Growing up in Tustin - less than 10 miles from campus - Hillary Patton never saw UC Irvine as “just the school down the road.”

“I knew when I graduated that I wanted to attend a UC and UCI is one of the best,” she says.

She majored in psychology out of an interest in the ways people think and process the world around them, picking up a double major in criminology, law & society because the two fields often intersect, she says.

“The application of psychology in the criminal justice system is what I am most interested in,” she says.

Her research, funded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, has focused on two topics - false memory, which she pursued under the direction of Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor of social ecology and professor of law and cognitive science, and neurocognition in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which she studied with Julie Patterson, psychiatry & human behavior specialist at the UCI Medical Center in Orange.

In June, Patton will graduate with honors, an accomplishment she considers her biggest while at UCI. She also recently added another honor to the list: the 2014 Alice B. Macy Outstanding Undergraduate Paper Award which recognizes her work as the best non-thesis paper submitted in social sciences for original research. She will be one of several select students honored at the School of Social Sciences’ 2014 Order of Merit celebration June 15, prior to the school’s graduation ceremony.

After graduation, Patton plans to work for a year and then pursue a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology.

She’ll take with her great memories from her days as an Anteater during which she served as executive chair for the Dean’s Ambassadors Council and participated in the Summer Academic Enrichment Program. Wayzgoose 2014 stands out as a particularly fond memory, she says; as president of the Psychology Student Association, she and other club members sold food there.

“We worked for weeks planning what we would do for this event and it was really rewarding to see everything come to fruition,” she says. “I really enjoyed celebrating what an amazing school UCI is and allowing the community to be a part of this celebration.”

She hopes to return to UCI as an alumnus and participate in the yearly celebration.


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