About this collection

"What Matters to Me and Why" was selected as a collection because it provides an insight into the path chosen by successful university academics and professionals. Below, we organize these talks by the year given and provide descriptions of each.

Is it a Crime to Rhyme?

List of Speakers

Francisco Ayala

Francisco J. Ayala, Ph.D., is University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He has published more than 1,000 articles and is author or editor of 38 books. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He received the 2001 U.S. National Medal of Science and the 2010 Templeton Prize. The New York Times named Ayala the "Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology."

Clare Yu

Professor Yu earned her A. B. (1979) and Ph.D. (1984) from Princeton University. She did postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Los Alamos National Laboratory before joining the faculty at UCI in 1989. She is the recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. She has a broad range of research interests which include disordered systems, biophysics, noise, and quantum computing. In this segment of "What Matters to Me and Why", Professor Clare Yu Ph.D talks about how religion and her beliefs influenced her in her endeavors.

Professor Hung Fan

The series continues Jan. 16 with Hung Fan, professor of virology and molecular biology in the School of Biological Sciences, and director of the Cancer Research Institute. Professor Fan investigates retroviruses to understand how they replicate and cause cancer. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology.

Karen Lane

Karen Lane, clinical director of the UC Irvine Breast Health Center, is a surgical oncologist who specializes in examining and treating patients with benign and cancerous breast lumps. She is dedicated to ensuring that breast cancer patients have access to the most current and comprehensive treatments and resources available in Orange County. For the past several years, she has focused her attention on improving follow-up care and quality of life for breast cancer survivors.

Paul Dourish

Paul Dourish is a professor of informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences, with courtesy appointments in computer science and anthropology. His research focuses primarily on understanding information technology as a site of social and cultural production; his work combines topics in human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, and science and technology studies.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature, is founding director of UC Irvine's International Center for Writing & Translation. A renowned literary and social activist, Ngugi is a prolific author. His most recent novel, In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir, has received acclaim worldwide.

Jeanett Castellanos

Jeanett Castellanos is director of the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center. The SSARC operates under her theory of the Five Pillars of Education - research, leadership, practical experience, community service and academics. She also serves as a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, coordinator for the social science major, and director of the Social Sciences Honors Program. She is the recipient of the American Psychological Association Division 12 (Clinical Psychology) Samuel M. Turner Mentorship Award.

Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky is founding dean, Distinguished Professor of Law and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law at the UC Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in political science. His areas of expertise are constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, and appellate litigation. He frequently argues cases before the nation’s highest courts, and serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media.

An Interview with Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Irvine School of Law

Short Q&A section with Erwin Chemerinsky

Nicole Mitchell

Creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator, Nicole Mitchell is professor of music in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts’ Integrated Composition, Improvisation & Technology program. Mitchell’s compositions bridge sound worlds, integrating new music with sounds from the legacy of jazz, gospel, pop and African percussion. Recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts 2011 and the Doris Duke Award 2012, Mitchell has been named “the most important jazz flutist of her generation” (All About Jazz).

Interview with Douglas Haynes and Nicole Mitchell

Q & A Session with Nicole Mitchell and Douglas Haynes

Bill Heidbrink

Bill Heidbrink, professor of physics in the School of Physical Sciences, studies "fast" ions in magnetic fusion experiments. He joined the UC Irvine faculty in 1988, received the Lauds & Laurels award for Distinguished Teaching in 1995, and was named an American Physical Society fellow in 1996. In 2004, he received the APS Excellence in Plasma Physics Research award. He enjoys teaching all levels of the curriculum and trains undergraduates to perform physics assemblies in local elementary school

Donald Blake

Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Donald Blake, Ph.D. ’84, is best known for his groundbreaking work with UCI’s late Nobel laureate F. Sherwood Rowland on air pollution, global warming and climate change. Over the last three decades, Professor Blake’s air samples have shed light on the quantification of greenhouse gases, gases affecting stratospheric ozone levels, and those causing urban smog formation. He received the American Chemical Society’s 2013 Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology.

Interview Between Douglas Haynes and Don Blake

Q&A with Douglas Haynes and Donald Blake

Cecilia Lynch

The 2013-14 series continues on Wednesday, April 9, with Cecelia Lynch, political science professor in the School of Social Sciences. Professor Lynch works on religion and ethics in international affairs, social movements and civil society organizations, and interpretive/qualitative methods in social science research. She directs the International Studies program and leads the Institute for International, Global and Regional Studies. Recipient of UCI’s inaugural Living Our Values Award in 2007, Professor Lynch also has won numerous awards for her research and publications. She founded and co-edits, with colleagues in Africa and the U.S., the Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa blog.

Coach Russell Turner

The 2013-14 series concludes Wednesday, May 14, with Russell Turner, head coach of UCI’s men’s basketball team. Coach Turner was named 2014 Big West Conference Coach of the Year and NABC District 9 Coach of the Year after leading the Anteaters to their first league regular-season title in 12 years and second consecutive 20-win season. He was named UCI’s head coach in 2010, after serving the previous six seasons as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, following positions at Stanford University and Wake Forest University.

Elizabeth Loftus

Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Loftus is renowned for her groundbreaking work on the malleability of human memory. She holds faculty positions in the schools of Social Ecology, Social Sciences and Law. Her 30 years of research have focused on the misinformation effect, eyewitness fallibility, and the creation and nature of false memories. In a list of the 20th century’s most eminent psychologists, the journal Review of General Psychology placed Loftus No. 58 – making her the top-ranked woman

Natalie Schonfeld

Natalie Schonfeld joined UCI in 1998 and is director of student transition services in the Division of Undergraduate Education. She has more than 20 years of university experience working with students, faculty and staff in both public and private institutions. Her prior higher education experience includes work in student affairs, research and academic units. She holds a Ph.D. in education from Claremont Graduate University; a master’s in public policy from California State University, Chico; and a bachelor’s in government and French from Pomona College.

Interview with Douglas Haynes and Natalie Schonfeld

Q&A with Douglas Haynes and Natalie Schonfeld

Arthur Lander

Dr. Arthur Lander, Donald Bren Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology, is a recognized leader in the emerging field of systems biology whose research has helped identify underlying causes for some cancers and birth defects. He holds appointments in both developmental & cell biology and biomedical engineering and is founding director of the campus’s Center for Complex Biological Systems, which supports research, education and outreach by teams of biologists, mathematicians, physical scientists and engineers.

Interview with Douglas Haynes and Arthur Lander

Q&A with Douglas Haynes and Arthur Lander

David Reinkensmeyer

David Reinkensmeyer is a professor in the departments of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Anatomy & Neurobiology and Biomedical Engineering. He received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from MIT in 1988, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1991 and 1993, respectively. His goals include developing physically interacting, robotic and mechatronic devices to help the nervous system recover arm, hand, and leg movement ability after neurologic injuries such as stroke and spinal cord injury

Interview with Douglas Haynes and David Reinkensmeyer

Q&A with Douglas Haynes and David Reinkensmeyer

Mark Warschauer

Mark Warschauer is a professor of education and informatics and associate dean of UCI’s School of Education. He previously taught and conducted research at the University of Hawaii, Moscow Linguistics University, Charles University in Prague, and Waseda University in Japan; and served as educational technology director of a large educational reform project in Egypt. He is director of the Digital Learning Lab at UCI, where, together with colleagues and students, he works on a range of research projects related to digital media in education.

Interview with Douglas Haynes and Mark Warschauer

Q&A with Douglas Haynes and Mark Warschauer

What Matters to Me and Why


Personal Journeys: Choices made, difficulties encountered, commitments grasped and joys revealed.

This informal lunchtime series is designed to build and strengthen bonds between people who teach, learn and work together daily, and to foster understanding of how each of us embraces the UCI values.

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