Looking back on my time at UC Davis, the most valuable experience I have had was the opportunity to grow as a person. I had the opportunity to really shape myself into who I wanted to be and to decide what I wanted to do in the future-it may sound cheesy, but it is true! Though I didn’t start out in the CRD program, finding it during my 2nd year was instrumental in my success. I was initially unhappy with what I was studying and was looking for options, I scoured the general catalog and eventually connected with a coworker who was a CRD major, she inspired me to make the switch. Once I started taking CRD courses, I knew that this was what I wanted to study. I was learning about what mattered to me and most importantly, things that affect me that I was unaware of at the time. I was also able to customize my learning because of the interdisciplinary nature of the major; I decided to focus on Global Communities (because I love studying diasporas and international relations) and Policy, Planning, and Social Services. My career goals are uncertain, but I am really interested in working with nonprofit organizations in the Central Valley. I am broadly interested in housing (and lack of it), community organizing, and diaspora studies. Eventually, I hope to pursue a Ph.D., maybe even at UC Davis as we have a really strong Geography and Cultural Studies program. I encourage you to rely on systems of support when you need to (whether that is friends, campus community, etc.). It can be easy to feel small at a public university but, your connections can make it easier to navigate such a large system. You are now part of a wonderful campus community full of caring and committed individuals who want you to succeed. It won’t be an easy journey, as you can encounter challenges and conflict, but you are more than capable of managing these things and moving forward. I wish you the best of luck, welcome to the CRD family!
Participation: I’ve become involved on campus through my work with Student Housing and Undergraduate Education. I was an Orientation Leader for 2 years, a First Year Experience Peer Advisor for 2 years, and a Peer Educator intern with the Center for Leadership Learning for 2 years. I was also the undergraduate representative of the CAES Executive Committee and the CRD Club. Lastly, I had an internship with the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter. - Kaitlyn Lopes
In your four years, the most valuable asset and resource will be your professors, and of course, yourself. Your professors are always waiting for you to come meet them, and they want to share their knowledge with you. Later on, when you graduate and want to pursue higher education or a CRD-related career path, you will wish you talked to them more often during the past few years. In the end, your passions and maturity are what will drive your success in college--Good luck! -Elizabeth Hua
My time at UC Davis as a positive and transformative experience isn’t defined by my grades. Truthfully, at the beginning of undergrad, my grades mostly suffered. On a few occasions, I was subject to dismissal and on academic probation. During these times, I felt like I was failing at life and university. High school, where I always made straight A’s was a distant memory. What helped me most through these tough times was looking forward to the opportunities I accessed through UC Davis for example, living in Rome for a summer-long volunteer project (right and left) with African refugees and migrants. I also relied on a solid group of friends and family who encouraged me and fought for me when the odds of succeeding at UC Davis seemed unfavorable.
Like many of the students in the Community and Regional Development major, I started somewhere else with an entirely different focus. When I entered as a freshman, I was a declared Genetics major. My habit of seeking connections to work, volunteerships, and internships landed me in research labs, student organizations, and protests against tuition hikes. I believe the CRD major prepared me for my future career in project management because we are encouraged to take leadership in group projects in almost every class (left). We are also required to participate in off campus internships, which give us real-world experience in our field of interest (right). In addition, the professors are approachable and it’s become easier for me to go to office hours and discuss my interests in research and post-graduate life. Some of my career goals are to attain my Ph.D. in a discipline related to community and regional development and become the director of the World Food Program at the United Nations. I’m confident that my education at UC Davis has made me more resilient, knowledgeable, and confident in my abilities because despite the odds, I’ve made it to graduation and have collected so many incredible memories.
My advice: as you’re entering this university with expectations, aspirations, and uncertainty, I encourage you to look around and remember that you’ve made it this far and you will go further. Constantly search for the endless opportunities for growth, travel, research, and involvement offered to you as a student. -Joelle Toney
CRD has provided me a vast amount of opportunities. Originally, I had started my undergraduate career at UCSB and transferred to UCD my third year. During my two years at Davis, I have studied abroad in Barcelona, participated in the Honors program, and have had incredible opportunities to conduct research with some of the fellow faculty members within the department.
Community Development is all about building networks and making connections. I strongly suggest going to office hours to get to know your professors and building strong relations with your peers. Without them, I would not be where I am today.
After I graduate, I plan on pursuing my master’s degree and I intend to work on my Ph.D. shortly after with an emphasis on the sociology of community development. - Leslie Panyanouvong