In Their Words: Jessica Xu

May 18, 2017

Name: Jessica Xu

College: Ten

Department: Economics and Politics

What award/scholarship did you receive? Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship

What year do you expect to graduate (e.g. 2017)? 2018

Where do you call home? Oakland, California

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? The residential colleges! I came from a small, private high school, where my graduating senior class consisted of 84 students. My transition to university was much easier due to the residential colleges--they provide students with a smaller and more immediate community to bond and foster connections with. Overall, it makes the public research institution that is UC Santa Cruz much less daunting.

What is your field of focus? American politics and economics.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? I hope to go to law school and eventually work in public service. Ideally, I would like to utilize my eventual knowledge of the law to help others, especially the underserved communities.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? The most memorable moments that I have had as a UCSC student are going to office hours. It is inexplicably comforting to have professors ask me how I am doing outside of the classroom, invoking a more holistic teaching experience. Moreover, I have really appreciated the efforts my professors have made to provide me with opportunities that enhance my educational experience. For example, after my first politics class at UCSC (POLI 1), I decided to approach my professor, Professor Dan Wirls, about potentially researching with him. I was unbelievably nervous to ask him if I could participate in one of his research projects, but once I did, he responded “Yeah, sure! we can figure something out.” I was dumbfounded by how willing Professor Wirls was to help a first year student, and I am so grateful for his constant support throughout my undergraduate career.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? Get to you know your professors! They are passionate about their work and dedicated to helping students succeed in all capacities.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life/research? I hope to uphold Gabriel Zimmerman’s legacy by pursuing public service and working to help others in the community. As of now, I would love to be a district attorney and work to protect a certain community.

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