Student Life & Leadership Example

February 2019

Section 1

February 2019 - Mayalen Mercado

An image of Mayalen Mercado, February 2019 Spotlight winner.

Name: Mayalen Mercado
"Let your smile change the world. Don't let the world change your smile."
: 4th
Major: Biological Sciences
Hometown: San Diego

Involvements at UCI:

Alternative Break Volunteer (Winter 2017), American Red Cross Club general member, Co-Events Coordinator (2017 - Present), BioSci Mentor Program Mentee (2017 - Present), Freshmen Edge Mentor (2017), Job Shadow Day Participant (Spring 2016 and 2017), Physician Assistants Coming Together (PACT) (2018 - Present), Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) Fellowship (Summer 2018), TRIO Scholars Program (2015 - Present), UCI Medical Center Volunteer (2018- Present), UCI Outreach Clinic Volunteer, Patient Educator Representative (2017 - Present), Undergraduate immunology research (2017 - Present), Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Fellowship (2018 - Present)

What are three words to describe yourself?

Three words that I would use to describe myself are diligent, determined, and passionate. I am diligent because I like to get things done ahead of time, as there are many responsibilities to balance with school, clubs, volunteering, and research. I am determined because I continue to work hard to reach my goals despite any obstacles that may arise. I am passionate, specifically about giving back to the community through volunteering as well as learning new things.

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

I have grown as a leader through my leadership experience as being Co-Events Coordinator for Red Cross Club as well as being Patient Educator Representative for UCI Outreach Free Clinic. As Co-Events Coordinator, I am responsible for helping book and organize community service events for the club. Through this position, I have improved my communication skills through working with board, and my professional skills when contacting different volunteer organizations. I have also grown as a leader as I feel more comfortable speaking at general meetings, leading ice breakers during meetings, and approaching general members overall.
Serving as Patient Educator Representative for UCI Outreach Free Clinic has also shaped me into a better leader. Patient educators are volunteers that talk to patients in the clinic about lifestyle changes, mostly concerning diet and exercise, to help patients improve their health. As a Patient Educator Representative, I help oversee our patient educators and address any concerns that they may have. I also help train the new patient educators and work on new changes that can benefit our patients. Through this position, I have grown as a leader by leading by example and taking initiative to implement new changes in the clinic in regards to patient education.

What is your life motto?

Scared? Good. We don’t grow when we stay inside our comfort zone.

What is your favorite memory during your time at UCI?

My favorite memory at UCI was during my second year when I attended a basketball game with some of my friends. Before the game started, a staff member approached us and asked if my friend and I would like to participate in the half-time event that featured students. She told us we would compete against each other by seeing who can shoot the basketball in the fastest, and that the winner would get a coupon for free ribs. At first, we were hesitant to say yes, but then agreed. We continued to watch the game and I was getting a little nervous as we were almost approaching the half time-point. It was soon time to go up and the crowd began to cheer. I tried my best, and to my surprise, I won. Looking back, I would have never imagined myself doing something like that. I was proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone.

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

UCI offers a variety of resources that underutilized by students, and I learned to take advantage of these resources. During my second year, in addition to attending office hours, I would always go to the peer tutoring for organic chemistry. Then during my third year, I would always go to physics tutoring hosted by the TA’s in the physics department. The courses I took as a Biology major oftentimes got really challenging for me, and these resources have helped me better understand the material and practice the essential skills necessary to succeed academically. Another resource that I enjoy utilizing is the writing center. The staff at the writing center has helped me improve my writing in terms of flow and conciseness. They have assisted me in various ways, such as by editing class assignments, lab reports, and scholarship applications. Lastly, the career center has helped me work on my professional skills by helping with mock interviews, looking over my resume, and providing career preparation workshops. I would highly recommend students to take advantage of these academic resources, as they are free and available to anyone taking the courses.

If you could drop all of your responsibilities for a day, what would you use this free time to do?

I would love to spend more time with my family and friends. I would also love to go on a one-day vacation and just relax to destress from school. I would dine at a new restaurant and perhaps go shopping.