Student Ambassadors spotlight
Student Ambassadors to the Rescue

This piece was written by Pat Phillips and appeared in the January 2009 issue of the CSTSA Voice and is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher.

photo: student ambassadors for 2008
The 2008-09 Bren School Student Ambassadors, back row (L to R): Gabriela Marcu, Tae Kim, Alex Bretana, Sam Kaufman, Christopher Riviere-Escobedo. Front row (L to R): Krishna Patel, Victoria Hirth, Martin Pieters.

Now in its second year, the University of California Irvine's (UCI) Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) Student Ambassadors program is on a mission to reach out to potential students through a near-peer outreach program that profiles student successes.

The program features seven student ambassadors who are the face and voice of Bren ICS to prospective students. They are responsible for outreach and promotion to area high schools and community colleges and also participate in on-campus functions.

The ambassadors use a wide variety of outreach strategies including planning, scheduling, and hosting outreach events; developing and reviewing marketing materials; and providing school and campus information to prospective students and their families by phone, electronic, and in-person meetings.

For example, they recently produced a flyer for distribution to schools that invites students to e-mail their questions to them.

Each ambassador also develops working relationships with 3 to 4 feeder high schools or community colleges and contributes to the team blog at

Check out our spotlight page to read more profiles of Bren School students, faculty and alumni.

The ambassadors provide valuable information about CS and Bren ICS from a student’s point of view. Prospective students from high schools and community colleges learn first-hand about college life and student concerns, as well as about courses and class projects.

They believe their success in connecting to students is due to their ability to identify with younger students and to provide a peer-level view of college and CS today.

The ambassadors’ outreach is not limited to potential Irvine students. They also work to build an identity and community among students in the Bren ICS program through such events as ice cream socials.

The ambassadors also gain important skills and experience from their involvement in this program. They have the opportunity to strengthen their public speaking, program and event planning, teamwork, and leadership skills.

The 2008 Ambassador team includes:

  • Krishna Patel and Christopher Riviere-Escobedo, Computer Science and Engineering majors
  • Tae Kim, Sam Kaufman, Gabriela Marcu, and Alex Bretana, Informatics majors
  • Martin Pieters, Information and Computer Science major

The team is directed by Christine M. Leon, Director, Student Affairs for Bren ICS. Teachers can request information by e-mailing