Arturo Juan (he/him/his)
PhD student, Materials
Arturo Juan, who is gay, is a first-year materials PhD student at UCSB. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Southern California, then earned his master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from UCSB. He worked in industry prior to entering the Materials PhD Program last fall. Juan is advised by Steven DenBaars, a distinguished professor of materials and electrical and computer engineering. The focus of his research is on the epitaxial growth, processing, and characterization of wide-bandgap semiconductors for optoelectronic devices. According to Juan, working to improve the efficiency of materials that emit light could pave the way, for next-generation technologies having applications in optical communication, sensors, lighting, and quantum computing.
COE: What does Pride Month mean to you as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and does it feel more important to observe and recognize it given all of the anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation being introduced across the nation?
AJ: Pride Month to me is about recognizing the accomplishments of LGTBQIA+ folks across the world. While the month of June is seen as Pride Month, I think that it must be extended and felt every day. We don’t just exist during a single month. I think legislation is short-sighted and meant to exclude folks that don’t subscribe or live the lifestyle [according] to others’ personal beliefs. At the end of the day, we are here, we teach, we mentor, and we will continue to support the next generation of students and scientists. It is important that we continue to recognize and support LGBTQIA+ folks in STEM and the broader community.
COE: Why did you agree to share your story and participate in this project that celebrates Pride Month within the COE?
AJ: I am happy to participate in this project, because it will show how much diversity there is within the College of Engineering, and the research that is being conducted by members of the LGTBQIA+ community. My path to graduate school wasn’t quite as linear as many others, but I have many to thank for either helping me along the way or simply being a support system. I can do the research I enjoy because of the love and support that my family, friends, and mentors have given me throughout my life.
COE: What do you want people to learn or gain from reading the profiles on this page?
AJ: If any prospective students were to read this, I would want them to know that them College of Engineering here at UC Santa Barbara has been a great place for me to do my studies and research. Trying to decide where you may want to pursue your education can be challenging, but if your experience is anything like mine, you will find a community of friends and peers that are supportive in many facets. In addition, while efforts are made every year by organizations and companies to highlight diversity around this time of year, I think it should be something we are aware of every day. We as a community need your support and allyship to protect our rights and freedoms.
COE: How welcoming and inclusive have you found UCSB, the College of Engineering, and your department communities to be as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?
AJ: I have found a wonderful community on campus that helps ensure that I am successful during my time here. The group members in my lab and research center have made this a great place to do research. There are also many student organizations that I have been a part of that help foster a community for either LGBTQIA+ or Latinx folks.
COE: What could the college or university do to improve the environment?
AJ: While there are efforts being made each year, I think that we need to continue to acknowledge the lack of diversity not just at the university level, but also within the College of Engineering. The focus still needs to be on how we can attract and retain members of underrepresented groups like women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ folks so that they are successful during their time here. To me, that would be funding more student organizations that already do some of that work, but also providing avenues for outreach. There is no easy fix, but there are already people doing the work on campus, and supporting their mission would not only benefit the college, but also the university.