Students from Quarter at Aggie Square

Left to right: Kyerah Kyles, Andrea Medina and Laurenne Sanchez completed the Transformative Justice Studies program at Quarter at Aggie Square last year. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Immersed in Education

by | Dec 14, 2021 | Culture, Fall/Winter 2021-22, What's Next

Quarter at Aggie Square “is changing the way students experience their education,” according to Angela Taylor ’96.

Taylor, program coordinator for QAS, added, “Undergraduates participating in QAS have the ability to get in front of faculty in an intimate way. They know your name, get to know you and your interests on a micro level.”

The QAS program began in fall 2020 as a “quarter away” for undergraduate students. Ultimately, cohorts of about 25 students will have the opportunity to live for a quarter at the future site of Aggie Square, an innovation hub planned for UC Davis’ Sacramento campus. The full project is estimated to be complete in two to three years.

Already, interdisciplinary experiences offer undergraduates the chance to go beyond the standard curriculum; students take all their correlated classes and local internships around a societal issue with a highly engaged group of peers and faculty. They also will have access to resources in Sacramento that would not be available in Davis.

The experiences offered this past academic year were Transformational Justice Studies, Advancing Health Care Equity and Multilingual Education for California. Upcoming experiences include Biomedical Engineering; Immigrants, Refugees and Human Rights; and Plants, People and the Planet.

Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology-organizational studies, has a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University and worked at UC Berkeley’s Career Center before joining UC Davis in 2020. “My passion and career have been helping people figure out how to use their experiences to find meaningful direction in their lives.”

In determining which experiences are offered each quarter, faculty are the starting point. Explained Taylor, “We help faculty shape their ideas in the context of the program.”

Even though QAS was remote for its first year due to COVID-19, professors who taught in the inaugural program were enthusiastic.

“This has definitely been one of the highlights of my 25-plusyear teaching career,” said Professor Margarita Jimenez-Silva, who taught in Multilingual Education. “We were able to build a strong community that went beyond the teaching of the content and extended to mentoring many of our students about navigating the education system as a first-generation college student.”

And Transformative Justice Studies student Ella Sands said the program impacted her beyond the quarter: “I left the program with a deep understanding of the subject matter and knowledge of how it applies to my life, society and culture.”