30 Grads in 30 Days: Randy Nguyen

Randy Nguyen (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Name: Randy Nguyen

Age: 21

Major: Sociology

Hometown: San Jose, CA

UCSC college: Stevenson

Favorite class or professor and why?

Popular Culture, taught by Professor Julie Bettie. The level and amount of dialogue that sprung up from this class on topics such as class, race, and gender issues were many and varied. This class was rewarding in that it gave me the opportunity to explore and understand the social world that I live in through research and in-depth discussions. The highlight of the class came about when we had a female bodybuilder come to give us a talk about her career path, and to our surprise, a demonstration that included volunteers being lifted and carried. Little did they know what she had in store for them.

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

It was a sad day when I came to realize that my days here at UCSC were numbered. I've had countless memorable experiences. One of them occurred recently during a hiking expedition with my friends behind Crown and Merrill colleges. We got lost, and it took us forever to find our way back to a hiking trail. The memorable part of this story was when we began to give each other nature names. My friends gave me the title "Tick Boy" because I was always seen scratching myself throughout the expedition. We finally made our way out of the forest but only after an hour of getting lost. Experiences like these may be simple, but they are the ones that stick out to me, and they'll always remind me of my college days spent in Santa Cruz.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus may seem a bit awkward. It is not a scenic location, nor is it a fancy place. It is a conference room on the third floor of the Bay Tree Bookstore. Back in the day, it used to be called Conference Room D. But nowadays, in honor of the Natives who inhabited the land before we came along, the room has been renamed the Cervantes and Velasquez Conference Room. Part of the reason this conference room is my favorite spot on campus is because it is where I have met up with my friends every Monday of the quarter since freshman year to plan events for the Chinese Student Association. This room is my favorite spot because it is where I have made so many memories. I heart CSA.

How has UCSC shaped you?

UCSC has shaped me in many ways and on so many different levels. Through my courses, I have become a better-informed member of society. Through taking part in student-initiated organizations, I have been able to see myself as one who can make a difference. And last, by interning at the Asian American Pacific Islander Resource Center, I have been able to develop leadership skills as well as professional skills to prepare myself for the world. Before, I was told that the sky was the limit, but now I believe that there is no limit to the possibilities of things that I can accomplish.

What are your future plans?

Isn't this the question that we all find ourselves asking as we near the end of our undergraduate journey here at UCSC? I personally have many things that I want to do after I graduate. Life is an adventure, and I plan on keeping it that way. I have plans to join the Peace Corps and go abroad to work with less fortunate communities. I also want to take on career paths such as a firefighter, an ambulance technician, and perhaps even an educator. If I were to choose the last career path then perhaps I might even consider going to graduate school to complete my M.A. and, if possible, earn a Ph.D.

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

How I came to decide which college to be a part of is a pretty long story. In the end, though, I stuck with Stevenson College because of its theme, "Self and Society." I find it ironic that I came to UCSC as an undeclared in health sciences and will be graduating this June with a B.A. in sociology. I guess my passion really lies within the social sciences.


Since arriving in Santa Cruz, I have been able to accomplish many goals. A personal goal that I take much pride in is that I am the second person in my family to complete four years of college and to earn a degree. Apart from graduating from UCSC, my biggest accomplishment has been being able to make a difference through being involved with the Asian American/Pacific Islander community here on campus. Through volunteering with student-initiated organizations, namely the Chinese Student Association and the Vietnamese Student Association, and interning at the Asian American Pacific Islander Resource Center, I have been able strengthen the diverse UCSC campus by organizing events that create a space for coalition-building and student representation and voices. Also, through these organizations I have been able to develop leadership and professional skills in group settings, which will greatly help me with future endeavors. Last but not least, through all of my experiences, I have been able to make many wonderful friends and have unforgettable experiences.