Alumni Profiles

Juliana Mazzera, SLEWS Program Alumni

Juliana Mazzera

Alumnus, 2006-2007 San Joaquin SLEWS Program
Bear Creek High School (Stockton)
University of California, Santa Barbara (current)

During my final year at Bear Creek High School, I not only enrolled myself in the AP environmental studies class but also took part in the SLEWS program, both of which became a life changing and career path altering experience. The SLEWS program helped me decide what I would major in at UC Santa Barbara and a potential career path for myself in the future.

SLEWS helped me develop an undeniable passion for the environment, sustainable farming, conservation, and endangered animals in our local areas. I can honestly say that without my involvement in SLEWS, I would not know what I wanted to do in my life right now and would not have opened my mind and heart to so many things that have to do with our environment.

Susie Douglas was the first to appear in our classroom and describe the SLEWS program and exactly what we would be taking part in. The whole idea seemed like something that would be difficult for a tiny high school class to accomplish, but after the presentation was done I really could not wait until the first day. Finally that day came, and with my torn up jeans, Bear Creek sweatshirt, and ratty old sneakers, I stood out in front of the school and waited to board the school bus that would take us to our destination.

When we were on our way it seemed as if it had taken forever to arrive, but when we did all of our mentors were there to greet us. Everyone that led us on our mission to replant elderberry plants and other trees at El Rio Farms were so enthusiastic about everything and had fun every step of the way. That's when I decided that I wanted to be like those people, my mentors, doing something that I was passionate about, eager to teach, and taking a hands on approach to what you do in life.

I completed the SLEWS program in my senior year of high school, passed senior project, graduated, and was admitted into the environmental studies program at UC Santa Barbara. I hope to transfer to UC Davis and work in the agriculture science and environmental studies and policy department. I hope to eventually make a career out of the program that I choose to major in and make a difference just like the mentors for SLEWS program did.

Anyone that has second-guessed taking part in such a program, should do it, I guarantee you will never regret it. It's a life changing experience that everyone should take part in; I'm grateful I did and would do it all over again.