Jessica Harris, Tanis Matlock, Alexandria Lewis and Mindi Wise were voted “Best Friends” for their yearbook at Fresno’s Central High School, West Campus. All four participated in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program to prepare for college. But they didn’t think they’d end up going to the same school until they all visited UC Merced with their AVID class in September 2004.
“I knew the UC system would be an excellent choice,” says Wise, who moved to Merced to share an apartment with Matlock and settle in before the start of the academic year. “And I knew I wanted a small campus in a small town, close to home. UC Merced just felt right from the moment I saw it.”
“The scenery, atmosphere and possibilities of what the campus could be were just too much to pass up,” says Lewis of her first campus visit. “From that moment on, I had my heart set on going to UC Merced.” She commutes to her classes from her family”s home in Fresno.
Campus staff also made a difference, said Harris. “I was very impressed with how friendly the staff was - always willing to go out of their way to help the students. A lot of thought has been put into making us feel right at home and comfortable.” Harris is getting comfortable in on-campus housing this fall, meeting new people there while staying close to her best friends from back home.
Harris, Wise and Matlock all plan majors within the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, aiming to become mental health professionals. Lewis is majoring in Human Biology with the goal of becoming a pediatrician.
All four are looking forward to a variety of activities on campus and plan to be actively involved either in starting or supporting student recreation efforts. “I enjoy water sports, art and photography, and hope we can have some teams and art clubs that students can get involved in,” said Matlock. “I hope to meet many new people and enjoy my college experience.”
These fantastic four friends from Fresno will surely cement their friendship as they stay active in academic and recreational endeavors at UC Merced.