BE Great


BE Great was launched in January of 2009 as a life skills program dedicated to maximizing leadership ability, strong on-campus interaction, and general welfare for all 450 student-athletes and athletics staff at UC Santa Barbara. BE Great also focuses on personal and career development, diversity, and social awareness, along with ensuring academic success.

Throughout the year, many UCSB student-athletes will be featured here as Great Examples as part of the BE Great program.

UCSB's Student Athletic Advisory Board (SAAB), which is made up of several student-athletes across all 20 teams, is the core of the BE Great program.

The initiative is part of UCSB Athletics' Dare to Be Great program, the strategic plan to provide support for student-athlete scholarship costs, operating resources, and athletics facilities upgrades. The focus is also on funding women's athletics programs at UCSB, community outreach, and developing every student-athlete into a leader.


Irene Kujore: A Great Example - Dec. 18, 2012
I Dare to Carry the Load: In the 2008 book Outliers, British-Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell tried to explain success by offering the “10,000-Hour Rule”, which states that it takes 10,000 hours of practice in a field to become an expert. More

Jake Staahl: A Great Example - Dec. 11, 2012
I Dare to Key In: Italy had Leonardo da Vinci, England had Isaac Newton, colonial America had Benjamin Franklin, and now UCSB can lay claim to its own resident Renaissance Man: Jake Staahl of the men’s volleyball team. More

Wade Allen: A Great Example - Dec. 4, 2012
I Dare to Electrify: In most cases, water and electricity don’t mix. The combination could lead to dangerous or even fatal consequences for anyone or anything caught in the middle. More

Bryce Miller: A Great Example - Nov. 20, 2012
I Dare to Achieve: No matter if it is in the pool, on the court, or in the classroom, Bryce Miller strives to be a great example. More

Jasmine Ware: A Great Example - Nov. 13, 2012
I Dare to Reach Higher: It is difficult to achieve your goals and dreams in life. It is even more difficult to do so without your parents. More

Kyle Boswell: A Great Example - Nov. 6, 2012
I Dare to Measure Up: Kyle Boswell – junior shooting guard for UCSB’s men’s basketball team – dedicates his time to accomplishing a rare feat: succeeding both on the court and in his ultra-competitive mechanical engineering major. More

Sophia Yamauchi: A Great Example - Oct. 30, 2012
I Dare to Race Ahead: Sophia Yamauchi lives her life by a simple philosophy: “Don’t let the challenge become an excuse.” More

Juan Paredes: A Great Example - Oct. 23, 2012
I Dare to Run Beyond: Many teenagers dream of the day that they can finally leave home, escape the daily rigors and pressures of high school and embark on their own lives. More

Fifi Baiden: A Great Example - Oct. 16, 2012
I Dare to Dream: Many Division-I athletes have similar stories and have embarked on similar journeys to get to the school of their dreams.  More

Indiana Mead: A Great Example - Oct. 9, 2012
I Dare to Tackle It All: Indiana Mead, sophomore midfielder for UCSB’s women’s soccer team, has proven that she can excel at whatever is thrown at her. More

Jenna Wilson: A Great Example - Oct. 2, 2012
I Dare to Rise Above: In your head, picture a prototypical female volleyball player. No matter what image just mind conjured, it was assuredly not the image of Jenna Wilson. More

Myles Christian: A Great Example - Sep. 25, 2012
I Dare to Look Forward: For many athletes, the best feeling in the world is the rush they get when they step onto the field, court, track, or jump into the pool. More

Mathew Glodack: A Great Example - Sep. 18, 2012
I Dare to Come Back: Can you remember where you were on October 22, 2011? Mathew Glodack can, but barely. More

Krista Cobb: A Great Example - May 4, 2012
I Dare to Finish What I Started: Coming off one of her strongest pitching seasons in her collegiate softball career, senior Krista Cobb had boosted the expectations of herself and set even higher goals for her team. More

Barbara Nwaba: A Great Example - Apr. 25, 2012
I Dare to Rise to the Top: No one represents the Gaucho blue and gold better than Barbara Nwaba.  As a fifth year senior heptathlete for UCSB Track and Field she finds herself ranked No. 1 in NCAA and holds the school record for the heptathlon. More

Mathieu Forget: A Great Example - Mar. 26, 2012
I Dare to Exceed Expectations: The sky is the limit when it comes to the success and future aspirations of UCSB men's tennis player Mathieu Forget. Climbing his way up to No.1 player on the team his senior year exemplifies nothing less than a competitive drive and persistent motivation to improve. More

Chris Peterson: A Great Example - Feb. 28, 2012
I Dare to Engineer My Dreams: Many people cannot wrap their minds around the idea of mastering the study of mechanical engineering. More

Alan Williams: A Great Example - Feb. 17, 2012
I Dare to Raise the Bar: Freshman forward Alan Williams was supposed to be a bit player for this year's UC Santa Barbara basketball team.  He would pick-up minutes where he could, maybe three or four at a time, do what he could in those short spurts, and then return to his place on the bench. More

Kirsten Tilleman: A Great Example - Jan. 27, 2012
I Dare to Achieve: Kirsten Tilleman is as much of a force in academia as she is on the court. More

Makenna Henry: A Great Example - Nov. 3, 2011
I Dare to Achieve My Goals: Sophomore goalkeeper Makenna Henry has been a key contributor to the UC Santa Barbara women's soccer team from the moment she stepped on campus starting 17 games as a freshman in 2010 and 19 of 20 in 2011. More

Leah Sully: A Great Example - Oct. 12, 2011
I Dare to Jump Back: Sometimes, like an overfilled balloon, it’s only a matter of time before the pressure forces its way through.That’s probably the best explanation for Leah Sully’s knee injury in the opening match of the 2010 season. More

Beck Wheeler: A Great Example - July 5, 2011
I Dare to Push Back: The term “scarred for life” has a far different meaning to Beck Wheeler than the colloquial expression it is typically used for. More

Snita Ashford: A Great Example - May 31, 2011
I Dare to Get Back In The Blocks: UC Santa Barbara sprinter Snita Ashford crouched into the blocks for the 100 meter final at the Big West Championships with something to prove. The senior was about to take part in her final race as a Gaucho and emotions were high. More

Nick Capito: A Great Example - May 4, 2011
I Dare to Climb Back Up The Hill: UC Santa Barbara pitcher Nick Capito straddled the mound. He looked down to his catcherMarty Mullins. It was April 24, 2010. Capito was preparing to throw his first pitch of the fourth inning. More

Jessica Beristianos: A Great Example - Jan. 27, 2011
I Dare to Lead: The word "leader" is used frequently in sports. Success, wins and team chemistry are often attributed to strong leadership. When leadership is spoken about in reference to the 2011 UC Santa Barbara softball team, one name is conjured: Jessica BeristianosMore

Sweets Underwood: A Great Example - Jan. 27, 2011
I Dare to Do What It Takes: Sweets Underwood has faced many tragic situations in her life, including the death of both her parents, but she has managed to embrace the losses and use them as tools for motivation. Through hard work, dedication and passion for the game of basketball, she has earned the opportunity to live out her dream. More

Jordan Weiner: A Great Example - Dec. 21, 2010
I Dare to Put The Work In: The competition among high school basketball players to become Division I college players is fierce. As a player at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, Calif., Jordan Weiner experienced that. More

Erica Seidman: A Great Example - Nov. 8, 2010
I Dare to Keep Working: When an athlete is forced to confront the possibility that their time in a sport may be over, it's is not an easy admission to make. UCSB women's soccer player Erica Seidman faced that possibility last spring when she was cut from the team. All of the work she had put in over the years, seemingly, had gone for nothing. More

Friday's Soccer Doubleheader to Serve as Gauchos Kick Cancer Event - Oct. 14, 2010
In an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer, the UC Santa Barbara women's soccer program has declared its Friday match with UC Davis as a Gauchos Kick Cancer event and the team will wear pink ribbon patches on their uniforms. More

Luis Silva: A Great Example - Oct. 13, 2010
I Dare to Overcome: There are times in a person's life when challenges and obstacles can seem insurmountable. UCSB men's soccer midfielder Luis Silva has been there. He's faced challenges and obstacles throughout his life and he's overcome them. More

Joe Plume: A Great Example - Sept. 10, 2010
I Dare to Be a Gaucho: In a time when athletes have begun specializing in sports at younger and younger ages, it is rare for a Division I athlete to successfully compete in more than one. More

Julia Speace: A Great Example - Aug. 25, 2010
I Dare to Give Back: Julia Speace, a senior defender on the UCSB women's soccer team, understands time management. With all the roles she is juggling, she had better understand time management. More

Dana Vargas: A Great Example - July 27, 2010
I Dare to Make My Own Name: Dana Vargas comes from a family of standout athletes, but the senior setter is making a name for herself on the court with the Gauchos. More

Machael David: A Great Example - July 7, 2010
I Dare to Live the Dream: To become a Division I student-athlete, it takes copious amounts of hard work, drive, persistence and also the ability to succeed in the face of adversity. Many of UC Santa Barbara's athletes have had to overcome significant obstacles on their journeys to becoming a Gaucho, but few have overcome as many as men's soccer standout Machael David. More

Over 70 Student-Athletes to Graduate this Week - June 11, 2010
The UC Santa Barbara Intercollegiate Athletics Department is pleased to announce that over 70 student-athletes will be participating in this week's commencement ceremonies and/or completing their degree requirements this week. More

Jessica Ziegler: A Great Example - June 2, 2010
I Dare to Balance: Like most bio-chemistry majors at UCSB, Jessica Ziegler spends hours upon hours in the classroom and in labs each week, and about the same amount of time studying on her own. Oh yeah, and she's able to squeeze in enough time to lead the softball team in hitting. More

Courtney Bauer: A Great Example - May 14, 2010
I Dare to Survive: While many members of the UC Santa Barbara Athletics Department and the rest of the community will be taking part in Relay For Life on May 14th and 15th at Pauley Track, the event will be particularly significant for at least one Gaucho student-athlete. More

Doug Hansen: A Great Example - Apr. 30, 2010
I Dare to Prepare: As one of the UC Santa Barbara baseball team's catchers, Doug Hansen is almost constantly working on his game or helping the pitching staff. The discipline and preparation he displays on a daily basis has earned him the nickname "The Professional." More

Jill Damion: A Great Example - Apr. 13, 2010
I Dare to Shoulder the Load: Jill Damion had an idea of what her college experience would be like even before it started. The sister of former Gaucho tennis player Leslie Damion already knew about all UC Santa Barbara had to offer academically and athletically. The path that seemed so clear ended up being bumpier than expected, and with a few more curves than she anticipated. More

Former UCSB All-American Hafferkamp Advises Current Gauchos on Career Development - Apr. 13, 2010
Russ Hafferkamp, a former UC Santa Barbara water polo All-American and author of "Careerball," a book about how student-athletes can put the skills they develop in athletic competition to use in career development, offered a presentation on the subject to current Gaucho student-athletes on April 1. More

Mekia Valentine: A Great Example - Mar. 31, 2010
I Dare to Rebound: While sitting out the 2008-2009 basketball season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules, Mekia Valentine faced a challenge off the court much greater than anything she could have faced on the court. More

David Meals: A Great Example - Mar. 4, 2010
I Dare to Excel: Last year, David Meals led the UC Santa Barbara baseball team in saves and tied for the lead in appearances. It is hard to believe that a pitcher with Meals' talent and durability almost quit baseball a few years ago. More

UCSB Athletics Celebrates Black History Month - Feb. 17, 2010
UC Santa Barbara Athletics is proud to promote the celebration of Black History Month. More

Anne Marie May: A Great Example - Feb. 12, 2010
I Dare to Be a Champion: As a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, Anne Marie May wasn't sure if she could successfully compete at the collegiate level. Maybe that's because she was playing the wrong sport. More

Josh Finkelstein: A Great Example - Jan. 28, 2010
I Dare to Rally: A month prior to his first quarter as a freshman at UC Santa Barbara, tennis player Josh Finkelstein took a flight home to Hong Kong to visit his mother. When the plane landed, his leg was sore and cramped. More

Ariana Gnekow: A Great Example - Jan. 4, 2010
I Dare to Be a Gaucho: Ariana Gnekow's dream as a child was to come to UC Santa Barbara to play basketball. After attending countless youth camps in the Thunderdome, the Santa Ynez native envisioned herself one day putting on the blue and gold jersey and being part of one of the most successful programs at UCSB. More

James Powell: A Great Example - Dec. 18, 2009
I Dare to Be Re-Dedicated: In 2008-09, UCSB basketball player James Powell had a tough season. Early in the year he was up-and-down, but he never consistently found his shooting touch. In practice before the final weekend of the regular season, Powell took an elbow in the face and suffered a fracture of the orbit of his right eye. He missed the final two regular season games - both wins. In his return for the Big West Tournament, Powell played sparingly and with a protective mask. More

Liza Hitchner: A Great Example - Nov. 27, 2009
I Dare to Compete Again: Excited for her fifth year of Gaucho cross country, while staying on to earn a masters degree in molecular cellular and developmental biology, Hitchner was in the first two miles of a run when she experienced an unexpected seizure, which left her without a memory of the episode, and a concussion due to the fall. More

Stacey Schmidt: A Great Example - Oct. 28, 2009
I Dare to Bounce Back: After missing all of 2008 the sophomore has bounced back on the court and continued to remain involved in the student-athlete community off the court. More

Jacqui Simon: A Great Example - Oct. 14, 2009
I Dare to Be Involved: A team captain, Simon is in her junior season with a major in biology and aspirations of entering the medical field. She also serves as a Student-Athlete Advisory Board Vice Chair. More

Jonathan Zerah: A Great Example - Sept. 25, 2009
I Dare to Persevere: It may have taken Jonathan Zerah three tries to make the UCSB soccer squad, but the senior from Encino is now serving as a captain of the nationally-ranked Gauchos. More

Several Activities Planned to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Gaucho Exhibition - Sept. 21, 2009
In conjunction with its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, UCSB Athletics is pleased to announce that Tuesday's exhibition soccer match against the Mexican U-17 National Team will feature several elements honoring Hispanic culture. More

UCSB Athletics Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month - Sept. 15, 2009
UCSB Athletics is proud to announce it will promote the awareness of Hispanic Heritage Month. The national celebration runs every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. More

Gauchos Will Host Under-17 Mexican National Team in Soccer Exhibition - Sept. 8, 2009
As part of UCSB Athletics' celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Gaucho men's soccer team will host an exhibition match against Mexico's U-17 National Team at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. More

Scott Lewis: A Great Example - Sept. 8, 2009
I Dare to Succeed: Junior golfer Scott Lewis experienced a bright summer in the national spotlight, competing in both the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur Championships. More

Cullen Irons: A Great Example - Aug. 18, 2009
I Dare to Be Loyal: Junior men's volleyball player Cullen Irons is a truly loyal Gaucho. Not only is he one of the team's top players, he is one of the biggest supporters of his fellow Gaucho athletes, regardless of sport. More

Kayla Smith: A Great Example - Aug. 3, 2009
I Dare to Take Part: Track and field athlete Kayla Smith could be one of the best shot putters in school history. In addition to her abilities in competition, Smith has chosen to take part in numerous leadership roles at UCSB. More

Emilie Johnson: A Great Example - July 20, 2009
I Dare to Work Harder: Basketball player Emilie Johnson is working towards a major in psychology with a minor in exercise and health science. Johnson's sense of work ethic, leadership, and contributions to the community have highlighted her as a standout in the Gaucho community. More

Priscilla Perez: A Great Example - July 7, 2009
I Dare to Be Involved: A senior softball player, Priscilla excels not only on the field and in the classroom, she also works two part-time jobs and still finds time to contribute to the community with an array of volunteer work. More

Orlando Johnson: A Great Example - June 17, 2009
I Dare to Lead: When Orlando Johnson made the decision to transfer after one year at Loyola Marymount, he could have gone just about anywhere. Fortunately for the Gaucho coaches, he chose UCSB. More

Milos Golic: A Great Example - June 2, 2009
I Dare to Be Balanced: Gaucho water polo player Milos Golic is a Great Example of balance. A First Team All-American in the pool, the native of Belgrade is also an academic star. More

Brian Gump: A Great Example - May 19, 2009
I Dare to Lead: Brian Gump's role on the Student-Athlete Advisory Board has given him an opportunity to lead. More

Christine Ramos: A Great Example - May 5, 2009
I Dare to Give it My All: Ramos's hard work and enthusiasm have paid off with one of the finest careers in UCSB softball history. More

Julian Samson: A Great Example - Apr. 22, 2009
Freshman thrower's persistence helped him overcome obstacles to get to UCSB. More

Katy Freeman: A Great Example - Apr. 7, 2009
A senior on the swim team, Freeman is an All-American and two-time NCAA qualifier. More

Jenna Green: A Great Example - Mar. 19, 2009
The senior basketball player is a three-time All-Big West First Team selection. More

UCSB Continues Effort to Raise Awareness of Breast Cancer with 'Pink Week' - Mar. 18, 2009
In its on-going effort to draw awareness to breast cancer and to promote its research, the UC Santa Barbara Athletics Department will sponsor Pink Week beginning on Mar. 23. More

UCSB's Pink Zone Event A 'Huge Success' - Feb. 25, 2009
On Tuesday the UC Santa Barbara baseball team and the women's basketball team wore pink in their respective games to raise breast cancer awareness and became one of the first-known universities to produce a multi-sport Pink Zone event. More

Gaucho Athletics Celebrates and Promotes Black History Month - Feb. 11, 2009
UCSB Athletics is proud to promote the celebration of Black History Month as part of one of two recently created programs aimed at providing an outstanding all-around experience for Gaucho student-athletes and to reach out to the campus and Santa Barbara community. More

UCSB Student-Athletes and Staff Receive Diversity Training - Jan. 28, 2009
On Tuesday, as part of its "BE Great" initiative, the UC Santa Barbara Athletics Department held two Diversity and Inclusion workshops, one for its student-athletes and another for coaches and department administrative personnel. More