11 undergrads among UCI’s most outstanding

Chancellor's awardees

Select seniors graduate with Chancellor’s Award of Distinction

Among the few undergrads donning special blue and gold shoulder cords with their commencement regalia next month will be 11 high-achieving seniors from the School of Social Ecology. They are among this year’s recipients of the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction, which honors the university’s most outstanding students. The awardees, selected by the UCI Alumni Association, represent exceptional academic achievement, and a commitment to cutting-edge research, leadership and service. Representing the School of Social Ecology are: Patricia Ávalos, Angela Boatwright, Zachary R. Griggy, Ashley Heltzel, Wei Huang, Megan Kosai, Ivy Li, Julia Isabelle Lin, Phoebe Pham, Daniel Rojas and Jira (Hugh) Trinetkamol.

Patricia Ávalos

Majors: Psychological Science and Education Sciences
Age: 21
Hometown: East Los Angeles
Favorite classes: PSCI 173S: Social Relationships (with Professor Zinger) and EDUC 147: Poverty, Education, and Social Change (with Professor Goldenberg)
Advice for incoming students: “Explore campus resources and opportunities! You’ll never know what you truly enjoy without giving it a chance. Also, be open to sharing with others because sharing about resources and opportunities is equally important.
What's next? “I will take a gap year and apply to master’s programs in Educational Counseling and Student Affairs in the fall!”

Angela Boatwright

Majors: Psychological Science and Urban Studies
Age: 48
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Favorite professors: Dr. Rodolpho Torres, Dr. Scott Bollens, Dr. Walter Nicholls, Dr. Maria Rendon, Dr. Michael Mendez, Dr. Hun Kim, Dr. Seth Pipkin, Dr. Jessica Borelli, Dr. Stephanie McEwan, Dr. Pia Dietze, Dr. Jenny Rinehart and Dr. Hillary Berk
Advice for incoming students: “Get to know your professors AND your TAs! Try and work in a lab or two and involve yourself in as many academic activities as you can so that you can get to know your professors and TAs (both of whom come in handy when you need letters of recommendation and help writing graduate school application essays!) and also so that you can figure out what you like and don't like in your field and which avenues of study and/or skills suit you best.”
What’s next? “I will attend Columbia University to obtain my Master’s in Social Work.”

Zachary R. Griggy

Majors: Urban Studies and Political Science
Age: 22
Hometown: Novato, CA
Favorite classes: UPPP 109 and 155, Pol Sci 123B 
Advice for incoming students: “I would encourage a new student to attend office hours. Attending office hours as a first-year student helped me become more familiar with the University and make connections that opened the door for many opportunities later in my time at UCI.”
What's next? “I’m planning to apply for law school next year. I also hope to continue my involvement in redistricting and local politics.”

Ashley Heltzel 

Major: Psychological Science
Age: 28
Hometown: Big Bear Lake
Favorite professors: “I attribute my quality education and valuable experience at UCI to Dr. Larry Jamner and Dr. Hillary Berk.”
Advice for incoming students: “My advice to incoming students is to get the most out of your classes by sitting in the front rows and attending your professors’ office hours!”
What's next? “My educational goal is to earn my Ph.D. in clinical psychology.”

Wei Huang

Majors: Criminology, Law & Society and Psychology
Age: 21
Hometown: Beijing, China
Favorite class: Psychology 127P, Personal Disorder
Advice for incoming students: “My advice is: don't be afraid to try new things and always be prepared.”
What's next? “I am going to the University of Chicago for a master's program in psychology.”

Megan Kosai

Major: Social Ecology
Age: 22
Favorite class: “Professor Golob's Constitutional Law class and being a learning assistant for that course. Also, designing and teaching Blind Phone Hacks, an assistive technology class with Dr. Stacy Branham.”
Advice for incoming students: “Take risks and advantage of experiential learning opportunities. Explore all academic disciplines through getting involved in research, clubs or taking diverse classes- you never know what you might like. Lastly, support your friends and classmates!”
What's next? “I'm so excited to move to the East Coast and begin a policy position!”

Ivy Li

Majors: Psychological Science and Education Sciences 
Age: 21
Hometown: Alhambra
Favorite class:  “I don't think I have a single favorite UCI class or professor, but I am very appreciative of Dr. Zinger for posting different opportunities on her Facebook page.”
Advice for incoming students: “My advice for incoming students would be to join and try different extracurriculars and be as involved as possible.”
What's next? “I have a summer internship at the UCI Labor Center. Then, I will probably take a gap year to travel and apply for graduate school!”

Julia Isabelle Lin 

Major: Psychological Science 
Age: 21
Hometown: San Jose
Favorite professor: Joanne Zinger 
Advice for incoming students: “My advice for incoming students would be to branch out! Don’t be afraid to try new things, gain new experiences, and make new connections on campus. The next few years are going to fly by, so I would recommend actively seeking new opportunities in order to make the most out of your time at UCI.”
What's next? “After graduating, I will be attending UCLA in the Fall for my M.Ed. in Student Affairs! I aspire to work in higher education in the future, and I'm thrilled for this Master's program to be another step in the right direction for me to pursue this career goal.”

Phoebe Pham

Majors: Psychological Science and Social Ecology 
Age: 22
Hometown: Westminster
Favorite class: SOCECOL H190 series with Amy Dent; favorite professor: Jessica Borelli
Advice for incoming students: “Have an idea of where your passions lie, and start mapping out your path! Planning out what you need to do to get where you want to be is so crucial, so take advantage of all the opportunities offered to undergrads.”
What's next? Entering Purdue University’s counseling psychology Ph.D. program

Daniel Rojas

Major: Criminology, Law & Society
Age: 23
Hometown: Los Angeles
Favorite professor: Brandon Golob
Advice for incoming students: “Find a mentor who will support and uplift you throughout your educational journey.”
What's next? “I am currently studying abroad in Tokyo. After my program ends, I plan to stay and explore other cities in Japan. Once I return to the states, I plan to take the Foreign Service Officer Test and secure a public diplomacy entry level position.”

Jira (Hugh) Trinetkamol

Majors: Urban Studies, Political Science and Economics 
Age: 22 
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Favorite class: “My favorite class has got to be Dr. Beckmann’s Inside the Oval Office class. He's also my favorite professor!” 
Advice for incoming students: “Get used to failure! In my four years at UCI, I've had more doors slammed shut on me than I can count, but I never stopped trying to learn, grow, and find new opportunities! So don't let failures here and there discourage you. Use them as stepping stones to become an even better version of yourself. ”
What's next? “I plan on working in the realm of economic development for at least a year, either in D.C. or my home country of Thailand. Then, I plan on applying for a master’s in public policy!”

— Mimi Ko Cruz