Michael Chu reflects on his Flinn Scholar experience

August 20, 2015

By Matt Ellsworth

Chu MichaelIn celebration of the 30th class of Flinn Scholars, selected earlier this year, several members of the Flinn Scholars Alumni Advisory Council have offered reflections on their own undergraduate experiences.


Flinn Scholar Class of 1992
Current position: Judicial Law Clerk, Judge Thelton E. Henderson, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

One of the things I often tell people about my experience as an undergraduate is that it was the best of two worlds: the resources of a large, research university combined with the small-college feel of the Honors College. Being a Flinn Scholar added a third dimension to that, by providing another community of support and incredible resources, both on- and off-campus.

As Flinn Scholars, we had access to unique events, such as an all-day sculpting session led by John Waddell at his northern Arizona studio, and we gathered for annual retreats, public-policy seminars, and cultural experiences. We were also assigned faculty mentors, some in our fields of study, but others not. My mentors, for example, had philosophy and English backgrounds, although I majored in industrial engineering and mathematics.

The program facilitates connections for those students who know—or think they know—exactly what they want to do, yet it also nurtures those of us who have less-focused academic interests. Some of us end up exactly where we imagined we might be during our Flinn Scholar interviews, while others have taken more circuitous paths. My own formal education has taken me from industrial engineering to social policy to law, but it has also included significant experiences with Spanish language and literature, education, and Chinese history.

I cannot imagine a richer undergraduate experience than my own, and I will be forever grateful to the Flinn Foundation for helping to make that possible.