Joslyn Chu

College Nine ‘21, history of art and visual culture and psychology

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Joslyn Chu (College Nine '21, history of art and visual culture and psychology)

Joslyn Chu’s one-quarter research assistantship working on arts journal Pacific Arts grew into a full year because of her hard work and dedication. 

The journal is published by the Pacific Arts Association, an international organization based at UC Santa Cruz that is devoted to the study of the arts of Oceania (Aboriginal Australia and the Pacific Islands). 

Chu loved psychology before arriving at UCSC and planned to follow that path. But after a couple of classes she soon fell in love with the issues of Oceania and climate change, particularly how “people in Oceania are using art as a form of activism to spread awareness of effects of climate change,” she said.  “It really impacted me, blew that spark into a bigger fire.”

She first thought history of art and visual culture (HAVC) would be a minor but realized that completing a double major would provide her with more opportunities to study what she loves. She’ll continue her work in Oceania art after graduation, winning a scholarship to help fund her research project in Hawaiian museums this summer. 

Chu, 22, grew up in Los Angeles, one of eight children between the ages of 29 and 5. (She’s third youngest.) She first visited UCSC after her admission offer arrived. 

“Once I stepped on campus I fell in love,” she recalls. “The connection with nature; people were so nice.

“I really do love this school,” she said. Sadly, the past year and a half have been spent in distance learning from her home in San Jose. 

In psychology, Chu’s focus is on developmental psychology, and she plans to attend graduate school for either a Ph.D or Psy.D. She aspires to become a clinician and use art therapy to help children.  

“My goal is to help young children who experience trauma. One way to use art therapy is to help them express themselves if they are unable to otherwise,” she said.  

Her advice for new students is to “be adaptive, not be too set on one path,” she said. “Take a variety of classes, follow what interests you. Find what is your passion.” 

You just might discover something new, she said, like a love for Oceania.