Sarah Barber receives '09 Bailey Undergrad Award for Excellence
- October 30, 2009
- Scholarship recognizes the sociology undergraduate for academic excellence
Year in school: senior
Hometown: sunny San Diego, CA
Future aspirations: business or graduate school
Standout accomplishment: recipient of the Carole Creek Bailey Social Sciences Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Sociology
When prospective freshmen who are visiting UCI ask me, “How do you know which college is right for you?,” I tell them that, from my experience, it will just “fit.” That was UCI for me. I was originally planning to attend UC Berkeley, but my mother was impressed by the Campuswide Honors Program I had been accepted into at UC Irvine, so she convinced me to visit the campus to attend an informational session on it. I fell in love with the school immediately, and I consider attending UCI one of the best decisions of my life.
What challenges have you had to overcome on your road to success?
Everyone has different things they struggle with. For me, it was something as seemingly simple as staying focused on academics. College is such an amazing experience. For many, it’s living on your own for the first time, picking up internships, meeting completely new people, getting involved in different clubs and organizations, having fun, and making sure you’re getting a sufficient amount of sleep each night! With so many things on my “to do” list, sometimes it was hard to keep my priorities straight, but I can tell you first-hand that you can definitely succeed and still have a healthy social life!
Why did you decide on a major in Sociology?
I got (and still get) this question all the time! My answer honestly comes down to this: I love people! I find interactions between individuals and groups so intriguing, and though I love learning about all the different social hypotheses that have been proposed, I enjoy how people still surprise you. I love that it’s not a stagnant subject – it’s always engaging and always applicable!
What is one of your most memorable experiences from UCI?
The dorms! I had so much fun interacting with a multitude of diverse and interesting people, in an environment where people felt free to act on impulse and really open themselves up. I’ve never before had the opportunity to stay up till the early hours of the morning talking and learning more about people. I think I grew a lot as an individual as a result of it, because it definitely broadened my world.
What is your biggest accomplishment at UCI thus far?
The Carole Creek Bailey Award is a huge accomplishment for me, but in conjunction
with that would be my research into ethnic identity. I got to work with two extremely
talented professors (Dr. Samuel Gilmore and Dr. Ann Hironaka), who helped me develop
my own hypothesis, set up an
experimental design, conduct interviews with students on campus, analyze my findings, present my results at UROP, and finally, complete my own research paper. It was a trying process, but I learned so much from it, and the experience (and the end result) is something that I am extremely
Are you involved in any UCI programs or clubs?
I’ve served as both Social Chair and President of the Campuswide Honors Student Council, and was on the Vista Del Campo Community Council. Currently, I am working as an ambassador for Anteater Ambassadors Network, serving as Membership Chair for the School of Social Science Dean’s Ambassadors Council, a member of the Campuswide Honors Program, Golden Key, Pi Gamma Mu, Alpha Kappa Delta, and have the honor of working as one of the Campuswide Honors Program Peer Academic Advisors this year.
Where can you be found in your free time on campus?
If I’m on campus with an hour to spare between class/meetings/office hours, I’m probably in the Locus at Student Services II, taking a nap on the couch!
Are there any major role models who have played a big part in your life?
I love my family. My parents have never failed to be 100% supportive in all my major decisions in life, which gives me the freedom and the confidence necessary to accomplish great things. Both of them are wonderfully successful in their different fields, but my dad has never tried to push his dreams or aspirations on me (he does research and development in bio-chemistry…a bit different from my area of interest), and even though my mom’s been empty nesting for two years with my sister off at UC Riverside, she always gives me the space and freedom to live my college experience to the fullest.