30 Grads in 30 Days: Leiyana Wilson

Leiyana Wilson (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Name: Leiyana Wilson

Age: 22

Majors: Combined sociology/Latin American and Latino studies

Hometown: Los Angeles

UCSC college: Cowell

Favorite class or professor and why?

Contemporary Sociological Theory taught by Andrew Szasz. This class gave me a different outlook on how to view society as we enter postmodernism. Professor Szasz always came to class well prepared and enthused to teach, which motivated me to attend all lectures and get the most out of this course. I walked away from the course with helpful and useful information that I'll use in grad school. Outside of the Sociology Department, my favorite professor is Hector Perla of the Latin American and Latino Studies Department, because he's very approachable and has inspired me to continue my education and follow my interest.

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

I was in the masters swimming program during fall quarter, and practices were at 6 a.m. After a tough workout I left the pool and sat by the benches overlooking the East Field, and I witnessed an amazing sunrise.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

Favorite spot is the balcony at the Stevenson Library. The area is never crowded, which allows me to unwind from a stressful day. I have spent many hours studying and doing some productive thinking about life in general.

How has UCSC shaped you?

It has shaped the way I see myself and others. Considering the diverse student body at UCSC, I have learned how to be open-minded and accept others for who they are. As a transfer student from Los Angeles, I was taken out of my element, and it has changed me greatly. UCSC has helped me discover the steps to take after college and choose an area of study for grad school.

What are your future plans?

I plan on working for the County of Los Angeles in social work and volunteering. Within a year I plan on attending graduate school for social work.

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

I chose Cowell for the amazing views of the bay. When I toured the school, I also noticed the sociable atmosphere that Cowell provides.


Every quarter I volunteer at a nonprofit. I'm currently volunteering at Familia Center, where I tutor middle and high school students. I also bike 15 miles every weekend and increase the distance every two weeks. However, being the first in my family to graduate college has been my biggest accomplishment.