UCR Grad Named Coro Fellow for 2012-13

Larry Chung ('11) cites UCR's Loveridge, Brint and Leebaw as influences who helped him earn spot in prestigious public affairs program

standing in front of Riverside Courthouse

UCR alum Larry Chung ('11) was selected as a Coro Fellow for 2012-13. Photo by Taylor York.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)  —  After Larry Chung earned the highest grade in Ron Loveridge’s Political Science 170 class at the University of California, Riverside in 2010, Loveridge, who is also the mayor of Riverside, was so impressed with the third-year undergraduate that he asked him to become his summer intern with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Chung then did so well in that position that after his 2011 graduation from UCR with a degree in political science, Loveridge recommended him for a staff analyst position with the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG).

So when Loveridge recommended that Chung apply to the prestigious Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs earlier this year, he didn’t hesitate.

“Mayor Loveridge hadn’t steered me wrong so I decided to follow his advice once again and apply,” Chung said.

It proved to be a wise decision. Chung was selected from a highly-competitive pool of national applicants to be one of 64 Coro Fellows for 2012-13. He is one of 24 participants from the western United States.

The Coro program is a full-time, nine month, graduate-level experiential leadership training program that teaches effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena, providing participants with great opportunities for personal and professional growth. Formed in San Francisco in 1942 to provide leadership training to soldiers returning from World War II, the program’s notable alumni include Senator Dianne Feinstein, Representatives Jerry Lewis, Anna Eshoo and Vic Fazio, and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.

Chung came to UCR as a biology major and initially struggled, but hit his stride when he found political science, earning a 4.0 grade point average in all his major classes and being named to the Pi Sigma Alpha national political science honor society. In addition, he was awarded the Ronald O. Loveridge Public Service Award in 2011, served as president of the Asian American Christian Fellowship and was founder and president of Inland Empire Public Interest (IEPI) at UCR. He also volunteered as a community outreach intern in the Rancho Cucamonga office of Supervisor Janice Rutherford.

In addition to Loveridge, Chung cited Professor of Sociology and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Steven Brint and Associate Professor of Political Science Bronwyn Leebaw as influences who “helped cultivate my leadership skills.”

“Dr. Brint helped me approach leadership conceptually and through higher level thinking. I was able to view leadership from multiple points of view, many of which included historical leaders and theorists.  I attribute my drive to apply for Coro to many of the lessons I learned in his class,” he said. “Dr. Leebaw had perhaps the most profound impact on me as a leader and my decision to apply for the fellowship. I took three courses with her and her passion for teaching was readily apparent, and something that I absorbed. I’ve tried to mimic her approach to teaching in my approach to leadership, which is to be passionate, driven, diligent and resilient.”

As part of the selection process, applicants go through a day-long assessment. While Chung couldn’t go into details about the assessment itself due to confidentiality agreements, he did say it was “the most rigorous and demanding selection process I’ve ever experienced.”

chung and rice

Larry Chung (’11) and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Western Riverside Council of Governments 20th Annual General Assembly in June, 2011. Photo courtesy of Larry Chung

“It was intriguing to be in a group with the best and brightest that our country has to offer and see where I stacked up against the competition,” he said. “I just remember thinking ‘I want it more than anyone here, don’t mess this up.’ But I really enjoyed the intellectual challenges that the selection process provided.”

Chung said that he hopes the program will give him a “holistic view of our country and how it operates.”

“Coro does an exceptional job at exposing fellows to all sectors of our country from business to electoral politics, organized labor to media, and non-profit work/philanthropy,” he said. “I hope to be able to work on issues that are important to me such as educational reform and poverty.  Coro will give me the big picture that I need to be a policy maker in the future.”

During his time with SCAQMD and WRCOG, Chung enjoyed working on policy issues that directly affected the Riverside community. With the Coro program, he said his goal is to learn methods for reducing the partisan and professional polarization that has become so prevalent in politics and government today.

“We can’t have extreme conservative or liberal ideals from the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively.  Likewise we cannot have a singular body of businessmen, lawyers, or career politicians shaping our country’s policies,” he said. “We need a mixture of all of these viewpoints to shape sound policy and Coro will give me the multiple perspectives I need to pursue that goal.”

Chung said that he originally planned to go to law school, but that he now has several options by virtue of being accepted to the program.

“It has opened so many doors for me,” he said. “I have received several job offers for after I finish Coro. Coro also has several partnerships with graduate institutions and I plan on pursing a master’s degree in public policy while simultaneously pursuing a law degree after I graduate from the program. I have a lot of contingencies in place, so I guess we’ll just see what happens and take it from there.”

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