A UCSF doctoral candidate in neuroscience and a UC Berkeley graduate student in public health were honored at the UC Regents meeting on May 17 with the prestigious UC President’s award in Outstanding Student Leadership in recognition for their cross-campus collaboration while serving on the systemwide Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Workgroup.
Jason Tien and Alberto Hinjosa Ortega have served on the SHIP Workgroup since August 2009, which is focused on containing the rising costs of student health insurance plans, as well as enhancing health insurance benefits plans for graduate and undergraduate students and their dependents.
Launched last year, the UC President's Award honors groups or individuals who find creative solutions to systemwide issues and advance UC's core mission of public service. A selection committee comprised of the UC President Mark Yudof's staff evaluated nominations, and the final decision is made by Yudof.
"Jason and Alberto have brought great energy and ingenuity to this project, and have worked tirelessly for more than two years to represent their fellow students from across the system," Yudof said. "Their success demonstrates the vital importance of student involvement and leadership in university initiatives."
From left, Jason Tien, a UCSF doctoral student, stands with UC President Mark Yudof and Alberto Hinjosa Ortega, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, after the two were recognized with the UC President's Award for Leadership.
In addition to their commitment to the SHIP Workgroup, they played a leadership role in connecting the Workgroup to the UC Student Association, a crucial constituent group that needed to stay informed of ongoing decisions of the workgroup, to ultimately secure campus involvement in the systemwide SHIP plan.
During their two years on the SHIP Workgroup, Tien and Ortega played an active role in monthly discussions while taking on additional responsibilities. Tien attended bargaining sessions as a neutral and balanced contributor when the UAW and the University discussed health insurance benefits for graduate students. Ortega regularly sought feedback from graduate students from across the system on issues the SHIP workgroup debated and wrote summary letters representing UC Student Associations perspective on SHIP issues.
In addition to their academic pursuits, both play leadership roles in the Graduate Student Associations on their respective campuses.