Alexis Hooper

Name:  Alexis Hooperalexishooper-400x600_2021keeley.jpg

College:  College Nine

Department:  Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive?  The 2021 Keeley Coastal Scholars Award

What year do you expect to graduate? 2021

Where do you call home?  This is a bit of a hard one right now. Originally, a small town in northern California called Lakeport. Recently though, my parents moved to Sacramento. But I spend most of my time here in Santa Cruz! I have truly fallen in love with this town, and I hope to come back after I finish my Ph.D.

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?  When applying to colleges, I was told by so many people in my life that I ‘belonged’ at UCSC, but for some reason I was completely against that. Nevertheless, I still applied. I actually had my mind set on a different school in southern California, but after a quick tour I was sold on the atmosphere and beauty of the campus. It was also a perfect distance from home where I was able to feel independent, but not completely isolated from home. It felt like the perfect home right between my two favorite things, the redwoods and the ocean!

What is your field of focus?  My major is marine biology, and my interests are the effects of climate change (specifically ocean acidification and hypoxia) on marine invertebrate species.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?  I plan to take a year off from school and do some exploration of the field before hopefully completing my Ph.D. I really hope to continue researching climate change and ocean acidification. However, after such a weird and ever-changing year, I am really open to seeing where life takes me after this year, as long as I am able to work with something I love!

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?  Being able to spend time in Sitka, AK was truly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been able to do. However, most of my fond memories of UCSC come from spending time on coastal campus, and tide pooling at Natural Bridges.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz?  My biggest piece of advice is to ask for what you need when you need it from professors, TAs, etc. As a first-generation student, I found myself often struggling to figure out what I should do next, and I quickly learned that my professors and TAs were such a rich resource for those answers. They are also incredibly understanding of what you’re going through, and only want to see you succeed.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research?  This scholarship will allow me to not only stay in Santa Cruz for the summer, but I will also be able to take a pause from my part time job in order to focus completely on the project.

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