Genesis Delgado’s second and final year at UCI is set to be one for the books.

The transfer student and sociology major plans to study abroad in Italy and Spain during the spring quarter before graduating in June. But before all that she is starting her senior year in our state capital as UCI’s first recipient of the University of California Center Sacramento’s Presidential Public Service Fellowship.

Announced earlier this year, the $2,500 fellowship is offered to three undergraduates at each UC campus per year—two from the UCDC program and one from the UC Center Sacramento—for 27 total fellows. Created with the aim of encouraging students to pursue interests in public service careers, recipients are chosen based on a demonstrated commitment to civic engagement.

For Delgado, who grew up participating in volunteer activities with her school and church, that commitment grew during her time in community college. She worked with the nonprofit organization Bridging the Gap … Where Hope is Born for several years, helping them reach out to underprivileged communities and high-risk youth.

“One of the issues we really focused on was the Don’t Be a Bully conference,” Delgado says. “It was my favorite to work on because bullying is a nationwide issue I really care about that not a lot of people talk about or try to improve. I really wanted to be a part of something where I could use what I know to create awareness for bystanders of bullying and support for victims.”

That desire to help is what still drives Delgado to volunteer, and what ultimately helped guide her to her current academic path. Though she originally had planned to major in political science, after taking her first sociology course she realized that the two disciplines together would complement her interests more effectively. She chose to major in sociology instead, but maintain a minor in political science, which she plans to use to help her apply her sociological knowledge in a practical sense.

“Sociology really sparked my interest,” she says. “I started to learn all these new terms I had never heard and was introduced to issues of discrimination and injustice and all these societal issues that I wasn’t really aware of before. Along with that, I think a minor in poli sci will help me learn how to create social change. I want to learn how to apply everything I’ve learned to the real world.”

That desire to learn how to effect real change is also why she’s chosen to participate in the UCCS internship program, where she will be working alongside California State Senator Richard Pan as an intern. And though she’s excited for all the opportunities the internship will afford her, she is most looking forward to seeing firsthand how different institutions and governmental bodies work together to solve public issues.

“I really want to see with my own eyes and experience how policies are passed through the judicial and legislative systems,” Delgado says. “Being in the state capital will be a whole different experience, and I hope to come back with a new perspective on how I can make a difference.”

She also hopes to come back to UCI next quarter with a clearer career trajectory. For now, her plans include law school, but after that she is open to options—as long as they involve working towards the greater good in some capacity.

As for her current community service participation, her goal is to stay involved as much as her increasingly busy schedule will allow. She also encourages her fellow Anteaters to seek out opportunities to help—even if only for a few hours per month. Not only will it do good for the community, but she believes that it can have a positive effect on personal growth as well.

“It’s always good to try to open your eyes and mind to new experiences,” she says. “Volunteering for something you’re passionate about can encourage you to pursue other things and aim for higher goals. It’s a personal commitment you can make that’s really rewarding.” 

Delgado is joined by UCDC fellowship recipients Julie Singh and Shaniqua Cartwright.

 

—Bria Balliet, School of Social Sciences

 

 

 

 

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