Name: Sureima Santillan

Majors: Social Policy and Public Service; Criminology, Law, and Society

Current standing/Graduating year: 5th year senior, graduating 2017

Organizations you volunteer with: Access Social Ecology Program in Irvine; Early Academic Outreach Program in Compton; Empower Youth International (during my time abroad in Barbados); Higher Ground Youth and Family Services in Anaheim; Higher Education Mentoring Program in Santa Ana; UCI Upward Bound Program; UCI Criminology Outreach Program

Why did you choose these organizations? I come from a small town named Sanger in the central valley here in California. I am a first-generation college student and I owe my success to the various outreach programs that I have had the privilege to be apart of. The organizations that I volunteer for all have a common goal, which is to expose students to the benefits of attending college. I loved sharing my experiences with students from all grade levels. These organizations are all geared towards helping students see their full potential in higher education.

Why is volunteering important to you? I am very thankful to the outreach programs I was a part of because they gave me a sense of direction and renewed hope. Now at UCI, I am determined to pay it forward and I do that with my involvements on and off campus. I would like to share with students the possibility of attending college and motivate them to seek outreach programs to help them along the way. I strive to inspire future generations to pursue the benefits of higher education.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do?My favorite thing about the work that I do is seeing students get inspired and motivated. It’s such a rewarding feeling when students get their acceptance letters to the school that they wanted, or get to visit a new campus.  I enjoy being a role model and mentoring students to strive to their highest potential.

Why should others volunteer?Others should volunteer and share their knowledge and experiences with youth. I feel that it is so important to pay it forward and it doesn't take much to make someone's day.

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