2020 Incoming Grad Series: Andrea Gracia

by Chava Nerenberg, Graduate Programming Assistant
Monday, September 21, 2020 10:00 AM

Welcome to the first student profile article of our 2020 Incoming Grad Series, featuring backstories and fun facts on 8 students who are part of the incoming class at UCSB.

First up is Andrea Gracia, an incoming Master's student from Gilroy, CA. Andrea holds an undergraduate degree in Management and Business Economics from UC Merced. She is entering the Master's in Environmental Management (MESM) program at the Bren School and is hoping to explore methods of working with businesses and organizations to incorporate environmental solutions that create and sustain business value. Read on to learn more about Andrea's background, why she chose UCSB, and some surprising fun facts! 



Andrea was born in Colombia, came to the U.S. with her mom when she was 10 years old, and grew up in Gilroy, CA, which is a small suburban town near San Jose, CA. Throughout middle and high school she played different sports like swimming, waterpolo, tennis, and track and field. However, her favorite sport is basketball, which she played at the varsity level in high school and as part of a competitive travel team.

She initially chose to go to UC Merced as a Psychology major, but soon switched to Management and Business Economics, as this better fit her interest of becoming a business owner one day. She began to get more involved in campus clubs and organizations and joined Delta Delta Delta. This experience helped her break out of her shell and sharpen her social and professional skills. Shortly after, she became a founding member of the Microfinance Project and Marketing Club at UC Merced.

After graduating in Spring 2019, she stayed in Merced and began working in sales at a local promotional marketing company. During that time, she became passionate about the adverse effects that climate change is having on our planet, and was inspired to apply to the Bren School to study Environmental Science and Management.


Andrea chose UCSB and the Bren school because she was looking for a program where she could merge her background in Economics with the field of Environmental Science. She appreciates that the MESM program is focused on using a multidisciplinary approach to tackle environmental challenges, which is very different from many other environmental programs, which often focus only on the natural sciences. She was also attracted to the program's focus on building community among students and encouraging team work. She loves UCSB's campus and relaxed atmosphere and believes it will be the perfect place to both learn and have fun. 



Andrea is interested in working with firms and other organizations to explore environmental solutions that create and sustain business value while taking financial constraints into consideration. She wants to explore ways to integrate existing technology, innovation, and policy with science-based research to help mitigate the environmental challenges that private businesses, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations face daily. She is planning to pursue specializations in Energy and Climate and Corporate Environmental Management, with a focus on Strategic Environmental Communication and Media.



Andrea told us that she is very active and loves to go to the gym, play basketball, hike, swim, and paddleboard. During quarantine, she also taught herself how to juggle. She is passionate about electronic dance music (EDM), and while she misses being able to attend music festivals, she recently bought a DJ controller to further explore her love for EDM during quarantine! She has a cat named Lucky and also enjoys painting, drawing, and cooking.


Welcome, Andrea!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is Richard Nedjat-Haiem, an incoming student in Comparative Literature from Los Angeles, CA. Richard is a talented dancer and choreographer who will be applying an interdisciplinary lens to research Middle Eastern cultural history pertaining to music and dance.