The UCI Sustainability team is beyond proud and excited to announce that Gracie Wong will be honored with the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award at the 2019 Lauds and Laurels Award Ceremony hosted by the UCI Alumni Association. Lauds & Laurels is the university’s oldest awards ceremony, a tradition that has recognized more than 800 members of the UCI community for their service to the university, the community or their profession.
Gracie served as the Food Waste Fellow of the University of California Global Food Initiative for two and a half years as she collaborated with campus partners to develop engaging programs to increase awareness on food waste. She composed and received grants totaling over $15,000 for sustainability projects, including a College Sustainability Cookbook which she designed. This sensational resource helps young adults understand weighty topics such as GMO foods, organic farming, and fair trade while learning easy, affordable recipes and reducing food waste. The cookbook has been distributed to over 6,000 students and was featured in the UCI News. Furthermore, she has presented her fellowship work at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference several times. As an undergraduate student, Gracie was also heavily involved with various sustainability initiatives on campus through her leadership roles in EarthReps, Costa Rica Program, and the Student Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Moreover, she has been a team leader for the UCI Outdoor Adventure alternative spring break trip to Catalina Island and an active member of the campus Earth Systems Science Club. In each of these endeavors, she has combined academic rigor with creative design and public education.
Gracie graduated in December of 2018 with a B.S. in Earth System Science. Currently, she is a junior specialist working in the Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions Lab run by Dr. Saewung Kim and Dr. Alex Guenther at UCI. Her research involves instrumentation development, measurements, and analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions. Gracie is currently awaiting acceptance into a PhD program in Atmospheric Sciences as she is passionate about air pollution research. In her personal statement for graduate school applications, Gracie writes:
“After grad school, I plan to join government labs that focus on the management of air quality and aid in the development technology and methods. Although finding the answers to my questions through research is my primary motivator, I am committed to broaden my impact through mentorship and science communication outreach to those interested in a similar path, especially women and minorities.”