In Their Words: Megan “Blaine” Agustin

Name: Megan “Blaine” Agustin

Department/ Major: Sociology & Community Studies

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? Fanny Carruthers Award in Sociology

What is you anticipated graduation year: 2017

College: Kresge

Where do you call home? I am from San Jose, California. I consider home to be a community in the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA) at De Anza College.

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? I initially sought out UC Santa Cruz because of its creative writing concentration. However, after learning about the school’s long history of social justice, I delved into the Sociology and Community Studies majors. I also loved the fact that UCSC had more resources for transfer students like the Transfer Community dorms at Porter College and the STARS center.

What is your field of focus? For my field study research, my focus will be on militarization, human rights, and the self-determination of peoples.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? I want to use the skills that I’ve gained at UCSC to serve communities in some way. After graduation, I have thought about working with a non-profit organization and pursuing a degree in law to fight for human rights or even becoming a professor at a community college.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? One of my most memorable moments was being in Miriam Greenberg and Steve McKay’s cohort classes (SOCY 177E & SOCY 176A) that focus on the housing crisis. It was a unique and enriching experience to conduct research surveys in Santa Cruz and learn about the renter’s experience. I haven’t encountered any class that directly incorporated community-based research before. In participating in this, I now have knowledge on the culture and politics of Santa Cruz. I better understood what the needs are from some of the underrepresented areas in the city.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? To all the incoming transfer and reentry students: adjusting to a new environment can be overwhelming. Maybe you’re leaving your family, friends, or established communities to pursue your degree after years of being in a community college. Maybe you’ve been working or traveling for so long that you forgot how to participate in an academic institution. All I can say is transfer to UCSC in cohorts, if possible. Go visit STARS in Kresge and speak with the peer advisors! Navigating through UC Santa Cruz by myself was daunting for the first few months. I don’t think I could have been able to get through the year without speaking to other transfer students who went/are going through similar experiences.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life/research? The Fanny Carruthers Award made it possible for me to pay back my student loans and participate in an international solidarity trip to the Philippines over the summer. There, I will be integrating with an indigenous community to learn about their struggles for self-determination. The trip is just a piece of my field study internship with San Francisco’s Filipino Community Center this year. I am so grateful to be awarded with this scholarship and I hope to continue doing social change work in the future!