DISTINGUISHED STAFF LEADERSHIP AWARD
Staff or postdoctoral researcher who displays strong leadership on behalf of UCI’s Latinx community
Director, Undergraduate/ Undeclared Advising Program
I was the first in my immediate and extended family to attend college. My high school counselor discouraged me from applying to colleges by saying, “People like you (Mexican-Americans) don’t go to college.” I applied anyway and once here at UCI, I was afraid he might have been right. My first quarter, fall courses were challenging, and I felt alone and overwhelmed. It just took one connection to the Early Academic Outreach Office, during the first quarter of my freshman year and I made friendships and mentors and not only succeeded but thrived!
As a Psychology major here at UCI, I was an active member of the UCI community. For most of my four years, I worked as a student coordinator for the Early Academic Outreach Program assisting low-income and first generation high school, and junior high students learn about the opportunities available to them in college. In addition, I was a Peer Academic Advisor in the School of Social Sciences, an Administrative Intern working in the Dean of Students Office, a member of the University Center Board, worked as an after school counselor for elementary school students, and was the co-chair of the Chicano-Latino Graduation. I kept myself very busy and did not let my grades suffer. I learned the criticality of time management and always making sure that all of my supervisors thought they were my number one priority.
As Director of the UCI Undergraduate/Undeclared Advising Program, my primary responsibility is to ensure that all U/U students’ academic counseling needs are met. In addition, I ensure advisors can answer all student questions, monitor student progress, develop interactive ways to assist students in their transition to UCI and mentor and coach students in developing their leadership skills. I’ve been on campus for decades, and I love assisting our U/U students transition to UCI and giving students strategies for academic success, personal success, developing their academic and career goals, and seeing them grow as Anteaters.