It’s no exaggeration to say that the undergraduate experience at UC Santa Barbara is unparalleled. Our magnificent actual environment aside, our educational environment is a thing of beauty itself. Consider our distinguished and pioneering faculty, who are as committed to mentorship and teaching as they are to research. In fact, they’re known to do all three things in concert, and undergraduates play a key role.
Hear for yourself how our faculty engages with students, expands their academic horizons and helps bring out their best in this ongoing series of videos, featuring professors from diverse disciplines talking about what makes our campus so rigorous and rewarding — for scholars and students alike.
Russell Schmitt and Sally Holbrook
The professors of ecology, evolution, and marine biology have spent countless summers guiding undergraduate researchers through hands-on field work at the University of California’s Gump Research Station. Situated on the island of Moorea in the South Pacific, this collaborative and interdisciplinary setting allows students to gain field and laboratory experience, practice the research process, work alongside career scientists, and ultimately explore life in academia.
Victor Rios never thought he would attend — much less graduate from — college. He did both, and went on to become an educator himself. Now a professor of sociology and associate dean of social sciences, Rios knows firsthand the powerful difference mentorship can make in a student’s life. Personally and professionally invested in finding solutions to educational inequality, he now works closely with undergraduates to both enrich their academic careers and give back to those who helped him succeed.
The professor of Asian American Studies, who specializes in immigration issues and law, says that at UC Santa Barbara, undergraduate students are essential to interdisciplinary research — and that motivated students have myriad opportunities to contribute. What the young scholars glean working alongside top faculty is invaluable, affording them crucial experience in field work, archival research and more as they look ahead to graduate or professional schools or prospective careers.
A neuroscientist and assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences on her own journey to UC Santa Barbara, by way of Harvard, discusses opportunities in her lab available to students, and why she encourages undergraduates to explore every discipline they can.
The professor of earth science, an expert in structural geology and tectonics, discusses the wide-ranging benefits to students of doing field work — from hands-on research experience to practical job skills such as teamwork and communication.