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message from the
We are entering my favorite time of year - commencement season. In just two short weeks, more than 2,000 undergrads, 68 master’s and 61 doctoral students will mark a critical milestone when they walk across the Bren Center stage and receive their social sciences diplomas from UCI. These students represent a more than 50-year history of rogue social scientists who broke with convention to forge connections with scholars whose different approaches would tackle fundamental research questions and pressing social problems.
To steal a term from former GE CEO Jack Welch, they went boundaryless, throwing caution to the wind, scrapping boundaries and bureaucracies to directly enact change. More than half a century later, the school continues putting this approach into practice, breaking down traditional barriers to create positive change in society, economies, and human well-being.

Our student body is the realization of that maverick spirit. (read the full message here...)

In this special commencement issue of our enews, I invite you to read more about some of our outstanding students, #Classof2019 graduates, and the plans they have for creating positive change. I challenge each of you to join them in pursuing a future that makes the world a better place than you've found it.

Be bold, always break the mold, and be boundaryless in your pursuit,


truong xe
undergrad ceremony one speaker:
Community connection
Truong Nhat Vu Xe, business economics and social policy & public service '19, is making a difference for marginalized communities through research, outreach, and activism.
undergrad ceremony two speaker:
Food, family, and historical fiction
Erin Costigliolo, economics and environmental science '19, reflects on what's fueled her UCI research, education, and daily commute.
Pantsuit generation

As a little girl, Crystal Ho, business economics '19, envisioned herself as a businesswoman, wearing a white pantsuit, exuding power and success. With her graduation in June, this #firstgen Anteater is one step closer to her dream. And programs like UCDC and SAEP helped make it possible, she says.
undergraduate yearend
honors & awards
Rosten & Schonfeld Scholar
#firstgen An Thien Nguyen, '20 poli sci, is pursuing mold-breaking research on Southeast Asian deportations
Alumni Excellence Scholar
Being diagnosed with a brain lesion led Stephanie Doering, '19 cog sci and informatics, to find her passion in neuroscience
Outstanding Community College Transfer Scholar
Nicole Balbuena, #firstgen '19 completed three majors at UCI while working part-time and doing honors research - all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA
Outstanding Honors Thesis Award
Tackling real-world problems with economics research earned Brandon Newberg, '19 quantitative econ and business admin, UCI soc sci's top thesis award
Macy Scholar
Experiences in OTI, Upward Bound, and an internship with the Freedom Writers Foundation have helped '21 #firstgen Shelby Smith, social policy & public service, find her footing at UCI and calling in educational policy
Lave Scholar
Christine Chen, '19 business econ, is fascinated by the influence of technology on consumer behavior - a topic she pursued in her award-winning research paper
MESSI Scholar
Majoring in international studies has helped Deeva Momand '20 pursue her passion for travel, cultures, and Afghan art
Order of Merit honors outstanding students, graduates
27 from social sciences receive OM distinction, 8 honored with individual scholarships and honors
Ten from social sciences honored with Chancellor's Award of Distinction
Award recognizes UCI's most outstanding graduating seniors
Natural storyteller

From founding a magazine to making a living as an influencer, Aditi Mayer, #firstgen international studies and literary journalism '19, has a good story to tell.
truong xe
the power of
The idealism of Khang Do, '19 history and international studies.
from Atwater to
Elianet Romero, '19 political science and international studies, finds perspective in an unlikely place.
Power of attorney

The loves and lessons of #Classof2019 econ major Sharis Manokian's Mock Trial experience.
uci soc sci
graduate students
Completion of a UCI soc sci graduate degree represents years of study and topical mastery within one of the school's top-ranked master's and Ph.D. programs. Here, check out what's driven some of our current students, and read up on the plans of some soon-to-be alumni after they're hooded on June 15.

Constant collaborator

Anthropology Ph.D. student Katie Cox received UCI's Most Promising Future Faculty Member award. Here, she discusses how collaboration - inside and outside the classroom - can change the world. "We have the opportunity in academic spaces like classrooms to explore big societal problems and see them from different perspectives. Teaching can be a way of building knowledge and to generate approaches to issues that can change the world in ways we haven't been able to imagine."
Hannah June Kim
political science
Stanford postdoc, University of Nebraska faculty position
Anirudh Wodeyar
cognitive sciences
University postdoctoral
Alexander Luttmann
Lead economist, The MITRE Corporation
Anna Penner
Pepperdine University faculty position
And a HUGE congratulations to our recently announced graduate student Order of Merit award winners: Kathy Alberti Prize, Neil Kaplan-Kelly, Anthropology; Outstanding Scholarship, Marian J.R. Gilton, Logic & Philosophy of Science, and Hannah Kim, Political Science; Outstanding Service, Stephanie Pulles, Sociology; A. Kimball Romney Award for Outstanding Research Paper, Jess Lee, Sociology; Rebecca Richart, Anthropology; and Patrick Testa, Economics; Outstanding Paper in International Relations, Christopher Gibson, Sociology; and Outstanding MA (DASA) Student, Mikaela Santos, Demographic & Social Analysis.

Zot, zot, zot!

Fulbright scholar Joyce Nguy, political science and education '19, finds that personal connections have made all the difference.
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Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony 1
12:30 p.m. | UCI Bren Events Center | Student Speaker: Truong Nhat Vu Xe, Business Economics and Social Policy & Public Service Undergrad | National Anthem Singer: Karina Blanca Martin, Anthropology Undergrad | Stream Live
Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony 2
4:00 p.m. | UCI Bren Events Center | Student Commencement Speaker: Erin Costigliolo, Economics and Environmental Science Undergrad | National Anthem Singer: Idara Akpakpa, Public Health Policy Undergrad | Stream Live
Graduate Commencement - Hooding Ceremony
4:30 p.m. | UCI Bren Events Center | Student Speaker: Ricardo Ernesto Rocha, Doctoral Candidate, Claire Trevor School of the Arts | National Anthem Singer: Marlaina Owens, Master of Fine Arts Candidate, Claire Trevor School of the Arts | Stream Live
uci soc sci
We are not your standard school. Like Peter, our beloved Anteater mascot, we're quirky and different. We're on a mission to create positive change in society, economies and human well-being by breaking down traditional barriers and pushing the limits in teaching, research and service. Doing so requires a different attitude, aim and set of actions.
Learn more about ours...