Graduate Division


Section 1

Anteaters Stay Resilient in Face of COVID-19

Our inaugural #Gradeater Spotlight features Connor Strobel, a fourth year PhD candidate in UCI’s Sociology department. In addition to his studies, Strobel serves as the newest president for the Associated Graduated Students (AGS). AGS is a student run organization that serves as a liaison between UCI’s graduate students and the university. Prior to becoming President, Connor served as vice president for 4 years and helmed the UC Graduate and Professional Council, the systemwide advocacy organization. Drawing from his experiences prior to UCI, Connor has been a mentor to UCI’s club Students Consulting Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO) for 6 years. He graduated early, summa cum laude with a BA from the University of New Hampshire.

UCI caught up with Strobel to ask about his studies, his new AGS president role, and more.

Q: Why did you decide to continue your education at UCI?

A: It was a pretty easy decision for me. Aside from the great education I really wanted to end up on the west coast. California is not a bad place to be.

Q: What made you get involved in AGS and why did you eventually run for AGS president?

A: I’ve always liked making a difference and felt it was important for me to do so. I get a lot of pride in being able to represent the student body and voicing their concerns in the most responsible way I can. I think AGS is such an important organization, not only for the students, but for the university as well. Sometimes it’s hard to access and see what things the university is trying to do and why. AGS can sometimes translate that message a little easier since it is an organization run by students. It also works the other way as well, where we have access to some university officials that some students may not.

Q: You’ve been elected into your position at a time with a lot of uncertainty, not only within our community, but the country as a whole? What are some of the issues you plan to focus on right away?

A: Yes, it certainly is a wild time in our world right now, but one of the things I’d like to do right away is try and get our administration and student body on the same team. I think a lot of our students have lost trust in the administration, fairly or unfairly, but that’s unfortunately not unique for UCI. There is a lot of frustration with policy regarding COVID-19, when it comes to coming back to campus or the housing policy. I think both sides just need to do a better job of understanding the other’s point of view. I think safety, peace of mind, and wellness in the graduate school environment or some of the most important things I want to focus on right away.

Q: Describe your research

A: My research focuses on how people’s world views and frames affect people’s health and legal outcome. Some of my work also focuses on how differences in gender can determine how someone recovers from an eating disorder. Racism and social injustice is a real thing not only in this country, but around the world. There are a lot of factors that determine how an individual is preserved and treated. That’s what I’m trying to solidify.

Q: What was your reaction to being elected the newest AGS president?

A: Honestly it was a complete honor. Shane (Wood) was a strong person in this position before me, so AGS and the student body would have been in great hands no matter the outcome. With that being said, I think my background and connections can provide a lot of benefits for the university. UCI and the people affiliated with this university are truly things I care about, so it’s not hard for me dedicate myself to the university. I certainly won’t have to do it alone either, as I have a great cabinet who will fight for this university and students right alongside me.