Hi everyone and congratulations to all the incoming transfer students! My name is Juli
Valdivieso. I study African Americans Studies and I am a second-year transfer student. I
transferred two years ago from Ventura Community College. Like my most transfer students I
have had quite the journey getting to UCLA.
I transferred from two different community colleges from two different states, and one 4-
year university to finally end up at UCLA. I spent the majority of my time as a community
college student at Ventura Community College. At Ventura College I was able to join
organizations, help re-establish the Black Student Union, and truly find my passion. I applied to
UCLA as an African American Studies major, UC Berkeley as Media Studies major, and UC
Davis as a Political Science major. I did not expect to get into each university. I chose UCLA
also choosing African American studies because I knew the major was deliciously broad that it
would cover media studies and political science. After two years I can proudly say I was not
As a transfer student time seems to move faster. It can almost seem overwhelming when
first beginning at UCLA. The best advice I was given was to stay intentional. Staying true to that
message I wanted to be intentional to the limited amount of time I had at UCLA. I applied to be a
part of the Transfer Summer Program. The program, although academically rigorous, helped me
start off my first fall quarter with 4.0 and 13 units. In addition to getting academically ahead, I
was able to meet staff and faculty, get acclimated to campus and meet other incoming transfer
By the time Fall Quarter came around I was ready to hit the ground running. During the
Fall Quarter I became involved with the African Student Union by joining the Financial and
Transfer Committee and also becoming an intern for Nommo News Magazine. These
organizations equipped me with the tools to work on a deadline, to better my writing, and how to
fully organize events. My next intentional goal was to get an internship to make sure I was on the
right career path. I went to the Career Center where they advised me to take advantage of
Handshake. It was through this exchange, that I was able to get an internship at a Law Office.
Since the internship was unpaid, I also knew I needed to find a paying job. From word of mouth,
I heard about the Collegiate Recovery Program. A program designed to bring compassion and
community to people in recovery or who have family members in recovery. As someone who has
family in recovery, I knew this would not only bring a lot of healing to myself but also
fulfillment. The Collegiate Recovery Internship was the perfect job for me. I was able to be
creative and start a podcast, where students share their stories, and help destigmatize sobriety.
My first year at UCLA was coming to end and the Pandemic was just getting started.
When the Pandemic hit, I knew I wanted to stay active, connected, and more intentional
than ever. Over the summer, I became the co-chair for Umoja, because I was still an active ASU
Transfer committee member. A huge part of Umoja is working with the community college
students. It was only natural I became a Peer Advisor for the Center Community College
Partnerships. Working for CCCP and being the Co-Chair for Umoja I now get to help community
college students meet their academic goals, host general body meetings for current Black transfer
students to stay in community, and I even host a podcast for Umoja. The UCLA Umoja podcast
has been extraordinary. I have been able to speak to alumni, staff, and current students on how to
navigate UCLA as beautiful Black transfer students.
The transfer journey is unique to everyone. I began as someone who after high school did
not get into any colleges, to getting into UCLA among other universities. There is no right way
of going about transferring; take your time, be intentional, feel free to change your mind a
hundred times- sometimes staying intentional puts you on a different path. Although my journey
at undergrad is coming to a close, it feels like this is just the beginning. Congratulations again
and of course power to the transfer!