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Student Spotlight

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Filming the Past and Present

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Filming the Past and Present

Directors rely on history to be a backdrop and to set the scene for their storytelling, Film and Media Studies and History double major Ryann Stibor says. In a recent interview, she answers questions about how knowledge of history affects society today and how that knowledge intersects with her second major in film.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Katherine Hamilton Finds A New Calling in Directing

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Katherine Hamilton Finds A New Calling in Directing

“I never considered that I wanted to be a director until I realized that you had to put yourself in the position of an actor,” Theater and English student Katherine Hamilton admitted in a recent interview. She discusses what influenced her to change her focus from acting to directing, and how that choice—and her subsequent directing of “I Didn’t Want a Mastodon,” a student-produced, one-act comedy—has influenced her in return.

From a California Classroom to a South American Start-Up

From a California Classroom to a South American Start-Up

Kaili Emery, a UC Santa Barbara global studies major, spent her fall quarter pursuing an international marketing internship in in Colombia. In an interview, Emery explains how her UCSB education influenced this experience abroad.

Hunter Johnsen: Creative Freedom in Crew Production

Hunter Johnsen: Creative Freedom in Crew Production

Student film director Hunter Johnsen discusses his passion for film and his involvement in the Film and Media Studies Crew Production class. His movie called “Obsolete,” a project for this course, is set to premiere March 22 at the Pollock Theater.

Student Spotlight: An Art Director On Digital Humanities

Student Spotlight: An Art Director On Digital Humanities

Word Magazine explores life in Isla Vista, the neighborhood next to campus. As current art director of the magazine, Alaska Yokota is one of a team of students who writes for the magazine and designs its layout. In a recent interview, Yokota discussed her experience with Word Magazine and her views on the future of digital humanities.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT:  A Leader in Dance

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: A Leader in Dance

Dance and Psychology major Yuna Choi has been planning the Mini Beach Ball hosted by UC Santa Barbara’s cotillion club. The Mini Beach Ball, a collegiate dance competition, will be held later in May. In a recent interview, Choi talked about her experience planning the upcoming dance competition and what she hopes to accomplish by coordinating this year’s Mini Beach Ball.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Spreading Emotional Truths Through Spoken Word

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Spreading Emotional Truths Through Spoken Word

Sociology major Tomas Palpallatoc shares his passion for poetry and his success at the UCSB Poetry in Performance Poetry Slam. In April, Palpallatoc will advance to the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in Houston, Texas with the UCSB slam team.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Transforming Memories into Art

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Transforming Memories into Art

A curtain of floating ginkgo-tree leaves, which once sprinkled Sarah Dahl’s front yard, fluttered overhead as visitors stopped by UC Santa Barbara’s Glass Box Gallery to admire the hovering city maps of places Dahl has called home. Dahl, a senior Physical Geography and Art double major, displayed her installation, titled “Please Forward, No Longer at This Address,” in the Art department’s student-run gallery exhibit “Body of Proof.” The installation was created as an ode to all of the places where Dahl has lived, and who she has become as the memories have begun to fade.

In a recent interview, Dahl spoke about her work, where she plans to take it, and what receiving an award as a Honors in Art student meant to her.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Dorian Elgrichi, Filmmaker and Entrepreneur

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Dorian Elgrichi, Filmmaker and Entrepreneur

“I like doing things that aren't just the norm. I don’t want to have a nine-to-five job,” says Dorian Elgrichi, a senior Film and Media studies major, who is currently running two companies while he is still in school — a photo booth company and a car detailing company. He has recently started a partnership with the electric skateboard company Riptide, creating a video for the firm in order to promote the use of its skateboards on college campuses.

Originally from Beverly Hills, Elgrichi transferred to UC Santa Barbara from Santa Monica College in 2017. He has been working in film production since participating in a film program during high school in Beverly Hills.

In this interview, Elgrichi speaks on how he has combined his love of film and his desire to succeed in business.

BLOG: Extra English Offers a Path to Success

BLOG: Extra English Offers a Path to Success

Chinese student Zhitao Kou describes how UC Santa Barbara eased his transition into American university life with programs for international students and step-up Linguistics department classes run by the English for Multilingual Students.

“ Each of us needed to write and present on current affairs such as presidential election, American social classes, American ethnicities and so on. Compared to other easy freshman courses, these classes are quite challenging,” writes Kou, who also benefited from one-on-one contact with professors.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Aiming for Broadway

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Aiming for Broadway

Blake Thompson, a third-year student at UC Santa Barbara who is pursuing a double major in Theater and Communication, devoted the last weeks of summer and first weeks of fall preparing for her role in the pared down Hamlet, which ran for 19 performances over a two week period.

In a recent interview, Thompson talked about the field of acting and how the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts helps an aspiring actress reach her potential.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT:  Michelle Sharp combined Art and Math

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Michelle Sharp combined Art and Math

Michelle Sharp, a double major in Art and Mathematics who graduated this spring, decided to branch out from her background in mathematics to expand her repertoire in the arts. Sharp is among a growing number of UCSB students who are combining STEM majors with those in the Humanities and Fine Arts.

Sharp exhibited much of her photography in the Glass Box Galleries, which feature student and faculty creative work on campus. And she created an animated short, “Agnus’ Front Lawn,” for one of her film production classes, which is a comedy about an old woman trying to win the neighborhood’s lawn competition.

After exploring the ins and outs of various creative departments, Sharp is finding her passion in animation. She finds it is easy to get jobs in art-related fields, saying it takes hard work but if you are dedicated it isn’t much different than finding jobs in STEM related fields.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Kelly Newberry, Opera Singer at UC Santa Barbara

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Kelly Newberry, Opera Singer at UC Santa Barbara

Peruvian-American mezzo-soprano Kelly Newberry was 14 years old when she found her vocal gift. She walked into high school in Simi Valley and signed up for choir since she needed an elective and all her friends were doing it. The teacher gave her a solo and that marked the beginning of her music career.

Newberry remembers when an opera singer from Austria came into her high school class offering voice lessons and sang Habanera from Carmen. Still not very much convinced that it was what she wanted to do, Newberry signed up and during her first lesson the instructor stared at her and told her she had an amazing voice for opera.

“I fell in love with it because of how emotional and raw opera can be and it’s so unabashedly emotional,” she recalls. 

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Sabah Hamad, Religious Studies

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Sabah Hamad, Religious Studies

Languages build bridges, says Sabah Hamad, a UC Santa Barbara graduate student in Arabic, Hebrew Literature, and Black Studies. Hamad believes that being able to communicate with people from other parts of the world is rewarding and offers a better understanding of their beliefs and traditions.

Hamad is a Palestinian-American who believes that much of  the Israel-Palestinian conflict has to do with the misunderstanding and bias, made worse by ignorance of Palestinian and Israeli literature and languages. In a recent interview, she discussed these issues and how she is pursuing interests in Middle East cultures through the Religion Studies Department.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Tyler Devin Clark and Campus K-Pop

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Tyler Devin Clark and Campus K-Pop

Korean pop music [K-pop] has become popular in the United States in recent years thanks to the viral trend of PSY’s “Gangnam Style” in 2012. UC Santa Barbara’s department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies in 2014 added a course called the “New Korean Wave.” Clearly,  there is an increasing interest in - and awareness of -  K-pop and Korean culture in general outside of South Korea.

Personifying that trend is Tyler Devin Clark, who goes by Devin. He is co-president of UCSB’s K-pop club, Seoul’d Out. In this interview, Clark shares his perspective on K-pop’s advance into the American market as well as K-pop’s influence in his own life.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Justine Bethel, English

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Justine Bethel, English

Justine Bethel is a UC Santa Barbara English major who within the span of eight years went from living as a homeless adolescent in San Diego to giving a well-received keynote address at TEDxUCSB in March.

After leaving an abusive household at a young age and entering the cycle of youth homelessness, Bethel was able to get off the streets, receive three associate’s degrees from the San Diego Community College District, and become financially stable by starting her own jewelry business before entering college at UCSB.

In her TED talk, she shared a series of short stories about important acts of kindness from strangers that helped turn her life around.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Catt Phan, Intern

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Catt Phan, Intern

Catt Phan, a Walter H. Capps intern, sees herself as an advocate for advancing understanding among multi-lingual communities. “There is a misconception that we have to speak on behalf of the ‘voiceless’ or those that can’t speak English, but that’s not necessarily true,” Phan said. “Marginalized communities have their own voice. What we need to do is pass along the mic to them so they feel like they have the ability to change their own lives.”

Through her work at Just Communities in Santa Barbara she has helped educate and inform immigrants as to which resources are available for them to gain a more equal playing field in their new country.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Zenzile Riddick, Walter H. Capps Intern

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Zenzile Riddick, Walter H. Capps Intern

Zenzile Riddick is a UCSB Sociology and Black Studies Double Major with a Minor in History. Hear her talk about her experience as an intern for the Walter H. Capps Center's Sara Miller McCune Endowed Internship and Public Service Program in this Student Spotlight video.