What makes the University Honors Program special?

Erin Park explores a support system, an enriching community and a platform from which to grow

Watch the video above to learn why students participate in the program and how "I am UHP" is more than a catchy slogan. 

When Erin Park came to UC Davis in 2022, she enrolled in the University Honors Program, or UHP. Park, now a double major in cognitive science and design, quickly realized how special the honors program experience was for her and many others. This passion led to her creation of a video of student experiences she hoped to share with future students. She developed the video while serving as the student communications coordinator for the program.

UC Davis's honors program distinguishes itself as “the experience of a small college with the opportunities of a world-class research university.” For many top students, joining an honors program provides access to unique undergraduate opportunities and further establishes them for future endeavors, such as graduate or professional school, research or employment.

In Park’s video, "I am UHP," her fellow students shared what the honors experience meant to them. According to Park, "the term ‘honors’ often carries a stigma of exclusivity. I hoped to highlight how our honors program challenges this idea by catering to a diverse student body with various experiences, backgrounds and identities."

Along the way, she realized the most valuable insight she gained was that honors means something different to everyone.

For Damian Murillo, a fourth-year biochemistry and molecular biology major and transfer student, the program's benefits extend beyond the classroom.

“The support from UHP has been integral for me as both a student and a budding scientist,” Murillo said in his interview. “The honors program community welcomed and included me. Moreover, as others support me, I can support someone else when they struggle."

"The program strives to be a community that fosters intellectual humility and values freedom of expression,” Kate Andrup Stephensen, director of the University Honors Program, said about the program. “Our students represent all four colleges at UC Davis and the four corners of the world. Our core program strength is diversity of thought and experience."

"The project demonstrated our students' remarkable abilities to find community across difference while leaning into their identity and lived experience," said Stephensen, in speaking to Park’s final project.