Graduate Division welcomes second Diversity & Outreach Peer Advisor

By Shawn Warner-Garcia, Assistant Director of Professional Development
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 09:49 AM

You've probably already seen Danny Meza hard at work on various diversity initiatives throughout the past academic year. He joins Ana Romero as the Graduate Division's second Diversity & Outreach Peer Advisor working to make UCSB's graduate student body even more diverse, representative, and ​supportive. Danny is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Clinical, Counseling, & School Psychology and he sat down with us to share about his research and hobbies, as well as some important events that have been formative in his life.

THE STORY

I was born in Tucson, Arizona to a multi-racial family, my dad being Mexican-American and my mother German-American. I also have two brothers, one older and one younger. As a psychologist-in-training, I know at least that "middle child syndrome" is not a true clinical disorder. That being said, I definitely exhibit the stereotypical sense of independence. "I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel." A formative event from childhood that stays with me today was when my 8th grade social studies teacher showed our class video of the Cesar Chavez-led farm worker's strike. My identity and goals were forever changed after that moment.

HIS RESEARCH INTERESTS

Currently I am interested in ethnic studies and the positive psychological impact on students when engaging with ethnic studies curriculum. My sense of purpose, self-efficacy, and community were altered in positive ways when I first engaged with Mexican-American Studies courses as the University of Arizona. When the local public school system in Tucson banned ethnic studies (and really it was only Mexican-American/Chican@ studies), my heart was first broken but then set on doing this research and counseling to push back against racial ignorance in Arizona and the rest of the country.

FUN FACTS

I am a lover of poetry (William Carlos Williams and Yusef Komunyakaa) and Chican@ Lit – especially Ana Castillo, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Michelle Serros. I am also a collector of records and a lover of music. It began with 60s and 70s rock music and hip-hop, but I am now a fan of garage, delta blues, psychedelic, 50s and 60s R&B, surf, funk, sitar, and anything by Holly Golightly. I also enjoy concerts – I have seen Thee Oh Sees 11 times, Ty Segall 18, Jack White 14, and Holly Golightly and The Fiery Furnaces slightly less than that. I've also hosted radio shows in Tucson and here at KCSB.

HIS ​ROLE AS THE DIVERSITY & OUTREACH PEER

As a Diversity & Outreach Peer, I am excited to be a part of UCSB's push to cultivate a safe, supportive, and enriching environment for the numerous cultures that students to bring to campus, especially underrepresented students in the academy. Like any institution in this country, UCSB is figuring out how to become more representative of the cultures that constitute its people, not just in number but also in influence. It is especially exciting to meet with students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to share ideas towards this goal.

Welcome, ​Danny!

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