Student Life & Leadership Example

April 2021

Section 1

April 2021 - Shannon Pham

An image of Shannon Pham, April 2021 Spotlight winner.

Name: Shannon Pham

Year: 4th 

Major: Biological Sciences

Hometown: Fontana, CA

Hobbies: Lifting at the ARC, Playing violin, Hiking

Unique Fact: Has birthmark in white part of the eye

Unfortunate Fact: Allergic to all nuts and seafood, minor reactions to some fruit

Useless Fact: Can recite the first 40 digits of pi


Involvements at UCI:

  • DecadePlus Mentor for 1st and 2nd year mentees (Fall 2018 - Spring 2021)
    • Mentee (Fall 2017 - Spring 2021)
  • U See Eyes Board Member - Volunteer/Outreach Chair, Publicity Chair, Co-Vice President (one year each position: Fall 2018 - Spring 2021)
    • Member in organization (Fall 2017-Spring 2021)
  • Worked at places located on campus:
    • Student Center Starbucks (Fall 2017 - Winter 2019)
    • Gavin Herbert Eye Institute (Winter 2019 - Spring 2021)
    • University Optometric Center (Winter 2021 - ongoing)
  • Global Medical Training Food Drive Volunteer (Spring 2021) 
  • Remote Area Medical Volunteer (open to UCI Students) (Winter 2018 - Winter 2019)
  • ARC’s You Belong Here Campaign Feature (Spring 2020) 
  • Vietnamese Rose Pageant hosted by UCI’s Vietnamese Student Association: Top 10 Contestant representing UCI among all UC’s (Fall 2019) 

What has been the most fulfilling experience you have had in a leadership role?

My most fulfilling role is that of a peer mentor for first and second years in DecadePlus. It has been my privilege for the past three years to help these underclassmen maintain a certain GPA to keep their Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship. Being a first generation college student and the oldest in my immediate family allows me to provide relatable first-hand insight to guide my mentees. It is fulfilling to witness them progress towards their goals at UCI.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my accomplishment in my journey in the pre-optometry club, U See Eyes, and witnessing the club expand. I was the most active member during my freshman year where I was one of the very few general members, if not the only member besides the board, that would attend our meetings due to lack of club exposure. As I advanced to Volunteer/Outreach Chair, Publicity Chair, then Co-Vice President, I am proud to see our club grow to an amazing 30 active members. I enjoy providing my experience in the pre-optometry field and my academic/personal journey at UCI to the general members. 

Who is your role model at UCI? How have they impacted you?

My role model at UCI is Dr. Susan Ghodsi, an optometrist who works at the University Optometric Center located at the University Town Center (UTC). She attended UCI as an undergrad, volunteered in the campus optometry office when it used to be located in the Student Health Center, and eventually achieved her career as an optometrist in the office I work in as a Student Optometric Assistant. Seeing her thrive through UCI in the same path I am following is something I admire. 

Everyone experiences some form of failure in their life, how have you dealt with it?

In dealing with failure, I allow myself to feel and express myself to not bottle in my emotions; I remember that my feelings are valid. After an initial grief period if needed, I will note that I cannot control anything about the past and can only potentially control the future by redeeming myself. Failures are moreso lessons to work with in bettering the future, thus I will put my main optimistic focus on the present and future. 

What advice would you give to your first year self?

Advice I would give to my first year self is to remember that just being at UCI is something to be proud of and no matter what situation faces you, you will be okay. Be prepared to become more outgoing/confident and for that to be one of the best traits you acquire for your professional and personal life. You will not always perform to your full expectation, but you did what you knew to be best in that time. Forgive yourself because I promise what lies ahead will be even greater.