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"I read to lose myself and find myself at the same time." - Imani Mosley

Student Spotlight

UC Merced English majors and recent English graduates are doing extraordinary things. Here are some of them:

• Cathryn Flores, '22, is an English major and writing minor as well as a composer and musician. In summer 2020, she composed the music for the bilingual production of Richardo el Segundo (Richard II) produced and filmed by Merced Shakespearefest. She is working as a scholar-artist to write a UROC-H research project on electronic music, accessibility, and theatre, and academic publishers are already interested in her work. She is the July 2020 featured student of the month for SSHA.
 
• Chris Ingle, '20, was chosen to represent his class at UC Merced's virtual commencement in May 2020. He spoke eloquently about overcoming many obstacles on the route to getting his degree.
 
• Serena Johnson, '22, created and performed "7 Rings (Hamlet Remix)" in Spring 2020, a brilliant tribute that fans of Ariana and the Bard will love in equal measure. It was one of several creative projects created by UC Merced students for their English classes while under lockdown. 
 
• Jose Ramirez, Mahealani Larosa, and Emma Greenleaf wrote essays about digital performances in spring 2020, which will be published in Shakespeare Bulletin. They are the first undergraduate students to be published in this prestigious academic journal. 
 
• Diana Lara, '20, received highest honors for her honors thesis "In the Age of Fanfiction: Redefining Literary Readership and Authorship in the Twenty-First Century." Diana also recieved UC Merced's Distinguished Student award upon graduation, and was honored virtually in May 2020. 
 
• Through the UROC-H program, Ying Wei (Anna) Zhang, '22, is conducting research in summer 2020 on the role theatre can play in the fight for environmental justice. She is interviewing theatre directors and scholars from around the world and helping to create the EarthShakes alliance, a global consortium of theatres committed to foregrounding ecology in their plays.
 
• Xotchitl Garibay, '19, began a new job with the National Park Service as an interpretive ranger for Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Spring 2020. While at UC Merced, Xotchitl was involved in the Yosemite Leadership Program, and worked for the Vernal Pools literary magazine and the Undergraduate Research Journal. Her experience in the English major and in these activies gave her the passion for nature and the communication skills needed to succeed in this exciting job, where she will be teaching visitors to the park about the area and the importance of preserving the natural world.
 
Monica Perales, '18, graduated from UC Merced with honors and as a published poet. She now works for Restore Merced, a non-profit dedicated to creating economic and social opportunities for residents of Merced.
 
• Natalie Robertson, '18, and Bias Collins, '19, are pursuing PhDs in English at UC Davis and in Literature and Disability at UC San Diego, respectively. 
 
• Shawna Lin Murdock, '17, was hired by Yosemite National Park after graduation and is now works in the legal profession in San Francisco.
 
•  Jennifer Zamora, '16, earned a masters in Interdiscplinary Humanties at UC Merced and now works as an advisor at UC San Diego.
 
Shavone Charles, '12, is a first-generation American performance rapper-songwriter, entrepreneur, activist and marketing and communications executive in the technology industry, recently named as one of the 30 most influential tech entrepreneurs under 30 by Forbes magazine. She is currently the Director of Consumer Communications at VSCO, photo-editing app and social platform. She was the first African-American woman to ever be hired onto both Twitter and Instagram’s communications teams. While at Twitter, She helped co-found Twitter's first employee resource group for African American employees, Blackbirds. s Head of Global Music and Youth Culture Communications at Instagram, Shavone helped create Instagram's first-ever Black History Month program in 2018, which reached more than 19 million on Instagram and featured a series of first-time initiatives, including a #BlackGirlMagic partnership with Spotify and the launch of the #CelebrateBlackCreatives program. In early 2019, Shavone founded Magic in Her Melanin, and released two musical projects: "SITH" and "4C" which premiered by Dazed & Confused Magazine and Billboard respectively. She was UC Merced's first ever alumna graduation speaker in 2018, and in summer 2020 led a workshop for UC alumni. 
 
If you have a story idea for this page, please email Professor Brokaw at kbrokaw@ucmerced.edu 
 
 
Updated 2021