Welcome to the home of the one of a kind.

We’re the Aggies: the go-getters, change makers, team players and problem solvers. We’re a unique and energetic community built on diverse backgrounds, experiences and expertise; and we're intent on making the world a better place. These are our stories.

Video of Fong Tran

Fong Tran ’15

  • Spoken Word Poet
  • Community Advocate
  • Devoted Son

“We were a refugee family scrambling to survive. My mom—my biggest hero—raised five kids on her own. Her sacrifices, our struggles and my story shaped me into who I am. I’ve met many students here who face similar experiences of heartache and survival. Through my poetry, I want to show them that they are not alone and that they can overcome any obstacles. Their stories are vital and powerful, and they need to be heard. By working together, we can achieve positive change in our communities."

Details >
< Back
Video of Fadi Fathallah

Fadi Fathallah

  • Ag Engineer Convert
  • Ibn Battuta Imitator
  • Triathlon Enthusiast

“My mom always thought I’d be a great doctor. She ran a medical clinic in Beirut and pictured me helping people there. I was more interested in engineering, which is what I ended up pursuing. Still, the idea of a career that combined the two lurked in the back of my mind. It led me to biomedical and industrial engineering. Now I develop tools that help agricultural workers avoid injury and risk in the field.”

Details >
Video of Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart

  • Shockwave Scientist
  • Moon Maven
  • Science Fiction Fan Girl

“I’ve always had a fascination with science fiction. It’s partly why I chose to study planetary sciences, along with a love of physics and a belief in the likelihood of life beyond our solar system. Sometimes, I feel like I’m starring in a science fiction film. I get to play explorer, researching how large bodies impact planets and result in the unexpected. There is a tremendous feeling of excitement when I discover something new.”

Details >
Video of Edward Silva

Edward Silva ’12

  • Idea Incubator
  • World Hunger Challenger
  • International Ambassador

“Agriculture and food literally touch every single person on earth, and not many people know that it all starts with small-scale farmers. To help them support the world’s food supply, my company created Henlight, a small solar-powered light that uses smart technology to boost poultry egg production by up to 25 percent. The positive response from producers tells me we’re making a difference, and that is rather humbling.”

Details >
Video of Sarah Moffitt

Sarah Moffitt ’14

  • Science Superhero
  • NPR Nut
  • Women in STEM Supporter

“My love for the ocean began as a kid on my grandfather’s boat, fishing for salmon and crabbing in the Pacific Northwest. Those early experiences with my ‘Papa’ laid the foundation for my career in marine science. At UC Davis, I spent my days aboard a research vessel off the Northern California coast. I examined sediment core samples from the deep sea to understand how marine ecosystems can flourish. I’m hopeful for a future where salmon are crazy abundant in the rivers where I grew up.”

Details >


Ph.D., Ecology


Postdoctoral Scholar, Future of Ice Initiative, University of Washington


Biological Sciences

< Back
Video of Kiko Barr

Kiko Barr ’15

  • Student Farm Producer
  • Pantry Project Protagonist
  • Video Game Virtuoso

“This is a little bit dorky, but in high school I was really into this video game called Harvest Moon. You play a farmer who inherits his great uncle’s land. You can grow crops like tomatoes, and pet the cows and milk them. Growing up in the suburbs, I had no idea what an actual farm looked like. The game created this image in my mind that farming was the coolest thing ever. It led me to check out the Student Farm and apply for an internship, which I received. Six months later, I changed my major to sustainable ag and food systems. It's funny to look back and think it all started with farming on a screen.”

Details >
Video of Dean Shreve

Dean Shreve ’12, ’15

  • Lifetime Literature Lover
  • Valued Veteran
  • Recovering Class Clown

“I was a horrible student. One day, my sixth-grade teacher got absolutely fed up with me because I was disrupting the class. Instead of detention, I had to lead the topic discussions for Julie of the Wolves, the book we were reading at the time. Turned out, I loved my ‘punishment.’ A book that had been dreadful for me—and several of my classmates, actually—came alive. I told my teacher that I wanted to teach English literature someday, and she agreed. For the first time in my life, she told my parents that I was an acceptable student.”

Details >


B.A., English; Cred


English Teacher, Sem Yeto Satellite High School

Professional School:

School of Education


Letters and Science—Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies

< Back
Video of Lisa Wolbert

Lisa Wolbert

  • Taiko Tempo Tuner
  • Environmental Enthusiast
  • Bee Lover

“Playing taiko drums helps me connect with my Japanese heritage. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never had a chance. I was surprised by the physical and mental strength required to create that explosive energy. When I reach the height of a performance, it’s a thrilling experience. I feel incredible.”

Details >
Video of Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor

  • Nanochemist
  • Eternal Optimist
  • Life Transformer

“My mom and I went to community college around the same time, which made for an interesting and memorable experience. We’re both first-generation students. Sometimes we would study or have classes together. We would talk a lot about what we were learning—at times that was more engaging than the lectures. Still, there is something awkward about being on campus or in class and seeing ‘mom’ standing there next to your friends and classmates. Now I’m finishing my undergraduate degree here at Davis, and she’s in the process of getting her MBA. I don’t know who’s prouder.”

Details >


Chemical Physics; Minor in Energy, Science and Technology


Letters and Science — Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Intern at Energy Efficiency Center; Undergrad Research Assistant for Chemistry Department Guo Lab; Intern at Chevron

< Back
Video of Raissa D’Souza

Raissa D’Souza

  • Network Theorist
  • Mountain Scaler
  • Globetrotter

“There was a big debate in my family about whether I would go to college and study math and physics, or go off to Paris and become a fashion designer. Ultimately, I made the right choice to go to college. The 18-year-old me might not have agreed but now I look back and see all the richness and depth that comes from a scientific career. The pool of knowledge I have to draw from only gets larger over time, so I get to ask more interesting questions and push further on the frontiers of what’s possible. It’s an exciting time to be a scientist and know the best is in front of me.”

Details >
< Back
Video of Shazib Haq

Shazib Haq ’15

  • Opportunity Provider
  • Unitrans Bus Boss
  • Avid Sports Photographer

“Prescription eyeglasses made a huge difference in my life—I started wearing them when I was 11. Suddenly I was able to follow directions on the board in class and make better shots in basketball games. I witnessed that same ‘aha’ moment last summer as an optometry intern. An 8-year-old girl also had difficulty seeing in class, and her face lit up when she put her new glasses on. It’s striking to me that something as small as giving a child a pair of glasses can impact all of the opportunities she’ll have in the future. She inspired me to give other children every chance to succeed.”

Details >


B.S., Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior


Biological Sciences


Student Manager, Unitrans; Optometry Intern

< Back
Video of Christine Bruhn

Christine Bruhn ’66, ’70, ’86

  • Dr. Food Safety
  • Green Thumb
  • Handiwork Hobbyist

“The pride and joy of my garden are the blackberry bushes. I get 100 baskets a season—they’re so ripe, they just fall into your hand when you touch them on the vine. And delicious, too. Picking them always reminds me of my family when I was a girl. Toward the end of summer we’d always take a drive to the California coast. We’d creep slowly in certain spots until we could find what we were looking for: wild blackberries. My mother brought canning jars along and she’d make jam right in the kitchenette of the hotel room where we were spending the night. We’d enjoy it all year long.”

Details >


B.S., Home Economics

M.S., Home Economics, emphasis in Food Science

Ph.D., Consumer Behavior


CE Specialist Emerita, Food Science and Technology


Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

< Back
Video of Alejandra Gordillo

Alejandra Gordillo

  • Health Fanatic
  • Future Cancer Curer
  • Dedicated Daughter

“Everything I’m doing right now is about helping students find a way to live healthier lives. I hit a point in my life where I didn’t want to be judged for being overweight. I was tired of feeling bad physically and emotionally. So I started making some changes, including eating healthier and working out at the ARC. Over time, I lost 70 pounds. It’s still hard to believe! Now I feel incredible, I enjoy my life, and for once, I feel in control. This feeling is contagious, and I want to share it with everyone.”

Details >
Video of Sanjay Joshi

Sanjay Joshi

  • Robo Doc
  • Astro Engineer
  • Aspiring Writer

“Sometimes I’m asked if my two children are showing any interest in following in their father’s footsteps. The most important things I want them to remember when they see me in my lab or hear me talking about work are joy and purpose. That I enjoy what I do every day, and hope that it’s meaningful. Regardless of their career choices, hopefully they’ll feel the same way about their work.”

Details >
< Back
Video of Angel Hinzo

Angel Hinzo ’15

  • Beadwork Artist
  • History Illuminator
  • Bubble Burster

“My history wasn’t reflected in any of the books we read in school. It was only present at home, through stories my mother told me. So I had a vested interest in sharing what I already knew about the Winnebago Ho-Chunk tribe and learning more. I’ve conducted research in Wisconsin, the ancestral territory of my people. I’ve also visited archival sites across the Midwest. I’m all about engaging in the world around me and trying to improve it where I can. And this conversation is so important.”

Details >
< Back
Video of Rose Truong

Rose Truong ’15

  • Sight Saver
  • Mentoring Maven
  • TEDx Vanguard

“When I was studying in Ecuador, I realized how hard it was to get quality eye care in a developing nation. I observed residents at a local village choosing prescription eyeglasses based on the prettiest frames or the pair that looked ‘about right.’ Lacking an optometrist, they needed an inexpensive alternative to help them. So I built one. I call it the VisionFinder.”

Details >


B.S., Biomedical Engineering




TEDx UCDavis Speaker; Big Bang Honorable Mention

< Back
Joel Viloria

Joel Viloria ’06

  • Horse Whisperer
  • Student Sage
  • Wakeboard Wonder

“My trainer used to say, ‘There’s nothing better for the inside of a man or a woman than the outside of a horse.’ It might sound silly to use the word ‘magical’ to describe how I feel about them, but the ability to connect with these magnificent creatures is much different than with a dog or cat. It’s much deeper. An animal of this size is very powerful, so part of that connection is built on respect and a healthy bit of fear.”

Details >


B.S., Animal Science


Supervisor, Equine Facilities; Manager, Horse Barn


Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

< Back
Video of Christian Baldini

Christian Baldini

  • Talent Amplifier
  • Rhythmic Rower
  • Musical Anthropologist

“Pleasure for me lies in transporting people somewhere special through music. I ask the audience to trust me as their travel companion. In exchange, they’ll be witness to something beautiful, intriguing, powerful. They leave the concert feeling invigorated—not quite the same person as when they arrived.”

Details >


Associate Professor, Music; Music Director and Conductor, UC Davis Symphony Orchestra; Camellia Symphony Director


Letters and Science — Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies

< Back
Video of Caliph Assagai

Caliph Assagai ’06

  • Changemaker
  • Social Justice Champion
  • Foodie

“I witnessed the power of advocacy firsthand, and it launched my career in public policy. During my election as ASUCD senator, the California governor was considering an initiative measure that would cut millions in funding from college outreach programs. I’m a product of those programs, so I knew how vital they were in helping students achieve their dreams of a college education. As a UC Davis student, I was in the unique position to go to the Capitol and make my voice heard on the issue. Ultimately, our voices helped preserve the funding.”

Details >
Video of Richard Frank

Richard Frank ’74

  • Environmental Law Evangelist
  • World Traveler
  • Major League Baseball Diehard

“If anything, environmental law and policy are more critically important, evolving and fascinating than when I was a law student. So to come back to King Hall at this stage of my career and be able to teach, work and share my passion with the community is really a dream come true. I created a course in California environmental law, and I also teach ocean and coastal law, water law and climate change. Teaching has made me a better lawyer, and I think being a practicing environmental attorney helps me offer a better experience to my students.”

Details >




Director, California Environmental Law and Policy Center; Professor, Environmental Practice

Professional School:

School of Law

< Back