Meet the

UCI Humanities

Welcome to the UCI School of Humanities--where future leaders, communicators, scholars, CEOs, storytellers, creatives, directors, writers, and entrepreneurs come to get their start. Below, meet UCI Humanities students and alumni who are excelling with their humanities degrees in a variety of pursuits from virtual-reality journalism to entertainment law.

Meet UCI Humanities students & alumni

Ethical fashionista

“UCI’s Literary Journalism program developed my skills in employing creativity; specifically challenging traditional forms of storytelling, which I’m able to do through my ethical fashion blog. UCI helped me to think of myself, and my work, as avant-garde.”

- Aditi Mayer, literary journalism major and founder of

Emmy winner

“UC Irvine allowed me to innovate, create, and build organizations, workflows, and published work from nothing but pure ideas. The supportive staff and faculty allowed me freedom and space to get messy and make mistakes, but also wise counsel and incredibly valuable resources and assistance. Overall, this prepared me to be scrappy, creative, and relentlessly positive to achieve a vision for a project or story.”

- Michaela Holland ’16 (B.A. literary journalism), 2018 Emmy Award-winner and virtual-reality expert

Right at home

"I chose UCI for many reasons, but one of the most important aspects of UCI is how the School of Humanities has made me feel so much at home here. UCI is a huge university, but I quickly realized that there are so many things to make me feel at home in the school. The School of Humanities fosters a tight-knit community; I have never had a problem speaking with professors or other faculty, and the sheer amount of clubs and organizations of all kinds within humanities has helped me ease into life as a UCI student. UCI Humanities has quickly become my home and a place where I feel welcomed; its truly a special place. "

- Brad Seward, history major and peer academic advisor

Award-winning poet

"In 2010, I graduated from UC Irvine. My first poetry class, I fell in love. Soon after, I changed my major from political science to English and added the emphasis in poetry. Susan Davis, Greg McClure, and Colette Atkinson ushered me forward with great care. They taught me how to care. It’s one thing to be agreeable; it’s another thing to care."

- E.J. Koh ’10 (B.A. in English), award-winning poet, author of A Lesser Love and The Magical Language of Others

Part of the crew

“Everyone was so welcoming and sincerely genuine in helping us UCI students through the [internship] process and showing us the ropes of it all. I was always in awe being among the [HBO] crew – to think I was working closely with Emmy Award-winners! – and I learned something new every day, from small things like how to properly label Compact Flash memory cards to bigger concepts like how a real-world crew efficiently runs a fast-paced production.”

- Kaly Ngo, film & media studies major and former intern for HBO's "Hard Knocks"

Empathy advocate

"I’m happy I chose UCI. The simple, geek reason: the learning. There is the intellectual learning, of course, thanks in no small part to UCI’s talented pool of professors, who somehow take the most complex, most confounding, and even most boring subjects and not only make them legible, but also genuinely worthwhile and fascinating. But there is also the learning that can only really come from a class like Asian American studies, which is that of learning to empathize. This is the learning I cherish most of all from my time here. It is a privilege to have been taught the largely untold, Asian American stories of pain, courage, pride, sacrifice, failure, and success from such knowledgeable and esteemed individuals like Dr. Linda Vo, Dr. Judy Wu, Dr. Dorothy Fujita-Rony, and Dr. Julia Lee. UCI, in other words, helped me to not only intellectually understand the world, but also, more importantly, understand others and for that I am grateful."

-Jonathan Agena ’18 (B.A. in Asian American studies), current 4+1 M.A. student in Asian American studies

Film fan & attorney

"My education at UCI definitely helped my trajectory in quite a few ways. I made the best of my film and media studies major by taking as many television classes as possible, and I really tried to expand my scope of knowledge. I picked up on terminology, history, and learned how the television industry came to be, and how it has changed over time. I also learned how to think critically, and write effectively – which has helped immensely as an attorney. I was unsure what I wanted my career to be when I was at UCI, but I knew it involved film or television, and UCI gave me the foundation I needed."

- Henri Moussissians ’11 (B.A. in film & media studies), Director of Legal Affairs for Warner Brothers Television

Creative writer

"I've always wanted to be a writer and that dream essentially lead me to UC Irvine. I'd heard about UCI's incredible M.F.A. creative writing program before I even applied. At UCI, I accomplished my goals and pursued the creative writing emphasis and solidified my love for poetry. However, I got to practice writing in different ways! I got to be a part of Soulstice League and try writing comedy for the first time in my life. UC Irvine has provided me with so much and I feel so blessed."

- Misha Ponnuraju, English major, editor-in-chief of New Forum, and blogger for UCI Unfiltered

Budding journalist

"From incredible internships and jobs, to amazing faculty and resources, I can say with certainty that UCI has fully supported me financially and emotionally. The environment will push you to strive for an excellence you've not yet defined for yourself and in the process you will grow. Most importantly, the faculty I've had the pleasure of being taught by have always expressed their interest in my success as a student. Lastly, finding something that I'm passionate about was the easiest; UCI organizations provided me with the means to explore journalism and helped me discover my passion for it. I remember thinking that going away would be an awesome experience, but I can't say for certain that any other place would have had my back like UCI does or given me the opportunities to work closely with such talented faculty. I chose UCI because I knew that I would meet people and have experiences that would make my studies at UCI matter. Truthfully, there is no place I'd rather be. "

- Orbelin Portillo Blancas, philosophy major and public relations director for InSight Magazine

Freedom writer

"Twenty-five years ago, I graduated from UCI's Department of English hopeful that I was academically prepared to make a difference. The lessons I learned at UCI encouraged me to pursue a profession that was more about possibility, than a paycheck. My passion for literature led me to a classroom, where my once struggling students were able to use words instead of weapons to leave a legacy. Like the classics from the canon I read as an undergrad, my students penned their own harrowing tale in the best-selling book, The Freedom Writers Diary. I credit my experience as an educator to my enlightening education at UCI."

- Erin Gruwell ’91 (B.A. in English), founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation

Social media marvel

“UCI has given me so much in the quarters I’ve been here from fascinating classes to funny faculty and an internship that has taught me a lot about the industry I’m hoping to go into. The greatest part about UCI truly is the people. Everyone here is so friendly and excited about what they’re studying or working on. Trust me – I’m on my third college and UCI is the best one of them all.”

– Audrey Fong, English major, New Forum editor, and social media intern for the School of Humanities

Game changer

"I had a great time at UCI. My film and media studies major was a huge help in preparing me for my career. It helped build the critical thinking skills, collaboration, and work ethic that serve me every day at work. And the bonds I formed with the people I studied and made films with are strong enough that I still talk to many of the same people today, almost ten years later."

- Tim Fujieda-Feldman ’08 (B.A. in film and media studies), game level designer at Blizzard

Passionate art historian

"UCI has given me so many opportunities that I'm eternally grateful for. When I started four years ago, I would have never thought that I would have been able to do the things I have done and am doing. I found a lifelong passion and drive and aptitude for learning at this university."

- Jamie Joo ’18 (B.A. in art history), 4+1 M.A. student in art history, former peer academic advisor, and UCI Unfiltered blogger

Story hunter

"The school definitely formed my foundation as a reporter. There are various methods to dig and discover details. My courses and professors steered me to ask the right questions, to undercover a subject's hidden layers, and overall, just to tell a captivating story. Because that's what viewers and readers hunger for – a story that intrigues them, moves them, and shows them a piece of the world they may not normally have access to."

- Irene Cruz ’13 (B.A. in literary journalism), 10 p.m. anchor at News 4 San Antonio

Asking questions

"What drives me is the desire to know more. The desire to understand the answers to questions. Growing up, I felt like I couldn't ask a lot of questions – that it wasn't allowed, that it was inappropriate. And coming here to UCI, I realized that it wasn't inappropriate – that was the point, that was why I was a humanities major."

- Aya Labanieh ’18 (B.A.s in French, philosophy, and comparative literature)

UCI philosophizers

"Philosophy is an engaging field of study that's widely applicable across different areas. I recommend it to anyone interested in being critical about certain ideas or issues. UCI has a great breadth of philosophy classes to take, and there are always plenty of books to read up on the subject matter. I believe philosophy is a great tool that can change the world and how we see it."

- Adrian Perez (top row, second from the left), philosophy and computer science double major, co-president of the Philosophy Club, and founding member of the undergraduate journal FALSAFA

Media maven

"I’m indebted to my [UCI] instructors and mentors for coaching me on how to come up with good story ideas and develop my narrative nonfiction abilities."

- Sona Patel ’06 (B.A.s in literary journalism and Spanish), senior social strategy editor for The New York Times

From anteater to author

"The literary journalism program at UCI helped shape the writer I am today. I learned to interview subjects, write with meaning and purpose, and edit my work into oblivion until it resembled something semi-decent! In my day-to-day at InStyle, where I wrote about film, TV, celebrities, and pop culture, I still used many of the grammatical techniques that I learned at UCI."

- Janelle Grodsky Taylor ’09 (B.A. in literary journalism), former editor at InStyle, currently writing a novel

German aficionado

"Learning German is one of the best decisions I made at UCI because I can take a break from engineering - away from the math and physics and practice a language I like!"

- Wing Yan Hoh, German studies and biomedical engineering double major, won the undergraduate award in German studies

Media innovator

“UCI is where I learned my sense of self, place and history in the world. With help from my professors, I learned how I can use media to shed light on the stories and the humanity of people who are just not being shown in the media.”

- Nida Chowdhry ’09 (B.A.s in English & film and media studies), co-creator of “Unfair & Ugly” and "#TodayIMet" on YouTube

Lay-up master

“The instruction felt like it was always geared towards preparing you for the workforce after graduation, and from my experience, the faculty of the Literary Journalism Program are truly invested in the success of their students, and will make time out of their busy schedules to see to that."

-Brendan Yu ’16 (B.A. in literary journalism), sports and digital media editor of Curry Coastal Pilot

Literature lover

“I chose UCI because I heard that they have a great English program. The campus is close to the beach and Disneyland and I’ve made some really good friends. Not to mention, my teachers have been very supportive and expressive, making the subjects way more exciting to learn.”

- Courtney Carter, English major and transfer student

Early education advocate

"I never thought I’d achieve what I did...that’s the power of public education and the essence of my experience at UCI."

- Rigoberto (Rigo) Rodríguez ’93 (B.A.s in comparative literature and Spanish literature)

Hollywood's curator

"The film and media studies program at UCI really kick started my love of cinema and my desire to study film history."

- Kendra Bean ’06 (B.A. in film and media studies), author, museum curator, speaker and website host

Community builder

"Outside of what the tools, workshops, and classes gave me in regards to talking about poems, one thing I've kept in my mind since undergrad was when Susan Davis said, 'When you find your community, hold them tight.' The people I met in my workshops at UC Irvine, San Diego State, and across a few other summer workshops I've done are still people I keep in touch with."

- Carly Joy Miller '11 (B.A. in English with an emphasis in creative writing), award-winning poet, author of Ceremonial and Like a Beast, and Locked Horn Press editor

Cultural gamer

"I fell in love with Japanese video games at a young age, leading me to an interest in East Asian culture as a whole. I hope to bring my knowledge of East Asian culture and how it shapes their video game culture to an American video game company in the future."

- Cory Lynde, East Asian cultures major

UCI Humanities information

Humanities Office of Undergraduate Study

Visit the UCI Humanities Office of Undergraduate Study to learn more about our majors and minors

4 reasons the future will rely on humanities majors

Authored by UCI Humanities Dean Tyrus Miller, this article discusses why new technological and scientific advancements need humanists at every stage

Meet a few of your professors & mentors

Zine queen

Modern medievalist

Global cinephile

History connector

Meet more UCI Humanities faculty here.


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