Amy Olide

Amy Olide, a triple major in Chicano/Latino studies, political science and sociology, is the recipient of the Alice B. Macy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research. The honor recognizes the senior Anteater for her paper, “Exploring the Third-Parent Role Eldest Latino Siblings' Experience.” Below, she shares more about her work, her experiences as an Anteater, and what she plans to do post-undergrad.

What made you decide to pursue your current fields of study, and specifically at UCI? What interests you most about your work?

What inspired me to pursue my current fields of study was the commitment I had to become a leader to bring change to my community. Growing up in the community of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, I was exposed to the hardships, disparities, and obstacles the Latino community experiences such as financial insecurity, discrimination, and homelessness. Here at UCI, I felt that I had the opportunity to grow and expand my knowledge to shape me into a professional and leader. As a triple major in political science, sociology, and Chicano/Latino studies, I have been able to supplement my understanding of my career field. Through my multiple areas of study, I have learned how political systems go hand-in-hand with social structures. This has allowed me to understand how the foundation of society and legal inequalities are intertwined with the livelihoods of minorities. For instance, my goal is to gain political insight and a sociological understanding of the labor experiences of Latinos. In my research for a Chicano/Latino studies course, I’ve delved into how policies impact the legalization of migrant workers in the U.S. and the economic stability of Latino families. These policies create obstacles to upward mobility, perpetuate discriminatory workplace practices, and hinders progress in resolving this issue. My passion drives me to seek solutions to the critical challenges faced by the Latino community.

When do you plan to finish your degree and what are your plans thereafter?

I plan to complete my degree in the next 2 weeks and will be graduating this month! After graduation, I will be relocating to Oakland, CA for the next 10 weeks for an internship with The Education Trust-West as a Policy Monitoring Intern. After my time there, I will return home to begin my graduate school journey at Cal State LA in pursuit of a Master’s in Public Administration.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment at UCI?

I would say my biggest accomplishment at UCI is being able to finish as a triple major. Juggling this type of academic dedication to achieve this has not been easy, but I was committed to challenging myself and striving for more. During my time at UCI, I have earned the Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship and the Chicano/Latino Graduate School Scholarship to help supplement my academia. I have also earned the Diversity & Inequality Certificate and the Cultural Competency Certificate, which I feel has helped be build more foundational knowledge I can implement into my future career.

What activities have you been involved with as an Anteater?

  • TRIO Scholars Program (Participant/Peer Mentor)
  • Center for Student Wellness & Health Promotion (Peer Health Educator)
  • Alliance for Children’s Rights (Remote Client Intake intern)
  • Freshman Edge (Peer Mentor)
  • SAGE Scholars (Student Scholar)
  • College Track (Student Scholar)
  • Summer Bridge (Student Participant)

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

When it comes to research, I feel that Professor Almeida and Professor Enriquez have been amazing mentors. Throughout the CHC/LAT major’s research component, in the span of 2 quarters, I was able to conduct 10 interviews to compose a research paper exploring the third-parent experience among eldest Latino siblings.

When it comes to personal, academic, and professional development, I would turn to Stephanie Aguilar as a remarkable mentor throughout my time here at UCI. Even though I have only known her for about 2 years, she is filled with optimism, wisdom, and encouragement that makes students feel empowered to go above and beyond.

I would also like to give a special shout out to my other mentors Neda Moayedi, Cecy Leyva, Jody Margolis, and Edna Garcia!

Are there any unique circumstances that have played a major role in where and who you are today? What challenges or hurdles have you faced in getting to where you are today?

I would say a circumstance that truly shifted my college experience was the COVID-19 pandemic. As a senior in high school, I was heavily impacted knowing I wouldn’t be able to see friends and walk with them for our graduation. When I first arrived at UCI, I felt adrifted and delt no sense of community. Although UCI staff, faculty, and students did their best to create a sense of community on virtual platforms, things just did not feel the same. Admittedly, I fell into one of the lowest points of my life, on an emotional and personal level. I have endured other challenges and adversities in my life, and every time, I have persevered academically. I will never understand how, even when I am down, I can succeed in my academics. Nevertheless, I did my best to redirect my struggles and channel them into energy I could use to excel as a scholar. Through that, and with time, I began feeling more connected with peers as we began to socialize more, I felt more immersed to student life, and felt the courage to challenge myself every year. Without this journey, I don’t think I would have been able to pursue 3 majors, feel a sense of personal growth, and be accepted into graduate school.

Where can you most often be found on campus?

You can find me most of the time around the Social Science area, since that’s typically where my classes are. I love to go to Langson Library every now-and-then. However, you will usually always find me at Student Success Initiatives, working and hanging out with my peers.

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

My best memory so far from my UCI undergraduate experience was at the end of last quarter, when I was given the opportunity as a TRIO Peer Mentor to plan, coordinate, and host a workshop for our students. I was very excited about this opportunity and decided to create a small collaboration between the TRIO Scholars and the Center for Student Wellness and Health Promotion. As a Peer Health Educator, I was able to propose the idea of hosting a Body Image workshop for TRIO students, and ultimately took off. On the day of the event, over 20 students came and the positive feedback we received reflected how much students liked the workshop and found it helpful. I was very happy to see the turnout, to see students enjoy it, and hopefully leave a small relationship between both organizations for future collaborations.

Any other interesting tidbits you would like to share?

I was shocked and happy when I received the award email, I applied to many social sciences scholarships but honestly did not think I would receive one. Thank you for this opportunity! UCI really has given me the space to grow academically, personally, and professionally, and now feel prepared to go out in the real world to start my career.

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