Michael Guggenheim: A Quest for Adventure

Prudential Award Pic 2.0As the group gathered around the dining hall table, spring break plans quickly became the topic of discussion, as our much-needed break from schoolwork was quickly approaching. Seeing friends, relaxing, and spending time with family were common plans, until Michael volunteered his plans to go scuba diving in Belize with his family. The group was simultaneously shocked and intrigued, as they had no idea Michael even possessed the proper scuba certification to embark on such an adventure.

“Guggz has a story for everything” says Jenna Holtz with an incredulous smile on her face, and the rest of the group nods in agreement. Michael Guggenheim, endearingly refered to as “Guggz” by friends, is not only a wonderful storyteller, but derives his stories from a young life filled with adventure. At only 19 years of age, Michael’s stories of exploration are unparalleled by his peers, and many lightheartedly refer to him as “the most interesting man in the world”. Not only does Michael lead such an adventurous life, he has overcome many obstacles, showing strength perseverance, and determination to live life to the fullest.

Yet, perhaps Guggz’s best quality is not his arsenal of experiences, but that he genuinely cares about his friends and their stories as well. Upon returning from spring break, Michael did not brag about his worldly experiences, and made sure to ask about everyone else’s spring break. As floormates, Michael and I have grown to be close friends, and although my spring break stories paled in comparison to his, he remained attentive and intrigued. I have had the pleasure of learning not about not only his travels and successes, but also the adversity he has overcome.

In his academic career, Michael has overcome many obstacles, but has proved to be an intelligent, hardworking individual. At a young age, Michael struggled with very bad handwriting, which many teachers wrote off as laziness, much to Michael’s dismay. In reality, fine motor movements were very painful for Michael; eventually he was diagnosed with dysgraphia, a rare condition making it almost impossible to write by hand. A therapist even told Michael’s mother that he would probably have to be homeschooled, and would not attend high school, let alone college. But Michael is proudly here, a freshman at Santa Clara University, defying all odds.

Michael has taken his diagnosis in stride, saying it has “put a chip on his shoulder,” a constant reminder of what he says has been the “greatest challenge of his life to date.” His increased competitiveness in overcoming obstacles has contributed to his love of adventure, engaging in many dangerous activities. At the age of four, Michael began to ski, and at seven he learned to drive an ATV. Soon thereafter, snowboarding, scuba diving, and river rafting were added to his favorite activities. Just this past spring break Michael traveled to Belize with his family and went scuba diving, both at night and during the day, coming in close contact with sting rays, sharks, and eels, among much other aquatic life.

A passion for adventure originated not only from the obstacles Michael has overcome, but also from his father, who, according to Michael, is infinitely more adventurous than his son. Michael’s mother cites the life she saw in her husband’s eyes as one of the primary reasons why she fell in love with him, and has grown to be more adventurous throughout their marriage.

His father has been known to push Michael to overcome his fears, often saying If you’re falling, you’re doing something right. It means you’re pushing yourself. It only becomes a problem when you get too scared to do something again”.

After falling off a cliff while dirt biking, Michael’s father enacted such a lesson. Although Michael was stricken with fear, his father made him return and bike through the same location the next week, saying that if he waited longer he would never get over the fear.

Although one cannot quantify Michael’s stories, his motivation to live life to the fullest has certainly contributed to lively discussions amongst friends, and incredulous reactions to his crazy experiences. However scared we may be to engage in risky behavior like Michael does, he still challenges all of us to truly live.

— Kirsten Andersen


Showcasing Filipino Culture by Kathryn Luna


Anjelica Kempis was rustling in her seat with excitement as the annual Pilipino Culture Night (PCN) show began at Santa Clara in 2006.

The house lights dimmed and the crowd erupted with clapping, cheering, and whistles. The lights slowly returned and cast members began to file into the theatre, filling the aisles. The crowd went quiet as the members of Santa Clara’s Barkada club began to sing the U.S. National Anthem, followed by the Philippine National Anthem.

“I’ve been watching SCU’s show ever since, and ’06 is still my favorite. It was my first time in the audience as an excited middle school student, but it was just an all-around amazing PCN that year.”

548890_10201669936689314_1990435224_nKempis is now a college senior, but she has never lost the excitement she felt as a middle school student watching her first show. Over the years, she has seen her friends and cousins perform in this celebration of Filipino pride and heritage. Now it is her turn to take center stage and make it all happen as the director of the event.

More than 100 student cast members will perform this year. The show includes skits, traditional music and singing, and fourteen cultural dances complete with costumes and props representing different geographic regions of the Philippines. Kempis has the assistance of several alumni members and friends from Bay Area schools who will all be involved in putting on a spectacular display. Many of the main actors and teachers when Kempis watched her first show back in 2006 have come back to mentor and teach this year.

 “Our vision this year is to make everything magical,” she said. “We gave a lot of attention to each part of the skit and dances for this show so that we wouldn’t have a dull moment.”

The annual show has been popular and well-received on campus and on the national level. Many other Filipino student organizations use Santa Clara’s YouTube videos for inspiration for their own shows. This show is unique in that it includes not only Filipino students on campus but welcomes students of any racial/ethnic background to participate.10245562_10152092302997196_2324994795745893901_n

“Filipino culture is all about hospitality and mixing with other cultures,” Kempis said. “We love every opportunity we have to show pride in and teach about our culture to cast and audience members who aren’t of Filipino descent.”

Kempis joined Barkada, the Filipino cultural club on campus, and PCN freshman year, and she knew it was time to be more connected with her culture and follow in her family’s footsteps. The Kempis family has a history with the show. Last year Anjelica’s cousin, Ariana, was co-director, and several other cousins have been involved with dancing, acting, and creating the show’s programs. Because this year is the 25th show, as director, Kempis wanted to up-the-ante in every aspect and continue to improve on the legacy her family and friends have left.

There have been many long days and nights of preparation for the big show but Kempis smiled and said she likes to think about a quote from this year’s Miss Philippines pageant representative for Miss Universe, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.”


– Kathryn Luna

My Two Moms by Grace Gilman

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Early on in our friendship, Ryan told me, “I have two mommies.”

Sophomore Ryan Quakenbush grew up with a mom and a stepmom, but he’s no stranger to the concept of a nuclear family. His mom and dad were together until he was about five, when they amicably split. Soon after, Ryan’s mother brought home KK, his now-stepmom. He remembers KK bringing him to his first day of kindergarten.

“I felt like it was pretty normal when I was really little, just because I didn’t know anything different,” Ryan recalls, “But when I was in third grade, I learned that we were the minority family.”

Ryan maintains that he didn’t feel lesser than any of his friends who had “normal families,” but that he was nervous when his moms would come to school events together or hold hands. He outgrew this discomfort fairly quickly.

Now, Ryan, a sophomore here at Santa Clara, is openly gay. He is part of the LGBTQ alliance groups on campus and strives to educate people about different gender identities and sexual orientations Ryan initially joined the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), in high school to help LGBTQ youth and be part of a supportive community.

“My motivation for being a part of LGBTQ clubs is the way that I relate to my moms and how important my growth has been to them in the face of their own struggles.10710870_749553615117977_4638501592446452670_n Ryan believes that SCU is fairly open-minded about LGBTQ people, but that the conversation isn’t over. He thinks a lot of the reason that people don’t talk about gender or sexual orientation is because it’s a very complicated topic, and there are so many “other letters” (besides LGBTQ) that people don’t understand or even know about. It’s also a potentially offensive topic, and curiosity can be seen as blatant ignorance. Ryan believes it’s healthy to be able to ask yourself questions about who you are and who you are comfortable being.

Ryan loves reflecting back on times with his mom and stepmom. This past summer, all three of them took a trip to New York City when an unexpected, fitting, and exciting event was taking place: the Pride Parade. They were pleasantly surprised and Ryan remembers all three of them screaming “Sparkles!” at the top of their lungs.

On a more serious note, Ryan looks back on something he just recently learned about his mother. When she first started her relationship with her wife, KK, her parents were not accepting and very against it. Ryan recalls not seeing his grandparents for years at a time, but he only recently realized this. “I guess my mom just sort of told her parents that until they were okay with who she was, she wouldn’t allow them to see me or my brother,” he remembers. “I’m glad I didn’t know this when I was young, I think it would have made me uneasy.” Now, he understands why his mom wanted to protect him from her parents’ negative views, and Ryan thinks it’s only helped his ability to grow.

“I love talking about my family and my moms and myself, I think it’s healthy. I really hope others can be comfortable doing the same.”

– Grace Gilman

Lights… Action


David Belogolovsky is a full time student in the midst of midterms at Santa Clara University who spends most of his waking hours in nightclubs or thinking about nightclubs. This twenty-three year old is the founder of Owl Vision LLC, a lighting design company based out of the South Bay Area.

David is a friendly and inviting South Bay Area local with short blond hair and electric blue eyes. Even though he has more on his plate that any person I have ever met, he never succumbs to the stress of a full workload. During an interview, he told me that even though he is a high-speed entrepreneur, “I still enjoy peaceful and environmental encounters.”

When he is not working, David loves to travel and immerse himself in different cultures. Whether it is surviving primitively in Montana or living extravagantly in Las Vegas, he seems to always have a good time. Out of all the places that David has traveled to, it was his trip to Puerto Rico to Puerto Rico that cakes the cake.

While visiting Puerto Rico, David went out of his way to mingle with the locals and immerse himself in Puerto Rican culture. This journey took him to just about every corner of the country where he stayed in Airbnbs. One of his stories that stood out to me in particular was about a crab fisherman that he met while perusing the beach. David regarded him as being a “cool guy” who has life figured out. This crab fisher spent a total of six thousand dollars on a shack on the beach and makes his living selling crabs at local markets. Shouldn’t we all be envious of such a care-free lifestyle?

1934087_13889541137_1264_nSanta Clara University marked the beginning of David’s career in the music industry. During his Freshman year, he adopted the name DJ3W and quickly rose through the ranks of SCU DJs, performing at Greek events, local bars, private events, and on campus concerts. Shortly after entering the DJ scene, he began providing event lighting with Topshelf Lighting and DJ Services, a company that is no stranger to Santa Clara.

After David worked with Topshelf Lighting and DJ Services for a few years, he had gathered enough prestige to go to Las Vegas and do a lighting internship with Sexy Lights. This internship turned into full employment and a year in Las Vegas. This job marked the point when David could no longer juggle school and work and he formally withdrew from SCU.

David spends a huge amount of his time programming and practicing with his own arsenal of lighting equipment. He tries to avoid using his own equipment at shows but it can be difficult to come by someone who has the quality and quantity of lights that David has. Lugging around his gear in a U-Haul is inevitable.

David is primarily a light programmer who is often contracted to control the lights that he programs. Programming lights is a huge project that can take days. Once they are programmed, he hooks the lights up to complex control panels that take a while to learn how to use. Most venues would like one of their current employees to learn how to use the equipment but the learning curve is too steep to get a hang of controlling the lights in less than a few months. In that time, David is often contracted to control the lights on big nights.

Now, David has returned to the South Bay Area and is once again a Santa Clara University student. The main difference is that now he has a full time job on top of his schoolwork.

The Middle Man


On family vacations, he would pack his siblings luggage because no one else had time. He would load the car with the skis when they went to Whistler, Canada, and put the chains on the car. He protected his little brother and bailed out his older siblings when they got in trouble. He always had their back.

“Well…someone’s gotta do it,” was pretty much his motto.

Skaggs said he did it because none of his siblings have time or are organized enough. But his facial expressions indicated that it was more than that. He did it out of a need or a desire to please the rest of his family. He figures if they do not pack, their vacation will be compromised, so he does it for them. This also translates to his greater role in the family.

It all makes sense according to the theories of birth order that place great importance on the order of a child in a family. Each child assumes a “role” that impacts their psychological development. They can even end up playing that role for their entire life. The oldest child is the protector, and the youngest child is the baby. And Skaggs is a typical middle child, caught in between an older sister and brother, and his little brother. Growing up in Portland, he was often left to fend for himself. He was the mediator and picked up the slack for the rest of his siblings.

He told a story about the time his entire family of thirty went to Tahoe. His cousins are split up into three groups: the Bigs, the Littles, and the Middles. All the Bigs are “too cool” for any family activity while the Littles are always the rascals and run amok anywhere they go. Skaggs is one of the Middles and they are exactly where they sound, the middle. They have the option to be with the Bigs or the Littles and are equally close to each side. Even in the bigger family dynamic, Skaggs is in the middle again. The Middles have the role of helping out. They always help with dinner, chores, and other family tasks. It also applies to his college life and living in a huge disorganized house. Living in an off-campus house with six other guys for the first time has many challenges.


Usually, after a week or so, roles arise for each housemate. The house consists of the classic stereotypes: the mom, the dirty guy, the party guy, the guy who doesn’t pay for groceries, the guy who eats all the groceries, and of course, the guy who does all the cleaning. Guess which one is Skaggs. His upbringing has made him the one in the house to dissolve fights and pick up the slack for others. The good part of this role is that everyone loves that person. No one in the house has a problem with Skaggs–in fact everyone loves him. When he walks through the door, eyes light up and a “Skaggs!” yelp is screamed. It is pretty unanimous around the house that he is the most kind and easygoing housemate.

It is not always a bad thing to be the “Skaggs” in a group. Just know that it is easy to take advantage of The Skaggs. It is also easy to forget about how lucky one is to have him/her. After all, someone’s gotta do it.

Story and Photos By: Lorenzo Iacomini

Commuter Chronicles: Delaney Bantillo

Major: Mathematics; Urban Education minor, Theatre Arts minor

Commuting From: South Central San Jose

Approx. Commute Time: 30-50 minutes depending on traffic

1. Describe a day in the life of a commuter.

Long! Early start, late finish–9:15am classes became 6am classes, to beat traffic (or be stuck in it), and I spent long nights in the library for not being able to focus on school work at home. I’d even bring toiletries and a change of clothes to the library sometimes.

2. What are the biggest pros and cons of commuting?

Biggest pro: Raiding my mom’s refrigerator when I got home; biggest con: never having a private space to myself on campus. I could go to friends’ places, find a spot under a tree or in the library or MCC or Benson, etc., crash on a couch, but anywhere I went was public. I couldn’t drive back and forth to my house during the day, so I had to eat all my meals at SCU, and sometimes I just wanted a place to eat myself and relax; I didn’t want to be ‘on’ all the time. Also, having limited freedom to shower at any time of day; having to stay presentable from start to finish when I’m on campus but not having a bedroom to stop in for a midday nap, quick change, meal, or shower.

3. How has commuting affected your involvement on and off-campus?

Commuting made socializing challenging–driving back and forth kept me away much of the weekend; outings happen spontaneously, so by not living near my friends I missed activities (dinners out, trips to the mall, park, Palo Alto, etc.) when they arose in the moment for the friends who lived on campus and could just pop over to each other and hop in a car and go.

4. What advice would you give new commuters?

Find clubs and activities on campus and build a close social circle; make a group of friends who live on campus, to have a dorm to go to, couch to crash on, bathroom to borrow, meal points to share. Get friendly, and get comfortable asking for what you want–don’t be shy about mooching (people have food, beds, and showers to share). Get as much sleep and water as possible to power through the day and to drive alertly.

5. What is your most memorable “commuter” moment?

Five of us commuters studied for a math final exam in the basement of O’Connor long into the night, noticed the time at 3:00am, and realized driving home and back for an early morning exam was not a feasible option. We collectively decided to stay in the Sussman to sleep. I didn’t claim the couch or a tabletop quickly enough, so I curled up under a desk in the corner of the room. I felt very cold that night, and didn’t sleep much, but the greatest part was the ‘next’ day when one of the professors, and later the department chair, arrived to open up the room and found us lying there, some of us still asleep!

— Christina

Commuter Chronicles: Cassy Montell

Major: Communication Major; Studio Art Minor

Commuting From: Danville

Approx. Commute Time: 45 mins – 1.5 hrs

1. Describe a day in the life of a commuter.

Being a commuter student is actually really fun! I get to have my hand in two worlds at the same time, drive through the beautiful hills on 680 and have my own car. On a usual day, I’ll wake up and get ready, drive for about 45 minutes to an hour 30 (depending on traffic), go to class, hang out and then go home or chill out on campus. That sound really boring when I say it like that, but I always throw in random adventures that keep things super fun!

2. What are the biggest pros and cons of commuting?

Being a commuter student, your days are a lot longer than everyone else’s and sometimes its hard to meet people, but you save tons of money and have the opportunity to have your hand in your home town as well as your campus. I’ve definitely gotten better at scheduling and being more honest with myself about what I can and can’t do since you have to balance both areas of your life.

3. How has commuting affected your involvement on and off-campus?

Yes, it definitely takes effort to get connected, when you’re bouncing between two places. Back at my home town I had a job, babysat, was an assistant teacher at an elementary school and was involved in various events at my church. On campus, I had time in between classes to socialize and hang out with friends that I’ve made there and would occasionally stay late. It’s definitely takes an efforts to balance these two scenes.

4. What advice would you give new commuters?

-BRING LAYERS! One of the hardest things about commuting is figuring out what to wear. Sometimes the weather changes unexpectedly and you’re stuck in the same clothes all day.

-Don’t feel anxious about being alone on campus sometimes. It’s really healthy to have time to yourself where you have some downtime. During these times I love to read, journal or work on homework while I’m jamming to some sweet music.

-Put yourself out there! Since you don’t live on campus, it can sometimes be a challenge getting to meet new people. Sometimes I’ll walk around campus randomly handing out popsicles or whatever and talking with people. Food is a fun way to bridge the gap, meet some really cool people and have some rad conversation!

5. What is your most memorable “commuter” moment?

I keep reintroducing myself to people all the time. Since I don’t see them on campus all the time sometimes I’ll introduce myself like 5 times… it’s bad. I’ve definitely gotten better though!

— Christina

Commuter Chronicles: Julie Dang

Major: Economics; Communication minor

Commuting From: East San Jose

Approx. Commute Time: 25-45 mins

1. Describe a day in the life of a commuter.

Really, the only difference between a commuter and a person who lives on campus is that a commuter has to take a little more time planning ahead for a typical day at school.

2. What are the biggest pros and cons of commuting?

The biggest pro of being a commuter is having my own room, shower and free home-cooked meals everyday. It’s also great to be able to drive anywhere off campus for lunch with friends. A con of commuting is definitely the traffic back and forth from school–every time I make plans, I need to factor in commute time depending on traffic conditions.

3. How has commuting affected your involvement on and off-campus?

I think commuting gave me special opportunities to involve myself on campus, and especially since there aren’t many commuter-specific events at SCU, I was able to take part in starting the SCU Commuter-Love Feast for the Locatelli Center in 2012. Commuting also gave me the freedom to do work, internships and volunteer work off campus.

4. What advice would you give new commuters?

Don’t think that commuting gives you only half of the college experience. From what I’ve learned from my 3 years as a commuter at SCU, you get a double experience–the best of both worlds!

5. What is your most memorable “commuter” moment?

I had a midterm one day, and as I was getting ready to leave for school about 20 minutes before it started, my dad was checking out my tires and said I had a leak. I drove to school with that tire, and by some small miracle, I made it there and back with no problem.

— Christina

Study Spots at SCU

As college students we have the the tiring task of studying on a semi regular basis. As rough as studying can be, it can be made a whole lot easier by finding just the right spot to get focused and work to the best of your ability. Sure, there is always the library. It is the quintessential study spot for most college students; however, it is not necessarily the best spot to study. It can get busy, a tad overwhelming, and also just sort of boring sometimes. So now the dilemma is where to go when the library is no longer an option? While, contrary to popular belief, there are actually a multitude of places to study!

Sky Lounge: 

Where:  11th floor of Swig.

The Sky lounge is one of the best places to study during the day. At night, it can get filled with people, but during the day it tends to be more vacant. It has tables, chairs and a great view! What more could you want from a study place? The only problem with this study place is getting into the building, but even if you don’t know anyone who lives in Swig, it is not that hard to just ask someone to let you in so you can go to the sky lounge!

Classrooms in the RLCs:

Where: Graham and Casa Italiana

The classrooms in the RLCs are perfect for students who love to use whiteboards! Lots of people like to use to whiteboards to work on a rough math problem or to just write out your ideas and see where your mind is going for an important paper. These classrooms are almost always empty and they are perfect if you want to study in a group or completely alone.

Upstairs of Comm Building:

Where: Upstairs of Communications building, in front of the business school

During the weekdays, this is not necessarily the best place to study; however, on the weekends its completely vacant and quiet. During the weekends this is the best place to study, because there no longer are the herds of students bustling to class, instead it’s just empty chairs awaiting you and your studies.


Where: There are courtyards all over campus, but the best ones to study at are the ones near the mission church and art museum.

On the weekends, or during classes, this is a great place to study. You get the warmth of the sun, but the shade of the trees! If you love to study outside, and not be completely secluded, these courtyards are your best bet. You can bring a beach towel, or sit on the benches, either way, you are primed to study and get some vitamin D at the same time!

Shapell Lounge:

Where: Downstairs of Benson

This is a great meeting place for group projects or study groups. They have many chairs and tables that work perfectly to aid any type of assignment you may be working on. While there is noise that comes from the cellar and the other various rooms that surround the lounge, it is by no means over bearing.

Santa Clara offers its students a multitude of places to study and get work done. If the library is not for you, try one of these other various places on campus to study! With all these options, you are guaranteed to find the best studying spot for you.

Life After Studying Abroad


Many of my friends studied abroad this fall, and a few of them have mentioned the “culture shock” they have felt after coming back to the United States. I interviewed junior Lauren McAndrews on her feelings after returning from Milan, and what she is experiencing back in the SCU community.

What kind of emotions were you feeling when you came home to the United States?

“I was happy to get home but I was also really sad to leave my host family, so it was very conflicting. I just didn’t say much, like on the drive back from the airport. I just kind of took everything in.”

What did your family say when they first saw you? 

“My family kind of understood. My mom thinks I’m one of the statistics because she has this chart from my program that says all the different emotions I’m supposed to be going through, but that’s kind of even more upsetting because she’s just like ‘Okay, now I know what you’re going to say in two months’ and I’m like mom, just stop it.”

What is it like to come back to the bubble of Santa Clara?

“Overwhelming—really overwhelming—because you’re used to seeing the same few people every single day. Then going from that to seeing hundreds of people every single day here, it’s overwhelming to say hello to everyone at first and try and catch up with everyone and you feel like you’re having the same conversations over and over again. That’s something I’ve found, that I don’t stop to make small talk with as many people as I used to before I left. I’m not exactly sure why. I don’t know, maybe because I feel like I’ve changed but Santa Clara hasn’t. And everyone really talks about the same things still, so that’s definitely part of it.”

Do you stay in touch with non-SCU friends you met abroad?

“Yes, I do. Snapchat is the easiest. But a couple of my other girlfriends I met abroad, we’re actually in a Facebook thread planning for two of them to come for Spring Break. Then I’ve kept in touch with other people mainly through Facebook, just because it is easier and you feel like you can respond when you have the time, rather than a text message where you feel like there’s more pressure.”

Do you talk to them about what you’re feeling?

“Yeah, mainly it’s not too deep of a conversation, compared to other Santa Clara students that went abroad and are now back—I have more meaningful conversations with them—but we do talk about how we really miss Italy and we miss the things that we used to do and it’s just a lot of nostalgia for the experiences we had.”