Student Life & Leadership Example

April 2019

Section 1

April 2019 - Henry Amir

An image of Henry Amir, April 2019 Spotlight winner.

Name: Henry Amir
"What are you waiting for?"
: 3rd
Major: Physics, Mathematics
Hometown: San Luis Obispo

Involvements at UCI:

Certified Learning Assistants Program (CLAP) - Learning Assistant (2017-2018), Climatepedia (2018-Present), Dollar Lab - Undergraduate Researcher (2017), MathBioU Fellowship - Undergraduate Researcher (2018), Physics and Astronomy Department Committee for Inclusive Excellence - Undergraduate Representative (2018-Present), Resonance Physics Mentorship Program - Mentor (2018-Present), Siryaporn Lab - Undergraduate Researcher (2018-Present), Society of Physics Students (SPS) - President (2016-Present), Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) Fellowship (2018-Present)

How have you grown as a leader during your time at UCI?

I’ve learned that leadership is a service more than anything else. The most valuable members of a community are the members-at-large: the everyday students who want to be part of a club or to participate in on-campus events. I’ve learned at college that my role as a leader is to build and facilitate that community for them: for new and old members alike, no matter what their level of involvement is. In my experience, running a successful club / community requires catering to the interests of my constituents. While that seems obvious on paper, understanding what that means necessitates listening to the diverse set of opinions found in any community and then acting to make those ideas into reality. And members’ feedback is always important!

What are you passionate about? Do you see yourself doing something with this passion in the future?

I entered UCI as a physics major, and I immediately fell in love with the subject after my first few physics lectures. Entering an academic environment had imbued me with a whole new energy that I hadn’t experienced before. I was eager to experience the knowledge a research university had to offer. I regularly attended physics department colloquia, and I also enrolled in Physics 99: a freshman seminar for physics students. This class remains one of my favorite undergraduate experiences; every week, a different researcher would present his/her research and how undergraduates could get involved. The feeling of being part of the scientific community has fueled a lot of what I do on campus. I try to foster that feeling as the president of the Society of Physics Students by promoting and hosting scientific community-building events, and that is something I plan on continuing to do.

What is the greatest piece of advice that you have been given?

Be as responsive and communicative as possible. If I get an email, I respond as soon as I can. I try to leave thorough feedback for events or classes. I announce club events and club decisions openly, and try to let the whole community know what’s going on. People need to know that they can reach you, that you’re listening, and that they can expect a response or action from you. They want to know that there’s someone responsive on the other end. That way, they can count on you as a professional and a leader.

Who or what has motivated you during college?

When I was in high school, I read about the life of the biologist Dr. Norman Borlaug. Dr. Borlaug developed new strains of wheat and rice in Mexico, Pakistan, India, and Africa during food crises, saving millions of lives each time. He won the Nobel Peace Prize as “The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives.” I was immensely inspired reading this, and fascinated how science was able to impact the world on a massive scale. Since then, I’ve been driven in college to build my own scientific problem solving skills, motivated by a desire to improve the lives of others.

What is something that you have learned in college that you would like to share the other students at UCI?

Nas said “The World is Yours” and it took me until college to realize what he was talking about: the world really is yours. People make the world go around, and I’m one of them. Everything that’s in the newspaper, on television and online is the result of people like you or me. There isn’t some central institution that determines how the world moves forward or what people are going to do: it’s entirely up to us what the world looks like tomorrow. I try to live every day like this: with the knowledge that my actions have the ability to influence what everybody experiences.

What is your life motto?

“Just give it a go.” You’ll never know what it takes to succeed until you try it. I’ve found that it’s impossible to determine, even if the odds are completely stacked against me, to KNOW if I’ll fail or not. And even if I fail, then I’ve learned a lot in the process, and that’s very valuable too.