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Pacific Humanities Scholars Program
Ray Rennard, Ph.D.
Director of Pacific Humanities Scholars Program, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Meet our Humanities Scholars

Ernest ChanErnest Chan

I am a philosophy major with a minor in religious studies, which is sort of ironic, considering that I have been the opposite of religious all my life. My studies within ethics inspired an interest in studying aspects of Confucianism under Professor Tanya Storch. Within this subject matter, I found a burning desire to understand religion at a more human level. I began to formulate deep inquiries about why religion is important to so many people, and the role of "belief" within society. Although most of my focus within religion has been geared toward Buddhist and Confucian thought, I began to combine what I learned in regards to ethics with my newfound religious knowledge. Because of my studies within the humanities, I rediscovered a strong passion to understand my own heritage and culture. All of these ideas eventually culminated in my own undergraduate research paper, which has proven to be one of my most formative experiences here at Pacific.


Andrew RochaAndrew Rocha

In high school, I took an interest in comic books and graphic novels and that led to an appreciation of mythology and literature. Those stories inspired me to become a writer, someone who would spend his life creating stories and characters that entertain and captivate others. I chose to become an English major to hone my writing skills and my understanding of literature. Since becoming a Humanities Scholar and a student here at Pacific, I have learned how diverse the community and the world around me really is and grown more aware of the demand for greater representation in pop culture and media. I have since added minors in Ethnic Studies and Writing to my degree, and I am currently working to become a writer and storyteller who can reflect the diversity that I see everywhere around me. At Pacific, I served as the treasurer of the honors society Sigma Tau Delta for two years, the copy editor of The Pacifican for two years, and a literary editor for Calliope for almost three years. I also wrote for the online publication Odyssey for over a year, and I currently manage my own anime and pop culture blog. 

Chain ShieldsChain Shields

If hard sciences are what lend logic and knowledge to our lives, humanities are what give us meaning. On one hand, they teach us to think critically about ideas and where they come from, and on the other they also introduce us to cultures, perspectives, and narratives we may be unfamiliar with otherwise. With an English major and Writing minor, I look forward to future opportunities for authorship. Though open to possibilities for where a career might take me, I foremost hope to pursue the goal of education, awareness, and making an impact on people's lives. Through literature and language, we can explore humanity, power, history, emotion, culture, relationships, archetypes, and all sorts of important topics that can change how people look at the world. I try to embody my goals and ideals through my campus involvement; in addition to being a Humanities Scholar and personal activist, I am also currently the president (and co-founder) of Tigers Against Disableism, the treasurer of the Gender Umbrella Club, a chapter leader for Pacific's chapter of Eye to Eye National, the social chair for Omega Eta Epsilon, and a literary staff member for Calliope, Pacific's literary and arts magazine. 

Clarissa FrankeClarissa Franke

I have always been interested in the humanities and being creative, which led me to my computer science and studio art majors. Both art and computer science allowed me to create things in different ways, and I want to combine my majors into a career, possibly developing my own video game or working as a graphic artist for a company like Google. From a young age, I loved reading and making up my own stories, and I was fascinated with history. To me, the humanities are important because they help people gain an understanding of others. Nobody experiences life the same way, and the easiest way to understand someone else's world view is through literature. At Pacific, I am a member of OHE, the professional Greek organization for language and literacy. I am also involved with the new TIES club, which is meant to bring together people from engineering, business, and art to develop projects and see them through from start to finish.


Ashley PhamAshley Pham

I came from Southern California to major in English and minor in Teaching Professions with the goal of becoming a high school English teacher. Becoming a teacher has been a goal of mine since childhood, and in high school, I finally singled out English as my desired content area. I believe the humanities is the place for moving and shaking--making a change. As an aspiring educator, I want to be able to help students find their voice while becoming empathetic individuals and lifelong learners. My experiences with professors at Pacific have opened both mental and physical doors for me in the past three years. I've had the opportunity to travel across Northern California and Oregon with the Humanities Scholars Program. I presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Memphis, Tennessee. I became director of sisterhood of my sorority, Alpha Phi, and joined professional honors societies Sigma Tau Delta and Phi Kappa Phi. I gave a voice to students as Lifestyles Editor at The Pacifican and, after discovering a love for reading and writing poetry, I have become an editor at Pacific's literary and arts magazine, Calliope. I also serve as a Resident Assistant. These experiences have reaffirmed in me that I want to serve others throughout my life. And in all that I do, I keep Cicero's quote in mind -- "To teach, to delight, to move."

Victoria RodriguezVictoria Rodriguez

When I first came to Pacific, I was planning to major in Film Studies with the eventual goal of becoming a screenwriter. However, in the spring of my second year, a passion for justice and the need to have an enduring impact on people's lives inspired me to become an English major with a double minor in film studies and ethnic studies. After graduation, I plan to attend law school for three years with a focus on public policy and constitutional law. I've always been compelled to help people who don't have the ability to use their own voice and to empower them to fight for their rights. I want to enter a career that enables me to shape policy and make a positive impact on people's everyday lives. Eventually, I hope to enter government work and possibly become a senator or governor. To me, the humanities are what teach us how to think critically and apply a knowledge of people and the world to our experiences. Without the humanities, we wouldn't have compassion, and in my field compassion is what drives us to get up every day. At Pacific, I am a member of Omega Eta Epsilon, I work on campus as an Inclusion Coordinator for the Women's Resource Center, and I'm currently conducting undergraduate research on the effects of the DACA repeal on local families. 

Matthew SpainMatthew Spain

Ever since I was seven years old, I have wanted to become a lawyer. A career in law is how I see myself both making a positive difference in the world and supporting a future family. This aspiration drove me to become a first-generation college student, something that I take great pride in. The humanities was an important influence in my decision to attend college, and Pacific in particular, since one of my most inspirational high school teachers was a textbook example of someone who had succeeded thanks to an interest in the humanities. As such, the Humanities Scholars Program is actually what drew me to Pacific in the first place. I have since decided to major in Philosophy, and during my time at Pacific, I have been involved with the Legal Scholars Program and the fraternity Beta Theta Pi. I am also the president of Hope Street, a philanthropic organization that promotes education in Stockton, where students are dropping out of high school at an above-average rate.

Malvika SriramMalvika Sriram

I was born to a musical family, and was heavily exposed to Western and Indian Classical Music from the day I was born. I always enjoyed analyzing Indian scales and experimenting with the countless combinations of notes. Exploring the technical side of music also led me to study sound engineering, and I began to compose my own music. During my junior year in high school, I was selected to co-compose a song for an Indian movie, which became a hit in India. I have also sung for two movies, and will continue to pursue that musical path aggressively. In college, I decided to major in Computer Science with a minor in Music so I could learn more about using software to influence modern day music technology. I am currently working on an application that would give Indian musicians access to a formal notation system, since "Music Theory" does not formally exist for Indian music. At Pacific, I conduct guest lectures twice a year to teach conservatory students about the complex mathematics and science behind Indian Classical Music. I am also the founder of a non-profit youth music organization called "Vrkshaa," which is an institution that promotes awareness of Indian fine arts in the community. Being able to work with and learn from such amazing musicians is incredible and humbling, and I wouldn't trade any of these experiences for the world! 

Danielle GarrettDanielle Garrett

I've always loved reading, so I figured that studying English would be the best way to incorporate that passion into my life. Art, music, and literature have always been a great source of joy to me and provide comfort during difficult times. I also love learning about social justice issues, and my minors in sociology and gender studies have allowed me to delve more deeply into that interest. Eventually, my goal is to unify my passions by becoming a journalist. I think the humanities are important because they are an outlet for creativity and promote open-mindedness. Making the humanities a more central part of school curriculum, particularly for younger students, would help create more interest and knowledge about them, which in turn would help preserve them. In addition to being in the Humanities Scholars Program, I'm also a member of the Pacific swim team.


John GutierrezJohn Gutierrez

Studying the humanities is how we learn from the past and critique the present. The humanities demand that we uphold empathy as well as cultural awareness for those who have struggled and continue to struggle around us. My involvement in the Humanities Scholars program has taught me that I should strive to be an agent of transformative justice, a fact that I will keep close in mind as I pursue a career in law and, eventually, the Judiciary. After receiving my degree in Political Science from Pacific, I hope to attend law school and practice as an attorney for the California Senate or State Department of Justice before applying to serve as a judge in the State of California. The study of law runs deep in my family, but I believe a judgeship would afford me a chance to educate my community on their legal rights and uphold equal access to justice in California. In addition to my involvement with the humanities at Pacific, I am a former Justice of the ASUOP Judicial Board, and I am currently a Student Representative for the Political Science Department. I also work as a Student Instructor for the Math Department. 


Isela MolinaIsela Molina

My entire life, I have been drawn to words and art. I love interacting with different people, places, cultures, books, movies, and music. My personal involvement with the arts has graced and enriched my experience of humanity. I live every day of my life chasing the rush of creating and collaborating. I find bliss by viewing the world through a creative lens, and strive to apply this practice to all areas of my life. During the summer of 2017, I had the extraordinary opportunity to study abroad in Italy with UOP faculty and students for 6 weeks, which was an incredible and inspiring experience. At Pacific, I am a member of Soul Speaks, a poetry sharing group on campus. I am also involved with UOP's Center for Community Involvement and I work with children in the Stockton community. After graduating, I hope to pursue a post-graduate degree in School Psychology to prepare me for employment in the field.


LJ LombardoLJ Lombardo

Ever since I was little, I have loved to draw. As I grew older and began to explore different media for creating art, this enthusiasm eventually grew into a talent for graphic design. In high school, I developed an interest in animating my art, and thus a passion for computer science was born. Combining these areas of interest ultimately lead me to study Computer Science with a Graphic Design minor. Blending computer science and graphic design have led me to create in ways I never would have imagined. Eventually, I hope to utilize my degree in a career as a graphic designer for a company like Google, or to work for myself by creating and selling applications. I believe the humanities are what keep our souls alive, and it's the job of younger generations to make sure the humanities are protected. Along with being a Humanities Scholar, I am also a member of the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha and work at "Tiger Creative," which creates promotional material for the University and maintains its social media accounts.

Courtney MelloCourtney Mello

I was born and raised in a small town in Hawaii. Growing up in that environment, heavily influenced by Hawaiian culture, definitely impacted my values, beliefs, personality, and mannerisms. Out of that small-town background grew an interest in the legal system and the military. I am double majoring in philosophy and psychology, which mesh well together and prepare me for a career as a Naval JAG officer with a background in intelligence and behavioral analysis. Here at Pacific, I've already gotten involved with the Intramural Leagues on the Honors soccer team, I've joined a social sorority, I've started a job that helps prepare me for the basics of Naval Intelligence, and I hope to get even more involved as future opportunities present themselves. Throughout all of these experiences, I find that the humanities are central to my life. They help me understand other people to a deep extent and they are present when I consider my actions and the consequences of those actions. More than that, they allow me to understand the people around me, how societies function, and other pressing questions that could not be answered otherwise. I am forever grateful for being able to integrate both the humanities and hard sciences in my education, as it has helped shape me into the person I am today.

Jennifer MorrowJennifer Morrow

Since I was very young, I've always had a wide and eclectic range of interests, from music to fashion to history and so much more. Whenever I'm asked why I decided to major in English, I like to respond, "It's the closest I could come to studying everything." However, as I've grown and matured throughout my college career, I've come to realize that the common thread running through my pursuits is story-telling. I study humanities because I believe honest, unfiltered story-telling has the power to connect human beings through our universal similarities: our devastating lows, our unbridled joys, and everything in between. I am currently pursuing a minor in music management, and in the future I hope to work within the music industry as either a singer/song-writer or a music journalist. On campus, I enjoy participating in theater through TAP and have performed in two musicals, High School Musical and Legally Blonde. Additionally, am treasurer of Soul Speaks, a spoken-word poetry group, a writing mentor at the Pacific's Student Writing Center, the student representative for the English Department, and scholarship director of my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. 

Matthew OldfatherMatthew Oldfather

I've always loved reading comic books, and I've had the chance to meet many comic writers in the past. I want to write comics myself, so I'm majoring in English because it relates to the career path I'm interested in. I've enjoyed English and history since I was very young, mostly out of spite for math and science. At a basic level, the humanities play a role in my everyday life because I'm always reading and writing. I think the humanities are important because they teach us critical thinking skills and make us more well-rounded in our education. Besides being involved with the Humanities Scholars Program, I am email pen-pals with two comic writers who help me with my writing and brainstorming. I am also a member of the RPG club on campus.


Sam SolarzanoSam Solorzano

I have a strong passion for the arts, and I've always wanted to share my stories with a larger audience on the big screen. I am a Media X major with a minor in Theatre Arts, and my dream career is to be a screenwriter for a large production company in Southern California, like Disney Studios or Lucas Films. The Scholars program ties with so many different career paths and offers so much help to its students in getting there. Through the connections I've made and everything I've covered in classes so far, I've learned how important it is to appreciate the story behind everything and everyone. The Humanities Scholars program has connected me with students I otherwise never would have met and given me the chance to experience such cool things outside of the classroom. In addition to the Scholars program, I'm already involved in Pacific's professional theatre organization, TAP, and I plan to rush more organizations in the near future! Since arriving at Pacific, I've made three student films, including two award-winning original scripts as well as a documentary on the legacy of environmentalist John Muir. I am currently working on a fourth film, as well as developing a VR project that bridges the Media X and Speech Language Pathology programs on campus.

Trevor Trinity-ReesTrevor Trinity-Rees

I began my time at Pacific as a Philosophy major, but switched to Music Education after my first semester. I formed strong bonds with people from the Conservatory and I had been playing saxophone for seven years, so I decided to give it a shot. The music education program here is amazing and I have loved every bit of it. I've met numerous teachers in the community and they've become an important part of the reason I want to teach elementary or middle school kids. I know I may not end up changing the world, but I do hope to make great musicians. I believe more and more people need to be exposed to music because it is such a beautiful and rewarding activity. Like music, the humanities in general are surprisingly significant to everyday life and can help improve society and culture. Helping younger kids understand how important these subjects are to our lives is an important step in preserving them for the future. Being part of the Humanities Scholars has meant that I am constantly introduced to new and interesting topics that reveal how the humanities interact with the world around me. In addition to being a Scholar, I work at SLTech and I am deeply involved with the Conservatory.

Arianna VisscherArianna Visscher

Because I love the natural sciences but art has always been a significant part of my life, I decided to major in Biology with a minor in Art. I eventually hope to synthesize these passions into a career in scientific illustration, which has seemed like the perfect combination of my two passions ever since I first learned of its existence. Remaining involved in the arts in college was something very important to me. I've always been interested in the varied ways that humans try to understand our collective condition and derive meaning from it. Since the humanities deal with the way we interpret the human condition, it is imperative that we protect them and allow them to change according to the way the world changes, while still ensuring that they remain accessible for generations to come. In addition to art and science, one of my biggest passions is figure skating, an art form in itself, which has been an important part of my life for the past 14 years.


Ericka WongEricka Wong

I've been interested in the humanities for as long as I can remember. My third grade teacher especially emphasized the importance of reading and writing; ever since then, I have taken note of the way that the humanities help me think critically about everyday situations so I can get the most out of literature, conversations, and other experiences. I'm majoring in English because it has been my favorite subject since I learned how to read. That interest also dates back to third grade, when I first started reading the Harry Potter series. I remember creating a Harry Potter book club with my friends, which is what really sparked my passion for reading. I think the humanities are important because they teach us about who we are as a society through history, culture, and philosophy, and I am so excited to be a part of that tradition. Here at Pacific, I am already starting to get involved by becoming the vice president of my hall government on campus.

Armando BorregoArmando Borrego

Ever since I was young, I have always enjoyed drawing, painting, and writing. Therefore, as I got older it was incredible to realize that there are entire fields devoted to the study of such disciplines. I think that my lifelong involvement in the humanities has inspired me to understand the world from different points of view based on the different lenses available to me. For example, poems by Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and Edgar Allen Poe have had a substantial effect on me and how I view the world. At Pacific, I am studying Philosophy with the eventual goal of teaching at some level. Coming from a family of educators, I believe it is something I would be good at and that would help me make a difference in the world. Besides getting involved with the Humanities Scholars program and studying for classes, I am currently seeking a publisher for my own collection of poetry.


Hannah EdwardsHannah Edwards

There are so many memories that run through my head when I think about how the humanities has influenced my life, even from an early age. Reading has been my hobby for I as long as I can remember, which, in turn, led to my love for writing. By the time I graduate from Pacific, I hope to have completed my first book. Though I'm not yet sure the direction I want to take with my English degree, I've considered becoming an editor, which in my mind would be incredible since I would just have to read and revise books for a living. One thing that I know for certain about my future is that I am going to continue writing. One of the most amazing things about the Humanities Scholars program is that I have been able to get to know so many like-minded people. This program has given me a group of friends who know what it's like to be inspired by the world and have that lead to an idea for a new work of art. I am also involved in the Pacific Legal Scholars Program and the Freshman Honors Program. As of January 2018, I am president of the North Quad Hall Government as well as the National Residence Hall Honorary, both organizations that help improve the lives of the residents of Pacific. Apart from the academic activities, I am also a student manager for the Pacific Women's Basketball team.

Rosalind Jackson RoeRosalind Jackson Roe

I was initially drawn to the humanities because I believe they are imperative to encouraging understanding and empathy between different communities. I have always been fascinated by the relationships between different groups of people, and comparing the art that each group produces can be very helpful in determining their values. At Pacific, I am studying both Engineering Management and Media X in order to develop both the left and right side of my brain. This will allow me to perform to the best of my ability in both fields, regardless of the career path I end up taking. After graduating, I hope to obtain a masters in classical acting and pursue a career in theatre performance. Ever since I was born, it has been a family tradition to visit my grandmother in Stratford, Ontario and attend the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which ignited my passion for theatre and set the standard for my own work. I have already earned leading roles in productions with Pacific's theater department, such as Claire in David Auburn's Proof and Fanny in Ecce Homo. I am also involved in several other organizations across campus, including the professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau, the Society of Women Engineers, the online publication Odyssey, and the Media X Student Club.

Carolyn LeeCarolyn Lee

My passion for the humanities began when I was in the 2nd grade, when I won a writing competition and was recognized in front of my elementary school school. Since then, I have continued to write my own poetry while also falling in love with spoken word artists like Shane Koyczan and Harry Baker. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I realized I had a passion for public speaking and counseling other people, and my hope is that a degree in English will allow me to enter a field where I can combine my passions! Wherever that may be, I am humbled and thankful each day that I'm here with amazing professors who carve out their time to support me and my pursuits. Over the course of my first year at Pacific, I have gotten extensively involved on campus; in addition to the Humanities Scholars Program, I am in the 3+3 Legal Scholars Program, NEST Prayer House, InterVarsity, and Phi Alpha Delta. 

Allie NorfleetAllie Norfleet

I've always wanted a job in the arts--I've considered working as a writer, an actress, and even entertained a brief thought of being a film director. As a child, my mother would take me to musicals like Cats and The Lion King. These musicals were the first I had ever seen and I remember being fascinated by the way that people could slip into being someone else. My interest in the humanities has shaped the way I think about life. I've always considered the angles of any situation from a perspective that focuses on human interaction and human emotion. I am intrigued by the line between what is human and what is not, and the humanities is the easiest way to understand that line. In light of that interest, I decided to study Sociology at Pacific, with minors in English and Gender Studies. I hope to go to law school when I graduate from Pacific, although I have also considered a career in social work. Whatever I do in life, I want to be able to make a difference in people's lives.


Kendra SananikoneKendra Sananikone

Initially, playing percussion in my school band sparked my interest in the Humanities. I learned how music could tell stories or make people feel powerful emotions just by the way a song was written or played. When I reached high school I was offered the opportunity to try quite a few art electives, so freshman year I decided to explore them and found that I really enjoyed film and photography. Exploring these mediums has taught me that there are many different ways to tell a story other than just with words, and has helped me to become more creative. At Pacific, I am studying Media X to pursue my love for creating digital content and explore the different ways that art and storytelling can intersect. I hope that I can use my degree to work in digital media, like creating digital content for companies on social media or even documenting events such as concerts. I'm interested in digital media because I feel that it is becoming more and more integrated to everyday life and I would love to use platforms such as social media to tell stories to a diverse online audience.

Jordan ShihJordan Shih

The moment I decided the humanities were for me was one that many book-lovers can likely relate to--it was in elementary school, when I began reading the Harry Potter series. It was a time when the fan base was beginning to flourish with the development of fan art and fanfiction, and I was fascinated by the way that a book could transcend boundaries into film, art, and reinterpretation. Fantasy series like JK Rowling's bestseller, as well as the Belgariad and the Inheritance Cycle, inspired me to become a high school teacher of either English or Chinese, while writing fiction on the side. Knowing how to read and write well is essential to any job or career, and a skill I want to impart to every student possible. In pursuit of this goal, I am currently majoring in English with a minor in Chinese and seeking to be involved in volunteer work on campus and in the local community. 

Jonathan SosidkaJonathan Sosidka

Storytelling has been a huge aspect of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm always seeking methods and mediums to express my creativity. I started acting in theater starting in kindergarten, moved on to acting for film and television, and eventually found my strongest passion behind the camera, directing and filming productions. These experiences have clearly brought direction and purpose to my life, bringing me across the country from New Jersey to pursue Pacific's unique degree in Media X. Eventually, I hope to take my Media X degree and start a multimedia production company. The goal of this business would be to create entertainment across multiple electronic platforms and utilize all kinds of new media. In addition to my involvement with the Humanities Scholars program, I am currently the President of the Media X Student Organization and I hold jobs both with Media X and ProwlTV.

Mackenzie WielandMackenzie Wieland

I have always loved art, either creating or admiring. It was in my senior year of high school that I realized I wanted to make art an enduring part of my life. I participated in a group internship project for the city of Brentwood and, alongside thirty of my peers, completed a mixed media mural to help educate the local community about the city's heritage. The entire process taught me how to work with a team and, more importantly, how to learn from failure. This project ultimately led me here to Pacific to pursue my interest in the Humanities and learn what I can do to expand my knowledge and help my community. Currently, I am a Media X major, and I see no better way to reach out to people than by pursuing a career that examines the growing connections between media, art, and technology. With the help of Humanities Scholars Program, I have become more aware of my society and how much the humanities are interconnected with our way of living. It has also enabled me to connect with some amazing new people, and I am so thankful for the opportunities it has offered me.

Kaitlin Dollens

I have always been a person who feels very strongly. I've spent my life searching for a way to express the painful things happening inside me, which has made me an avid reader and writer. I'm an English major, and I plan to add minors in both writing and gender studies. Writing seemed like an obvious choice for me, but I also chose gender studies because I am a devout feminist and because I want to examine the ways in which gender categorizes people and organizes society. My dream is to be a poet and a novelist, but if that doesn't work out, I'll probably go into teaching or editing. No matter what, I want to stay involved with the humanities because I believe that they are essential in people's understandings of themselves. I think that when we talk about the advancement of society, it's futile to talk about science and technology if we aren't also going to explore our own human nature.