Q&A: Social Conscience in Action

By Jason Moon

UCSB alum Trina Lazarra poses for a photo. 

UCSB alum Trina Lazarra poses for a photo. 

Trina Lazzara graduated last spring with two degrees from UC Santa Barbara, one in Psychology and one in English Literature. Throughout her time at UCSB, Lazzara was active in the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts as an English research assistant and as a mentor in the Campus Learning Assistance Services. She is currently tutoring young students in writing while volunteering at a domestic abuse treatment center in Fremont, California. Lazzara, who aims to become a social worker, says her passion for social justice combined with her undergraduate experience to place her on the road to success.

Q. What made you decide to double major at UC Santa Barbara?

A. I chose to study Psychology because it gives me the opportunity to do direct service with individuals as well as learn more about people in general. As for the English major, I have always loved writing so for whatever I was doing with my life, I knew I could always do something in that field as a hobby.

Q. Which field of study are you more involved in?

A. Currently, I’m equally engaged in both fields as I am tutoring in writing to make money and volunteering at a domestic abuse center to get more experience before heading to graduate school to pursue a master’s in social work. In the future, I would be leaning more towards the field of psychology for my career path as I aim to be a social worker.

Q. Did your studies in English Literature help you in Psychology and vice versa?

A. English helps a lot because you read books written by a wide variety of authors. As a reader, you might come across something unexpected which happens in social working as well. In my volunteer work, I work with victims of violence and my English experience helped me understand that everyone has a detailed story and to not judge a book by its cover. Psychology has also taught me that every situation is complex and that nothing is simple whether I am writing or reading a piece.

Q. Where does your passion for social justice come from?

A. My mom was a role model for me growing up as she would relay information to me without brushing anything under the rug. As I grew older, I started learning about bigger social issues such as Prop 8 (which bans gay marriage) and racism. Learning about important topics like these opened my eyes and got me interested in social justice.

Q. During your time at UC Santa Barbara, you were involved in a couple of social activism clubs. How did your experiences put you on the path to your career?

A. I was super involved in the Associated Students Womxn’s Commission and I really loved the work we were doing. We created cool events that allowed people to simply be themselves and talk about critical issues. After becoming a board member, I was really into social advocacy and it led me to realize that I wanted to work directly with people and help them out.

Q. What advice would you give students and others who want to get involved in social issues?

A. I think the best way is to put yourself out there and engage in something you truly care about. There are always organizations holding events and inviting new people to come participate. You don’t have to be a hard-core activist to cause change, there are many ways to contribute in the simplest ways such as donating or attending an event.

Jason Moon is a fourth year Film and Media Studies student at UC Santa Barbara.