Name: Austin John Escobar
Year: Third year
Major: Biological Sciences with Human Emphasis; minor in Education
Hometowns: Dublin, Calif., and Manila, Philippines
What is a memorable project that you worked on during your time at UC Merced?
I have two I want to share. The first was a being student in the live-in Carson House LLC, and the second was working in Professor Nestor Oviedo’s lab to assist on one of the oncology research projects.
What did you learn personally and academically by participating in this?
Through Carson House we had the opportunity to visit the natural reserve, read about sustainability issues and participate in sustainability projects happening around campus. Carson House taught me how beautiful our campus and the grasslands right next to it are. Carson House was also an anchor as a source of community, with a cohort I met every week. It helped me feel at home and stay resilient when I struggled academically and personally. Working in the Oviedo Lab taught me time management and patience. I had to follow month-long schedules that called me in during the morning and at night. The schedule was relatively tight, so I was challenged to set boundaries and plan ahead. It helped me become the student I am now.
UC Merced has a lot of opportunities for experiential learning. What would you say to a future student who wants to be involved?
If you want to get involved, reach out and express your interest! Send an email, send a follow-up, and if you can, meet in-person or through zoom. Keep trying, even if the person you're trying to contact doesn’t answer right away. Lastly, even if an opportunity is not part of your plan but you can do it, then do it! There is always something to learn in every experience. Sometimes those lessons are immediate and sometimes it takes you a while to realize what you learned, but it’s always worth it.