Student spotlight: Katrina Yip says four years isn't enough to take advantage of all UCI's opportunities

Katrina Yip, class of 2017

Degree: Double major in psychology and social behavior and education sciences

Hometown: Rosemead, California

Why did you choose UCI’s School of Social Ecology?

When I first applied to UCI, I hesitantly chose Sociology because none of the majors seemed to fit my goal of becoming a teacher, and the Education major wasn't available yet. I remember googling "What major should I choose at UCI if I want to be a teacher?" and I found to a flyer for the Psychology and Social Behavior major. I had no idea what psychology was, but I saw one tiny bullet point with the words "teacher" and "education" and I immediately made the switch. This was one of the most spontaneous and best decisions I've ever made.

What was the most interesting accomplishment or thing you did while at UCI?

In April 2017, I had the honor of presenting my research project at the Society for Research in Child Development's Biennial Meeting in Austin, Texas. When I applied to the conference, I knew my chances were slim, so I was surprised and ecstatic when I was accepted to give an oral presentation! As the only undergraduate among all these renowned professors and scholars, I was feeling incredibly nervous and under-qualified, but with the support and guidance of my mentors, Joanna Yau and Professor Stephanie Reich, my talk went really well. What started as a seemingly unrealistic dream of "Wow, it'd be so cool if I could present my research one day" led me to largest national conference for child development.

What is your favorite thing about UCI?

Besides the beautiful weather and it being the perfect distance from home, I really love the people I've met at UCI. None of my accomplishments have been done single-handedly. From telling me about potential internship opportunities and on-campus involvements to messaging me to tell me they love my YouTube videos, the support and encouragement from those around me have allowed me to be who and where I am today.

What advice would you give to new, incoming Anteaters?

Take initiative and don't stop at rejection! UCI is filled with so many amazing opportunities and resources, and four years isn't nearly enough to take advantage of them all. So, do all that you can while you're here! I spent my first quarter at UCI being homesick and having high school withdrawals. After being sad all fall quarter, I decided that if I wanted to get involved, I would have to put myself out there. However, things didn't come so easily. I applied for five different positions, had a several interviews, and was rejected by every single one. But I didn't give up, and I got accepted to the sixth position, seventh position, and many after that!

Would you recommend that other potential students choose the School of Social Ecology? Why?

Although the School of Social Ecology may sound very foreign, don’t let it deter you! It’s basically learning about how people interact and engage with their environment, which I love because it helps me navigate my world through different perspectives.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I will be going to Japan for a summer internship where I will go into different high schools to help Japanese students better understand self-empowerment, leadership, and English communication. After I come back at the end of August, I'll start preparing for grad school applications--as of now, I'm looking into Human Development & Psychology programs, but we'll see how I feel when that time comes. My plans are constantly changing!