Local Cultural Leader Finishing Degree at UC Merced

Local Cultural Leader Finishing Degree at UC Merced

Eve Delfin Polk arrived in the Merced area in 1986, partway through a college degree and planning to commute to finish her education at UC Berkeley. She did so for a year, but the arrival of the first of her four children put her plans on hold. Fortunately, now that UC Merced is on the scene, Polk can complete her UC degree without the arduous drive.

"I've always wanted to finish my degree in psychology and I knew I would eventually," Polk says. "But with a family to raise the timing didn't seem right. Now it seems that everything has fallen into place.

"This is the chance of a lifetime to be part of the inaugural class," she says. "The campus is offering innovative programs. At other campuses, you aren't always able to combine your interests in classes and research, like world cultures and history."

In 1995 Polk founded a local Folklorico group, Danzantes de Merced, to teach and perform traditional Mexican dance. She also teaches Mexican dance, art and culture through the Merced County Arts Council's ARTREE program and the Merced City School District.

"I'm never going to stop dancing," she explains. "It is a really big part of who I am, and our family is really involved with it, too."

Polk's family is close-knit and supportive. In fact, her mother is also a UC Merced student, pursuing a Ph.D. in world cultures and history. And while one of Polk's children has her heart set on attending sister campus UC Berkeley, the other three are "very interested" in UC Merced, according to their mother.

"There is a good possibility we will have three generations attend UC Merced," she says. "My family has always helped each other study. We like to discuss our classes and give each other feedback on assignments."

Polk hopes to follow in her mother's footsteps and go on to graduate school after finishing her Bachelor's degree. In a family with such a strong emphasis on education, and with her own faith, talent and determination, she's sure to succeed.

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