces in Orange County whenever I have free time.

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

The location: Davis being less than two hours from Tahoe allows me to have that end of the week nature fix that I crave.

Why did you choose UC Davis?

There are so many opportunities to explore your interests at UC Davis — that is initially what drew me in to the university. There are so many spaces for you to find your community, and each one encourages you to explore others to find out exactly where you fit in.

What do you enjoy doing for fun here?

I love to trail run, hike, camp, pretty much anything outside. When I am in Davis, I love going to coffee shops with friends, exploring record stores, and hanging out in the Arboretum or at the farmers market.

What activities have you been involved in here?

I have been a tour guide for the past two years. I also work in a lab, studying the detoxification of plant chemicals by the fungus Botrytis cinerea. I also am a part of a ski group — we go up to Tahoe almost every weekend in the winter. I also am a writer and an editor for a scientific publication club called Morning Sign Out.

What do you like about academics and student life here?

I love how easy it is to explore exactly what you are interested in studying at UC Davis and how supportive the community is in assisting you to find that niche.

Where have you found community and support on campus?

Mostly through discussion sections, school clubs and free tutoring services from the AATC.

How has UC Davis helped you grow?

UC Davis has allowed me to develop confidence. I have been able to find exactly where I belong and what I want to study because the community here truly wants to support as many people as they can. If I cannot figure something out, someone is always there to point me in a new direction.

How do you feel UC Davis is preparing you for success?

A lot of my classes give me actual real-world scenarios that will be applicable in my job search. I had a lab class that spent a few weeks going over the Good Laboratory Procedures, the legal doctrine that governs all lab practices.

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

I hope to find a job as a junior specialist in a soil or water quality laboratory or attend graduate school.

What has surprised you about UC Davis?

UC Davis is a lot more lively than I was told it would be. Everyone I have encountered has been extremely friendly and inviting.

What would you tell prospective students about UC Davis?

Try to picture yourself as a student, sitting in the quad or the Arboretum, biking to and from class, waving high to your friends as you zip past. If that feels right, then go for it!