Yolanda Franklin, who has raised five children, transferred to UC Davis from a community college in pursuit of a degree in animal biology and a career as a veterinarian. Karin Higgins, UC Davis/Courtesy photo

Yolanda Franklin, who has raised five children, transferred to UC Davis from a community college in pursuit of a degree in animal biology and a career as a veterinarian. Karin Higgins, UC Davis/Courtesy photo

Local News

From many backgrounds, they now share a common bond

By From page A1 | December 02, 2012

Among the record number of undergraduates at UC Davis this fall are:

Daniella Marie Holm, a freshman chemical engineering major from San Jose.

Holm, 17, graduated from high school as her class salutatorian and female scholar athlete of the year. She was named the most valuable player on her tennis team and built a record of community service.

At UCD, Holm holds a Regents Scholarship — the university’s most prestigious scholarship — for outstanding academic and personal achievements. With many advanced placement credits, she made a “daring decision” to jump right into what is usually the third in a series of undergraduate calculus courses. “It’s definitely a lot more work,” she said.

She participates in Integrated Studies, an invitational honors program, and said she appreciates the “strong community” bond that comes from living and studying with the other participants. Holm plans to explore career opportunities that will combine her love of math and chemistry.

* Titus Garrett, a freshman in the undeclared life sciences program from Fresno.

Garrett — who won awards as the top student in math, English and religion classes in high school — also won league honors in track and football and was recognized as the most valuable player on his football team. But Garrett hadn’t been sure about playing college football.

“Then I saw the field,” he said of Aggie Stadium, “and all the butterflies came back. I knew I had to try out.” Walking on as a non-scholarship athlete, Garrett nevertheless earned a spot on the Aggie roster.

One of the classes that is most interesting to him right now is a first-year seminar on the Chicago blues. Garrett said he’s getting the best collegiate experience with both high-quality academics and athletics. He aims to earn a master’s degree in civil engineering and develop his ideas for products and technology to purify water and air.

“If they work, they could definitely change the world,” he said.

* Max Garrow, a freshman biomedical engineering major from Folsom.

Garrow was president of the student body of 2,000 at his high school and helped lead fundraising for student activities. He said it was hard work but he counts it as a great experience: “I met a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise known, and it was cool to be able to work with the school staff on things.”

Garrow, who lived in Germany for a year, is looking forward to studying abroad during his time at UCD. Aiming for a career working with prosthetics, he said he’s been fascinated to learn about the research of UCD professors. An avid cyclist thriving on the bike-crazy campus, Garrow also plays intramural soccer and participates in College Life, a Christian fellowship group.

* Shengqiao Luo, a freshman environmental science and management major from Shenzhen, China.

It means a lot to Luo that the university she traveled 7,000 miles to attend has been named the No. 1 Cool School in the nation by Sierra Magazine.

“I’m so proud of that,” she said.

A leader in environmental advocacy for her high school, Luo won an award that led to the opportunity to conduct research through Peking University about the relationship between poverty and the environment. An accomplished pianist and choral singer, she is looking forward to joining one of UCD’s popular a cappella groups.

She said she is thrilled with the amenities of her campus apartment and the friendliness of the campus — to her and bikes.

“I ride my bike everywhere,” she said. “It’s a very green way.”

* Yolanda Franklin, a transfer student in animal biology from Davis.

Franklin, 47, has raised five children on her own and worked full-time as an animal health technician and zookeeper. Certified in agricultural and veterinary technology in 1986, she took classes at two community colleges to be able to transfer to UCD. She’s here to complete an undergraduate degree in pursuit of her once faded dream of being a research veterinarian.

“To find a cure for something would be awesome,” she said.

Franklin already has taken four Summer Sessions courses, joined two clubs for pre-veterinary medicine students and started an internship with a surgical research facility.

A former foster child, she is participating in the Guardian Scholars program at UCD, which provides resources to help former foster youths succeed in college.

“They’re there to remind us that the challenges we’ve had, we can overcome,” she said. “They encourage us to keep our goals and set our sights high.”

— UC Davis News Service

Julia Ann Easley

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