Name: Eric Gonzalez

Age: 22

Major: Business management economics

Hometown: Camarillo, CA

UCSC college: Ten

Favorite class or professor and why?

My favorite class was Women in the Economy taught by Lori Kletzer. I like the way that Lori teaches her class. She understands where students are coming from but also makes her classes challenging by having very high standards. She always begins her class the same way. During the first few minutes, she elicits news items from students and then comments on them. It is very interesting how she connects current events to economics, and ties the news to what we are reading about in class. She is one of those teachers who connects the course material to real life and uses her vast research knowledge to illustrate her point. If I were to take a class again at UCSC, I would make sure Lori was the professor.

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

My most memorable experience happened recently when I was on a team for the first-ever Relay for Life at UCSC. Relay for Life is a 24-hour walk-a-thon that benefits cancer research. The event was completely student-run, and it was exciting to see the fruit of all the hard work of the students who put it together. I also enjoyed spending time with friends during the event.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

East Field. The view is amazing and there is always so much going on there. I usually go there to run or sometimes play a pickup game of soccer. It is never a bad idea to just go there and relax, especially at nighttime on a clear night.

How has UCSC shaped you?

UCSC has given me the opportunity to get involved in so many aspects of students' experiences. Everyone at UCSC is very accessible, and students get the opportunity to make a difference. UCSC helped me branch out and discover new interests. I have come to realize that a small group of people can make a big difference, and I learned how to be dedicated to an idea and see it through to the end. Faculty, professors, administrators, and my friends at UCSC have shaped me in ways that will positively influence my actions for the rest of my life.

What are your future plans?

My future plans are to get involved in high-tech marketing or sales. I also plan on staying connected to UCSC and the city because people here are really trying to make a difference, and I enjoy being part of that.

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

I chose my college based on its location because it is within easy walking distance to most places on campus. College Ten is a community where people have a wide range of views, but a common passion to make a difference. Our core writing class definitely opened my eyes to new things, but it was the people at College Ten who truly affected my education.

Accomplishments:

My greatest ongoing accomplishment was being president of the University Economics Association. At the completely student-run organization, I had the opportunity to put on many events that helped students make more of their education. Not only did I bring in some top companies like Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch, Cisco, and Seagate, but also I got to help build an organizational structure that will continue to improve the education of students at UCSC.

I also founded the first-ever business plan competition at UC Santa Cruz, bringing together top executives from Silicon Valley and officials from the university and raising over $25,000 in funds and prize money. I've seen so much excitement about the competition from students and from the community, and I'm so excited to see all the businesses that are coming from it. Every year I know the competition will improve, and UCSC will one day be the face of technological, socially responsible, green entrepreneurship, and I'm grateful that I got to be part of that progression.

Ed. note: Read more about the Business Plan Competition: First-ever UC Santa Cruz Business Plan Competition generates winning ideas