Mercedes Oliva

mercedes-olivia-400x600Name:  Mercedes Oliva

Department: Psychology 

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? The Frank X. Barron Creativity Award for Research

What year do you expect to graduate? 2024 (in my second year of the PhD program)

Where do you call home?  Yuba City, CA

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?  When deciding on a PhD program, it is really important to consider your overall fit with a program, as well as your fit with your potential advisor. Compared to other programs and advisors, I found that both of these “fits” were strongest for me here at UCSC with Dr. Benjamin Storm.

What is your field of focus?  I consider the many cognitive processes related with memory and creativity in clinical and non-clinical populations.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?  One day I hope to obtain a teaching position, although it’s difficult to say whether I envision that being at a large university or a smaller college like I one I attended for my undergraduate education.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?  My entire first year was a cluster of memorable moments, from the Wildcat Strike, to the California fires, to COVID.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz?  I always advise students to try to keep things in perspective and to prioritize life and school according to what’s actually important for your broader goals and happiness. Of course, that’s easier said than done!

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research? Ultimately, this will allow me to focus on my research more strongly, which will allow for quicker publication of exciting findings!


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