The birth of a Model UN at UCI

UCI’s Model U.N. in 1994

By Robert Rodriguez ’94

In 1992, I transferred to UCI as a political science major. Having participated in Model United Nations throughout high school, I was pleased to find that many of my classmates had similar experiences. We organized ourselves as a campus club and hosted the first UCI Model U.N. conference for high school students in 1993. I served as a committee chair for the Security Council.

The following year, we convinced the political science department to offer class credit for Model U.N., led by a graduate teaching assistant. I served as the secretary-general for the conference in 1994. Recently, I read that UCI had hosted its 23rd annual Model U.N. conference. It gives me great joy to see that our legacy has continued on for more than two decades!

24_UCI_SAEP_1993The summer before my senior year, I planned on using my political science degree to become a high school social studies teacher. Then Caesar Sereseres, associate professor of political science, pulled me into his office and insisted I participate in the Summer Academic Enrichment Program. It offered students a chance to take courses in research methods and writing as well as to meet a host of inspirational speakers who encouraged us to go to graduate school. As a first-generation college student, I didn’t have a clear sense of what graduate school entailed. But by the end of the summer program, my career goals had completely changed.

I went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Kansas and became an assistant professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce. When I published my first book, The Regulation of Boxing: A History & Comparative Analysis of Policies Among American States, I made sure to credit Dr. Sereseres and the UCI Summer Academic Enrichment Program for changing the course of my career path.

A couple of years ago, I ran into Dr. Sereseres at a conference and was able to thank him in person for the profound influence he had on my life.

*Images provided by Robert Rodriguez.