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Meet The Ambassadors

2017-2018

Alyson Kim (Coordinator)

Year: 4th  
Major: Civil Engineering  
High School: Palos Verdes Peninsula High School  
Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English, Korean
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: I chose UCLA after attending an admitted student presentation. It was my first time being on campus and I immediately felt connected to the student body. Everyone genuinely seemed so happy to be a Bruin and I knew I had to join.

Colton Plourde (Coordinator)

Year: 4th  
Major: Business Economics  
Minor: Accounting  
High School: San Juan Hills High School  
Hometown: Mission Viejo, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA found its way into my heart at a young age, as both my sister and my cousin are alumni. I remember campus visits and football games with them, and I felt like I became something bigger than myself with every event. I needed to become part of that on a daily basis and chose UCLA before I even applied.

Melanie Beecher (Coordinator)

Year: 3rd  
Major: Psychology  
Minor: Disability Studies  
High School: Palos Verdes High School  
Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: My dad went to UCLA and I grew up only 45 minutes away from this beautiful campus. Ever since I was a child, I went to Rose Bowl games and attended UCLA events. So one could say that UCLA was my dream school from day one. I was lucky enough to get in and the rest was history. The location, wide range of academics, premier athletic teams, and sense of Bruin pride are more than I could have dreamed of.

Kosi Ogbuli

Year: 2nd  
Major: Neuroscience/ Political Science  
High School: Patterson High School  
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA challenged me to be more than who I was and it gave me a global viewpoint. Above all, UCLA made me believe in making a true and lasting change all the while enjoying the best four years one can spend anywhere on earth.

Guransh Singh

Year: 4th  
Major: International Development Studies  
Minor: Education  
High School: Winston Churchill High School  
Hometown: Potomac, MD
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA was my dream school all throughout high school, so when I was accepted, it was a dream come true! I fell in love with UCLA the moment I stepped on campus and I'm still in love today. The greatest decision of my life.

Kellie Carlson

Year: 4th  
Major: Communication  
Minor: Film, TV, and Digital Media  
High School: Santiago High School  
Hometown: Corona, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: I honestly did not even consider going to UCLA until after I was admitted. My decision came down to UCLA or Berkeley, and I immediately fell in love with UCLA's campus when I visited the school for Bruin Day. UCLA is a beautiful school that is filled with passionate students who want to change the world. I could feel their sense of school pride and community, and I knew I just had to be a part of that. Now I'm blessed to be able to call myself a Bruin.

Alexa Garcia

Year: 2nd  
Major: Economics  
Minor: Environmental Systems and Society, hopefully Entrepreneurship  
High School: Santa Barbara High School  
Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: As a first generation college student, I chose UCLA because I immediately felt at home the first time I stepped on campus. UCLA blew me away with its architecture, endless academic opportunities, and strong support system. I couldn't picture myself anywhere else.

Leah Bayers

Year: 4th  
Major: Political Science and Classical Civilizations  
High School: Calaveras High School  
Hometown: San Andreas, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: After taking a tour of UCLA's campus and learning about all the opportunities available, I knew there was nowhere else I wanted to go!

Hannah Nizinski

Year: 3rd  
Major: Business Economics  
Minor: Disability Studies  
High School: High Tech Los Angeles  
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: While growing up, I knew I always wanted to attend UCLA. Not only was I raised in Los Angeles, but my dad also attended UCLA as an undergraduate. Even before I knew what college was, my dad would tell me about his adventures as he watched the UCLA football team on television in his UCLA shirt and hat. While on the UCLA tour, I was able to picture myself studying in Powell, eating at BPlate, flyering on Bruin Walk for a club I am passionate about, and cheering the basketball team on in Pauley Pavilion. I felt at home at UCLA and all of the feelings I had of wanting to be a Bruin when I was younger came flowing back.

Michael Hess

Year: 4th  
Major: Cognitive Science  
Minor: Biomedical Research  
High School: Berkeley High School  
Hometown: Berkeley, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: I was deciding between two schools: UCLA and a small private school on the East Coast. I couldn't, for the life of me decide between the two. It wasn't until my college counselor told me to attend the school that I would be happiest at that my mind was made up. When on campus and picturing myself as a Bruin, I was very confident that I would be able to enjoy this school to its fullest. In the end, that's what happened. I wake up every morning deliriously happy to be on UCLA campus, attending classes, participating in research, and being a part of the clubs that make up our school's rich student experience.

Sam Nishita

Year: 3rd  
Major: Chemical Engineering  
High School: Alhambra High School  
Hometown: Martinez, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA changed my mind about going to an out-of-state college the moment I stepped on campus. I immediately knew I could fit in with the incredibly diverse student body because every single person had the drive to improve themselves and the world around them. And because of its size and prestige, UCLA had the ability to offer me so many resources and opportunities that the other smaller schools could not. Coming from a USC family made becoming a Bruin even more special.

Kristen Tang

Year: 3rd  
Major: Cognitive Science  
High School: Peninsula High School  
Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: I am a third generation Bruin whose parents met at UCLA, so I grew up in the enthusiastic and passionate atmosphere of March Madness, 8-claps, Diddy Riese, and blue-and-gold pride. I fell in love with UCLA's academics, athletics, community involvement, and Bruin spirit, and it was a dream come true to get accepted. At UCLA, I get to attend a school that has always felt like home and is also incredibly diverse and dynamic, providing me with unique opportunities and experiences.

Nicholas (Nick) Edman

Year: 3rd  
Major: Political Science  
Minor: Urban/Regional Studies  
High School: OCSA  
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: I never thought I was going to choose UCLA. I grew up a die-hard USC fan. And while I was definitely a Trojan, if I was going to go to a UC school, I thought it was Berkeley. However, when I got into UCLA, I was shocked, happy, and even shed a few tears. However, what made me really want to choose UCLA was Bruin Day. Being on campus, seeing all the sites, clubs and organizations I could join, and the overall vibe of campus, UCLA became my first choice. I SIRed to UCLA on the day after USC's Trojan Day. I loved the location and weather, the academic opportunities for my programs, and the extracurricular opportunities such as going to football and basketball games (which I didn't have in high school) and other awesome places that are right on our doorstep. Today, I'm a happy 3rd year Bruin.

Evie Klaassen

Year: 3rd  
Major: Psychobiology  
Minor: Education Studies  
High School: Windsor High School  
Hometown: Windsor, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English, Dutch
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: Throughout my college application process, I did not have strong opinions on where I wanted to go, until I visited UCLA. I loved the energy of the campus so much, and even as a prospective student, it felt like I could do anything here. I was really nervous that I wouldn't get in, and had gotten some acceptances from other schools, so I decided to focus on those campuses when looking to make a decision. But when the day for UCLA acceptances came around and I saw that I had gotten in, I immediately started crying and knew that this was the place for me, and I haven't looked back since!

Amanda Martin

Year: 3rd  
Major: Art & Psychology  
High School: Westmont High School  
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English & ASL
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: I had wanted to go to UCLA since I was in 5th grade. From then on, I did everything in my ability to make sure I was ready to apply in high school. I would go on to the UCLA website all the time to take virtual tours. I finally came to visit the campus my sophomore year of high school. The online version could not compare to the beauty of UCLA in person. I continued to dream about the day that I would be able to call myself a Bruin. The summer before my senior year, I came to the Summer Art Institute, and any doubt that was left in my mind vanished. Although the doubt had left me, at times others would attempt to discourage me with their disbelief. I understood that if it was meant to be it would be, and it was.

Emma Edmond

Year: 3rd  
Major: Molecular, Cell, Developmental Biology  
Minor: Gerontology  
High School: Niwot High School  
Hometown: Boulder, CO
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: I chose UCLA to challenge myself and see a different part of the country. The weather is so hard to pass up and the minute I visited the campus I knew that it was the place for me. I wanted to meet new people and see what life is like away from the comforts of home.

Jimmy Aguilar

Year: 3rd  
Major: Political Science & Chicana/o Studies  
Minor: Education Studies  
High School: Huntington Park High School  
Hometown: Huntington Park, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English & Spanish
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: I chose UCLA because I wanted to experience a different atmosphere with a diverse student population but have the comfort of staying an hour away from home. It gave me the freedom to feel independent in one of the best cities in the world but also have the comfort of being close to my family. Oh and I'm sure the academics are also the reason I chose UCLA.

Ally Crinklaw

Year: 3rd  
Major: Human Biology and Society  
Minor: Global Health  
High School: Eastlake High School  
Hometown: Sammamish, WA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA is obviously such an important school because of the academics, sports, and school pride but I ended up choosing UCLA because of the atmosphere. As an out-of-state student, I really needed an environment that would feel like home. When I came to Bruin Day after being admitted, I felt so welcomed and comfortable and knew that this was the school for me. Additionally, I wanted to explore California and LA and all the opportunities that are available to students in a big city.

Lindsey Knight

Year: 3rd  
Major: Biology  
Minor: English  
High School: Pacifica Christian High School  
Hometown: Culver City, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: I grew up in Los Angeles with two alumni parents, so I've been a Bruin all my life. However, it wasn't until I got accepted that I actually fell in love with the school. Stepping onto campus, I couldn't help but feel welcomed by the spirit of service, commitment to learning, and incredible community that I found in my peers and professors.

Ashley Zhang

Year: 2nd  
Major: Communications  
High School: Crean Lutheran High School  
Hometown: Irvine, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English, Mandarin
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: Both of my parents graduated from UCLA, so I like to say I was born and raised a Bruin. UCLA was my dream school, and I cried happy tears when I was accepted. UCLA is located in such a prime location, and the campus is so stunning. I wanted to go to a school with lots of school spirit as well as top-notch academics, extracurriculars, and great food.

Olivia Shipp

Year: 2nd  
Major: Pre-Communications  
Minor: Environmental Studies  
High School: Regis Jesuit High School  
Hometown: Denver, CO
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: Coming from a small high school in Colorado, I wanted to go to a college that would push me outside of my comfort zone both academically and socially. UCLA was the perfect fit as it is one of the most diverse campuses in the country and its location in the heart of Los Angeles is hard to beat. The first day I stepped on campus, UCLA's vibrant energy completely drew me in and I knew that this was the place I needed to spend my next four years at. I am proud to say that UCLA has been all that I was looking for and more!

Kendyl Barnholtz

Year: 3rd  
Major: Political Science (Theory)  
Minor: Film  
High School: West Ranch High School  
Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: Originally, I was not going to apply to UCLA. I filled out the UC application with the intention of applying only to Berkeley. Because I have grown up in Los Angeles my entire life, I wanted to go somewhere further away. My parents forced me to "just click the box next to UCLA for fun," so I did. After being accepted, I decided I would, at the very least, give the school a chance. After coming to UCLA for a tour, I was absolutely obsessed. I fell in love with the campus, the people, the atmosphere, the food (which just happens to be number one in the entire country). Now, after three years, I cannot possibly imagine being happier anywhere else in the entire world. I love this school!

Bretton Stephenson

Year: 2nd  
Major: Economics  
Minor: Environmental Systems and Conservation Biology  
High School: Trabuco Hills High School  
Hometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: For most of my life, I had very little interest in UCLA. Being close to home in the traffic of Los Angeles wasn't exactly my cup of tea. However, after being convinced to go on a campus tour with my friend, I was shown a totally different side of the city and I started to think very highly of UCLA. After applying and being accepted, I was deciding between UCLA and several other major universities. After visiting all the campuses and going to Bruin Day, I absolutely fell in love with UCLA and Westwood. It felt like home right away at Bruin Day and it has ever since! I absolutely love UCLA even more than I ever dreamt I could, and I'm forever grateful for all the opportunities I've been blessed with here, all because of just one tour! Go Bruins!

Omar Habib

Year: 3rd  
Major: Psychobiology  
High School: Bishop Lynch High School  
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English & Spanish
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: From day one, UCLA has always been my dream school. I always loved the idea of attending a university in California, especially in SoCal. I wanted to go to a new place where I would be challenged and learn from new experiences. Considering how many opportunities UCLA has to offer in academics and student life, I knew I would be in a positive environment that would help me prepare for a successful future. Most importantly, when I first stepped on campus for a tour on Bruin Day, I immediately fell in love with UCLA and made my decision because I knew I'd be happy here.

Tiana Reneau

Year: 4th  
Major: African-American Studies  
Minor: Film  
High School: SOAR High School  
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: As a prospective student, I never thought I could get into a school like UCLA. Being from LA, I had grown up hearing about UCLA's amazing reputation as a champion in athletics, but also as a university for bright minds. I worked hard throughout high school, and when it was time to apply to colleges, I sent in an application to UCLA with a sliver of hope. Receiving my acceptance letter was one of my proudest moments, and I will now carry the pride of being a Bruin with me for the rest of my life.

Veronica Louise Mendoza

Year: 3rd  
Major: Communication and Psychology  
High School: Sacred Heart Preparatory  
Hometown: Palo Alto, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English, Tagalog
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: As an only child coming from a small, private, Catholic high school, I pretty much had my life handed to me on a silver platter. When looking at colleges, I knew I needed an environment that would teach me real-world experiences and prepare me for life outside of a bubble. My main reason for choosing UCLA was simple: I wanted to grow. From learning how to navigate my way through classes, meeting people from all walks of life, applying for jobs on my own, to seeking help when I need it, UCLA provides me with a perfect transitory period between being a dependent adolescent to a self-reliant young adult.

Simran Kang

Year: 3rd  
Major: Economics and Global Studies  
High School: El Molino High School  
Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English, Punjabi, Hindi
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: I visited UCLA after getting admitted, not sure what to expect. The moment I stepped into Pauley Pavilion and then toured the rest of campus I fell in love with the spirit, pride, optimism, and support that you could just see from all the different students, staff, and faculty walking around on this beautiful campus. I knew that I would feel comfortable enough to grow and learn and have so many resources and opportunities to enhance my undergraduate experience. Go Bruins!

Tanner Weaver

Year: 2nd  
Major: Biochemistry  
High School: Tulelake High School  
Hometown: Tulelake, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: I chose UCLA because of the people on campus. I felt like both the students and faculty were genuine and everyone on campus wanted to succeed and make a positive impact. UCLA didn't feel cutthroat and competitive but rather a community of learning. Every time I'm on campus I feel like I'm at home.

Hannah Goldberg

Year: 3rd  
Major: Human Biology and Society  
High School: Germantown Friends School  
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English , Spanish, Hebrew
New/Returning: Returning
Why I chose UCLA: It's amazing. The weather caught my eye when I arrived on campus, as well as the spirit of the school. I chose UCLA for the atmosphere, environment and people. I believe UCLA has a lot of opportunity and has given me a new look on a lot of aspects of my life.

Justin Shumate

Year: 3rd  
Major: Biochemistry  
Minor: N/A  
High School: Live Oak High School  
Hometown: Morgan Hill, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Community College: N/A
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: I chose UCLA because of the strong sense of community and family that I felt from the time I first step foot on campus on Bruin Day. The campus environment showed me that there was no place I would be happier. The beautiful campus and top-notch academics certainly helped the decision as well.

Camille Porter McAvoy

Year: 2nd  
Major: Political Science and Communications  
High School: Bishop O'Dowd High School  
Hometown: San Leandro, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA was always among my top choices when I was applying to college. After I got in, I was so excited to come visit. The moment I arrived on campus, I was amazed by the beautiful campus and the surrounding area. As I learned more about the campus, such as the amazing academic and extracurricular opportunities, I knew that UCLA was the place for me.

Itzel De La Torre

Year: 4th  
Major: American Literature & Culture  
High School: Mary Star of the Sea High School  
Hometown: San Pedro, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Transfer
Community College: Santa Monica College
Language: English & Spanish
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA was always my dream school and I fell completely in love the first moment I stepped foot on campus. When I was accepted to UCLA it was a dream come true. I am so excited and proud to be a Bruin!

Rhea Singh

Year: 2nd  
Major: Economics and Geography/Environmental Studies  
High School: Andover High School  
Hometown: Andover, MA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA was always a dream for me and when I came to visit I immediately felt so comfortable. UCLA is full of different people and different ideas. Coming from a small town, I knew that I wanted to experience more during my college experience. Now I have such a different and unique group of friends, who are exposing me to new activities and events that I never thought I would ever do. At UCLA, everyone has a group on campus that they can call their family.

Emma Rosenberg

Year: 3rd  
Major: Economics  
Minor: Global Health  
High School: Santa Ynez High School  
Hometown: Santa Ynez, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: During most of high school, I thought that I wanted to go to a small liberal arts school on the East Coast, but my mom actually made me apply to some UC schools. However, once I was accepted to UCLA, I came to visit on Bruin Day and immediately my choice was clear. I fell in love with the positive and uplifting atmosphere, the incredible college town that is Westwood, and the people who smiled at me at every corner. UCLA felt like home.

DJ Molloy

Year: 2nd  
Major: Human Biology & Society  
Minor: LGBTQ Studies  
High School: Guajome Park Academy  
Hometown: Oceanside, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English and Spanish
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: I wanted to go to a school full of opportunity. And I always knew I would want to go to a big city. After all my decisions came in, I decided to visit UCLA to see if it was a good fit. I immediately fell in love with the campus, with Westwood, and with the air of ambition all UCLA students have. I felt like people here understood me, understood my goals, and understood the life I wanted to live. I'm so glad I accepted because it's one of my favorite places on earth now.

Faith Pigeon

Year: 2nd  
Major: Nursing  
High School: Classical Academy High School  
Hometown: Poway, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: My ideal college throughout high school was a small, private university. I did not really consider the UC schools because they seemed very intimidating to me. When I got accepted to UCLA, my mom told me I had to visit campus before I declined admission. When I visited on Bruin Day, campus immediately became home to me. I could not imagine going anywhere else besides UCLA because of the incredible opportunities and community here.

Arni Daroy

Year: 2nd  
Major: Political Science and Economics  
Minor: Art History  
High School: University High School  
Hometown: Irvine, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Freshman
Language: English, Tagalog
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: When it came down to choosing colleges, I wanted to be somewhere that challenged me academically of course but more importantly a place I felt at home. College is so much more than learning in the class because the people you surround yourself with is who you become, and the type of people I met when I visited (and continue to meet as a student here) were both kind and passionate about their majors or their jobs or UCLA in general. I knew immediately that this was the kind of person I wanted to be, and to be able to live in and learn in an atmosphere of collaboration and genuine kindness with some of the brightest students in the world has made me so proud to be a Bruin.

Michael Harrahill

Year: 4th  
Major: Communication  
High School: St. Monica Academy  
Hometown: Monrovia, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Transfer
Community College: Pasadena City College
Language: English
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: As a high school and community college student, I was unsure of what I wanted to study or pursue as a career and I knew that UCLA would have everything I would need to figure that out. I always wanted to be a Bruin because I knew it would have the social, academic, and professional resources to make for a great college experience. Now as a senior, UCLA has given me all the direction and support I need to continue learning and growing until graduation and beyond.

Charles (Charlie) Villalpando

Year: 4th  
Major: Philosophy  
High School: Los Osos High School  
Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Freshman/Transfer: Transfer
Community College: Chaffey College
Language: English & Spanish
New/Returning: New
Why I chose UCLA: UCLA was a dream school I once thought was unattainable throughout my youth. I reached a set of crossroads at the end of my high school career where I had to decide whether I was going to settle for what I had earned or whether I was going to fight for something I could be proud of. I turned myself around and worked really hard in community college and found that the opportunities at community college turned a once unattainable dream into a reality. I stepped foot on campus and absolutely haven't looked back since.

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