In Their Words: Manfred Sy

manfred-sy-deans.jpgName: Manfred Sy

College: Crown

Department: Sociology

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? The 2018-2019 Deans’ Undergraduate Award.

What year do you expect to graduate? June of 2019.

Where do you call home? Los Angeles, California

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? This university was once referred to me, by my high school philosophy teacher Ray Linn, as a very “romantic” college. Not literally meaning “romantic,” but the thought of getting lost in the pristine and overwhelming beauty of nature. Since my theoretical framework was based on his teachings of existentialism and postmodernism, coming to UC Santa Cruz was an easy choice to make because of its progressive legacy, which would eventually challenge my dogma.

What is your field of focus? Sociology, Criminology, Public Policy, Legal Studies, International Law, and East Asian Studies

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? With the research and interdisciplinary skills I accumulated over my undergraduate career, I hope to take my learning overseas to study international relations and diplomacy. Additionally, I hope to further my studies while also engaging with various international students to broaden my understanding of foreign engagement. Eventually I hope to return to the United States where I will go through a PhD/JD combined degree program.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? There is not one specific event that I can label as solely memorable; it is the accumulation of everyday interactions that I had within the Sociology department that have cultivated in unforgettable memories. The moments of personal and academic stress are shared amongst my fellow peers and advisors, but it is also during those instances that I grew incredibly close with so many people. Without their support, I would not have been able to become the individual that I am today. In particular, while working with distinguished
and soon-to-be distinguished faculty, such as Dr. Hiroshi Fukurai, Dr. Veronica Terriquez, Dr. Hillary Angelo, Toni Rouhana, and Julian Rodriguez, I have grown to appreciate the small things in life with all of their encouragement.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? Find your identity. No matter how large, a change will happen to everyone who comes to study at UC Santa Cruz. It can be easy to get lost in the beauty of the campus, or the sway of peer pressure, but once I realized and reclaimed who I am, life at UC Santa Cruz became easier to manage. I was challenged with not only academic, but personal struggles; if I had allowed said issues to obstruct my identity, then I would not have succeeded in the ways that I did. Building my foundation off of myself allowed for greater self-growth, and before I knew it, I had to start planning for graduation and my future goals in life, but I couldn’t have done it unless I knew who I am.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life/research? Aside from being an additional line on my resume/CV, I hope that this award will give me greater recognition for my work. In doing so, I hope to use any recognition possible to help influence and create positive changes in the world through academia, field work, or public policy.

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