Graduation Year: 

2014

Current Position/Employer: 

Environmental Scientist at the US Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett's Environmental Compliance department

When President Obama spoke at UCI’s Class of 2014 graduation commencement ceremony, he spoke extensively on climate change. I thought it was such an inspiring speech that I decided to send a hand-written letter to President Obama thanking him. In September of 2015, I received a phone call from the White House saying that my letter had been read and the Obama administration wanted to invite me to a White House State Dinner in honor of the President of China, Xi JinPing. I took my mother as my plus one and we were off to possibly the highest class dinner we will ever attend in our lives. Upon entering the White House, we were greeted by trays of champagne; we each took a glass and proceeded to explore. There were beautiful sitting rooms, libraries stocked with books from floor to ceiling, and rooms filled with each President’s unique set of fine china selected for his term in the White House. Gorgeous, and great photo opportunities!

For dinner, we ate a four course meal – most of the dishes included hints of Chinese cuisine. Our meal included mushroom soup, lobster, lamb, and a rich lemon bread pudding for dessert. After dinner, we moved over to another room where we experienced a live performance by R&B artist, Ne-Yo. He gave a phenomenal performance and an amazing conclusion to a magical night. It was such an honor to be invited to such a high profile event all because of a thank-you letter.