One of the most obvious advantages of the CHP is the rigorous curriculum. I must admit, if left to my own devices, I probably would have never enrolled in Humanities Core. While late nights spent composing papers to meet the high expectations of our professors were not always pleasant, they definitely made me a better student, and a better scientist. The ability to communicate with people outside of science is something that some researchers lack, and I feel that Humanities Core played a key role in helping me to develop that ability.
The benefits of being a part of a unique group of students like the CHP were certainly not limited to academics. Like many other alumni, some of my favorite college memories are from living in honors housing, first in the Shire and then later in Arroyo Vista. The friends I made there, especially my freshman year in the Shire, remain some of my closest friends. The relationships formed during that period will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I am currently beginning my fourth year of graduate work in the Chemistry Department at UCI and hope to complete my Ph.D. within the next calendar year. I made the decision to pursue a Ph.D. in atmospheric chemistry after many positive experiences as an undergraduate researcher. The CHP played a large role in encouraging me to get involved with research early in my academic career. My research experiences, both undergraduate and graduate, have allowed me to learn about many different aspects of atmospheric chemistry, from the measurement of trace gases, to the investigation of how sunlight interacts with particulates.
While graduate school does not afford me a great deal of spare time, I do enjoy a variety of other activities, including yoga, softball, and home-brewing. The activity that I find the most rewarding is my involvement with Iota Sigma Pi, a national honor society for women in chemistry. In 2005, five other graduate students and I formed a new chapter, and have developed a very successful outreach program. We work with local schools and community groups for young girls to help them learn that science is cool and often a lot of fun. We encourage them to pursue their interests, regardless of any obstacles they may face as young women. The support and encouragement of the CHP staff, the meaningful friendships formed during my years in the CHP, and the numerous academic skills I gained, all contributed to my success.