In Their Words: Nic Zinter

Politics major Nicholas Zinter received a Dean's Award for his project titled “The Naypyidaw Rationale: Cultures of Power and Constructions of Legitimacy in the Republic of Myanmar.”

Name: Nic Zinter

Department/ Major: Politics

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Research

What is you anticipated graduation year: 2015

College: Porter!

Where do you call home? California, really. I’ve loved living in different parts of the Bay Area for quite some time but San Diego will always be home.

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? I know everyone says this, but the natural ambiance really had a huge impact on my choice to attend UCSC. Even the air is different. But once I got a grasp of the department’s approach to interdisciplinary teaching styles and the breadth of knowledge expected of students, I knew it was right for me.

What is your field of focus? My interest lies in understanding how authoritarian styles of governance derive legitimacy and maintain power across vast stretches of land. The complex interplay of religion and state ideology are of special interest to me, especially in the realm of social movements, nationalism, and the creation (or perpetuation) of political culture through official histories and propaganda.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? I’d like to continue working with refugee populations and continue my education in international affairs. If I could work for the UN or in the Foreign Service life would be pretty grand.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? The moment I finished writing my thesis on the 4 th floor of McHenry at 1:45 am. At that point I was only alive by the grace of 7/11 coffee and granola bars.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? Step out of your comfort zone! Take a class in a subject you never thought you’d explore. If something seems right, pursue it and see what comes of it. Now is your time to get a feel for what interests you, and a little aimless wandering can end up being productive in the long run.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research? I’ll use the scholarship funds toward the cost of applying to a sizeable batch of grad schools in my field. Hopefully by this time next year I’ll be on my way to a Master’s or PhD!