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After Starting as a Biology Major, Natalya Gonzalez Discovered that Art is Her Real Passion

Natalya Gonzalez

Natalya Gonzalez grew up in Los Angeles. As a kid, she loved to sketch and draw with pastels. She came to UC Santa Cruz to study biology since she was interested in research and all the labs on campus. Studying the subject in a beautiful place like Santa Cruz seemed like a great fit to her. 
Then last year when Gonzalez was a sophomore, she joined KZSC, the station on campus. 
“I really loved the community and the chance to really express myself creatively,” she said. “I realized art was really my passion, and I decided to switch my major.”
When she was growing up, there was always music playing in the house, and along with making art, Gonzalez loved music. After joining the station, she started experimenting with audio editing and practiced making ads for a class project. Gonzalez says she likes rock music and applied for the job of Rock and Music director at the station the spring of her sophomore year and got it. 
She fully committed to the arts. Along with working at the radio station, around the time Gonzalez changed her major, she saw an email saying the Chancellor's Undergraduate Internship Program (CUIP) in the Arts Division was looking for a marketing and social media coordinator. 
Gonzalez put together a portfolio and applied. She got that job as well, and now makes graphics for the Instagram and Facebook accounts and monitors their reach. 
Gonzalez has a background in social media. In high school, she used to do a lot of posts and make graphics for Instagram and for the yearbook. Along with her work for CUIP, she also joined the Slug Life Productions Board on campus, the organization that puts on concerts and special events, and she does graphics and posts for the organization as well.
Gonzalez has started to focus on more design-based classes, such as playable media, which gives her experience in UI/UX design. She had never done coding before, but she had taught herself Photoshop and Illustrator and After Effects. 
She’s always been good about taking initiative to learn new things, Gonzalez says. That’s one of the reasons she was first drawn to biology to do research and find out about new topics. 
Now she is taking a class in coding for the arts and 2D animation which she enjoys, saying it’s always been one of her favorite art forms. And she’s taking a leadership course.
After she graduates, Gonzalez would like to work in marketing and she’s also considering website design. Since she’s enjoying her work at the radio station so much, she’s thinking about working in music marketing. 
On the weekends or when she has free time, Gonzalez likes to go for bike rides along the coast, and she’d like to go back to swimming, which she did in high school. She also draws and sketches, taking time away from the computer. When she goes home to Los Angeles for the summer, she enjoys going to see exhibitions at places like the Broad and the Hammer Museum.  
Gonzalez is glad she’s at UC Santa Cruz studying the arts. 
“I found such a great community of people here. I think that the Art Department especially is just so full of people that are creatively inclined, and they're so sweet and so willing to help out and give critiques. No one here is overly competitive, and everyone's willing to lend a helping hand,” she said. “I'm excited to have this position, especially as a person of color. It's very exciting to have the opportunity to display my art and create art that can help support the Art Department at Santa Cruz.”