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San Diego County Student Trading Beaches for UC Merced's Intimate Feel

August 17, 2022
Robert St. Martin is seen in his high school graduation regalia.
Meet incoming first-year student Robert St. Martin.

UC Merced is highlighting incoming students for fall 2022 — a dynamic, diverse and accomplished cohort of new Bobcats.

Robert St. Martin is proud of having been able to balance his studies, extracurricular activities and social life during his four years at Rancho Buena Vista High School in San Diego County. Several Advanced Placement courses and the marching and concert bands kept him busy.

As he prepares to start his journey at UC Merced this month, he knows the juggling act as a Bobcat will help mold him to go even further.

The 18-year-old from the city of Vista has never turned down an opportunity for an adventure. St. Martin joined the Cub Scouts at age 6 and Boy Scouts four years later, often spending up to seven consecutive days backpacking. He spent several years as a patrol leader and became a senior patrol leader, the highest youth position, during the COVID-19 lockdown.

He is now both excited and nervous to call Merced home for the next four years. Since he has never moved before, he is a bit anxious about what university life will be like. His family is proud of him, but there is no doubt they will feel a void.

"My mom is already bawling her eyes out over me leaving home," St. Martin said.

Nonetheless, he is ready to head north where he plans to major in mechanical engineering and acknowledges that if it was not for a "last-chance acceptance opportunity," his academic future may have been unknown.

"UC Merced stood out to me initially because they reached out with the Count Me In program, and as I researched the campus I learned about the small class sizes plus the abundance of faculty assistance, which solidified my decision," he said.

St. Martin would like to have a career in the research and development field, possibly in aeronautics or automotive.

In the meantime, he plans on enjoying being a Bobcat, as well as going on hikes and backpacking trips, riding his bike to explore the area and playing video games.