Preston Wong

Preston Wong, UCI social policy and public service major, is the recipient of a Social Sciences Education Enhancement Scholarship. The funding supported his travel to and participation in the 2023 California Transportation Foundation Symposium. Below, the fourth-year undergrad from Elk Grove expands on his work and plans post-UCI.

What drew you to UCI and your major in social policy and public service? What interests you most about your work?

I decided to pursue a degree in social policy and public service because I wanted to obtain the right foundation for a career that focuses on helping those in need. I knew UCI was a great school to attend due to the breadth of opportunities available to students. What interests me most about my work is the opportunity to be able to meet so many different people from all walks of life.

What are your plans post-undergrad?

After I finish my degree, I hope to take a gap year or two before attending graduate school.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment at UCI?

My biggest personal accomplishment at UCI would be having had the opportunity to be involved in so many different parts of campus.

What activities have you been involved with on campus and in the community?

I have had the chance to be involved in ASUCI in the Office of Academic Affairs, The SOAR Center, and the Anteater Photography Organization. Professionally, I have held internships with the Irvine City Council, OCTA, and the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association.

Tell us about your research.

I’m currently an Undergraduate Research Assistant with the Institute of Transportation Studies. My research primarily evolves around equity in transportation. I am able to examine how different communities may lack access to transportation options, thus find it difficult to get where they need to be.

Who has played an important mentorship role in your life thus far and why? Specifically at UCI?

I have been fortunate enough to had great mentors, especially at my places of work. All of my supervisors, managers, and co-workers have always been incredibly helpful and inspiring. At UCI, Dr. Jeanett Castellanos has been my greatest mentor. Having known her for over a year now, she has been a great inspiration for my pursuit of higher education and well-being in life.

What challenges or hurdles have you faced in getting to where you are today?

Being a first-generation college student and the first of my siblings to attend a university has motivated me to not “skate by,” but to excel in my pursuits of higher education.

Where can you most often be found on campus?

The Student Center or the Social Sciences buildings!

What’s your best memory thus far from your undergraduate experience at UCI?

I have mentioned this before, but I cannot stress enough my gratitude for having the opportunity to meet so many people. My favorite pastime is meeting people from all walks of life. So my best memories are the times I first met those around me.

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