Meet the Inaugural Class - Steve Sandis
Editor's note: This is the first in a year-long series of features profiling the individual members of the UC Irvine School of Law Inaugural Class. We hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit about each student in this dynamic first class.
Hometown: Los Altos Hills, CA
Undergrad major: International Relations
Iconic symbol: Qui-Gon Jinn of "Star Wars"
Steve Sandis grew up in Los Altos Hills, Calif., what he describes as "one of the fringe areas of Silicon Valley."
Either influenced by living "on the fringe," or simply in that region of innovative thinking, Sandis today, at age 36, is a kinetic being whose mind and soul seem constantly abuzz.
After high school, Sandis studied International Relations - first at UC San Diego, eventually graduating from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. Inspired by studying about Plato's Academy and how "through education he impacted society," Sandis pursued a career in education and set a long-term goal of eventually starting his own school.
He reached that goal 30 years ahead of his original plan when, at age 32, he designed and launched the high school at Oakwood, a private school in Morgan Hill, Calif. The school's focus on nurturing and celebrating individual thought, curiosity and interests clearly reflects Sandis' beliefs and values.
Dean Sandis left the school after just one year to become a full-time, stay-at-home dad to his new daughter, but he kept involved with Oakwood High and its Inaugural Class, teaching an SAT course and AP American Government, helping out with the yearbook and "being the loudest fan at athletic events." That first class just graduated in June.
Symbiotically, Sandis himself is now a member of an inaugural class, here at UCI School of Law. Sandis talks about the experience in the accompanying video, above.
Keep reading to learn more about this creative, independent thinker through his own words:
If I weren't in law school I'd be ...
Dead? Bored? I don't know.
I am ready to do something completely different. The nice thing about the way everything has worked out for me is that everything I learned and did and became from that first half of my life is rolled into whatever I do next. Those skills and ideas and knowledge and wisdom are universal so they translate to whatever comes next.
While waiting for the jury to reach a verdict, I would ...
Play video games. I made a bet with one of (my new law school classmates) that I was not going to be stressed at all during the semester, including finals, and we bet $50 on it. I'm figuring if I can get through law school without being stressed, it wouldn't quite be called "stress," but maybe an eagerness, anticipation of the jury coming back.
"Law & Order" or "Boston Legal"?
Probably "Boston Legal." "Law & Order" is so formulaic as to be almost absurd and "Boston Legal" is cool and has the Shat (William Shatner) on it.
The Story Behind the Symbol (pictured in his portrait):
This is a 12-inch figurine of Qui-Gon Jinn, who is a pivotal character in the "Star Wars" universe. Besides just his role in the movie of questionable quality, "Episode 1: Phantom Menace" ... he is sort of a "maverick" Jedi ... and to me he represents kind of the way that I do things: I like to be part of the the system, but also sort of transcend the system and be kind of irreverent. He's one of my heroes.
Favorite song to study to:
(Long, tortured pause ...) That's rough ... It depends on the mode. If I have to focus, then it's going to be like this acoustic guitar classical station on iTunes that I've been listening to. But if I want to get pumped up, then maybe Lady Gaga or something.
Last non-legal book read:
That's funny, the last six months have been very bizarre for me and I have actually been reading about 30 or 40 books at the same time, but the one that stands out is a book called Flow. It's an investigation of a concept in psychology about optimum experience and happiness, and it's written by the guy who originated this field of study, and he has a name that's more difficult to pronounce than Chemerinsky, so I don't actually have his name memorized. But it's a fantastic read.
Your last meal request:
Sushi. I like exotic, weird sushi, full-on Americanized sushi. I like regular sushi too, but ... weird (sushi), that has tempura and cream cheese and crazy stuff like that in it - that would be it.