Alia Roca-Lezra

alia-roca-lezra-400x600Name:  Alia Roca-Lezra

College: Stevenson

Department: Economics and Environmental Studies 

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? I received the Economics Undergraduate Award

What year do you expect to graduate? I expect to graduate in June 2021.

Where do you call home? Ventura, California is my home.

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?  I loved the natural aspects of campus—the trees, landscape, farm and different gardens around campus. The deer, turkeys and other wildlife cannot be left out, either. The unique combinations of degrees also stood out to me since I wanted to study both Economics and Environmental Studies. Here, it was possible for me to do both as a combined major (though I ultimately decided to double-major in these).

What is your field of focus?  I am focusing my studies on Environmental Policy and Economics. I am interested in how Economics can inform environmental policy-making, and have tailored my classes to these interests.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?  I would like to become an intern for the United Nations Environment Programme and ultimately work for them at some point in my career. More generally, I would love to work for any program within the United Nations or the World Bank. Environmentalists and economists have challenged each other’s viewpoints for many decades, but I feel that it is both possible and necessary to combine the many ideologies within both fields to make important change in the world.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?  I struggled to find my place in Santa Cruz my freshman year, and considered taking a leave of absence and go to community college my sophomore year. My most memorable moment was, after I had submitted all of my paperwork to leave, finally feeling like I belonged and could shape a future for myself here. I had finally begun to make the connections I had expected to find right away, including with friends, faculty members, and communities that I felt supported by.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? Fall quarter of your freshman year might be amazing all-around, or just downright challenging. Chances are it is the latter in at least one aspect of your life, whether it is keeping up with schoolwork or making connections. Either way, try to make it through winter quarter. When the sun comes out again, things will begin to feel less overwhelming. Also, as much as you don’t want to, or as anxious as it makes you, go to office hours!

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research? This scholarship encourages me to continue to work diligently and to pursue a career in economics. This award will also help to ease my and my family's financial stress during these difficult times. Thank you so much!

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