UC Merced Update

Alumnus Part of Political Spirit on Campus


Justin DuckhamWhile UC Merced's student body is developing into a politically active group like its sister campuses, few actually know the roots of that political spirit.

A good place to begin is with Justin Duckham, '09, who was one of UC Merced's ambitious pioneers.

Studying for a degree in history with minors in philosophy and American studies wasn't enough to keep Duckham settled with the simple campus life that comes with a new university. As with every member of the inaugural class, Duckham cared deeply about how the campus developed and what interests were at stake. This led him to establish the campus’s first underground newspaper, known as the Fairy Shrimp Times.

Duckham now lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a correspondent and associate editor with the Talk Radio News Service. On occasion, you might see him on the Fox News Channel exposing bias in the media.

One of his proudest accomplishments since graduating from UC Merced was an in-person interview with former news anchor Dan Rather.

“It’s a rare opportunity to meet one of your heroes — let alone spend time with them,” Duckham said.

He credits opportunities like this to participating the UCDC program and UC Merced's smaller, close-knit environment.

“Getting into the UCDC program is relatively competitive at most schools," he said. "I’m not sure I would have had a chance if I had gone to another UC.”

He said his experiences and connections in the UCDC program also helped him land his job three days after graduating from UC Merced.

Duckham is an active member with the National Press Club, where he sits on its Young Members Committee. He is also an avid record collector.

His advice to students aspiring to become leaders and improve society is “It’s impossible to overstate the value of working hard. No matter what you do, it’s probably the best way to define yourself.”