At the newest theme house in Arroyo Vista, members of the Student Achievement Guided by Experience Scholars Program celebrated a successful first quarter with its first annual open house last Thursday, Feb. 2. Administrators and members from the Paul Merage School of Business, SAGE Scholars Program, Dean of Students, School of Information and Computer Science and Student Housing attended the event to recognize the progress of the SAGE Scholars House since its opening last September.
According to a speech by Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services Juan Francisco Lara, the Center for Educational Partnerships saw the need for a program that would directly connect promising students with employers through paid internships, strong mentoring and financial awards. The program became a reality in Dec. 1999.
After six years, the program has expanded by adding a SAGE Scholars theme house on campus. This year, due to the over-enrollment of incoming freshmen, the SAGE house held 14 freshmen residents and 10 upperclassmen (who were not necessarily part of the SAGE Scholars Program), guided by the common themes of leadership, entrepreneurship, community service and business ethics.
House Assistant Torch Sathienmars, a fourth-year political science and international studies double major, noted the high turnout rates at over 50 hall events, general enthusiasm and interaction among the residents.
‘It’s a unique first house, a vibrant community,’ Sathienmars said. ‘Everyone is laid back, so it was easier to get to know people.’
Elaine Lipiz, associate director of the SAGE Scholars Program, was also pleased with the progress of the new house.
‘The house has a passion,’ Lipiz said. ‘The students have done many events that focus on the common themes in creative ways such as ‘Leadership in the Movies,’ planning UNICEF fundraisers for monthly community service projects and attending workshops held by the program.’
‘We plan to continue in our [Distinguished Speakers Series] by inviting Professor Grace McLaughlin to give a talk that explores themes of leadership in the ‘Harry Potter’ series,’ Hamilton said.
Sathienmars acknowledged the efforts of both Hamilton and Lipiz as well as the combined work of the many individuals involved in the program.
‘This open house is not just a social gathering, but also a thank you to the SAGE people, the UCI Administration, the School of Business and everyone working behind the scenes,’ Sathienmars said. ‘They make it happen and they should get credit.’
As the only resident of the house participating in the SAGE Scholars Program, second-year informatics major Gabriela Marcu shared her experiences in the past year.
‘My brother was in the program, so I heard all about the benefits before I started attending Irvine,’ Marcu said. ‘I first applied for housing in the Campuswide Honors Program houses, but I missed the deadline, and applied for the SAGE house instead. The environment is very similar. The students here are motivated and they care about their schoolwork.’
Marcu further explained that the SAGE program provides tips on how to prepare for the professional field.
‘The program requires you to take two classes to gain resume skills, tips for interviewing, even cubicle manners to prepare you to do well in your career,’ Marcu said. ‘It really gives you a head start, because you’re trained while you’re still in college.’
Students who take the class as SAGE finalists receive two units and are committed to a two-year internship with companies such as Bank of America, Broadcom, Merrill Lynch and Quicksilver. Graduate students from the Paul Merage School of Business also mentor SAGE finalists and SAGE House residents.
‘I think students who are in the program end up benefiting from all the great skills that they learn, because the experience can even help them get internships outside the program,’ Marcu said.
With students mingling with mentors and others easily falling into conversation, it was evident that the new hall was ‘not a house, but a home,’ according to Sathienmars.
‘I have watched this house innovate and grow. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen at UCI,’ Sathienmars said.