Ambitious Summer Award Stories

Summer Session students who complete 15 credits or more receive the $680 Ambitious Summer Award. These students chose ambitious course loads and ended the summer improved GPAs, new best friends, and lifelong memories!  

We hope you find some inspiration in their stories. 


    Kristina Bullington

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    The main reason I take Summer Session courses is to be able to pay rent and live in Santa Cruz over summer. Summer session also helped me spread out my courses so that I am able to study abroad while I attend UCSC instead of taking a heavier course load throughout the school year. 

    I only take online courses during Summer Session so it doesn’t impact my work hours over the summer, but I always find it funny when I become friends with someone and find out we were in the same class.


  • Jordan Rutledge

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    Without Summer Session classes, I might not have even been able to finish a Math minor by my expected graduation term. The fact that all the major prerequisites were offered during the Summer Session is what allowed me to pursue my goal of a double major

    I went into summer not knowing any other students at UCSC or having any friends living in Santa Cruz, and I came out of it with a bunch of new friends who are also Math majors or minors, and a number of them are in classes with me again this Fall.


  • Aaditi Kumbhar

  • No alternative textI really enjoyed taking Disease Ecology. Because classes are small over the summer, we were all able to connect and make study groups to be successful in the class. The class was a lot more laid back, and we had a lot of time to focus on exciting case studies, which really allowed me to have a practical application towards my scientific interests!

  • Phani Rayapaneni

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    I wanted to pursue a minor in Chemistry while working in a lab on campus

    The best part of Santa Cruz summer is running by the beach (Westcliff, in particular, is my favorite.) You get the best of both worlds: beautiful views and you get your cardio in!


  • Freeman

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    This summer, I took three math classes and 1 GE class, so my plan for a second major has become possible. The math classes reassured me that interest and passion are really the keys to success. 

    Summer classes are usually of smaller sizes. I chose "World Society" with Dr. Aida Mukharesh, and was able to enjoy a supportive environment, and engage in deep and thoughtful conversations. It's a privilege brought by the summer classes.


  • Clara Mueller

  • No alternative textSummer session definitely helped accelerate my graduation time frame, as well as allowing for more one-on-one time with my professors, since our classes were smaller. Although studying was a large component of my summer, I still had plenty of time to go hang out at the beach and relax, as well as take nice hikes throughout campus. If there is a class you are interested in taking, that occurs during Summer Session, don't be afraid to take it, it'll be worth your effort and you'll be able to get more out of the class. The best part of the UCSC summer was how quiet campus was, being able to constantly walk around campus surrounded by nature, as well as finding neat places to go study during the day. Summer Session was a great experience overall, and I will definitely be returning for more classes next year!

  • Mikayla Ortiz

  • No alternative textI was motivated to take 4 Summer Session classes because I wanted to earn more credits so I can, hopefully, graduate early! I was able to pass all of them with A's which boosted my GPA significantlyI highly recommend taking a Summer Session class as long as you are able to have good time management skills during the summer! The course load may get heavy, however, the payoff is amazing if you are able to plan homework and studying time around your daily activities. Just make sure to breathe, take time for yourself, and plan your day out accordingly while taking a Summer Session course. 

  • Charae Bradshaw

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    Summer Session definitely helped me graduate sooner by helping me meet graduation requirements and major requirements. I will graduate in Fall, instead of Winter or Spring.

    I don’t have a unique experience through Summer Session. However, it has created a unique opportunity for my child to come with me to school during the summer. I commute from almost three hours away, and sometimes I will take my child with me to Santa Cruz and make a day out of it. He receives a unique opportunity to see what college courses are like, and we get to spend time together in the town and talk about what he learned.

  • Nox Ngo

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    Summer Session helped me pick up a second major and I'm still going to graduate early. I also have a tendency to be lazy over the summer, so keeping myself active both mentally and physically through summer session classes can really keep you in shape especially since buses don't run as often, walking is a necessity.


  • Taylor Dinwiddie

  •  Taylor Dinwiddie

    During my third year on this campus, I was offered to be a secondary mentor for UC Santa Cruz's Science Internship Program (SIP). I was eager to accept the role because it allowed me to assist a graduate student with their research and help them teach a group of gifted high school students the core concepts of their projects.

    This paid position allowed me to spend the days that I wasn't working, on Summer courses and encouraged me to pursue a minor in Literature. I had to essentially cram the entire minor into the two distinct summer sessions, so I took four upper-division Literature classes in 10 weeks.

    I'm currently a Computer Science: Computer Game Design major, so exploring a department that's fairly different from engineering exposed me to new experiences and ways of thinking. The three and a half hour classes were daunting at times, but I thoroughly enjoyed diversifying my friend groups and discovering a new portion of the campus, while simultaneously improving my writing and my ability to tell stories.

  • Madeleine Schlieter

  • Madeleine Schlieter

    Summer session helped me get ahead, giving me junior standing as a second year, and knock out some prerequisites making it easier to enroll in classes I need and move further in my majors. After this fall quarter, I'll be able to declare, I'm double majoring in intensive psychology and cognitive science, and I have some of the most impacted courses out of the way now. One of the classes even helped me get into a psychology research lab on campus, which is something I really wanted to get involved in but wasn't quite sure how to get there. I think I want to go to graduate school and summer session helped me accomplish things I need to do to get there.


  • Kevin Chu

  • Kevin Chu
    As a psychology major, I took summer session because students who major in psychology already have a hard enough time when it comes to getting the classes they want during the academic year. I wanted to be (santa) cruzin' throughout the school year, so I decided to make an adult decision of getting ahead and making sure I had more than enough time to graduate. It all proved to be super beneficial and I now have all of my classes lined up in order to graduate on time!

    Future Summer Session Students: A majority of students always use the summer in order to benefit themselves and have more personal growth. Summer school is a great way to discipline yourself and get started on building a foundation for a better future!

  • Grace Cepe

  • Grace Cepe

    Recipe for success: (1) Just show up; (2) Take care of yourself; (3) Love what you’re studying. 

    (1) Just show up: 50% of the battle is won by just showing up. But, if you’re really struggling with the course load, communicate with your instructors and they’ll do their best to accommodate. They want you to succeed. 

    (2) Take care of yourself: I coped with stress by hanging out with my friends, hiking, meditating, yoga, and binging on Jane the Virgin. I took breaks when I needed it because burn out is difficult to recuperate from. 

    (3) Love what you’re studying: I absolutely adore psychology. I want to learn everything I can about psychology, so I’m taking advantage of UCSC by taking as many courses as I can. Learning is so much fun to me! 


  • Devon Evanovich

  • Devon Evanovich
    In my senior year, I fell in love with the History department at UCSC and was inspired to complete the major. There are great course offerings for History in the summer and I ended up taking very interesting courses that I would of otherwise not had the time in my schedule to complete. 

    I am an MCD Biology and History double major and with my normal school year filled with science classes, I needed to take summer classes in order to fulfill the requirements for my History major.


  • Madilynn Hintz

  • Madilynn HintzFor me, Summer Session was a spur of the moment commitment. Since my rent contract was valid through August, I decided to stay and enroll in Summer Session. Taking classes over the summer was a very appealing opportunity as I could check off major requirements in the half the time in comparison to the regular quarter schedule.

  • Natalie Miller

  •  Natalie Miller

    Summer Session helped contribute to my goal of graduating early (within three years). I took two classes over summer that were the best classes I have ever taken - Psychology of Trauma and the Survey of Rap and Hip Hop. The classes are smaller so they are more personal and I met so many good friends just over the summer. Reading on the beach to me is much better than in a classroom! 


  • Jihong Min

  • Jihong Min
    University has been all sorts of ups and downs for me. From enrolling, initially, with a STEM related major to ending up declaring two Arts majors instead, I have had trouble finding a way to complete my education on time. In my mind, I had two options. I start taking 4-5 classes per quarter OR I take a large portion of classes during Summer Session. Summer Sessions is what I ended up choosing, and I can say with full certainty that it has lessened the load.

    Taking summer session classes will not only give me the ability to graduate on time, but it will also give me the leniency to enroll in other classes that I would not have had time to in the first place. I can explore classes not in my major/field, something that I have been very interested in since the start.

     


  • Ke Xu

  •  Ke Xu

    This summer, I took an online course (Econ-10A), this is my first time to take an online class. I feel it is excellent and effective. I do not need to take time on traffic. Also all the notes and related material I could find online, which is good for reviewing. I think the online course is my favorite type.


  • Sarah Fujii

  • Sarah FujiiTaking summer session allowed me to keep riding the momentum of the regular school year and knock out the last of the requirements I needed to graduate. I think one of the best things about summer session is having smaller classes. That means having a more personal learning experience with your lecturer. Shouts out to Ben Storm, Megan McNamara, Sarah Harsey, and Ike Minton! Genuinely some of the best instructors I had at the university. I'm grateful that I got to experience their teachings in a closer environment and make meaningful personal connections.