woo_lauren_photo_400.jpgName:  Lauren Woo

College: Cowell

Department: Politics

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? Dean’s Undergraduate Award

What year do you expect to graduate? March 2021

Where do you call home? The redwoods of Santa Cruz have become my home

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? Both the incredibly beauty of the campus, as well as the inclusive community that UC Santa Cruz fosters made the school an undeniable choice.

What is your field of focus? While my major is Politics, I specifically enjoy its applications to sex positive research and applied ethics.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? I am currently studying for the LSAT, in the hopes of attending law school to advocate for historically marginalized communities.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? Finding my first banana slug! For the first six months of my first year, I found four dead banana slugs and thought it must the campus revealing signs of bad UCSC juju in my future. I took extra time between classes to walk more woodsy paths in hopes of finding one, and even dragged a Plant Sciences friend of mine into the forest in search of a sluggo friend, with no luck. Finally, one cool Spring day on the eve of March 2018, I was late to meet a friend, and was running down the path between McHenry and Hahn and BAM! Banana Slug. From that point forward, life was roses and dandelions, with straight A’s and zero problems in the world.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? Don’t be afraid to get involved! Prior to my time at UCSC, I was introverted and nervous about attending. While there is nothing wrong with being introverted, I made a focused effort to go to club meetings, events in Welcome Week, and meet people in classes or at the dining hall. I ended up finding my niche in student government and on various debate teams on campus, and was able to learn from those experiences and gain great friends in the process. There is something out there for everybody, and finding that place to learn and grow from is just as important as the academic portions of your time at UCSC.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research? This award not only represents the idea that someone other than myself, my partner, and my thesis advisor will be reading a fifty page paper about BDSM, but also stands as an affirmation of the time, effort, and stress that went into the piece. My thesis is largely a culmination of what I learned throughout my career at UCSC, combining ethical debate, legal case studies and statutory law, and the confidence that various professors instilled in me to form my own ideas and opinions, and I am incredibly appreciative and proud to receive recognition for it. Moving forward, I will take the award as a reminder that I am capable of creating a strong output when I put in the time and work for it.

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