Student Life & Leadership IT

AntLeader Spotlight

October, 2016

Stephanie Gonzalez

2016 - 2017 AntLeader of the Year

Stephanie Gonzalez
Psychology and Social Behavior, Education Sciences
La Puente, CA

UCI Involvements:
CampusWide Honors Program Volunteer, Dream Scholars Mentor, Dreamers Advocate Program - Gala Committee Communications Intern, Higher Education Through Peer Empowerment for Undocumented Students (HOPE.4.US) Mentor, Kappa Delta Pi Vice President (New Chapter on campus), Mt. San Antonio College High School Outreach Intern Specialist, Peer Academic Advising, SOAR Center Outreach Advisory Committee (OAC), SOAR Pathways Peer Educators Coordinator, SOAR Student Initiative Mentorship Program (SIMP) Coordinator, UCI SOAR Center Retention Coordinator, Undergraduate Teaching Assistance, Undocumented Student Programs Intern

What’s one quality/characteristic about yourself that you think you’ve developed since your freshmen year?
One of the biggest qualities that I have improved on since my freshmen year has to be my leadership skills. As a freshman in college I was extremely shy and afraid to come out of my comfort shell. As I began getting involved on campus I soon developed a passion for helping others while gaining leaderships skills along the way. I enjoyed helping to build programs to serve our community here at UCI.

Who is someone that has had a positive impact on you?
At UCI, I have been Impacted by my Professor Dr. Joanne Zinger from the School of Social Ecology. She was one of my first professors at UCI and immediately made me feel engaged and connected to the material. Dr. Zinger is always so helpful and available for her students and goes above and beyond to help. She has helped me grow as a student and a professional by giving me the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant for one of her courses. This position allowed me to realize the passion I have for teaching. She has also impacted me by guiding me and mentoring me through my Honors Senior Thesis.

What is one experience at UC Irvine that has helped you to become a better leader?
UCI has given me the opportunity to attend the ALL-U Conference where I was able to meet and network with great individuals across campus. I was able to learn what leadership means to other people and how I can apply my skills to my involvements on campus and in my future endeavors. I learned so much from great presenters, and the connections that I made at this event opened a new opportunity for me.

How has UCI helped shaped your aspirations?
UCI has blessed me with so many amazing opportunities to grow as a student and as a professional. There are so many opportunities that UCI has to offer that allows you to grain such valuable experience. The Peer Academic Advising Program is just such a wonderful program that has given me the opportunity to counsel and meet with students individually and help them meet their academic goals. This position has allowed me to discover the passion that I have for counseling students and has sparked my interest in pursuing a Master’s Program in Academic Counseling. UCI also offers such unique and amazing majors. I specifically chose to come to UCI because of the unique Psychology and Social Behavior Major and Field Study Component. I was able to gain professional experience and find my passion in Student Affairs while completing my Field Study for the School of Social Ecology. Additionally, the SOAR Center on campus has shaped my passion for battling the issues we face on campus and in higher education related to retention! Being a Retention Coordinator allows me to play my part in combating the issue of low retention rates for our underrepresented and underserved communities by creating, implanting, and running two new programs.

What are you looking forward to this school year?
This is my last year at UCI, and I am hoping to enjoy my last year as an undergrad by treasuring all the moments and make memories with old and new friends. I have worked extremely hard to create two new programs for the SOAR Center on campus, so I am also looking forward to working on and seeing them come to life this academic year!