Victoria Melgarejo ‘18
Spanish and Linguistics

“My experience at UCSB has been great because of research… It keeps me grounded and… it helps me understand what my passions are.”

A Gates Millennium Scholar, Victoria Melgarejo has always been a dedicated student and a passionate learner. When she came to UCSB, she quickly developed an interest in Linguistics. She combined it with her love for Spanish Literature and decided to double major in Linguistics and Spanish.

Her early experiences as a data transcriber for graduate student researchers piqued her interest in research, and she applied to the McNair Scholar Program during her sophomore year. Searching for a mentor with similar interests in Linguistics and Spanish, Victoria found Professor Mary Bucholtz, a researcher in the Department of Linguistics.

Under the mentorship of Professor Bucholtz, Victoria has conducted several research projects on topics such as representations of the Spanish language in television media, and bilingual education. Her current research focuses on English monolinguals and bilingual Latinos and Latinas and how they see Spanish as a marker of cultural identity.

She credits the McNair Program for preparing her for graduate school, and she is grateful to Professor Bucholtz for her unlimited support and warm mentorship. Victoria hopes to become a professor studying bilingual education or linguistics, and conduct research that actively benefits her community.

Her tips for anyone looking into pursuing research:

-Be an active learner. Question things you read about. Asking professors these questions can lead you to do your own research.

-Believe in yourself and your work. Sometimes you will doubt yourself, but you will never know what you are capable of until you try.