After taking a tour of UC Santa Cruz, Chanel Chavira knew that she had found the perfect place to study. She loved the sheer beauty of the campus with its towering redwood trees and lush greenery, and how very different it was from the other UC campuses she had visited.
“I initially had applied as a transfer student to UCSC as an Art major but I didn’t get into the program so I decided to apply to HAVC [History of Art and Visual Culture],” says Chavira. “Having a love for art and a recent interest in art history, I didn’t feel letdown at all that I didn’t get accepted into the Art program. I always had a curiosity and wanted for know more about the past and different cultures. However, I couldn’t help but to still feel like I was interested in majoring in Art, so I decided to reapply before the start of my second quarter at UCSC and I got in! Art has been a part of my life ever since I could hold a crayon in my hand.”
As a San Francisco native, Chavira enjoyed growing up going to fun places all around the city and taking in all that the area had to offer. Her parents separated when she was only a year old, but she appreciated being able to be with both of them regularly, switching between each of them every other day and on weekends, as well as having her extended family around her. “Both my mom’s and dad’s side were always loving, supportive and fun. My dad’s side especially had a lot more going on since it was bigger and because we had lived at my grandparents’ house along with my two aunts and cousin,” she says.
When she was a child, she had dreamed of becoming a singer and a songwriter, then thought about being a fashion designer. “For the longest time I aspired to be a designer, to create my own clothing line,” she says. “After I had taken a couple of sewing classes, that idea quickly dissipated. But mostly I wanted to be immersed in the art world when I grew up.”
Chavira looks forward to graduating next year in the class of 2025 as she continues with double majoring in Art and HAVC. She also works with the Communications, Events, and Marketing Office (CEMO) within the Arts Division as an usher for various UCSC performing arts events. “What I like best about working as an usher is being someone that guests can count on to help them to better their audience experience.”
One of her favorite things to do on campus is to walk around, go through the forest and see all of the various wild animals, such as the deer, which she says bring her a feeling of peacefulness. She also enjoys taking advantage of all of the available organizations and resource centers along with attending social events. She advises new UCSC students to stay open to new adventures and meeting new people, to go to campus events often, and to join at least one club.
After graduation, Chavira plans on working at a museum or cultural center as either an exhibition designer or in a job that allows her to be in charge of community programs and education, such as a program coordinator or museum educator.
“I'm passionate about learning about different cultures and their art and artifacts. I'm passionate about being able to express oneself through creating art. I'm also passionate about helping others, in helping to bring joy and peace into their life.”