2021 Distinguished Graduate Student Alumni

2021 Distinguished Graduate Student Alumni Adrian Centeno, Macarena Gómez-Barris, bell hooks, Rachel Karchin, and Ian Walton

The Division of Graduate Studies, Arts Division, Baskin School of Engineering, Humanities Division, Physical and Biological Sciences Division, and Social Sciences Division present the 2021 class of graduate student alumni honorees. View the YouTube video of this event honoring both the 2020 and 2021 honorees.


adrian-centeno-150-x-158.jpgAdrian Centeno
M.A. Theater Arts 2016
Arts Division
Dramaturg, Literary Manager, Theater Arts Educator
Affiliate Dramaturg, Beehive Dramaturgy Studio

Adrian Centeno is a new play dramaturg, theater history and criticism lecturer, and arts education programmer based out of Los Angeles. He’s developed new works at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Childsplay Theatre Company, foolsFURY Theater, Playwrights’ Arena, Company of Angels, USC School of Dramatic Arts, UC Santa Cruz Theater Arts, and UC Santa Cruz Barnstorm Theater Company. He’s also served as production dramaturg for companies, including Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara and the Jewel Theatre Company of Santa Cruz. Additionally, Adrian has taught undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in theater history, criticism, and applied critical theory at Cal State Long Beach.

Centeno has served as a grant panelist for Page 73, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also been honored to serve on the festival selection committee for Premiere Stages, Kitchen Dog Theater, 50 Playwrights Project, and San Diego Rep. An emerging writer, Adrian’s words have been published by the University of London. He is the former literary manager of Playwrights’ Arena, where he produced developmental readings by Janine Salinas Schoenberg, Madhuri Shekar, Inda Craig-Calván, Matthew Paul Olmos, and Chelsea Sutton, among others. He is currently an affiliate dramaturg with Beehive Dramaturgy Studio and was recently named one of American Theatre Magazine’s Six Theatre Workers You Should Know.

macarena-gomez-barris-2.jpgMacarena Gómez-Barris
Ph.D. Sociology 2004
Social Sciences Division
Founding Director, Global South Center
Chairperson, Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies
Pratt Institute

A scholar and writer, Macarena Gómez-Barris works at the intersections of art, environment, cuir praxis, and decolonization. She is the author of four books, Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (2009), The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (2017), Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Américas (2018), and Towards a Sociology of a Trace (2010, with Herman Gray). She is completing two new books on the colonial Anthropocene, At the Sea’s Edge: Beyond Coloniality and Extinction (forthcoming Duke University Press), and Latchkey, a work of fiction set in the 1980s in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Northern California. She is founding director of the Global South Center and chairperson of the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, where she works with a vibrant community of scholars, activists, intellectuals, and students to find alternatives to the impasses produced by racial and extractive capitalism.

bell-hooks-150-x-236.jpgbell hooks
Ph.D. Literature 1983 (as Gloria Jean Watkins)
Humanities Division
Author, Educator, Activist
Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies, Berea College 

Bell hooks is an acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer. Born Gloria Jean Watkins, bell hooks adopted the pen name of her maternal great-grandmother, and decided not to capitalize her new name to place focus on her work and not her identity. She has authored over three dozen books and has published works that span several genres, including cultural criticism, personal memoirs, poetry collections, and children’s books. Her writings cover topics of gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching, and the significance of media in contemporary culture.

After obtaining her B.A. in English from Stanford University and her M.A. in English from University of Wisconsin-Madison, she received a professorship and senior lectureship in Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California. In 1983, UC Santa Cruz awarded her a Ph.D. after the completion of a dissertation on author Toni Morrison.

In 1981, she released the book Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women in Feminism, and many view this as bell hooks’ first major work and one of the key works of feminist thought in the postmodern milieu. UCSC undergraduate and graduate students continue to read her work and are animated by her many insights and sharp wit.

rachel-karchin-150-x-150.pngRachel Karchin
Ph.D. Computer Engineering 2003
M.S. Computer Science 2000
B.S. Computer Science 1998
Baskin School of Engineering
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Johns Hopkins University

Rachel Karchin is a computational biologist who develops algorithms and software to analyze genomic variation data, tumor evolution, and the adaptive immune system. Her group has developed novel tools to identify pathogenic missense mutations, driver genes, multivariate biomarkers to inform cancer treatment, to model tumor evolution from next-generation sequencing data and to predict tumor neoantigens. She was the leader of the computational efforts to identify driver mutations for pioneering cancer sequencing projects at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, and co-led the TCGA PanCan Atlas Essential Genes and Drivers Analysis Working Group. In 2017, she was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering for her contributions to translational computational biology.

ian-walton-150-x-138.pngIan Walton
Ph.D. Mathematics 1977
Physical and Biological Sciences Division
Immediate Past Chair
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)

Ian Walton came to UC Santa Cruz in 1973 as a Fulbright Scholarship graduate student in mathematics after graduating from St. Andrews University in Scotland. While earning his Ph.D. in Differential Equations from UCSC, he was introduced to the world of academic service and leadership as a teaching assistant for the Math Board and Resident Preceptor at Crown College.

In 1978 he began a thirty-three year career as a faculty member at Mission College (Silicon Valley’s newest public community college), that focused on helping California’s most underserved students overcome barriers, including mathematics requirements, to their dreams. His educational leadership experience, which began while serving on a Regent’s Chancellor Search Committee for UCSC, led to five years as president of his local academic senate, followed by twelve years elected to the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, representing California’s 115 accredited community colleges, 60,000 faculty and 2.1 million students on academic and professional matters. His two-year presidency of ASCCC saw statewide adoption of enhanced English and mathematics graduation competencies and the creation of the system Basic Skills Initiative.

After retirement in 2011, he continued his educational leadership and was elected a public member of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the body that accredits all two-year colleges in California, Hawaii, and the U.S. Pacific. He has just completed a two-year term as chair of the commission.