Name: Ashley Aron Craig

Age: 22

Major: Anthropology

Hometown: Lompoc, CA

UCSC college: Merrill

Favorite class or professor and why?

During my time at UCSC, I have taken part in many fabulous courses. To distinguish one as my favorite is difficult, but if I have to choose, I would say, Multi-Media Ethnography taught by Shelly Errington during winter 2007. This course allowed me the opportunity to enhance my documentary skills with an ethnographic/anthropological approach and provided me with a theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on documentary experience.

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

Usually the most memorable experiences are the unplanned, spontaneous events. The informal "naked run" on the first rain of the school year is listed in my top 10 most memorable experiences here at UCSC. Where else, other than Santa Cruz, will you find half the student body, running/walking through redwoods, singing and laughing while unclothed in pouring rain? This moment, for me, encompasses the freedom and spirit of our student body.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is a bench that sits atop a hill in Cowell College overlooking the recreational fields, the City of Santa Cruz, and the Pacific Ocean. The bench allows me to meditate and appreciate the beauty of our campus and city.

How has UCSC shaped you?

The professors, students, and staff members I have worked and studied with at UCSC have deepened my understanding about the complexities of the world and have enlightened and empowered my well-being. I am forever thankful for all those whom I have had the privilege to work with.

What are your future plans?

Throughout this next year, I plan to continue working on current video and multimedia projects, travel, and apply to graduate school. I've decided I'll eternally be a student at heart and hopefully will have the opportunity to share the knowledge I have acquired with others by teaching in the later years of my life. Until then, I have many languages I want to learn and many cultures I want understand and explore.

How did you choose your college, and how has your college affected your education?

As a transfer student from UC San Diego, I was assigned Merrill College. Since transferring, I have mostly lived off campus, which has limited my interaction with Merrill College. Although, when visiting the academic office, the college advisers have always been extremely kind and helpful. Last fall, Merrill College also awarded me a faculty mentorship grant.

Accomplishments:

Ashley received the Merrill College Mentorship Grant to work on postproduction of "April in Santa Cruz 2007," a performance by faculty in the Department of Music. Recently she has been working on cinematography and postproduction for musical works by assistant professor Benjamin Carson.

Her latest project involves the Education for Sustainable Living Program, under the aegis of College Eight and the Student Environmental Center. Last fall she joined the ESLP program as an unpaid intern, became co-chair of the student organization, and, with another student, invented a course, ESLP through a Lens, which she is currently teaching (spring '09). Ashley and her co-teacher received a grant of $7,000 for equipment to teach this class of 16 students the theoretical, ethical, and technical aspects of documentation; and the class will be producing six short multimedia pieces about the work of the various student environmental sustainability projects on campus.

Ashley is the first in her family to go to college.