Dean's Award Recipients 2012-2013

Learn more about this year's recipients of the Dean's Award for Community Engagement! We are very proud of these students, each of whom has made unique and long-lasting contributions to the betterment of our communities. If you are interested in learning more about how you can contribute to honoring students like this, please click here.


Veronique Fortin
Graduate Student in Criminology, Law and Society

Veronique’s research addresses issues of occupation of urban public spaces in Montreal, Canada and the mobilization of municipal law to criminalize dissident uses of such spaces.  She studies the occupation of public space by homeless people and demonstrators, two groups that are especially policed and criminalized through the issuance of “tickets.” As part of her fieldwork, she volunteers at a legal clinic for the homeless in Montreal. Veronique hopes her research will ultimately contribute to the development of truly open, shared and accessible public spaces in Montreal.


Kristin Gundersen
Undergraduate Student in Psychology and Social Behavior

Kristin Gundersen is a master of time-management, finding ways to assist multiple non-profit organizations, while maintaining a 3.85 grade point average. Nominated by Dr. Joanne Zinger, Kristin serves as a Research Assistant and the Laboratory Manger for Dr. Salvatore R. Maddi’s Hardiness Research Lab. In this role, she conducts numerous research projects, presents at psychological conventions, and co-authors. Additionally, Kristin devotes her time as a volunteer at the Campus Assault Resources and Education (CARE) office at UC Irvine. In the past year, Kristin began working with the Heroic Imagination Project, an organization with the mission to cultivate positive lasting change within society. As an Associate Director of Research, Kristin is directly involved in providing individuals with research-based strategies to improve self-awareness, resist negative group pressure, and help them believe in themselves. Despite her demanding schedule, Kristin is still deeply committed to advocacy work by volunteering at Community Service Programs (CSP), Laura’s House, Families Forward, and Olive Crest.


Beth Karlin
Graduate Student in Social Ecology

Beth studies what kind of feedback and information inspires consumers to cultivate Earth-friendly habits. Her goal is to change collective behavior when it comes to energy conservation. Her current research project is in collaboration with Southern California Edison (SCE) to engage local consumers to save energy via social gaming. Very similar to the game concept that Al Gore just announced at TED last month, they are working with a start-up to develop a game-based platform for energy efficiency and will be testing it later this year with 250 residents in SCE territory.


Jennifer Majdick
Undergraduate Student in Psychology and Social Behavior;
Criminology, Law and Society

Jennifer Majdick is a double major in Psychology and Social Behavior and Criminology, Law and Society.  Her life goal is to work with underprivileged children as a clinical behavioral psychologist. Throughout her undergrad, Jennifer has maintained a 3.4 GPA and has also been involved with numerous philanthropic programs through her sorority, Alpha Phi, benefiting the American Heart Association and Women’s Cardiac Care. Miraculously during her senior year, Jennifer was able to dedicate 500 hours to each of these sites: the Fairview Developmental Center, Disney GOALS and the Drake Institute where she is a Neurophysiological  Therapist Intern.  She enjoys helping children to set goals and earn the rewards of accomplishment through hard work.  A nomination letter from Disney GOALS states, “The local community has benefited tremendously from her involvement and GOALS is excited to see what great things her future efforts will produce.”


Jessica Perez
Graduate Student in Planning, Policy and Design

Jessica is interested in how programs, guided by client feedback, can provide the best services possible to the homeless.  Her dissertation will involve synthesizing lessons she has learned from the local homeless community about how services should be delivered in Orange County.  She will use this narrative as a guide to help shape the construction and service delivery plan of a new shelter in Orange County.  In Jessica’s four years at UCI, she has put great care in facilitating a productive dialogue that fulfills an academic agenda and encourages participants to be active agents in the research process and final product—the services intended for them.



Anthony Pham
Undergraduate Student in Social Ecology

Anthony Pham is a general Social Ecology major with a 3.6 GPA.  Anthony, who is a transfer student, lived with a foster family during his adolescent years.  Although he was middle-school drop-out, Anthony discovered his leadership skills while working with church youth groups and now is a role model at middle-schools and high schools as part of the UCI-SAGE Scholars program.  He finds time to continue his mentoring with Saturday Academy of Math (SAM) and as a GEAR UP Math Tutor, where he has been volunteering for nearly two years.  Anthony is also excited about a two-year interdisciplinary research project where he works with doctoral students and faculty from engineering, computer science and urban planning.



Anaid Yerena
Graduate Student in Planning, Policy and Design

Anaid’s research focuses on the housing outcomes of low-income families and the processes contributing to housing opportunities for this vulnerable population. Her current research investigates the effect of affordable housing advocacy organizations on the housing policy process in cities. This work will not only contribute to the scholarly literature, but will also have practical implications for stakeholders involved in the production and consumption of affordable housing including policy makers, advocacy leaders, and people in need of affordable housing.