Student Life & Leadership Example

January 2019

Section 1

January 2019 - Brian Paul

An image of Brian Paul, January 2019 Spotlight winner.

Name: Brian Paul
"You are capable of anything if you set your mind to it."
: 4th Year (Class of 2019)
Major: Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Engineering (Double Major)
Hometown: Lake Forest, CA

Involvements at UCI:

AIChE - American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Vice President of External Affairs (April 2018 - Present), AIChE - American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Western Regional Conference Sponsorship Chair (Oct. 2017 – April 2018), ASM Materials Science Camp (volunteered June 2018 through Materials Science Club), BioEngine/Senior Design Capstone, Executive Team Lead (September 2018 - Present), Ceramics Characterization Lab under Professor Martha Mecartney, Undergraduate Research Assistant (September 2016 –March 2017), Colloid Science Lab under Professor Ali Mohraz, Undergraduate Researcher (September 2017 –Present), Initiate of Omega Chi Epsilon, Chemical Engineering Honor Society (June 2016-Present), Initiate of Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honor Society (June 2017-Present), Introduction to Engineering Freshman Design Projects (September 2015-March 2016), UCI Applied Innovation, Engineering Prototyping Lab Intern (June 2018 - Present), UROP/SURP (volunteered for UROP Symposium May 2017, SURP Fellow Summer 2018, UROP Fellow 2018-2019)

What are three words to describe yourself?

Motivated, genuine, and passionate.
When I care about something, I pour myself into it and I will move mountains for it. I think very carefully and critically before making decisions, but once I make a decision I am all the way in. When I first became the Sponsorship Chair for the AIChE Western Regional Conference, I had not done anything quite like it before. For that reason after I decided to take the position, I worked hard and pushed myself to succeed, and I accomplished what I had never seen myself being able to accomplish. I have been able to move far outside my comfort zone and grow because of my determination and passion for my work,
and my success is a reflection of that.

What are three words other people would describe you as?

Altruistic, professional, and dependable.
In everything that I do, I strive to make the greatest positive impact possible, and I often go out of my way to help others. I can’t count how many times I’ve been a mentor for someone this year, and to come from mentee to mentor in the same community is a unique and special feeling. Through my AIChE Conference experience and experience as Vice President, the professionals I have worked with have been impressed with my professionalism. I have a natural feeling for how to communicate with professionals, and my thoroughness with event planning, attention to detail on emails, and most importantly my ability and willingness to follow up and take initiative to communicate with those I need to have impressed my professional contacts multiple times.

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

My time at UCI has allowed me to become not just a more effective leader, but a more confident leader as well. I have become more comfortable with speaking to a room full of people, with striking up a conversation with people I haven’t met before AIChE events or professional networking events, and with drawing on my own experiences in order to give advice to those who ask for it. When I started at UCI, I was the one asking questions of my mentors and seeking to grow from their advice and expertise; now I get to grow from the opportunity to be a mentor and to help others in that way. This has been an incredibly inspiring and humbling experience that helped me to focus my desire to help others.

What is your proudest accomplishment to date?

This is a difficult choice because I have accomplished many things that I never thought I would be capable of, but my proudest accomplishment would be getting into graduate school! I will be starting a PhD Program at a Top 10 ranked Chemical Engineering program in Fall 2019, and I am incredibly proud of my ability to compete at this level as a researcher and as a young professional. Obtaining a PhD in engineering from a high quality program will teach me to focus myself as a researcher and apply my engineering knowledge to improve our world, and I am both incredibly excited and humbled to be a part of that.

Who is your role model at UCI? How have they shaped you into the person you are today?

My two role models at UCI are two of my chemical engineering classmates, Ariana Romero and Sierra Gross. They are both incredibly hard-working and determined, and I have been impressed time and again with how they persevere and overcome any obstacles. Ariana is devoted to her research and puts in many long hours, and Sierra is passionate for her work with the Society of Women Engineers. Working with them both has inspired me to improve myself and to emulate how they balance responsibilities, and I absolutely look up to each of them for those qualities.

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

I am passionate about helping others. I decided to pursue engineering in order to make a positive impact on my community, and I have found ways to do that both through my research and my leadership in AIChE. Engineering allows us to create innovative solutions for the problems facing us today and improve the lives of others, and I am incredibly excited and humbled to be a part of that. My experiences have shown me that technical knowledge and campus leadership go hand in hand to create the greatest impact possible, and I plan to pursue both technical and leadership opportunities after UCI to make that impact.

What is your life motto?

"You are capable of anything if you set your mind to it." It's not what you can already do that makes you successful, but your ability and drive to push yourself to succeed in something you've never done before. I've lived this multiple times in my UCI career, and I'm grateful for taking those leaps and for the personal and professional growth that came from them, and most of all for the mentors who encouraged me along the way.

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

Definitely join student organizations and get involved on campus! Being in AIChE has been the experience of a lifetime, and having the opportunity to lead the club and shape the way we support our community has been especially incredible. Before my Junior Year I never saw myself as a Board Member of anything, and my AIChE experience has shown me, more than anything else, that I was capable of more than I imagined. For everyone thinking about running for a Board position, starting a club,founding a startup, asking for that research position, applying for that school or job, or just going the extra mile to put yourself out there: do it. You are capable of more than you think, and you will always be grateful for taking that leap to see if you can fly.

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

I would play music with my family! My whole family plays and we play enough instruments between the five of us to have a family band. I have less time to play now than I used to, and it would be amazing to spend more time on music.