Caitlin May (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)
Name: Caitlin V. May
Major: Politics, with a concentration in comparative politics
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
UCSC college: College Nine
Favorite class or professor and why?
During my time at UCSC I was lucky enough to take classes with a number of professors who shaped my beliefs and helped me figure out where I want to go from here. For a few quarters I thought I might minor in history of art and visual culture and ended up taking a few architecture classes with Jeffrey Lieber, including Modern Architecture, the Megastructure, and Theories in Architecture. As a professor he is incredibly engaging in lecture, and the way he integrates architecture into the greater socioeconomic and political framework of the time made his classes fascinating for me as a politics major. Another of my favorite classes was Political Integration with Professor John Marcum. He has a long history at UCSC and with the Education Abroad Program, and helped to establish many new programs abroad for students. I feel that his teaching style and beliefs are in line with what UCSC has set out to do.
Most memorable experience at UCSC?
One of my most memorable academic experiences was working on a research paper about movements for political and economic integration on the African continent. After reading countless articles that took a pessimistic stance toward the future of the region, I was able to look at some of the positive aspects of politics across the continent. I focused in on the African Union and what would have to happen in the years to come for Africa to get back on its feet and get away from being what many people call "the lost continent." I may be a die-hard optimist, but working on that project really showed me the importance of people being aware of what's going on globally and the fact that dedicated citizens really can make a difference.
Favorite spot on campus and why?
When I first visited UCSC my senior year in high school, I fell in love with all of the walking bridges on campus. Sometimes I intentionally go out of my way to cross them because I love the feeling of being up in the canopy of the trees. I've also spent countless hours studying in the College Eight Cafe; their sandwiches and coffee definitely help the learning process.
How has UCSC shaped you?
My experience at UCSC has really opened my mind to a variety of ways of thinking and analyzing the world and issues within it. Not only has UCSC fostered my interest in gaining further knowledge, but I feel it has made me a more responsible and aware global citizen. Being here has shaped me into the person I am today and helped me see who I want to become in the future.
What are your future plans?
My plans for the future include volunteering with the Peace Corps. I was nominated this year to do community development, hopefully somewhere in Africa. I have yet to receive a decision as to when or where exactly I will be going, though. So currently I am applying for internships for this summer with organizations that work on certain aspects of international relations and diplomacy. When I return from serving in the Peace Corps I hope to continue my education by applying for graduate school to study international relations or something of that sort.
How did you choose your college, and how has your college affected your education?
I actually never took an official tour of the campus, so I didnít really know about the locations or aesthetics of the different colleges. I chose College Nine almost solely based on its theme, International and Global Perspectives, which I thought would be interesting for the required writing class. Before the freshman core course I wanted to study health sciences, but I enjoyed that course so much that I ended up taking a few politics classes. So my decision to be associated with College Nine ultimately led to me finding a major that I feel very passionate about.
One major accomplishment for me is that I'm actually graduating after only three years, since I came in with Advanced Placement credits and had some quarters where I took more than 15 units. I've also been awarded Dean's Honors for multiple quarters. Additionally, I worked part-time at a photography studio for almost all three years that I have been in Santa Cruz. I also spent all of winter break this year in Lima, Peru, volunteering at an orphanage and working to help kids to learn English and providing much-needed nurturing to the toddlers. The organization I went with, Global Volunteers, focused on working under local leadership in a way that is culturally sensitive, something I find very important when volunteering abroad. Additionally, I feel that being nominated for service in the Peace Corps has been one of my biggest accomplishments, and I'm excited to see what that will bring in the future.
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