UC Davis Today: Aim for the university

  • Connections, like this conversation with UC Davis student Elemar Cuacuil, help open doors to the university for students at Florin High School in Sacramento.

  • Christina Batishev, right, hears that work-study could help pay for her education, and Ernesto Cruz finds that study abroad could help him learn more about Latin cultures.

  • UC Davis mascot Gunrock rallies students as part of the systemwide Achieve UC initiative to inspire those at high schools with lower-than-average college-going rates to aim for university.

  • Milton Lang of Student Affairs at UC Davis tells about 400 students how he overcame financial obstacles and naysayers to become the first in his family to graduate from university.

  • ”Be the bold one. Ask questions. Be willing to work hard,” says the associate vice chancellor.

  • Florin and UC Davis graduate Kayla Green encourages students to draw on all the resources available to them. “Anything you want to do, you can achieve it.”

  • Florin graduate Fong Tran tells students their education is important to others. “We represent our families. We represent our communities,” says the UC Davis employee.

  • Karlos Carter of Undergraduate Admissions asks 10th-grade students where they want to live and what they want to do in 10 years.

  • Investing time and effort preparing for a university education is key to what they want to achieve, Carter reasons. Maurice Washington answers a question.

  • Lang and Chanal Criner talk after the class.

  • At a college fair, Abigail Tern, a 10th grader, gathers information on how to write a personal statement and how to apply for financial aid.

  • Monica Peña-Villegas of UC Davis tends the wheel for a game that tests what students have learned. They win!

Aim for the university

By Julia Ann Easley

For some, getting a university education can seem out of reach.

But UC Davis shared a loud and clear message with students at Florin High School in Sacramento on Oct. 22: “We’re here to tell you that you can do it.”

Those words of Milton Lang, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Davis, rang out through the gymnasium, where 400 students were assembled.

The visit was part of Achieve UC, a systemwide effort to bring campus leaders and others into high schools with lower-than-average rates of attending college. The goal is to inspire students to aim for college and give them the information they need to prepare for it. 

Lang told how he found motivation and overcame financial obstacles and naysayers to become the first in his family to graduate from university. Also offering encouragement and practical advice were two graduates of Florin High School, one who graduated from UC Davis and one who is working at the Cross-Cultural Center at UC Davis.

“Our challenge to you is, ‘What are you going to do with those stories, those messages?’” said Michele Dyke, director of the Early Academic Outreach Program at UC Davis. “What is the one thing you’re going to do to get ready?”

Through other activities — including classroom presentations, a small college fair and a lunch for outstanding seniors — UC Davis representatives emphasized the importance of investing time and effort in preparing early for university. And they answered questions about topics ranging from financial aid to life in the residence halls.

Mercy Lee, one of the outstanding seniors, learned that UC Davis itself was just minutes, not hours away.

As Principal Don Ross told students at the assembly, “A UC education is the best education in the world, and it’s in your backyard.”

The Early Academic Outreach Program, which helped organize the visit, is one of five UC-sponsored college preparation programs through which UC Davis serves more than 25,000 students and more than 40 schools in 11 Northern California counties. Learn about admissions to UC Davis.

Florin High School students get inspired by UC Davis visitors about pursuing a university education at the Achieve UC assembly Oct. 22. Photos by Gregory Urquiaga/slideshow written and produced by Julia Ann Easley, both of UC Davis Strategic Communications.

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