Commencement 2018 speaker Katy Tur of MSNBC tells UC Santa Barbara graduates in Humanities and Fine Arts and Social Sciences how studying philosophy helped her navigate the world of broadcast journalism.
“Do what you like. Do it for a cause that is bigger than you. And you will have fun,” Tur said at the Sunday, June 17, graduation ceremony. “Sometimes what makes a job fun is that it matters.”
Tur graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2005, majoring in philosophy. She is author of the 2017 bestseller Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.
Tune in to a Livestream of Commencement speaker Katy Tur's address to UC Santa Barbara Humanities and FIne Arts Graduates, at 9 am PT, Sunday, June 17:
Click on this post to read all about Tur’s journey from UC Santa Barbara philosophy student to a leading author and broadcaster who covered the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
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.
Passion, innovation, and inspiring talent were on display at Campbell Hall last month at an annual student-run showcase for filmmakers, artists, musicians, and other performers. Students and the larger community applauded 12 of UC Santa Barbara’s filmmakers and other creative artists at the 27th annual Reel Loud Film and Art Festival where student-directed silent short films were accompanied by live on-stage music. Nine months of hard work and dedication from the Reel Loud organizing team paid off in an evening filled with musical performances, art features, and a room full of people ready to be inspired.
Rhuigi Villaseñor, founder of Rhude Designs, combined his immigrant background and artistic vision to rise to the top of the fashion industry by age 25. He got his start in fashion as an intern and he now hires young interns with an interest in fashion and marketing - including Chris J. Capatia, a UC Santa Barbara Humanities and Fine Arts philosophy major. Capatia interviewed Villaseñor about his ‘rags to riches’ life story.
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.
Having the ability to tell your story can change your life – at least according to Susan Derwin, a specialist on trauma studies and a professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Comparative Literature and Germanic and Slavic Studies departments. Derwin has created a space for student veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – as well as their loved ones — to employ storytelling in order to both recover from personal trauma and to share their experiences with the public.
As director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC) on campus, Derwin created the course seven years ago and continues to teach it today. The class is titled “Writing Workshop for Student Veterans and Their Loved Ones,” and during the summer there is an opportunity for student veterans from across the entire UC system to participate in a similar workshop.
In a recent interview, Derwin discusses the power of narrative today, a time when many voices continue to go unheard.
“The whole point of having the undergrad education and having it be in liberal arts is that it’s that ideal time in your life to explore every possible thing that seems interesting and then at some point you may find your passion.”
—BILL GRAYSON, ALUMNUS IN HISTORY AND POLITICAL SCIENCE AT UC SANTA BARBARA
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.
UC Santa Barbara’s master’s students in visual arts readied themselves for their next professional “moves” at a reception to exhibit their MFA thesis projects last week. The group titled its exhibition “The Chess Club” because they will apply the strategies they have learned in the program to sustain their future work and their careers.
The MFA Thesis Exhibition Reception took place at the Art, Design & Architecture museum on campus and featured the artwork of seven graduates. The free event filled up quickly, with attendees including faculty from different departments and divisions, as well as other graduate and undergraduate students.
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.
The Media Arts and Technology Program (MAT) at UC Santa Barbara presents its End of Year Show 2018, a celebration of the year's research in electronic music, emergent media, computer science, engineering, and art. The theme for this year is Invisible Machine, which represents the way that transformation is jumpstarted through the Media Arts.
The MAT conducts research in the art of the “invisible becoming visible,” a process that can range from revealing the abstract processes between the input and output of a machine, to turning complicated scientific data into shapes and colors. Its technologists and artists seek to create new works that transcend the way that we currently view the world.
“After some brainstorming and research, we came up with the name “UndAWARE.” Bras, panties, pads and tampons are basic human necessities, yet they are the items least donated to women’s shelters. Often, homeless women have to make a choice between paying for meals or buying a box of tampons each month. Furthermore, wearing the same undergarments for extended periods of time can lead to serious health problems.”
—SASHA NASIR, THIRD-YEAR FEMINIST STUDIES MAJOR AT UC SANTA BARBARA
“Working with UCSB TV and attending a few of these workshops has really helped me find my niche. It can be difficult for transfer students to get involved with campus events, learn about the different free services that are available on campus and even find friends. While I might have eventually stumbled across workshops hosted by different departments or the AS Food Bank, it was having to research our television stories that has familiarized me with the campus and all it has to offer.”
—KELISHA ABAD, THIRD-YEAR ENGLISH MAJOR AT UC SANTA BARBARA
For many U.S. college students, hearing mention of Iraq evokes images of soldiers, oil, refugees, and destruction. In 2003, the United States invaded the country and American soldiers remained there for roughly eight years. Those soldiers and the combat that surrounded them dominated U.S. media coverage, leaving little room for the stories of Iraqi civilians and the hardships they endured during and after the occupation.
Now, 15 years after the invasion, several departments at UC Santa Barbara came together for a symposium to flip the script and reframe U.S. perspectives on Iraq. “[The goal is to] re-orient us towards Iraq in order to overturn these reductive and insufficient representations of human beings,” said organizer Mona Damluji, a professor in the Film and Media Studies Department.
The two-day event, called “Iraq Front and Center” was held earlier this month to create a space for interdisciplinary conversations, bringing together guest speakers from the diverse perspectives of novelist, journalist, filmmaker, and doctor.
Professor of 20th Century History Laura Kalman, in her vintage jean jacket and brown leather shoes, makes her history lectures as colorful as her rainbow shoelaces. Teaching history seems to be something that is as much fun for her as it is for her students.
“I love teaching 20th century United States history,” Kalman said. “I feel as though it is important that you all (students) have some sense of what it is.”
“Little did I realize that during those dining hall meals I would also be getting a taste of culture on the side. I lived at an off-campus dorms my freshman year called Tropicana Del Norte, which was a melting pot of people from different parts of the world.
Amid all the stimulation surrounding me, the noises that particularly grabbed my attention were the sounds of various accents and languages. I had never been around so many languages different from my own – English and Tagalog. The sounds of Japanese, French, Portuguese and Chinese stirred within me a sense of curiosity and wonder. I befriended several foreign exchange students that year from Brazil, Japan, Italy, Korea and China, and each time they spoke in their native tongues, I was fascinated.”
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.
After more than 50 years of research and teaching, Charles Bazerman's contributions have left a tangible effect on the international community of writing educators.
This week, UCSB’s Writing Program is honoring Bazerman for generously funding the "Charles Bazerman Endowed Faculty Fellowship for Professional Development in Writing,” which will amount to $300,000 in support for continuing lecturers in the Writing Program to further their research. A reception is set for 4 p.m, at Mosher Alumni House with a talk by colleague and Writing Program Lecturer Katie Baillargeon.
“I knew I had made the right decision to transfer to UC Santa Barbara, when I received an email from my screenwriting professor at the end of first quarter. She told me I should send my pilot episode to production companies because I had developed a “potential hit series.”
I am just one of many students who have experienced success transferring into UCSB, due in no small part to the UC system’s Junior Transfer Program. The UC’s have historically been very supportive of transfer students, especially those coming from California community colleges who are guaranteed admittance to one of the UC campuses after two years.
—KATHERINE GRAYSON, FILM AND MEDIA STUDIES TRANSFER STUDENT