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undergraduate studies


School Leadership Bill Maurer, Dean Michael McBride, Associate Dean Mark Petracca, Associate Dean Dave Leinen, Assistant Dean Undergraduate Student Affairs Helen Morgan, Director Chika Kono, Associate Director Estela Magana, Academic Counselor Kurt Hessinger, Academic Counselor Katrina Tomas, Academic Counselor Michelle Doan, Academic Counselor Teresa Neighbors, Student Services Director Erica Hernandez, Assistant

----a publication of the UCI School of Social Sciences ----special thanks to contributing photographers Arizona Cardinals, UCI Athletics, UNIAN -----

cover: Layla Shaikley ’07. As an undergrad at UCI, the active Anteater could be found anywhere from the slopes to the surf, soaking in the outdoors when she wasn’t busy with the Associated Students or coming up with new creations for her digital arts minor. After graduating with her poli sci degree, she earned two graduate degrees in architecture—one from California Polytechnic University and one from MIT—in addition to completing various internships for organizations such as NASA. She’s worked as a research affiliate at MIT, co-founded TEDxBaghdad, and held a post with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. She’s also co-founded Wise Systems—a company that helps businesses make more streamlined and efficient delivery decisions. But one of her most widely publicized ventures has been “Somewhere in America”—a video she produced and styled with the group Mipsterz, an online community of self-proclaimed Muslim ‘hipsters’ who hope to change the perception of Muslims in America. To say this mipster is bold is putting it lightly. And we’re proud to call her a UCI soc sci Anteater.

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10 contents: message from the dean featuring Bill Maurer, anthropology and law professor....5

anthropology featuring Matine Azadian, ’16 Champion of Change winner....6

business economics featuring Crystal Sanchez, founder of Guardian Locket....8

chicano/latino studies featuring ’15 Franchesca Ocasio, foster youth advocate....10

cognitive sciences featuring Greg Hickok, professor....12


featuring ’08 Finvoice founder Andrew Bertolina....14

international studies

featuring Sunny Liu, ’15 Peace Corps member in Fiji....16

political science

featuring ’85 Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to Greece....18


featuring ’79 Jackie Lacey, LA County District Attorney....20

quantitative economics

featuring ’10 Sarah Bana, economist....22

social policy & public service

featuring ’09 Kimberly (Snodgrass) Moore, REACH nonprofit founder....24


featuring ’14 Darren Fells, tight end for the Arizona Cardinals....26

at a glance

majors, minors, honors, certificates....28


campus info & critical contacts....30

uci soc sci | 3

first gen

4 | undergrad studies

from the


bill maurer, anthropology & law professor


e’re seeking mavericks.

Not the big-wave type, although we count many surfers and beach goers among our 6,000+ student body (remember that the ocean is just five miles away). We want the future entrepreneurs, authors, teachers, lawyers, and community leaders—the kind who aren’t afraid to forge a new path. To be boundaryless in search of solutions that create positive change in society, economies, and human well-being. If this is you, then welcome. Choosing to pursue one of the School of Social Sciences’ 11 majors means you’ll be in the classroom with world class faculty and among a student body that’s produced U.S. ambassadors, NASA scientists, and nationally recognized researchers, philanthropists, and athletes.

That’s because we have among our alumni ranks Geoffrey Pyatt ’85, the current U.S. Ambassador to Greece; Layla Shaikley ’07, the mipster featured on our cover who runs her own tech company, built a robot for NASA, and challenged societal assumptions about Muslim women; and Darren Fells ’14, UCI’s first NFL player who went from playing basketball in the Bren to being the Arizona Cardinals’ tight end. And those are just a few. Through the following stories of our awesome alumni and researchers, you’ll get a glimpse of the nationally ranked degree programs, student organizations, and other opportunities you, as a prospective soc sci Anteater/mold breaker, can get involved in. We can’t wait for you to join us and become part of our story.

Bill Maurer, Dean

If it sounds like we’re name dropping, we are.

uci soc sci | 5


featured: Matine Azadian ’16 Presidential Champion of Change winner


wo questions come to mind when chatting with Matine Azadian: First, how does one turn an anthropology degree into a career in medicine? And second, why would someone choose such an unconventional—and seemingly more complicated—path? Azadian seems to have the answers. During his time as an undergrad, he earned the title of UCI’s Chancellor’s Scholar for the class of 2016; a place as the youngest UCI student to be named an Endowed Research Executive with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and—most recently—the prestigious Presidential Champion of Change Award. The Champion of Change award, which recognizes those who are making tangible improvements in various fields across the nation,

major (B.A.) minors

• anthro • medical anthro • archaeology

honors program

step back to look at him as a person. So when he met them, he tried to find out what made them different from the others. “I learned that those two were not science majors in their undergrad,” he says. “One was an English major and one was an African American studies major. So they took a step back before they even got into medicine and learned to look at the bigger picture.” It was then that he decided that he wanted to follow a similar path, which he believed would prepare him to take a less clinical, and more humanistic, approach to patients. By his second year at UCI, he left behind most of his pre-med cohort in the biology major and made a beeline for anthropology. --


• economy & culture • ethnomusicology • gender studies • global studies • law & policy • medical anthro

sample courses

• urban anthro • digital cultures • prisons & public education • race, gender & science • medicine, food & health • community politics | 949.824.5345

was presented in recognition of Azadian’s foundation, the Children’s Health Equity Project. Started in 2015 during his junior year, the initiative aims to serve socioeconomically disadvantaged children in Southern California dealing with disease and illness. For the aspiring physician—who has been fascinated by the medical field since he was a small child—this project is simply one step toward his goal of changing the culture of the U.S. healthcare system from the ground up. After being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Azadian spent much of his youth in and out of hospitals where, instead of watching television, he would study the actions of his doctors. Though he was fascinated by their work, he recalls feeling very distant from his doctors, many of whom he says treated him as a set of symptoms as opposed to an individual. In all his time spent in hospitals, Azadian said there were only two physicians who took a

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Like Azadian, UCI anthropology majors are interested in the human side of things. They ask questions like: How does poverty literally make people sick? How does the Internet shape how we understand everything from space to the self? How has traditional Chinese medicine turned into a multibillion-dollar global industry? And how do society and culture impact drug addiction? The anthropology department at UC Irvine specializes in sociocultural anthropology, a subfield devoted to the in-depth study of culture. Faculty also have research expertise in linguistic anthropology, the study of relationships between language, culture, and society. After earning a degree in anthropology at UCI, alumni will find themselves equipped with the knowledge and skills to enter a number of fields including business, government, non-governmental organizations, and academia. Additionally, many anthropology students go on to earn degrees in law or medicine—like Azadian—at some of the top graduate programs in the country.

uci soc sci | 7

BUSINESS ECONOMICS featured: Crystal Sanchez, founder of Guardian Locket

8 | undergrad studies

major (B.A.) honors program specialization • international issues & economics

sample courses

• economics of risk & uncertainty • managerial economics • corporate governance • business decisions 949.824.3655


rystal Sanchez didn’t experience “senioritis” like many high school students do. The business economics major watched as her peers coasted through those last few months of classes before heading off to college while she remained hard at work at her Lawndale, CA high school developing a piece of jewelry that she believed could save lives. Fast-forward to her freshman year at UCI, and Sanchez’s Guardian Locket—a necklace equipped with a panic button and GPS capabilities to alert the authorities in case of sexual assault—earned her the $25,000 first prize in the Network for Teaching

Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) 2015 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge and an invitation to the White House where she met the President in the Oval Office. “Within the span of 24 hours I flew across the country and shook hands with one of the most influential political figures,” Sanchez said. “Those 24 hours were exhilarating and well worth all of the hard work. Being able to travel to Washington D.C. and meet the president was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.” Guardian Locket is a wearable, fashionable device that allows for quick and easy access in the case of an assault. Utilizing circuit boards hidden within the necklace, a single push of the button on the back of the locket sends the wearer a false phone call to potentially scare off an attacker. With another two clicks, the wearer’s exact location, photo, and other relevant information will be sent to local authorities and three emergency contacts. Her invention demonstrates obvious advantages over products like pepper spray and Mace, which have been the only real options in self-defense available to college students. The idea came to her after she realized how many college students are assaulted each year. She won several local competitions during her senior year in high school, and was eventually invited to take part in NFTE’s Startup Summer Program that aims to help low-income students develop entrepreneurial skills. It was there that Sanchez met her business partner who had developed an app that worked well with Sanchez’s vision. Together, the two prepared for the final round of competition in New York City, and in the fall—just a week after starting classes at UCI—she was on stage presenting her idea to a panel of business and technology experts. The panel was impressed by her idea and awarded her the $25,000 grand prize to use toward getting Guardian Locket up and running.

Since then, she has been planning out what the next few years will look like for the business and she’s thrilled to be at UCI where she receives encouragement and has access to helpful programs. “UCI is a comfortable environment, but it still pushes its students toward success through its challenging curriculum,” she said. “The school also works with various organizations that benefit student entrepreneurs. They really help their students develop an entrepreneurial mindset.” Sanchez is taking full advantage of such facilities. Following her return from Washington D.C., she moved her workspace to Applied Innovation’s The Cove. The 31,000-squarefoot facility is the hub of UCI’s efforts to collaborate with the larger economy, and it provides consultation for startups. Sanchez also has received help from the Blackstone LaunchPad—the student entrepreneur program with offices in the UCI Student Center. -Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur like Sanchez, or you have a general interest in how decisions and actions of individuals, businesses, and governments impact markets, business economics is for you. Researchers in this field ask questions like: What factors influence market booms and busts? What kinds of government policies are likely to lead to higher rates of economic growth? And will airline mergers lead to higher airfares? Business economics majors at UCI develop analytical skills, quantitative tools, and clarity of thought that are useful in all occupations. The Economics Learning Center provides walk-in tutoring services to students enrolled in economics classes at UCI, and the degree provides excellent preparation for graduate study in law, business, public policy, and social sciences.

uci soc sci | 9


featured: ’15 Franchesca Ocasio advocates for foster youth

major (B.A.) minor honors program 949.824.7180

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• history & culture • social policy & issues • chicano/latino community in a global context

sample courses

• latina/o childhoods • u.s. immigration policy • community politics • chicana/chicano theatre


ranchesca Ocasio admits that her reasons for coming to UCI as an undergrad were not purely academic. The California native and current foster youth liaison for the Pasadena Unified School District had moved to Chicago as a teenager, and she saw college as the perfect opportunity to come back to the friends and family she had left behind upon her move to the Midwest.

“Of course, UCI’s reputation as a leading research institution didn’t hurt,” she says. As a freshman, Ocasio declared herself a biology major, planning on a potential future as a veterinarian. However after taking a Chicano studies class for fun, she realized the passion that she had for the subject. She became involved in student organizations such as M.E.Ch.A (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Azatlan), and felt like she found a place she belonged. “In M.E.Ch.A I found a second family and a love for education and community organizing,” she says. “When I found my community, I found a home, making my decision to attend UCI one of the best I’ve ever made.” The organization soon brought her to other programs both on and off campus, such as UCI’s Raza Youth Conference, a day for Southern California high school students to explore UCI and participate in workshops; Mes de la Raza, a month-long series of cultural and political events; and La Escuelita, an after-school program for Santa Ana high school students. The more she connected with peers who shared similar cultures and interests, the more it became clear to her that science might not be the best field for her after all. She made the leap to Chicano/Latino studies

and fully immersed herself in the program. She counts the people she met there as some of her closest friends and mentors, and she is still involved with the Raza Youth Conference today. She also still performs as an Aztec dancer during UCI’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration with fellow alumni. It was—and still is—these outside activities that made the most lasting impact on Ocasio. She encourages current students to be proactive in both seeking out their own places in the campus community, and in taking advantage of the resources and information that are out there for students. “I feel that my time at UCI prepared me for my current career, but partly because I took advantage of the opportunities to work outside of the classroom and to get to know some of my professors,” she says. “Many students don’t learn until it’s too late that doing well in class is only one aspect of a successful college career. I would advise graduating seniors to take advantage of as many opportunities they can find to assist in research on campus, as well as look for internship opportunities and get to know their professors if they haven’t already. Those connections will have more value than they can imagine once they leave college and begin looking for a job.”

and creative accomplishments in Chicano/ Latino communities. Understanding how Latino expectations for success impact educational and professional outcomes, how an increasing number of registered Latino voters shapes the American electorate, and how multifaceted transitions impact Latino cultural identity are just a few of the topics undergrads will cover. There are many career opportunities available for students with expertise in Chicano/ Latino studies. They include service with national and international organizations seeking knowledge of American multicultural society; area specialist positions with state and federal government agencies; careers in the private sector with corporations or private organizations with business activities in Latin American countries; service and leadership positions in education (like Ocasio), human services, law, health, journalism, and public policy within Chicano/ Latino communities; and professional and graduate education.

-Chicano/Latino studies majors at UCI have many clubs and opportunities to get involved in, including Casa Cesar Chavez, an academic theme house in the Arroyo Vista Housing Complex. The major provides awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the language, history, culture, literature, sociology, anthropology, politics, social ecology, health, medicine,

uci soc sci | 11

COGNITIVE SCIENCES featured: Greg Hickok, professor, studies what happens when words fail

major (B.S.) honors program | 949.824.6692 12 | undergrad studies


• hearing & speech sciences • linguistics • psychology

sample courses

• cognitive neuroscience • brain disorders & behavior • cognitive robotics • MATLAB programming

To date, Hickok has received more than $16 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to support 15 years of continued research on how neural abnormalities affect speech and language in an area of the brain tied to autism, schizophrenia and stroke-induced aphasia. “The act of speech involves coordination between auditory and motor functions in the brain,” Hickok says. “This is obvious in visuomotor tasks like reaching for a cup, where we use visual information about its shape and location to guide our reach. It’s less obvious in language, but studies have shown that in the same way, a word’s sound guides our speech.” The director of UCI’s Center for Language Science, Hickok first began seeing this in action at a neural level when utilizing fMRI to study brain processes related to speech production. He noticed that, in addition to the expected motor regions, auditory areas of the brain “lit up,” or activated, when participants named pictures—even if they only thought about, and didn’t actually vocalize, the words.


t can be heart-wrenching to watch a loved one struggle to verbally express him- or herself after suffering strokeinduced brain damage.

Known as conduction aphasia, the disorder produces lesions that interfere with the neurological process of translating thought into speech, according to UCI cognitive neuroscientist Greg Hickok. The interference is believed to occur in the Sylvian fissure dividing the brain’s parietal and temporal lobes. The same region, he says, could help explain why some people stutter and how schizophrenics can misinterpret their internal thoughts as external voices.

“Stroke-based research found that these activations reflected the critical involvement of auditory areas in speaking. When these regions are damaged, patients tend to struggle to come up with words, and when they do speak, they make a lot of errors,” says Hickok. He has since been using fMRI and strokebased methods to zero in on the Sylvian parietal-temporal (SPT) region of the brain, in which he believes the regulation of auditory and motor processes occurs. “In people with schizophrenia or aphasia and those who stutter, the coordination between perception and production is dysfunctional, and it appears to be happening in the SPT region,” Hickok says. “Depending on exactly how the process misfires, the result

can be speech errors, stuttering or auditory hallucinations.” While Hickok explains that it’s generally accepted in the cognitive neuroscience community that auditory and motor functions work together, the details are not well understood. He is currently working to close this knowledge gap. His findings have been published in journals such as Neuron, Cognition, the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, the Journal of Neuroscience, and others. He has also created a multi-university consortium for this type of research. Hickok’s hope is that by conducting studies and sharing findings, he and others will contribute to the development of better therapies for people with brain damage, lesions or neural abnormalities. -The bachelor of science in cognitive sciences is structured to provide students with a challenging introduction to this broad field that is strongly grounded in theory and an empirical approach emphasizing experimental and computational methods. The study of cognition can be approached through cognitive neuroscience, behavioral experiments, language science, computational and mathematical modeling, or any combination of these. The major combines strong technical skills with deep knowledge of at least one of these approaches. Students who pursue the bachelor of science in cognitive sciences have the opportunity to get involved in research with faculty members, like Hickok, in areas such as cognitive neuroscience, vision, hearing, attention, memory, language, development, and decision-making. The degree prepares students for a research career in cognitive sciences, focusing on the current dominant approaches of the field.

uci soc sci | 13

major (B.A.) honors program minor specialization • international issues & economics

sample courses • energy economics • environmental economics • health economics • labor economics • urban economics 949.824.3655


n the world of start-ups, success doesn’t just hinge on the strength of a business plan or the determination of the founder. Oftentimes, who you know and collaborate with speaks volumes to investors and potential clients. And when two alumni from UCI’s School of Social Sciences form a partnership, both companies are one step closer to greatness. That was precisely the case with ’08 alumni Andrew Bertolina, economics, and Kelsey Minarik, international studies. Though they didn’t know each other as students, the budding entrepreneurs were brought together by the UCI family and formed an unexpected collaboration—one that has helped to develop each of their growing start-ups. For Bertolina—whose company, Finvoice, provides a platform for small businesses to auction their invoices—that means generating more clients. For Minarik—who produces fashionable and functional medical supplies through her company, RejuvaHealth—that means finding the capital to run a young business. And with such complementary

14 | undergrad studies

ECONOMICS featured: ’08 Finvoice founder Andrew Bertolina

needs, their partnership was a match made in start-up heaven. But starting a company wasn’t necessarily at the front of either founder’s mind while at UCI. Bertolina was playing tennis, pursuing a degree in economics, and imagining a career with the World Bank while Minarik was busy double majoring in international studies and business management, and studying abroad in Europe. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) diagnosis changed Minarik’s plans, leading the vibrant college student to develop a company that produces stylish compression stockings. While Minarik was working on getting RejuvaHealth up and running, Bertolina was cutting his teeth in the finance world. Though he had success in both venture capital and consulting in the few years following his graduation from UCI, he couldn’t shake the desire to make new connections and expand his horizons. “I think I could have stayed in that field and had a good career and made a decent amount of money, but I felt like there were

more opportunities out there,” he says. So, he traveled across the pond to complete a specialized graduate program at Cambridge University. While earning his M.A. in finance, he began working for a venture capital firm based in the U.K., which also had a headquarters in San Francisco. This turned into a job stateside once he completed his degree, and it was there— while making cold calls and researching the world’s top entrepreneurs—that Bertolina decided that he wanted to start his own company. He had first considered the idea of small business financing as a UCI student, where he imagined himself working for an organization like the World Bank to help people in emerging markets. So, when the idea came up again at his new firm—after seeing the lack of funding for micro businesses in developing nations like India and Latin America—he knew he was on to something. From there, he decided to morph the concept to aide businesses stateside and

Finvoice was officially launched. Described by Bertolina as an “eBay for invoices,” Finvoice customers are able to post their invoices to be bid on by investors. This allows the company to keep their doors open while they await payment from clients. “Finvoice is sort of an evolution of this passion I had for helping people through development economics,” Bertolina says. “Small businesses typically get paid in 50 to 60 days according to the Small Business Association. They have to pay their employees every two weeks and they have to buy supplies for their business, so a lot of them don’t have the capital on hand and they go out of business because they’re waiting for payments.” Offers are based on their clientele, and the more times a company uses the service, the less expensive it becomes for them. “This has been an evolution for almost a decade, beginning with studying economics at UC Irvine,” he says. As their two very different ventures expanded, both Anteaters were looking for the best ways to make their businesses last for the long haul. Minarik was working on fulfilling large orders of her compression stockings for companies like Brookstone, and Bertolina was compiling a dream team to get Finvoice up and running. Then, in 2014, an on-campus alumni panel brought the two together in a discussion of their experiences in the business world with current students. After hearing Minarik speak about the struggles of financing large orders, Bertolina— who was looking for pilot customers at the time—approached her about working together. “I spoke to Kelsey about what we were doing and explained that we were looking to test the model, and she agreed to be one of our pilot customers,” he says. “We owe companies like RejuvaHealth and Kelsey a lot, because in the early days people really have to believe in you to work with you. So we’re really thankful for that.” Since then, RejuvaHealth has been a repeat customer, and Finvoice even recently posted a case study about Minarik and her company on its website. Now, both businesses are booming. Finvoice has experienced impressive growth since it incorporated last September, growing both its client base and its team (which even includes another UCI alumnus).

-Understanding market fit and business needs—like Bertolina does with his Finvoice clients—are key concepts covered in the economics major at UCI. Considered the most flexible of the three economics majors, the general economics degree allows students to pursue individual interests in multiple areas, like health, environmental, and/or labor economics. The major is designed for students seeking a broader understanding of economic practices and principles.

Those who pursue this major develop analytical skills, quantitative tools, and clarity of thought useful in all occupations. The degree provides excellent preparation for graduate study in law, business, public policy, and social sciences.

uci soc sci | 15

INTERNATIONAL STUDIES featured: Sunny Liu ’15 pursues her passion for public health through her Peace Corps post in Fiji


unny Liu’s outlook on life is every bit as bright as her name reflects. As one of the 2015 School of Social Sciences commencement speakers, she addressed thousands of her peers and their families, sharing her experiences, her passion for public health, and the value of perseverance. “It was truly an honor to be a representative of my class at graduation,” she says. “Looking back, it was like a dream, with every moment of my four-year journey at UCI building up to that grand finale.” Since that day, she has barely paused to catch her breath: she recalls the adrenaline of being on stage, the rush of love and acceptance as her parents embraced her after her speech, the excitement of finally getting the chance to backpack across Europe (checking an item off of her bucket list), and finally, the nerves and exhilaration when it was time to set off for her journey as a peer health educator with the Peace Corps. But in the midst of her post-graduate frenzy, she had found just enough time to be profoundly grateful for her experiences— both at UCI and beyond. “Compared to most of the world, who still live in poverty on less than one dollar a day to sustain their life, I feel very privileged to have received my education,” Liu shares. “And I feel responsible to utilize my opportunities … so I can move on, either to higher education or a future career where I can contribute to helping people.” It’s a sentiment she is passionate about, and one she wasted no time in following through on. A few months after she delivered her speech, Liu left for Fiji on a service mission with the Peace Corps, forgoing several prestigious fellowship opportunities that many graduates would have jumped

16 | undergrad studies

at. But she is confident in her decision to pursue this volunteer path that aligns with her passion for global health, and maintains that she is learning invaluable skills in her role as a peer health educator. “While most of my friends and family considered my choice to enter the Peace Corps to be noble and sacrificial, what they don’t see is how much I’ve learned from the people here, as much they have learned from me,” Liu says. After two months of intensive language and cultural training, she began work with the Reproductive and Family Health Association of Fiji and now works closely with primary and secondary school children to empower them and provide reproductive health training. And while she has already been greatly affected by the experience, it’s not necessarily in the way she expected. “Like most people, I envisioned my Peace Corps experience with many grand plans,” she shares. “I believed that with my education and work experience, I would come to this tiny South Pacific island to offer the best of my knowledge—to change the world. In reality, I still have much to learn.” Liu will continue working with the Peace Corps for the time being—she hasn’t decided when she will return home—and hopes that she will continue to gain knowledge and perspectives that will aid her in her quest to create global health equality. -A global mindset, like Liu’s, is a common trait among UCI international studies majors. Students pursuing this degree acquire twenty-first century analytical skills that enable them to understand and contribute to shaping the rapidly evolving global

community. International studies majors benefit from courses with prominent faculty and lecturers in the social sciences, as well as other schools across campus. Faculty expertise and research interests in international, global, and regional affairs make UCI one of the leading globally-oriented educational institutions in the world. The degree equips students for professional careers in a variety of fields such as international affairs and public policy, international business and finance, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academic research and teaching.

Liu (second from right) at the Peace Corps Volunteer Swearing-in Ceremony in Tahiti

major (B.A.) minor

• conflict resolution • international studies

honors program


• conflict analysis & resolution • mediation • middle east studies • global leadership

sample courses

• international relations • u.s. foreign policy • human trafficking • international experience (study abroad, UCDC, internship) 949.824.8687

uci soc sci | 17

POLITICAL SCIENCE featured: ’85 Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to Greece

Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted seven months into Pyatt’s term amidst a series of violent protests sparked by the failed leader’s refusal to sign an agreement that would have solidified closer ties with the European Union. Pro-Russian insurgents seized the opportunity created by the political and economic fallout of the revolution, and took control of the Crimea region in eastern Ukraine—a situation that remains quite tenuous. As the 8th U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, Pyatt served as a voice for reason and de-escalation at a critical time in the contested region. And just in May, he was named the U.S. Ambassador to Greece. While the tumultuous Eastern European post is a far cry from his days as an Anteater in the early 80s, the same character traits that serve him well in dealing with foreign diplomats were evident when he was a teaching assistant at his alma mater, says Claudia Keller ’87, who co-chairs the School of Social Sciences Dean’s Leadership Society. The former classmate of Pyatt’s notes that he was “always fair and diplomatic—even then—when imparting tough feedback.” “He balanced academic rigor with a genuine love of life,” she says. “He was always up for a good conversation on the day’s news, the campus goings-on or classwork, especially if you needed help. His mentorship was a big reason behind my change of major to political science, and I’ve never regretted it.” When Pyatt left UCI with his undergraduate degree in political science, he went on to earn a master’s degree in international relations at Yale. He began his career at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washingtonbased think tank that tackles issues of social equity and democratic governance in the Western Hemisphere. He then joined the Foreign Service and is going on nearly 30 years in an exceptional career with the U.S. State Department in posts ranging from Asia to Europe to Latin America. His diplomatic service includes Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the South and Central Asia Affairs Bureau where he lead the State Department’s newest geographic bureau and helped manage U.S. relations in a region that stretches from Kazakhstan to the Indian Ocean. 18 | undergrad studies

He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna where he represented the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency and other UN technical agencies. He served at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, first as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs and then as Deputy Chief of Mission through which he was the chief operating officer for one of the United States’ largest and fastest growing foreign missions. Prior to his India assignment, Pyatt served at the American Consulate General in Hong Kong, managing the trade and export control dialogue with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China. He also served as Political Officer in New Delhi, India; Economic Officer and Vice-Consul in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and Principal Officer of the American Consulate in Lahore—representing the United States in Pakistan’s largest and politically most important province. His Washington assignments included Director for Latin America on the National Security Council staff, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State, and Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America. -Like Pyatt, political science majors go on to careers in business, international relations, law, politics, consultancy, journalism, and public service as well as advanced graduate training in law, academics, and public policy. UCI political science majors study how politics work at the individual, group, national, and international levels. Methods for gathering and analyzing information about political behavior and political processes are a major focus of the introductory course work. Upperdivision courses are organized around general areas of study including American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and public law. World renowned faculty experts explore a host of topics including political economy, international relations, legal systems, political institutions, political philosophy, political ideology, political behavior, and racial and ethnic politics. Political science majors learn how to understand politics and develop analytic thinking and clear writing skills essential for success.

Photo courtesy of Yevhen Kraws (UNIAN)


hen Geoffrey Pyatt ’85 arrived in Kiev in August 2013, he found himself at the epicenter of one of the world’s most dangerous conflicts since the Cold War.

major (B.A.) minor honors program | 949.824.5361

sample courses

• american government • public opinion • global politics • law & society • social & political theory uci soc sci | 19

PSYCHOLOGY featured: ’79 Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles County District Attorney

major (B.A.) honors program | 949.824.6692

20 | undergrad studies


• hearing & speech sciences • linguistics • psychology

sample courses

• experimental psychology • abnormal psychology • personality theories • human memory


hen UC Irvine alumna Jackie Lacey announced that she was running for Los Angeles County district attorney, many people thought she didn’t stand a chance. In the 150-year history of the office, there had never been a female or an African American in the top job. “The fellas,” as Lacey jokingly calls the former district attorneys, “all looked alike.” That changed on Dec. 3, 2012, when she was sworn in as the county’s first female and first African American district attorney after prevailing in the California general election. Lacey now oversees the nation’s largest prosecutorial office, with about 1,000 deputy district attorneys, 300 investigators and 800 support staff. She’s come a long way—from a girl growing up in a working-class neighborhood of LA to chief prosecutor—and UC Irvine played a key role in her transformation. “This university caused me to become a lawyer,” she says. Lacey returned to her alma mater shortly after the election to give a talk at the Cross-Cultural Center about her undergraduate days and to receive UC Irvine’s first Distinguished Professional in Public Service Award. She enrolled here as a psychology major in 1975 with the idea of eventually earning a teaching credential. But a summer job at a local elementary school convinced her that teaching wasn’t her calling. “You have to be good with kids in order to spend every day—every day—in a classroom with 30 of them,” Lacey says. Unsure of her direction, she took an introductory law course her junior year that included sitting in on trials at the Santa Ana courthouse.

“I fell into a class that would change the trajectory of my life. There, I discovered that I loved being in the courtroom,” Lacey says. “For me, it provided so much theater… You never knew when a curse word was going to come out of someone’s mouth and cause you to laugh when you shouldn’t laugh, or when a judge was going to say, ‘Knock it off,’ or when the litigants would fight. I liked that edge of never knowing what was going to happen.” She also was inspired by one of the class’s guest lecturers, an African American lawyer named Irma Brown, now a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. “It was something about that woman’s mannerisms, the passion she had in her voice, the way she looked, the fact that she had come from a background that I had come from, that made me say, ‘I could be like her. I could do that,’” she says. Lacey was the first in her family to go to college. Her parents both fled discrimination in the South in the 1950s and found jobs in Los Angeles, where they met. Her mother, Addie Phillips, worked in a garment factory, and her father, Louis Phillips (now deceased), worked for the city, cleaning vacant lots. When Lacey told her parents she wanted to be a lawyer, they were thrilled. The change in career choice proved a turning point. “Like everything in my life, I judge whether I’m making the right decision… by whether or not the doors are opening up,” she says. “If they are, it’s probably the right path.”

go forward. Stop waiting. Something that seems at first to be impossible may merely be difficult. Do not be afraid of the difficult. Keep going.” -As a part of the Department of Cognitive Sciences, UCI’s undergraduate psychology program provides students with a strong foundation in general psychology covering areas such as development, perception, learning, memory, and cognitive processes. Students in the department may become involved in research by working with faculty members in areas such as cognitive neuroscience, vision, hearing, attention, memory, language, development, and decision-making. The psychology major provides a suitable background for post-graduate training and careers in all branches of psychology. Alumni have gone on to pursue careers in some of the best research universities in the world, as well as in government and industry. The major also provides training in critical thinking, experimental design, and data analysis—skills that are important in a wide range of other careers including law, as Lacey found. Cognitive science skills are valued in applied settings including high-tech startups, research consultancy companies, and government science and technology laboratories.

Lacey hopes her historic victory will encourage other minorities and women to pursue careers in law enforcement. Her message to the UC Irvine students—many of them young African Americans—who turned out for her recent talk: “Whatever your dreams are, whatever your purpose in life, whatever your calling… step out in faith and

uci soc sci | 21

QUANTITATIVE ECONOMICS featured: ’10 Sarah Bana, graduate student and future economist


arah Bana always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up: an FBI agent.

“I’d read a lot of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, and I wanted to save the world,” she says. She still does, although she’s going about it in a different way. The ’10 quantitative economics alumna is finishing her doctorate at UC Santa Barbara and is on her way to becoming an economist, “maybe even chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve one day,” she says. And the case she hopes to take on: improving people’s lives by influencing financial policy. “You can change the life of a child when you read to her, or a homeless person when you serve him food,” Bana says. “But I’m interested in economics because I’d like to help eliminate the root cause of poverty. There’s

22 | undergrad studies

a lack of equal opportunity in our society because many people can’t afford a higher education. You can drive just 20 minutes from UCI to a shelter in Santa Ana filled with homeless people. Everyone should have access to a good life—especially an affordable, high-quality education—and it’s our responsibility to help those who don’t. “I want to give people opportunities to succeed. Economics has made me think about what happens when you invest in people.” As an Anteater, she was heavily invested in the campus and community. She was executive vice president of Associated Students of UCI her senior year and she started volunteering as a freshman. She led the UCI chapter of Circle K International, receiving the Anteater Award for President of the Year from the Office of the Dean of Students while the chapter won the service organization award.

major (B.A.) honors program specialization • international issues & economics

sample courses

• game theory • economics of risk & uncertainty • mathematics of finance • money & banking • poverty, growth & development 949.824.3655

Bana has helped feed the hungry and shelter the homeless, and tutor elementary and middle school students at the Boys & Girls Club of Tustin through a Circle K program she co-created as a sophomore. She was also active in the campus’s CrossCultural Center as an outreach intern, urging other students to get involved.

she replies without hesitation: “The budget crisis.” She traveled to Sacramento to meet with legislators about funding and returned to lobby on students’ behalf. And now, as a graduate student, she’s focused on economics and public policy.

In her ASUCI role, Bana chaired the Legislative Council, oversaw the Lobby Core Course, was a political advocate for UC students at the state level, and served on the board of the University of California Students Association, which is comprised of executive vice presidents from every UC campus and strives to give students a voice in UC governance.

“I want to work on large-scale public policy initiatives,” Bana says. “Too often, people are viewed as numbers or statistics. Policymakers don’t think how tax increases or rising tuition fees will affect families. I’d like to change the way the world views economics and people.”

“It’s important to share our concerns with the regents and state officials,” Bana says. Asked to cite students’ most pressing issue,

Quantitative economics is an ideal major for students—like Bana—who wish to pursue doctoral level studies in economics.


The highly quantitative course of study is also beneficial for students looking to attend prestigious business and public policy graduate programs. Areas of study address questions like: What is the effect of a 10 cent per-gallon increase in the tax on gasoline on the average number of miles people drive per week? And if the Federal Reserve increases interest rates by a percentage point, by how many percentage points do we expect the inflation rate and the rate of GDP growth to change? Students in the program develop skills that are useful in all occupations, particularly in quantitative careers in finance, business, law, and in graduate studies in the social sciences.

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featured: ’09 Kimberly (Snodgrass) Moore, REACH nonprofit founder

major (B.A.) honors program certificate • cultural competency

sample courses

• field study in public & community service • ethical leadership • educational policy • politics, power & society • biomedicine & health 949.824.6803


or Kimberly (Snodgrass) Moore, foster care offered an escape from what seemed an otherwise bleak future. For the first 10 years of her life, she was virtually homeless as her alcoholic, drug-addicted mother shuffled her and her four siblings between motel rooms, shelters and, ultimately, foster care. But that was then. Now, armed with an undergraduate degree from UCI and a master’s in education from Harvard, she’s committed to helping foster youth—just like her—break the cycle of homelessness. The go-getter is five years in on running a nonprofit dedicated to increasing high school graduation rates of foster youth through focused mentorship activities, life skills workshops, college prep coaching, and scholarship funding. The program is 24 | undergrad studies

called Realizing Every Action Creates Hope (REACH), and in 2011, it won first place— and $50,000—in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Moore started the program while she was teaching in the Boston public school system, and it has since moved to the Bay area and boasts 43 student participants. They’ve also expanded into doing research on mental health of youth—now adults—raised in foster care. “There are roughly 750,000 kids that pass through the U.S. foster care system each year, and there are more than 463,000 kids in foster care on any given day. Many of these children, due to the numerous circumstances of being in care, have high tendencies to have difficulties in school,” she says. “Of these children, only 40-50 percent actually graduate high school, and only 1-2 percent graduate from college.” Moore realizes that without the assistance she received through foster care, great teachers, and a great adoptive family, she could have easily been on the bottom half of these statistics. “Before being placed in foster care, I can remember being left to care for my younger brother and sister for days at a time. That’s how I learned to cook for my siblings,” she says. “I never attended school for more than two weeks at a time because we were always on the run to the next place to sleep.” That all changed when she was 11 and placed with the Snodgrass family, along with her two younger siblings. Through the help of Orangewood Children’s Home in Orange, they joined the couple’s four children and two other foster children, all of whom the couple adopted five years later. With a stable home life and extra help from her teachers, Moore caught up academically with her peers, graduating from high school with honors. She also played in the school band, played club roller hockey with all of

her siblings, and managed multiple school clubs, all while working at KWD Uniforms across the street from La Habra High School to pay for her own car and other “necessities” of a typical teenager. She was accepted to UCI where, as an Orangewood Guardian Scholar—a program that helps former foster children pursue a college education—she participated in Global Connect, Jumpstart, and the Community Service Leadership Program, three social sciences programs she says that allowed her to give back to the community while preparing her for a career in public service. She completed the social sciences’ fiveweek, research-intensive Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP) where she pursued in-depth research on the national foster care system, a topic she further explored at Princeton University’s competitive Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute program, and through her graduate work at Harvard. Somewhere in all of her free time, she authored a children’s book and her autobiography, I Am a Foster Child, and That’s Okay With Me and Things Happen for a Reason: Even Foster Care and Adoption, while working as a teaching assistant at UCI and the Early Childhood Learning Center, and as an intern with Orangewood’s CEO. “It’s my mission to give back to the community of foster children,” she says. “I have been blessed with so much in my life, and I can only hope to bring inspiration and hope to others.”

a part of the growth plan for our entrepreneurs,” she says. She’s also a board member of the California Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (California CASA) where she’s on the Fund Development Committee. “I truly believe in giving back to this population and it’s been an incredible journey to see so many lives changed with the power of mentorship,” she says. -If you’re interested in social issues, social justice, equality and social policy, like Moore, the major in social policy & public service is for you. With three unique areas of focus—education, governance, and health—the curriculum creates a path for students to effect social change through fair political representation, quality education, and health equality. Students in this major will take courses with faculty composed of respected UCI researchers and experts in fields ranging from education and psychology to public policy and sociology. At the heart of the program is a 300-hour community service requirement. Coupled with the major’s math and statistics focus, students get first-hand experience with real-world tools that will serve them in future careers in government, public policy, education, public health, social work, mental health, non-profit organizations, teaching, law, medicine, and community leadership.

In addition to running her nonprofit, Moore is currently managing portfolio partnerships at Innovation Endeavors, an early-stage venture capital firm based in Palo Alto and Tel-Aviv backed by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc. (formerly Google). “It’s fun to see new technology coming out of the valley and all over the world and to be uci soc sci | 25


featured: ’14 Darren Fells, went from playing basketball in the bren to being the arizona cardinals’ tight end

But Fells got much more out of his college experience than a career as a professional athlete. His degree in sociology has helped him both on and off the field, and he hopes to pursue a career in counseling when his time in the NFL comes to a close. So what does a sociology degree have to do with professional sports? A lot, according to Fells. “I was always very interested in why people behave the way they do,” he says. “It’s so interesting to me how you can understand people’s mentalities and how different people approach certain situations,” Fells says. Understanding the various factors that affect how a person reacts to a situation is invaluable when playing a team sport like football—especially when there is a lot at stake and tensions can run high. “With sociology, you learn to understand how people act in a certain environment, and in football, you’re in an environment with peers and you’re all trying to get the 26 | undergrad studies

out of that tunnel, it still feels like a dream.”

That understanding can also help one know how to diffuse high-stress situations, and Fells has found himself acting as a “therapist” to some teammates over the years, lending an ear or offering advice when he sees someone who needs it.

For now, Fells’ focus is having as long of a career in the League as possible, and enjoying time with his wife and baby daughter— but he is hoping to start researching a master’s program in counseling soon.

“It’s an every day, every game situation, but once you do understand a person’s mindset, it’s easier to pick up on when they may be off their game and understand what you need to do to get them back focused to help the team out.” His studies in sociology didn’t just help Fells with his teammates. His interest in the subject extends to interest in other cultures, and he even credits his UCI courses for inspiring him to sign the contract that sent him to Europe to play basketball. One introductory sociology class in particular, which required the students to choose one ethnic group to study and then present to the class, sticks out in his mind. “During the group presentations I remember thinking how interesting all these other cultures were,” he says. “I was jealous of the other groups. That’s one reason why I ended up going and playing basketball overseas— so that I could experience different cultures for myself.” And experience other cultures he did. Fells played in Belgium, Finland, France, Mexico, and Argentina before finally deciding that his heart was with football. So he moved back to the U.S. to pursue a spot in the NFL. “Football was one of those things I always knew I loved and wanted to do,” he shares. “Even now, coming out of the tunnel and hearing the roar of the crowd during home games, it’s pretty intense. Every time I come

“I just love helping people,” he says. “I love understanding why they think a certain way and helping them figure out their problems. I’m considering going into guidance counseling back in college, or maybe marriage counseling. There’s so much to choose from, just choosing the right one is the hardest part.” -Analyzing and understanding social behavior and structural patterns are skills that have served Fells and other sociology majors well in careers spanning law, business, government service, advanced graduate studies, social work, urban planning, public health, and teaching. UCI sociologists are noted worldwide for cutting edge research in global inequality and change, immigration, social networks, social movements, political sociology, gender and class, population, social inequality, race/ethnicity, and more. Sociology majors explore topics such as how employment and incarceration status can change racial perceptions, how social networks affect gang violence and emergency response to catastrophic events, and how social movements can impact democracies. Research findings impact international population policy, the design and implementation of the U.S. Census, and the development of more effective communication plans for times of crisis.

Team photos courtesy of Arizona Cardinals

Unless you’re Darren Fells ’14. As the tight end for the Arizona Cardinals, he’s UCI’s first NFL player, which is quite remarkable, considering that we don’t have a football team. The former Anteater basketball star was a standout on the high school gridiron before deciding to focus on the court—instead of the field—once he got to college. He later played basketball professionally for five years in Europe and South America before being drafted into the NFL during open tryouts in 2012.

exact same result,” he says.

Photo courtesy of UCI Athletics


hen you’re an Anteater, football at the collegiate and professional level is something you watch, not necessarily play (at least competitively).

major (B.A.) honors program minor certificates

• business, economy & organizations • diversity & equality • global & international sociology • social problems & public policy

sample courses

• globalization & social change • religion & society • family & intimate relationships • aging & society • sociology of baseball | 949.824.6800

uci soc sci | 27

academic PROGRAMS at a glance majors, minors, certificates, specializations, and honors


or the more linear thinkers and those interested in pursuing multiple majors, minors, certificates, and honors, here are our academic programs, at a glance.

You can also visit us online at for more detailed information about each.


• anthropology (B.A.) • business economics (B.A.)

- specialization in international issues and economics

• chicano/latino studies (B.A.) • cognitive sciences (B.S.) • economics (B.A.) - specialization in international issues and economics

• international studies (B.A.) • political science (B.A.) • psychology (B.A.) • quantitative economics (B.A.) - specialization in international issues and economics

• social policy & public service (B.A.) • sociology (B.A.)

28 | undergrad studies


• anthropology • chicano/latino studies • conflict resolution • economics • hearing & speech sciences • international studies • linguistics • medical anthropology • political science • psychology • sociology

honors programs • anthropology • chicano/latino studies • cognitive sciences • economics • international studies • political science • psychology • social policy & public service • social sciences • sociology

**social sciences honors society (pi gamma mu)

certificate programs • business, economy & organizations (available only to sociology majors)

• chicano/latino community in a global context (sponsored by chicano/latino studies) • cultural competency (sponsored by spps) • diversity & inequality (available only to sociology majors)

• economy & culture (sponsored by anthropology) • entrepreneurship (sponsored by ssarc) • ethnomusicology (sponsored by anthropology) • gender studies (sponsored by anthropology) • global & international sociology (available only to sociology majors)

• global studies (sponsored by anthropology) • history & culture (sponsored by chicano/latino studies)

• law & policy (sponsored by anthropology) • mediator certification (sponsored by international studies)

• medical anthropology

(sponsored by anthropology)

• middle east studies

(sponsored by international studies)

• social policy & issues (sponsored by chicano/ latino studies)

• social problems & public policy (available only to sociology majors)

uci soc sci | 29

photo: Genesis Delgado, senior political science major, is UCI’s first Presidential Public Service Fellowship recipient. She gets to spend a quarter at the state capitol in a coveted government internship.


general campus info, contacts, resources, and programs

S 30 | undergrad studies

ocial sciences students are some of the most active Anteaters on campus. From student government (called ASUCI around here) to intramural sports and internship programs in DC, UCI has tons of options for students who want to get more out of their undergrad experience. The following give a snapshot of some of the student programs available to students, as well as key sites for important things like housing, financial aid, counseling services, and undergraduate advising.

university anteater mentor program


(intramural, club, rec center, uci)

school student outreach & retention center

anthropology club

student center


student health center

campus orgs career center

counseling center

cross-cultural center

disability services center

health education center



international center

latino business student assoc

lgbt center

student support center study abroad center

transfer student center


veteran services

dean’s ambassadors council first gen initiative

global connect

international studies club


law forum

model united nations

mock trial

soc sci academic mentorship

soc sci academic resource center

summer academic enrichment program

advising Undergraduate Student Affairs 949.824.6803 school

@ucisocsci @ucisocialsciences @uc-irvine-social-science email phone 949.824.6803 in person Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway 1st Floor, Room 1201 mail UCI School of Social Sciences 3151 Social Science Plaza Irvine, CA 92697-5100

uci soc sci undergraduate studies  
uci soc sci undergraduate studies