New2UCDavis : Finding your passion

“A blog series for newly admitted University of California students considering the Davis campus””

Hey! Congratulations!







You’ve just been admitted to a bunch of University of California campuses! Now you just have to ask your self, how do you choose which one to go to?

There are a plethora of factors that go into choosing the right campus for you. Not only does it come down to rankings (of which UC Davis holds many), but to factors that focus on the individual, i.e your self.

Let’s talk about one area many find interesting : Passion

Like me, many of you discovered earlier in your life that you found an activity, subject, or thing that gave your great interest and pleasure. A huge part of the reason you applied to a UC school is to pursue that passion, because for whatever reason – you believe the UC system can help guide you toward that passion.

So which campus can guide your passion? (*insert plug for UC Davis) – lets take a  look at UC Davis:


So you walk onto the UC Davis campus your first day and naturally you ask your self – “How exactly do you find your passion here?” – Well instead of a long boring explanation on what to do, why not listen to your future professor?


Meet Professor Bruce W. Draper, PhD.








Professor Draper is an associate professor and researcher with the Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology here at UC Davis.

His mission in life, and in class, is to literally excite your mind and make you think like a “budding developmental biologist” (MCB 150). Professor Draper, like a growing number of UC admits these days, was a transfer student before going to a four year university. He had the same question many of you are having today “how exactly do you find your passion as new student?”

The whole “general field of science” was always interesting to Professor Draper as a young person and starting in his time as a transfer student, he wanted to do real world applications with the subject he loved. So he decided to get a job. His position was to basically do the “grunt” work of making solutions, refilling pipette tools, and general maintenance in a lab studying cancer cells. Why take a job like this? – “Well I needed money” he said. In talking to Professor Draper however, what the job description didn’t include in the responsibilities was the part where he discovered his own passion.

“My boss gave me a fixed set of hours where I would do my tasks, however I was allowed to stay longer and follow grad students and technicians around to learn what they do.” – so he did exactly that. Through this freedom to explore, Professor Draper started to learn Molecular Biology techniques and discover how things work in a cancer biology lab. In no time he was already out performing the hired lab technician in completing tasks for complicated projects. “My boss eventually switched my role into doing things for projects and eventually having my own. This is where I found my passion for doing molecular biology.”

Professor Draper worked extra hours, nights, and weekends to accomplish and pursue his passions. He found that no matter the situation, just having an interest and getting ones hand dirty in the process helps plant that passion.

So what basic advice would Professor Draper give new students at Davis?

“Start with your field, find a lab, and intern!” “There are so many Labs on campus and not enough interested students.”

UC Davis being an elite academic institution has plenty of experiences to go around. Like Professor Draper said, the only way to find your passion is to get involved. One unique thing about UC Davis, which I have personally experienced, is that Professors like Draper are really invested in helping students learn. They know that students that are encouraged and motivated produce better results, and that increases the prestige of their labs! Once you get into a class – connect. Speak with your professors! Speak with your TA’s – explore beyond the classroom and see if the content of the class can become a career you can be passionate in.

So come learn with us, explore with us, and be part of the excellence and passion at UC Davis.



*Please note that in all New2UCDavis blog posts, these informal discussions are paraphrased and never direct quotes.

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