What’s a typical UC Irvine student like? It’s a difficult question to answer with such an eclectic population. The campus’s 22,000 undergraduates are a mix of California residents, out-of-state enrollees and international students from almost 70 countries. They represent numerous ethnicities, have varied socioeconomic backgrounds and are pursuing different goals. But all are Anteaters. Here’s a look at three of them. One has a passion for community service, one’s an aspiring doctor, and one is turning his love of gaming into a career.
Name: Christy Quintanilla
Major/level: Political science freshman
What makes her unique: Quintanilla graduated from Los Angeles’ New Village Charter High School as a junior but didn’t feel quite ready to embark on a college career. Instead, she joined City Year, a national service organization that places young people in K-12 schools as tutors, mentors and role models for at-risk students. Quintanilla was an after-school program coordinator at an elementary school in Watts; she led lessons on recycling and geography and organized cheerleading and martial arts workshops. “The leadership and organization skills that I learned in City Year have made me a better college student,” she says. Quintanilla now serves as an ambassador for City Year at UC Irvine, often sporting the organization’s signature yellow bomber jacket and carrying pamphlets and brochures. She makes frequent classroom presentations and hopes to inspire fellow students to commit to community service after graduation.
What’s next: The third-degree black belt in taekwondo competes with UC Irvine’s team in statewide tournaments and in the fall will enroll at the University of Hong Kong as part of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program. Quintanilla plans to study that country’s K-12 education system and how teachers and administrators deal with social issues faced by students, such as violence and bullying. She hopes to eventually practice pro bono law and start a City Year chapter in her native Guam.
Name: Tcharles Fagundes
Major/level: Biological sciences senior
From JC to UC: After completing two associate degrees at Saddleback College, Fagundes knew he was ready to tackle a biological sciences degree at UC Irvine. Now he’s set to graduate in June and proudly holds a 3.9 GPA. One of five siblings from a family of modest means in southern Brazil, Fagundes received the coveted Dean’s Leadership Scholar Award for outstanding students in biological sciences and the Manuel N. Goméz Endowed Scholarship. Last summer, under a full Pembroke-King’s Programme scholarship, he took upper-division science classes at the University of Cambridge, in England, for eight weeks. In May, Fagundes will take the MCAT and apply for medical school, aiming for a 2014 start date. “Growing up, I saw a lot of the healthcare and socioeconomic problems in Brazil,” he says. “Seeing how it affects lives, I wanted to pursue a meaningful career, and I’ve also thought that maybe after school, I can go back to Brazil and make a difference in medicine.”
The road to medical school: Fagundes is getting a head start in medicine by working part time at UC Irvine’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center as a research associate, focusing primarily on melanoma. “It takes an empathetic and special person to be a doctor, especially an oncologist,” he says. “I work with inspiring people, and the work they do solidifies that this is what I really want to do.”
Name: Joshua Webb
Major/level: Computer science sophomore
Gaming king: Like many kids of his generation, Webb grew up playing video games like “Super Mario Bros.” and “The Legend of Zelda.” Unlike many of his peers, though, he has parlayed his gaming skills into a lucrative hobby. As a member of UC Irvine’s video game team, Webb took home a $4,000 prize in the college League of Legends tournament held last month at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Webb shares his video game knowledge with others through his video game stream, available on twitch.tv, where gaming enthusiasts can watch him play live and pick up gaming strategy tips.
Professionalization of gaming: Webb envisions video gaming developing into a top competitive sport, much like football or basketball. “There’s potential to make a lot of money if you’re good, and gaming leagues are increasing in popularity,” he says. Webb hopes to join a professional gaming league and play in tournaments around the world. He’s currently a substitute player for Vulcun, a professional team in the North American League Championship Series. He uses the moniker “Master of LoL.”
Player and scholar: As a computer science major, Webb is building skills that could lead to a career in game design or development. He has also enjoyed taking courses such as informatics professor Bonnie Nardi’s ICS 60: Computer Games & Society. Nardi asks students to consider the social benefits and consequences of video games and the potential for addiction. “Video games are supposed to be fun, something you do in your free time to relieve stress,” Webb says. “If you neglect school and your responsibilities, then it can be a problem, especially if you aren’t planning to play professionally.”