You are here

We’re the Aggies: the go-getters, change makers, team players and problem solvers. We’re a unique and energetic community built on diverse backgrounds, experiences and expertise; and we're intent on making the world a better place. These are our stories.

Video of Jann Murray-Garcia

Jann Murray-Garcia

  • Activist-Scholar
  • Barrier Buster
  • Gobbler of Good Nonfiction

“Spending time with my ‘wacky’ family is one of my favorite things to do when I’m not working. I have two teenagers, and they are really funny. They inherited my sarcasm and habit of providing running commentary in any situation. If I’m not with them or my husband, I’m reading nonfiction—I really enjoy authors like Malcolm Gladwell, and I’m also interested in African American history.”

Details

TITLE:

Assistant Adjunct Professor

Professional School:

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

Back
Video of Jay Lund

Jay Lund

  • Water Management Expert
  • Recreational Sailor
  • Interdisciplinary Innovator

“My job description is essentially, 'go out and do useful things.' As a scholar, educator and professor engaged in water problems, I can be quite useful. I'm blessed to work with many bright young people who come to UC Davis to address California's and the world's food and environment challenges. We solve problems. We help people. It’s a dream job.”

Details
Video of Boaz Arzo

Boaz Arzi

  • Surfing Surgeon
  • Pioneering Professor
  • Dedicated Veterinarian

“I ask my students all the time when we go to the operating room, ‘Why are you happy to fix a dog or a cat?’ I think it’s that sense of being needed, of making a difference and being able to change somebody’s misfortune that drives us. For me it’s a way of life.”

Details

TITLE:

Assistant Professor, Surgical and Radiological Sciences

Professional School:

School of Veterinary Medicine

Back
Video of Jenny Hebets

Jenny Hebets

  • Agribusiness Leader
  • Surfer
  • Poverty Pulverizer

“In high school I participated in annual mission trips to Tijuana, about a two hour-drive from my home. I was deeply moved by the juxtaposition of affluence and poverty in such close proximity. That disparity nudged me to pursue my own mission and career path: to help communities in developing countries realize their economic potential. Over the last 10 years I’ve studied and worked in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Each new challenge is enabling me to one day be a driver of real, sustainable change.”

Details

Title:

MBA Student

Professional School:

Graduate School of Management

Back
Video of Raoul Adamchak

Raoul Adamchak

  • Organic Instructor
  • Zen Farmer
  • Outdoor Adventurer

“A lot of people who meet me are surprised that I’m married to Pam Ronald, a plant geneticist at UC Davis. You see, I’ve been an organic farmer for almost 30 years, and some of her work uses genetic engineering to make farming more sustainable. Our approaches may appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but the common ground is obvious to us: Use the best technology and farming practices possible to achieve the most sustainable agriculture possible.”

Details

TITLE:

Market Garden Coordinator, UC Davis Student Farm; Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Coordinator, Agricultural Sustainability Institute

College:

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Back
Video of Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo

Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo

  • Community Champion
  • Bright-side Believer
  • Med School Mentor

“Resilience, hope and the goodness of others—those are the best parts of my story. When I was 11, I was sent from my home in West Africa to live with relatives in Oakland. The arrangement was built on the promise that I would have a better life and education. The reality, however, was much different. I was undocumented for more than a decade, with little access to resources or advocates. But people along the way found me, invested in me and helped me get to where I am today.”

Details

Title:

Medical Student

Professional School:

School of Medicine

Back
Video of Eduardo Delgadillo

Eduardo Delgadillo

  • Community Clinic Leader
  • Farmworker Health Advocate
  • Thrill Seeker

“My family raised me differently. I was born in Mexico, and my father gave me tons of room to explore the world around me and try new things. When I’m not in class or working at Clínica Tepati, I love to jump on my Ninja 650. It brings me back to those childhood adventures with my dad. There’s nothing like the rush of freedom.”

Details
Video of Veronica Passalacqua

Veronica Passalacqua

  • Culture Curator
  • Eye for Art
  • Soccer Mom

“Astrophysics was my planned career path, and then I was forced to take a humanities class about the Mayan civilization. I was so taken with the celestial stories and art that I shifted my entire focus to art history and museum studies. Years later, curating my first exhibit in London, I met with prospective Native American photographers. One of the photographers happened to be a visiting scholar in Davis—a city I knew nothing about. Well, she and I are now married, leading the C.N. Gorman Museum. We’re living a life that I could have never envisioned in my wildest dreams.”

Details
Video of Alejandra Gordillo

Alejandra Gordillo

  • Health Focused
  • Future Cancer Curer
  • Dedicated Daughter

“Everything I’m doing right now is about helping students find a way to live healthier lives. I hit a point in my life where I was tired of feeling bad physically and emotionally. So I started making some changes, including eating healthier and working out at the ARC. Over time, I lost 70 pounds. It’s still hard to believe! Now I feel incredible, I enjoy my life, and for once, I feel in control. This feeling is contagious, and I want to share the joy of health with everyone.”

Details
Video of Fadi Fathallah

Fadi Fathallah

  • Ag Engineer Convert
  • Ibn Battuta Imitator
  • Triathlon Enthusiast

“My mom always thought I’d be a great doctor. She ran a medical clinic in Beirut and pictured me helping people there. I was more interested in engineering, which is what I ended up pursuing. Still, the idea of a career that combined the two lurked in the back of my mind. It led me to biomedical and industrial engineering. Now I develop tools that help agricultural workers avoid injury and risk in the field.”

Details
Video of Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart

  • Shockwave Scientist
  • Moon Maven
  • Science Fiction Fan Girl

“I’ve always had a fascination with science fiction. It’s partly why I chose to study planetary sciences, along with a love of physics and a belief in the likelihood of life beyond our solar system. Sometimes, I feel like I’m starring in a science fiction film. I get to play explorer, researching how large bodies impact planets and result in the unexpected. There is a tremendous feeling of excitement when I discover something new.”

Details
Video of Edward Silva

Edward Silva ’12

  • Idea Incubator
  • World Hunger Challenger
  • International Ambassador

“Agriculture and food literally touch every single person on earth, and not many people know that it all starts with small-scale farmers. To help them support the world’s food supply, my company created Henlight, a small solar-powered light that uses smart technology to boost poultry egg production by up to 25 percent. The positive response from producers tells me we’re making a difference, and that is rather humbling.”

Details
Video of Sarah Moffitt

Sarah Moffitt ’14

  • Science Superhero
  • NPR Nut
  • Women in STEM Supporter

“My love for the ocean began as a kid on my grandfather’s boat, fishing for salmon and crabbing in the Pacific Northwest. Those early experiences with my ‘Papa’ laid the foundation for my career in marine science. At UC Davis, I spent my days aboard a research vessel off the Northern California coast. I examined sediment core samples from the deep sea to understand how marine ecosystems can flourish. I’m hopeful for a future where salmon are crazy abundant in the rivers where I grew up.”

Details

Degree:

Ph.D., Ecology

Title:

Postdoctoral Scholar, Future of Ice Initiative, University of Washington

College:

Biological Sciences

Back
Video of Kiko Barr

Kiko Barr ’15

  • Student Farm Producer
  • Pantry Project Protagonist
  • Video Game Virtuoso

“This is a little bit dorky, but in high school I was really into this video game called Harvest Moon. You play a farmer who inherits his great uncle’s land. You can grow crops like tomatoes, and pet the cows and milk them. Growing up in the suburbs, I had no idea what an actual farm looked like. The game created this image in my mind that farming was the coolest thing ever. It led me to check out the Student Farm and apply for an internship, which I received. Six months later, I changed my major to sustainable ag and food systems. It's funny to look back and think it all started with farming on a screen.”

Details
Video of Dean Shreve

Dean Shreve ’12, ’15

  • Lifetime Literature Lover
  • Valued Veteran
  • Recovering Class Clown

“I was a horrible student. One day, my sixth-grade teacher got absolutely fed up with me because I was disrupting the class. Instead of detention, I had to lead the topic discussions for Julie of the Wolves, the book we were reading at the time. Turned out, I loved my ‘punishment.’ A book that had been dreadful for me—and several of my classmates, actually—came alive. I told my teacher that I wanted to teach English literature someday, and she agreed. For the first time in my life, she told my parents that I was an acceptable student.”

Details

Degree:

B.A., English; Cred

Title:

English Teacher, Sem Yeto Satellite High School

Professional School:

School of Education

College:

Letters and Science—Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies

Back
Video of Lisa Wolbert

Lisa Wolbert

  • Taiko Tempo Tuner
  • Environmental Enthusiast
  • Bee Lover

“Playing taiko drums helps me connect with my Japanese heritage. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never had a chance. I was surprised by the physical and mental strength required to create that explosive energy. When I reach the height of a performance, it’s a thrilling experience. I feel incredible.”

Details
Video of Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor

  • Nanochemist
  • Eternal Optimist
  • Life Transformer

“My mom and I went to community college around the same time, which made for an interesting and memorable experience. We’re both first-generation students. Sometimes we would study or have classes together. We would talk a lot about what we were learning—at times that was more engaging than the lectures. Still, there is something awkward about being on campus or in class and seeing ‘mom’ standing there next to your friends and classmates. Now I’m finishing my undergraduate degree here at Davis, and she’s in the process of getting her MBA. I don’t know who’s prouder.”

Details

MAJOR:

Chemical Physics; Minor in Energy, Science and Technology

COLLEGE:

Letters and Science — Mathematical and Physical Sciences

PROGRAMS:

Intern at Energy Efficiency Center; Undergrad Research Assistant for Chemistry Department Guo Lab; Intern at Chevron

Back
Video of Raissa D’Souza

Raissa D’Souza

  • Network Theorist
  • Mountain Scaler
  • Globetrotter

“There was a big debate in my family about whether I would go to college and study math and physics, or go off to Paris and become a fashion designer. Ultimately, I made the right choice to go to college. The 18-year-old me might not have agreed but now I look back and see all the richness and depth that comes from a scientific career. The pool of knowledge I have to draw from only gets larger over time, so I get to ask more interesting questions and push further on the frontiers of what’s possible. It’s an exciting time to be a scientist and know the best is in front of me.”

Details
Video of Shazib Haq

Shazib Haq ’15

  • Opportunity Provider
  • Unitrans Bus Boss
  • Avid Sports Photographer

“Prescription eyeglasses made a huge difference in my life—I started wearing them when I was 11. Suddenly I was able to follow directions on the board in class and make better shots in basketball games. I witnessed that same ‘aha’ moment last summer as an optometry intern. An 8-year-old girl also had difficulty seeing in class, and her face lit up when she put her new glasses on. It’s striking to me that something as small as giving a child a pair of glasses can impact all of the opportunities she’ll have in the future. She inspired me to give other children every chance to succeed.”

Details

Degree:

B.S., Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior

College:

Biological Sciences

Programs:

Student Manager, Unitrans; Optometry Intern

Back
Video of Christine Bruhn

Christine Bruhn ’66, ’70, ’86

  • Dr. Food Safety
  • Green Thumb
  • Handiwork Hobbyist

“The pride and joy of my garden are the blackberry bushes. I get 100 baskets a season—they’re so ripe, they just fall into your hand when you touch them on the vine. And delicious, too. Picking them always reminds me of my family when I was a girl. Toward the end of summer we’d always take a drive to the California coast. We’d creep slowly in certain spots until we could find what we were looking for: wild blackberries. My mother brought canning jars along and she’d make jam right in the kitchenette of the hotel room where we were spending the night. We’d enjoy it all year long.”

Details

Degree:

B.S., Home Economics

M.S., Home Economics, emphasis in Food Science

Ph.D., Consumer Behavior

TITLE:

CE Specialist Emerita, Food Science and Technology

COLLEGE:

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Back

Sanjay Joshi

  • Robo Doc
  • Astro Engineer
  • Aspiring Writer

“Sometimes I’m asked if my two children are showing any interest in following in their father’s footsteps. The most important things I want them to remember when they see me in my lab or hear me talking about work are joy and purpose. That I enjoy what I do every day, and hope that it’s meaningful. Regardless of their career choices, hopefully they’ll feel the same way about their work.”

Details
Video of Angel Hinzo

Angel Hinzo ’15

  • Beadwork Artist
  • History Illuminator
  • Bubble Burster

“My history wasn’t reflected in any of the books we read in school. It was only present at home, through stories my mother told me. So I had a vested interest in sharing what I already knew about the Winnebago Ho-Chunk tribe and learning more. I’ve conducted research in Wisconsin, the ancestral territory of my people. I’ve also visited archival sites across the Midwest. I’m all about engaging in the world around me and trying to improve it where I can. And this conversation is so important.”

Details
Video of Rose Truong

Rose Truong ’15

  • Sight Saver
  • Mentoring Maven
  • TEDx Vanguard

“When I was studying in Ecuador, I realized how hard it was to get quality eye care in a developing nation. I observed residents at a local village choosing prescription eyeglasses based on the prettiest frames or the pair that looked ‘about right.’ Lacking an optometrist, they needed an inexpensive alternative to help them. So I built one. I call it the VisionFinder.”

Details

Degree:

B.S., Biomedical Engineering

College:

Engineering

Programs:

TEDx UCDavis Speaker; Big Bang Honorable Mention

Back
Video of Fong Tran

Fong Tran ’15

  • Spoken Word Poet
  • Community Advocate
  • Devoted Son

“We were a refugee family scrambling to survive. My mom—my biggest hero—raised five kids on her own. Her sacrifices, our struggles and my story shaped me into who I am. I’ve met many students here who face similar experiences of heartache and survival. Through my poetry, I want to show them that they are not alone and that they can overcome any obstacles. Their stories are vital and powerful, and they need to be heard. By working together, we can achieve positive change in our communities.”

Details
Joel Viloria ’06

Joel Viloria ’06

  • Horse Whisperer
  • Student Sage
  • Wakeboard Wonder

“My trainer used to say, ‘There’s nothing better for the inside of a man or a woman than the outside of a horse.’ It might sound silly to use the word ‘magical’ to describe how I feel about them, but the ability to connect with these magnificent creatures is much different than with a dog or cat. It’s much deeper. An animal of this size is very powerful, so part of that connection is built on respect and a healthy bit of fear.”

Details

DEGREE:

B.S., Animal Science

TITLE:

Supervisor, Equine Facilities; Manager, Horse Barn

COLLEGE:

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Back
Video of Christian Baldini

Christian Baldini

  • Talent Amplifier
  • Rhythmic Rower
  • Musical Anthropologist

“Pleasure for me lies in transporting people somewhere special through music. I ask the audience to trust me as their travel companion. In exchange, they’ll be witness to something beautiful, intriguing, powerful. They leave the concert feeling invigorated—not quite the same person as when they arrived.”

Details

Title:

Associate Professor, Music; Music Director and Conductor, UC Davis Symphony Orchestra; Camellia Symphony Director

College:

Letters and Science — Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies

Back
Video of Caliph Assagai

Caliph Assagai ’06

  • Changemaker
  • Social Justice Champion
  • Foodie

“I witnessed the power of advocacy firsthand, and it launched my career in public policy. During my election as ASUCD senator, the California governor was considering an initiative measure that would cut millions in funding from college outreach programs. I’m a product of those programs, so I knew how vital they were in helping students achieve their dreams of a college education. As a UC Davis student, I was in the unique position to go to the Capitol and make my voice heard on the issue. Ultimately, our voices helped preserve the funding.”

Details
Video of Richard Frank ’74

Richard Frank ’74

  • Environmental Law Evangelist
  • World Traveler
  • Major League Baseball Diehard

“If anything, environmental law and policy are more critically important, evolving and fascinating than when I was a law student. So to come back to King Hall at this stage of my career and be able to teach, work and share my passion with the community is really a dream come true. I created a course in California environmental law, and I also teach ocean and coastal law, water law and climate change. Teaching has made me a better lawyer, and I think being a practicing environmental attorney helps me offer a better experience to my students.”

Details

DEGREE:

JD

TITLE:

Director, California Environmental Law and Policy Center; Professor, Environmental Practice

Professional School:

School of Law

Back