Virtual Open House

On Saturday, November 7, we’re opening the doors to our classrooms and laboratories (virtually), and sharing just what it means to study as a Banana Slug on our campus! Our professors, students, and staff members are excited to bring some examples of our innovative, interdisciplinary research and learning directly to you in this all-day, LIVE virtual event.

Can't wait? In anticipation of this event, seize an opportunity to speak with students from each academic division on campus. Chat Live with student representatives and peer advisors to learn more about the majors offered, research opportunities and career paths for students. Bring your questions! Learn more HERE.

register-now-button.pngAgenda (all times are Pacific Time)
8:00 - 8:30 a.m.       Welcome from Director of Undergraduate Admissions Blia Yang
9:00 - 10:00 a.m.     Designing Video Games in UCSC’s Game Design Programs 
10:30 - 11:30 a.m.   Creating Communities through Reading, Remembering and Re-imagining
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.     Student Life Panel 
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.       On the Margins: Monsters and Microcosmic Worlds in the Arts
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.       Students in Research and Bonding Across Boundaries 

Note: LIVE Q&A available with Undergraduate Admissions Representatives from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is required to receive a link to access the chat.

See you soon!


Designing Video Games in UCSC's Game Design Programs

Have you ever thought about designing a video game? Hear from professor Jim Whitehead and advisor/alum of the program Juan Morales Rocha how designing video games spans from the creative to the technical. They will discuss the Computer Science: Game Design major along with the Art + Design: Games and Playable Media major. Meet current students of both programs and ask questions about their experience at UC Santa Cruz.


Jim Whitehead is a Professor of Computational Media and led the creation of the BS Computer Science: Computer Game Design degree program at UC Santa Cruz, the first game oriented degree program within the University of California system.

Juan Morales Rocha is an Undergraduate Adviser for Art & Design: Games + Playable Media (AGPM) and graduated from the program in 2017. He is a game designer at heart who takes pleasure in combining his knowledge of design and psychology to develop experiences that are truly enjoyable for the players!


Gabi Serna (AGPM)
Gabi is a fourth-year AGPM student who loves 2D and 3D art, and especially enjoys concept art and character design. She likes creating games that make the player feel nostalgic and introspective, and her aesthetic approach to game design is always either mystical and magical, or cute and wholesome — but preferably both!

Sophia Santos (AGPM)
Sophia is a Fourth-year Art & Design: Games + Playable Media (AGPM) major also pursuing a Computer Science minor. She is a producer and generalist in many game projects, and is inspired by mechanics with meaning.


Herman Wu (CSGD)
Herman Wu is a 4th-year Computer Science: Game Design (CSGD) major. He is an animator and tech artist for various game projects and is currently developing a 3D auto-rigging generator.

niko-sanchez.png Niko Sanches (CSGD)
Niko Sanchez (he/they) is a Transfer Senior for Computer Science: Game Design (CSGD) and is set to graduate this year (2021)! He was one of the game leads for GDA's Elevator Pitch last year directing art, writing, and design for the project. His love for cooking has inspired him to work on cooking-related projects throughout his time at UCSC and is currently working on a cooking game for the senior capstone.

Baskin School of Engineering Additional Resources:

Games created by Faculty or Alumni
Mechatronics Competition
Computer Science - Game Design major
Applied Mathematics major
Research & Academic Highlights
Stories from Engineers Under Quarantine
CruzHacks hack-a-thon


Creating Communities through Reading, Remembering,
and Re-imagining

Alan Christy will discuss the Okinawa Memories Initiative. Every year, a cohort of students in America and Okinawa connect to discuss and learn Okinawan history, culture, and contemporary issues. This cohort remains intact over two years. Student participation is central to the Okinawa Memories Initiative’s work, and we create opportunities for meaningful, experiential learning for both graduate and undergraduate students.

Renee Fox will discuss creating communities around popular literature, both in the classroom and in the wider world. Focusing on the annual Dickens Universe—a week-long intellectual “summer camp” at UCSC for undergrads, graduate students, and members of the book-loving general public—and on her popular Harry Potter class, Professor Fox will talk about how the experience of reading together creates new political awareness, exposes prejudices and injustices, and forges unexpected and meaningful social bonds.

Saskia Nauenberg Dunkell will discuss opportunities for undergraduate students at The Humanities Institute, including the Deep Read Program, THI's Undergraduate Research Fellowships, THI's Public Fellowships, and the Human Rights Investigations Lab for the Americas. The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz is a hub for new directions in research and teaching, cross-discipline collaboration, and public engagement, that supports students with experiential educational programs.


Alan Christy, Provost of Cowell College, is an Associate Professor in the department of History here at UC Santa Cruz. He teaches courses on Japanese and East Asian history, Okinawa and memory. As Director of the Okinawa Memories initiative, he strives to give undergraduate students real world experiences in historical research and public service.

Renee Fox is an assistant professor in the Literature Department at UC Santa Cruz where she teaches classes in Victorian Studies, Irish Studies, the gothic, and popular culture: most recently Victorian Marriage and its Discontents, Sex and Violence in Irish Literature, The Vampire in Literature and Popular Culture, and Harry Potter. She is currently working on a book on reanimated corpses in 19th-century British and Irish literature.


Saskia Nauenberg Dunkell is the Research Program Manager at The Humanities Institute and Research Advisor at the Human Rights Investigations Lab for the Americas. Her research focuses on transitional justice, peace negotiations, and open source investigations. She is currently managing THI's Expanding Humanities Impact and Publics project to support student success and promote public scholarship.


Karen Lowe
Karen (she/her) is a fourth-year history and linguistics double-major affiliated with Merrill College. In the time that she has attended UCSC, she has been a member of the Okinawa Memories Initiative (OMI), KZSC 88.1 Radio Station, and has been a reporter and editor with the independent, student-run newspaper City on a Hill Press. She currently works at the Santa Cruz County Public Defender's Office as a paralegal intern.


Sabrina Madden
Sabrina is a fourth-year Linguistics major affiliated with Stevenson College. As a returning and transfer student, her favorite aspect of undergraduate life at UCSC is the sense of community fostered through collaborative work. She serves as a Peer Advisor for the Linguistics department, and is passionate about helping students unlock their potential through goal setting. Outside of the classroom, Sabrina is a wildlife rehabilitation volunteer and an avid trail runner. 


Student Life Panel

In this LIVE student panel, you'll get a chance to meet some of our dedicated, passionate students. What is it like being a Banana Slug? What academic and extracurricular opportunities have they pursued? What is remote learning like at UC Santa Cruz? Bring them your questions -- they look forward to connecting with you!


Lizette Rodriguez
My name is Lizette Rodriguez and I transferred to UCSC last year.  I'm currently a senior majoring in Economics and minoring in History. I'm affiliated with Cowell College and this year I'm the Undergraduate Admissions Office Intern for the Umoja-Community for California Community Colleges.


Lauren Woo 
Hello! My name is Lauren and I am a fourth-year Politics major. In my time at UC Santa Cruz, I have found a passion for student government, and have served as the VP of External Affairs and VP of Academic Affairs under the Student Union Assembly, amongst other positions. I also am involved in research both on and off-campus, and currently work as a Cross Country coach at a local high school in Santa Cruz. 


Tiernan Boyd
I am a third-year Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) major and a College Nine affiliate. Originally from Colorado, I love studying the local Santa Cruz nature both inside and outside of the classroom, and take a special interest in herpetology in the area. Some of the activities I'm typically involved with on campus include our Natural History Club, and an LGBTQ+ organization called Triangle Club. Some things I especially enjoy are engaging with friends or fellow classmates, and also taking advantage of our proximity to Monterey Bay by skateboarding down to the beach. I can't wait to talk about everything our beautiful campus and the city of Santa Cruz has to offer!


Vanessa Morgan
Vanessa is a senior transfer student who got her Associates degree from MiraCosta Community College in San Diego, CA. She transferred to UCSC as a double major with majors in Anthropology and Environmental studies. She is a Rachel Carson College affiliate who loves the outdoors and is very passionate about environmental issues. Vanessa is involved with the PEMA (Primate Ecology & Molecular Anthropology) lab through the Anthropology department. As a member of the chimp coding team, she processes footage from camera traps in Tanzania, Africa. Vanessa intends to use this data for her senior thesis where she will get to develop her own original research project.   


On the Margins: Monsters and Microcosmic Worlds in the Arts

Michael Chemers will discuss his interdisciplinary inquiries into cultural monsters, looking at these powerful tools for the expression of social tension from psychological, sociological, historical, and aesthetic perspectives. "When it comes to culture, the more viewpoints you can access, the fuller picture you can make from your research," he argues.

Sarah Sanford will discuss her interdisciplinary practice through a selection of scientific collaborations and explorations into visual connections within micro and macrocosmic worlds. She believes investigating crossovers within different fields offers broader connections and opportunities for a deeper understanding of our world.


Michael Chemers
Professor of Dramatic Literature, Theater Arts,  Director of Graduate Studies. He researches the “dramaturgy of empathy,” a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary inquiry that seeks to understand how performance culture fosters compassion and kindness (and conversely, fear and hatred).


Sarah Sanford
Assistant Teaching Professor, Print Media and Drawing, works at the interface of art and science. Over the years, collaborations with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Human Genetics Unit (UK) have enabled exploration of diverse topics including genomics, cell biology and the ecological impacts of climate change. Working frequently in large series, her current work focuses on public trust and perception in science, exploring misconceptions and biases.


Moon Rinaldo
Moon Rinaldo earned a B.A. in Art with an emphasis in Printmaking from UC Santa Cruz. For ten years, she was a Staff Research Associate in the UCSC Art Department, providing instructional support for and co-managing the Printmaking Studio before becoming the Academic Advisor for the UCSC Theater Arts Department and the Lead Advisor for the Division of the Arts.


Justin Hammer
I'm 21 years old and a 4th-year Theater Arts and Business Management Economics student from Porter College. I've been involved in both majors since my freshman year. Economics has led me to becoming the Treasurer of the Game Design and Art Collaboration club on campus to accompany my accounting training, and I've been involved in multiple aspects of theater from acting to playwriting to dramaturgy, both before and after the pandemic started.


Keara Arnold
Keara is a fourth-year Theater Arts and Music double major from the Bay Area. Her main focus is stage performance and she specializes in both classical voice and musical theatre. She hopes to travel the country performing with various regional theater companies after graduation. Keara was most recently cast as the Fairy Godmother in the Music Department Opera Program's production of Massenet's "Cinderella" and she is currently working on a remotely filmed production of Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love."

Arts Division Additional Resources:

Art major 
Art & Design: Games and Playable Media major
Film & Digital Media major
History of Art & Visual Culture major  
Theater Arts major


Students in Research and Bonding Across Boundaries

Raja Guha Thakurta will discuss the latest research highlights in astrophysics and how astrophysics is connected to computation, physics, math, statistics, and chemistry. He will also discuss the role of undergraduates in his research group and an exciting research opportunity for undergraduates in 16 departments across 4 divisions at UC Santa Cruz. Rexton Lynn will discuss how students who choose to major in the Physical and Biological Sciences will receive a well rounded science education, taking classes in multiple disciplines. Addis Getahun will discuss the multiple paths available for UC Santa Cruz students interested in attending medical school.


Raja Guha Thakurta 
Professor/Astronomer & Department Chair of 
Astronomy & Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. He studies the formation and evolution of galaxies large and small, with a focus on the assembly of their dark matter, chemical enrichment, and star formation history. He makes extensive use of the Hubble Space Telescope and Keck telescope in his research. He is the founder and faculty director of the successful Science Internship Program, a program in which students are mentored by UCSC researchers and work on cutting-edge STEM research projects.


Rexton Lynn
Lead Adviser in Physical and Biological Sciences and Chemistry Department Adviser. He enjoys nothing more than seeing students become active participants in setting and meeting academic goals. He is a tireless advocate for clear, pragmatic policy development and implementation to help students graduate in a timely manner with the best education possible!


Addis Getahun 
Addis is a Senior, Chemistry major, and he works as a Pre Health advisor and as the Pre-Health Divisional Liaison. His favorite thing to do around campus is to check out the wonderful sunset views at Oakes College. He hopes to continue uplifting and supporting students with their pre-med goals. His main goal is to bridge the gap for students from underrepresented communities, so that they can achieve their dreams, whether it be med school or another career of choice. He wants to help guide and make their dreams manifest. He says, “You can do it!”


Tyler-Marie Deveau
My name is Tyler-Marie Deveau and I am a fourth-year Biochemistry and Molecular Biology student. I am affiliated with Merrill College and lived there for two years! I am a Learning Support Service tutor, helping my peers in classes that I've taken and done well in. I have also worked as a mentor for the Science Internship Project where high school students visit campus and take part in college-level research. I have also worked with the Student Union Assembly in their student food pantry as a volunteer as well as a supervisor. Finally, I am a part of a research lab in the Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology Division working in Immunology research and hoping to soon publish a paper!

Additional Resources:

Raja's Students in Research Ted Talk
UCSC's Science Internship Program