Holly Smith, Social Sciences Alumni Academic Excellence Scholarship Winner
- June 16, 2010
- Best UCI memory: Living in the Mesa Court dorms in Ondas and being part of the First Year Excellence Program
Name: Holly Smith
Hometown: Chino Hills, California
Major: sociology, third year; minoring in cognitive sciences and education
Most likely place to find Holly on campus: The student center food court for weekly lunches with friends between classes or grabbing Jamba Juice as an afternoon snack.
Best UCI memory: Living in the Mesa Court dorms in Ondas and being part of the First Year Excellence Program - plenty of late night study sessions, girl-talk, and weekly dress-up dinner dates with the girls in Suite 203
One word: location! It’s about an hour away from home which is far enough away to feel independent but close enough to come home and eat my parent’s food when commons becomes mundane. Growing up in the inland empire, going to the beach became an all day trip. I love the fact that the beach is only 10 minutes from UCI. Also, when I came to UC Irvine for my first visit, I instantly felt comfortable, safe, and at ease. Oh and did I mention that Fashion Island, South Coast, and Irvine Spectrum are all about 10 minutes away as well? =)
How did you decide to major in sociology and what interests you most about the topic?
I originally thought that coming into UCI as an undeclared major would enable me to try different classes before choosing a major. My first class as a freshman ended up being introduction to sociology and I’ve stuck with it ever since. As I’ve always been an avid people watcher and taken an interest in people’s lives and experiences, finding out that there was a major that studied groups of people became my passion. After taking social-psychology, I decided to pursue a cognitive sciences minor which would enable me to not only study large group social activity but also understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior. My parents are both teachers so I also decided to double minor in education as I am fascinated with the learning process.
What campus and community activities have you been and are you currently involved
For the past two years, I’ve worked for the Office of the Registrar at UCI Extension where I process international students’ applications, collect their payment, and admit them into their program. I’m also a member of the Goldenkey International Honor Society and have worked on campus as a peer assistant and course reader. This past spring, I began working under Dr. Michael Martinez and Lindsey Richland in the education department as a research assistant in their Learning and Cognition Lab. I visit elementary schools in Orange County and administer the Woodcock Johnson IQ test for second through fifth graders to determine whether The Mind Institute’s new computer math program is helping students perform better in math. In June, I’ll begin working as a community assistant for Vista del Campo Norte where I’ll be responsible for administering programs for a building of residents and making their transition from dorming to apartment living smooth and successful.
Off campus, I’m involved with Working Wardrobes, a non-profit organization that helps transition people back into the work force through wardrobing and career counseling. I also volunteer at Rockharbor Church in Costa Mesa as a one-on-one buddy for an autistic preschooler which has helped develop my listening skills and patience and has opened my eyes to the realm of special education.
What are your plans after finishing your degree?
Though I’m still debating on whether to take a year off or go straight to graduate school, I would like to either get my masters in marriage and family therapy or pursue a doctorate in counseling psychology. I love working with high school students so I’d like to specialize in counseling adolescents through individual, group, or family therapy. I also have an interest in becoming a high school counselor and working in the Irvine Unified School District.