Jennifer Hyman: 2009 UCLA Senior of the Year

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From the first moment Jennifer Hyman stepped onto campus, she wanted to take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities UCLA offered. With a passion for community service and a commitment to excellence, she believed that the purpose of life was to help others. As a UniCamp counselor, campus tour guide and president of the Alumni Scholar’s Club (ASC), she strove to make a difference and help others in need wherever she went. Graduating with a double major in psychology and economics, Hyman aspired to enter the field of corporate special event planning, where she would continue to fundraise and facilitate events for the entertainment or nonprofit industries.

Hyman said that her involvement with the ASC had created lasting memories and friendships that she will carry with her forever. Four years ago, Hyman did not know how she would affect a campus of 40,000 students and faculty, but on Feb. 7, 2008, her devotion and commitment made her vision an unexpected reality. With only a small group of seven peers, Hyman led and coordinated the Locks of Love “Save the Hair” drive, during which the public donated a total of 2,200 inches of hair for children who suffer from hair loss. She said that despite leading the way, “the true essence of leadership is to deconstruct the hierarchy of leader and followers and instead, raise all followers to the header’s level, for it is only then, with a unified passion, a unified mission, and a unified vision that the impossible happens.” By holding this event, she proved to herself and others around her that hard work, perseverance and confidence really could change another person’s life.

Furthermore, her dedication to service had not hindered her personal accomplishments. Boasting an impressive 3.98 GPA, Hyman had truly mastered the delicate balance of academics and extracurricular activities.  Hyman emphasized the importance of doing it all but not losing oneself in the process. She advised future Bruins to “Go to class. The education you get here from the incredible professors will actually rock your socks off, just try it.” Hyman mentioned that one particular person, Roz Scherer, a past director of the Alumni Association, had influenced her experiences as a Bruin by encouraging and pushing her through the toughest of times.

Throughout her undergraduate years, Hyman’s struggles and accomplishments caused her to emerge as an even stronger individual. Despite challenges along the way, UCLA had allowed her to experience and change lives in ways she had never envisioned. Looking back at her involvement and contribution towards the community, Hyman’s heart was always filled with compassion, motivation and kindness, making her a truly exceptional Bruin.