Freshman Seminars 2023 Spring


University Studies

Enrollment in Uni Stu 3 will be restricted to freshmen until the day the 18-unit enrollment limit is lifted. After this date, enrollment in Uni Stu 3 will be open to all lower-division undergraduates.

For more information on the Freshman Seminars, please visit or they call the Undergraduate/Undeclared Advising Office at 949-824-6987. Students may enroll in a maximum of three freshman seminars during their entire time at UCI.


Scroll down for course descriptions.

Courses NameDepartmentInstructorTitleEmailTime

Sleeping for Success
Psychological ScienceAngela LukowskiAssociate Professoralukowsk@uci.eduM 1:00- 1:50p

Race, Gender and Class in STEM
MathJesse WolfsonAssociate Professorwolfson@uci.eduTu 2:00- 2:50p

Photography Techniques
Physics & AstronomyAsantha CoorayProfessoracooray@uci.eduF 2:00- 2:50p

O-Chem Edge
ChemistryVy M DongProfessordongv@uci.eduTh 10:00-10:50a

Life After Cancer
Clinical Pharmacy PracticeAlex ChanProfessora.chan@uci.eduW 4:00-4:50p

How Comedy Works
DramaJoel VeenstraProfessor of Teachingjveenstr@uci.eduTu 11:00-11:50a

Globalization: Problem or Panacea?
SociologyDavid A. SmithProfessordasmith@uci.eduW 11:00-11:50a

The Art of Collaboration and Decision-Making
DanceLIsa NaugleProfessorLNAUGLE@UCI.EDUW 3:00- 3:50p

Pharm SciSam SchrinerAssociate Professor of Teachingschriner@uci.eduTu 1:00- 1:50p

Civil & Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Material ScienceDiego RossoProfessorbidui@uci.eduW 2:00- 2:50p

Mental and Physical Well-being in College
Psychological ScienceDeWayne WilliamsAssistant Professordewaynpw@uci.eduM 9:00- 9:50

The End of High School English?: How AI is (or is not) Transforming Education
Education & InformaticsMark WarschauerProfessormarkw@uci.eduW 4:00- 4:50p

Succeeding in Biomedical Sciences, Allied Health, or Healthcare for First Generation and/or Minority Students
MedicineBrian CummingsProfessor & Associate Deancummings@uci.eduM 12:00-12:50p

Succeeding in Biomedical Sciences, Allied Health, or Healthcare for First Generation and/or Minority Students
MedicineAileen AndersonProfessoraja@uci.eduM 12:00-12:50p

So you want to be a star?
DramaDon HillProfessor of Teachingdonhill@uci.eduM 5:00-5:50p

Aikido & Leadership
Uni StuMichael Dennin & Josh Goldmultiple instructorsjosh@budoaccelerator.orgW 4:00- 5:50p OR Th 4:00- 5:50p
Robot MotionUni StuSolmaz S. KiaAssociate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineeringsolmaz@uci.eduM 12:00-12:50p

Sleeping for Success

Sleep is necessary for life. But what happens when we sleep? And how can sleep contribute to your success as an undergraduate student? We will review and discuss research examining how sleep is related to undergraduate student functioning when considering mental and physical health, responses to stressful situations, specific cognitive assessments, and academic achievement more broadly. You will also learn more about your own sleep habits as we discuss possible ways to improve undergraduate student sleep. Come learn more about how to sleep for undergraduate student success!

Angela Lukowski is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Science. Her recent research has revealed how undergraduate student sleep has changed from pre- to mid-pandemic times, how sleep is associated with academic achievement, and how perceived sleep quality (what undergraduates believe about their sleep, instead of how they actually sleep) is related to reactions to and recovery from a stressful situation. She is excited about working with UCI freshmen to discuss how sleep is associated with healthy living as an undergraduate student and beyond.


Race, Gender and Class in STEM

This seminar will examine the ways that scientific practice and ideology interacts with race, gender and class.  How has “science” been used to justify or cover up racialized, gendered and class-based violence?  Who gets to “do” science? Do notions of scientific “authority” implicitly rely on assumptions about race, gender and class? This seminar will explore these issues through sample case studies from a range of STEM fields.  This seminar was originally co-developed with Prof. Jenn Fang (formerly UCI Biology, now Tulane).

Prof. Jesse Wolfson is an Associate Professor of Mathematics who studies algebraic equations using tools from geometry and topology. He has a long-running collaboration with and serves on the board of directors of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, a Brooklyn based “Post-African/neo-Hoodoo modern dance” company. He also co-founded the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, the nation’s first and largest student think tank


Photography Techniques

This seminar will discuss the physics of modern-day digital cameras and lenses and will discuss different photography composition techniques for portrait, landscape, and other types of photos. The seminar will also explore analysis methods including software such as Lightroom. This seminar is part technology and part creative applications. A genuine interest in photography and an access to at least an entry level DSLR is essential to get the most out of this seminar series.

Professor A. Cooray is an astrophysicist whose research is on developing space telescopes and observatories to observe the universe at infrared wavelengths. He also advised NASA as a member of the advisory council and leads a number of NASA-funded projects to analyze data and build next-generation space equipment. This seminar is mostly based on his experience as a published astrophotographer using digital cameras. The seminar will discuss modern cameras to more complicated cameras used in space for telescopes such as Hubble and James Webb.


O-Chem Edge

Course objective: The goal of this course is to introduce you to concepts in organic chemistry that will help you prepare for the CHEM51 series at UC Irvine. We will share strategies and discuss topics useful to you in organic chemistry and beyond. Our main focus will be on how to think about organic molecules as three-dimensional objects. And so, you’ll learn about stereochemistry and conformational analysis. The course will also emphasize the importance of teaching as a strategy for learning. Students will have the chance to practice presentation skills with individual feedback and advice provided by your instructor.

My name is Vy Dong and I’m a full professor in the chemistry department at UC Irvine where I lead a research team that specializes in organic chemistry. In this freshman seminar, I look forward to sharing with you why o-chem is central to what we know about almost everything around us, including our medicines, food, and fuels. Aside from teaching chemistry, I’m very interested in the topic of how we learn. This course will incorporate the latest neuroscience on learning to help students develop strategies for making things stick. My ultimate goal is to help you ace organic chemistry, while having more time to enjoy your college experience and sleep 8 hours a day.


Life After Cancer

The Big ‘C’ is always a misnomer to many. In fact, cancer is no longer a fatal disease, and survivors of cancer can live long post-treatment. Through a series of seminars, students will learn how cancer has evolved into a chronic condition in many patients, especially among those who are cured. Students will learn about how cancer treatment can cause long-term complications, as well as the cutting-edge research that is currently undertaking around the globe to mitigate these complications.

Alex Chan is a Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice. As an oncology pharmacist, Alex provides care to cancer patients and survivors, and he conducts translational and health services research with an aim to improve supportive and survivorship care.


How Comedy Works

In this course, we explore the ins and outs of comedy. Learn the elements of what makes a joke funny and research the various ways we can make people laugh. Comedy can do so much more beyond entertainment, investigate the positive impact it can have on our lives and work.

Joel Veenstra is a professional stage manager, a production manager, a producer, a filmmaker, and a comedic improviser. He has taught comedic improvisation for over 20 years and has performed comedy professionally throughout the United States.


Globalization: Problem or Panacea?

The word “globalization” is familiar to anyone tuned into global media, and is rapidly emerging as the favorite mantras of political leaders, business executives and news reporters all around the world. It is clearly one of those faddish buzzword that is frequently used but rarely defined (and heavily laden with ideological implications). But in the twenty-first century, the reality of globalization and a growing awareness of global inter-connectedness (even among usually insular US citizens) is an important issue that seems increasingly relevant to our everyday lives.

David A. Smith is a Professor of Sociology who earned a PhD in that field back in 1984 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He’s been the Editor or Co-Editor of three academic journals: SOCIAL PROBLEMS, CONTEMPORARY SOCIOLOGY and, morst recent, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE SOCIOLOGY (a ten-year term ended back in late 2021).  He’s an expert and author of books and articles on global development, world-system analysis, comparative urbanization, and world commodity chains/network analysis.  Smith teaches “Social Problems,” the “Sociology Major Seminars” and has spent several years leading one unit seminars on globalization.


The Art of Collaboration and Decision-Making

Collaboration is a process involving two or more people and often forms the basis by which we complete a task or goal.    This course offers students an opportunity to engage and interact with other students in both structured and improvised scenarios and gain experience with collaborative problem-solving, creativity, and decision-making.  

Lisa Naugle is a choreographer, artistic director, interactive performance designer, improviser, and dance educator.   In collaboration with dancers, composers, media artists, actors, and others, Lisa’s movement compositions (choreography) are designed to interact with live musicians, architecture, objects, and real-time visual and audio media.  She earned her M.F.A. in Choreography from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts and her Ph.D. in Education from the NYU, Music and Performing Arts Professions, in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. 



The majority of individuals in modern society will use drugs at some point in their lives. Most drugs will be taken for legitimate medical purposes, while some are used recreationally. In a very basic manner, this course will introduce students to human physiology, how drugs work and where they come from, some common health issues and the drugs used to treat them, and some well-known recreational drugs.

I’ve been a lecturer in the Pharm Sci department since 2014. I have taught a several classes including physiology (18x), physiology lab (19x), molecular pharmacology (6x), and our public speaking class (36x). I also developed several new classes for the department: H80 (drugs and society), 90 (public speaking), 120L (physiology lab), and 122L (microbiology lab). I have taught this class (Drugs) twice before and very much enjoyed the interaction with a small group of non-science majors and hope to do so again.



Learn all about bubbles and how they are used to clean water. The class will walk you through the basics of water pollution, how bubbles are released in water, and how the oxygen inside them can clean the water once dissolved.

Diego Rosso is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and of Chemical Engineering and Material Science at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also Director of the Water-Energy Nexus Center. Since 2000, he has been investigating aeration systems and the water-energy-carbon nexus of water reclamation and reuse processes.


Mental and Physical Well-being in College

Life in college can both be exciting and overwhelming, which can stressful. This stress, if not regulated properly, can have a negative toll on both your mental and physical health and well-being. The reverse is also true, such that your health and well-being might influence your college experience. Therefore, this seminar draws from research in the domain of Psychophysiology — or the study of the manner in which the mind and body interact — to provide you with scientific evidence linking the college experience with well-being, and vice versa. In turn, I hope that you will gain an deeper and better understanding of your own self-regulation practices and tendencies and how this can be optimized in a college setting, with subsequent benefits for psychophysiological well-being. 

Dr. DeWayne Williams is an Assistant Professor of Psychological Science at the University of California, Irvine. With a broad interest in social health psychology, Dr. Williams’ research specifically focuses on social psychological factors and physiological mechanisms underpinning self-regulation, heath, and heath disparities found between African and European Americans.


The End of High School English?: How AI is (or is not) Transforming Education

Artificial intelligence tools for content creation and feedback–from large language models to conversational agents–are capturing the attention of the world. This seminar will explore controversies related to the use of such tools for the teaching and learning of writing and other subjects and reflect on how they may change education as we know it.

Mark Warschauer is a Professor of Education and Informatics and the Director of the Digital Learning Lab. He is the author of a dozen books and more than 200 papers on the uses of technology for learning. He has been the principal investigator of several large grants related to the uses of AI in Education, including a current NSF grant to produce AI-powered dialogic versions of PBS KIDS science shows. A member of the National Academy of Education, he was the founding editor of Language Learning & Technology journal.


Succeeding in Biomedical Sciences, Allied Health, or Healthcare for First Generation and/or Minority Students

Healthcare/medical research is supported by Federal funding to improve society, and should be evidence-based and color blind. How is biomedical research actually conducted? Are women and minorities treated equally? Students who’s parents have a college degree already have a general idea of how academia works. We will explore Impostor Syndrome, study habits, & how much volunteer work is enough for various careers. We will also discuss how 1st Gen and URM students can be successful while at UCI.

Dr Cummings is Associate Dean for Faculty Development in the School of Medicine. Dr Anderson is the Director of the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. Both are faculty in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr Cummings’ lab studies neuroinflammation and traumatic brain injury. Dr Anderson studies the use of stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries.


So you want to be a star?

So you want to be a Star? Identify what success means to you and develop your critical thinking skills. Create strategies and action plans to achieve your goals and examine what stops you. Explore a research process on how to find a mentor. Learn the art of how to become unstoppable in going for what you really want in life. Develop greater self-esteem by getting in touch with your personal power and achieve a higher level of self-love and acceptance.

Don Hill has worked in the professional theater as an actor, stage manager, production manager, director, producer and union negotiator in a thirty-two year career spanning both coasts. Mr. Hill has worked on Broadway, national tours and numerous regional theaters. As the Chair of the Drama Department, Professor Hill teaches stage management and acting. During his 18 years of teaching at UCI, he has been voted 4 times as “Outstanding Professor of the Year” for the Claire Trevor School of the Arts by the graduating senior class. His production of Avenue Q at UCI won five StageScene LA Awards, including best director.


Aikido and Leadership

Designed for first-gen students, this course welcomes students into a supportive community of friends and instructors that explores leadership through the lens of the non-competitive martial art of aikido. This course will include the theory and practice of key leadership concepts including resilience, communication, decision making, and collaboration. In addition to martial arts practice and leadership development, students will engage with mentors that can boost career readiness and open new doors for professional opportunities. No prior martial arts experience required.

Learn more about the instructors and the Dojo here:



Robot Motion

A robot’s ability to plan its movement without explicit human guidance is a basic prerequisite for robotic autonomy. The objective of motion planning algorithms is to enable an autonomous mobile robot to determine its movements in a cluttered environment to achieve various goals while avoiding collisions. This seminar series cover deterministic classical motion planning algorithms, including sensor-based planning, decomposition and search-based planning. The course intends to expose undergraduate students (Engineering and Computer Science) to solution approaches to problems that they may encounter in emerging technologies and disciplines such as autonomous driving and transportation, smart manufacturing, and general mechanical and aerospace robotic applications.

Solmaz S. Kia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine (UCI). She has a joint appointment with the Computer Science Department of UCI. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from UCI, in 2009, and her M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from the Sharif University of Technology, Iran, in 2004 and 2001, respectively. She was a senior research engineer at SySense Inc., El Segundo, CA from Jun. 2009-Sep. 2010. She held postdoctoral positions in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the UC San Diego and UCI. She was the recipient of UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship from 2012-2014. She is also a recipient of 2017 NSF CAREER award. Dr. Kia’s main research interests, in a broad sense, include nonlinear control theory, distributed optimization/coordination/estimation, and probabilistic robotics.




DROP: The deadline to drop courses is the end of Week 2 by 5:00PM. Drops can be made in WebReg.
CHANGE: The deadline to change grade option or variable units is the end of Week 2 by 5:00PM. Changes can be made in WebReg.
ADD: The deadline to add courses is the end of Week 2 by 5:00PM. Adds can be made in WebReg.