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Graduation 2020 revised

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Dana Byrne Crown '20, chemistry Diego Alonzo Martinez Mori Kresge '20, molecular, cell, and developmental biology Joyce Lin Porter '20, art & design: games & playable media Ahyesha Russell Merrill '20, technology and information management Felix Vazquez Oakes '20, environmental studies A journey ends, another begins ucsc.edu/classof2020 ucsc.edu/classof2020 The UC Santa Cruz Class of 2020 has arrived. We couldn't see our grads in person at commencement ceremonies this year— but we're cheering them on from afar and rooting for their success. We are so proud of them, and we'd like to share just a few of their stories here. See more stories about our inspiring grads at: Dana Byrne is the kind of person who likes to get answers. So it was a natural fit for her to gravitate to chemistry as a field of study. She has been fortunate to work in chemistry faculty member Yat Li's lab on a research project developing 3D-printed nanomaterials for energy storage devices— an experience she described as "way better than I could have asked for." Byrne plans to pursue graduate study in chemistry at UC Berkeley this fall with the goal of earning a Ph.D. in five years. She is interested in optimizing materials to produce better technology and ultimately aims to work for a tech company. —Lisa Renner When he was a child in Peru, Diego Alonzo Martinez Mori's mother would sometimes bring him to the medical office where she was a secretary. Seeing the doctors in their white coats helping people, it looked like something he'd like to do. His family moved to the Bay Area when Mori was 6, and he found a new reason to want to be a doctor: In the U.S. he didn't meet a single Latinx or Spanish-speaking doctor. Following graduation, he will take a position as a technician at an immunology lab at Stanford. Ultimately he aims to be an M.D. Ph.D., and to provide inspiration to future students from underrepresented backgrounds. —J. D. Hillard After graduation, Ahyesha Russell is headed for a well-paid job with Capgemini in Seattle as a technical consultant— something she hadn't thought possible in her wildest dreams. The 39-year-old mother of three said it has been a long road to get to this point, in part because a decade ago, she was in and out of jail for substance abuse offenses. She had to leave her children with her mother in Modesto so that she could concentrate on her studies full time at UC Santa Cruz. "At one point, I was leaving them to go to jail," she said, when asked how she did it. "That wasn't going to change unless I did something major. This time, it was to get an education." —Lisa Renner After losing his father to cancer at 17, Felix Vazquez said he came to UC Santa Cruz feeling a bit lost. But he heard about a class on Geographical Information System technology, which allows its users to capture and analyze spatial and geographic data in new ways, and was soon hooked. He became involved with the Okinawa Memories Initiative and traveled to Okinawa, using his new GIS skills to research noise pollution from military bases there. He also did research on urban development in Tokyo. His goal is to either work for an urban design firm or go to graduate school and a career in academia. —Peggy Townsend Joyce Lin designs whimsical and inclusive games—queer games Lin lovingly calls "gaymes." Lin, who grew up in the East Bay, chose games & playable media for its "good balance between learning art and programming. I liked that there were many different roles you could choose; I like wearing many hats. I also liked that it is a creative field." Last October, Lin was featured in a New York Times article about minorities in gaming. "I want to design in a way that conveys shared values or maybe new values," Lin said, "ones that say if we work together we can create a better, kinder, more inclusive future for all of us." —Guy Lasnier See more stories about our inspiring grads at:

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