Andrea Murray discovered a passion for social justice through the Civic Engagement minor and participation in the Astin Scholar Program. Her research focused on how local government action reshaped nonprofit service delivery systems for homeless services organizations.
Andrea Murray ’14 is Associate Director of Community Partnerships at PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), a statewide nonprofit that aims to end homelessness for individuals, families and communities. She initiates volunteer and donation programs throughout Los Angeles, while also providing support in Santa Barbara and San Diego.
An L.A. native and child of immigrants from Chile, Murray witnessed her parents’ perseverance in the face of economic hardship. She overcame her own financial struggles on the path to achieving her goals.
“The altruistic village mentality I experienced in this community is something that I regularly draw upon in my work at PATH,” Murray said. “I love seeing people break down barriers and create services for their community.”
Murray came to UCLA in 2012 to pursue a degree in English. Her involvement with community service on campus led her to the Civic Engagement minor. She credits her mentor Douglas Barrera, Assistant Director of the UCLA Center for Community Learning, for helping her apply her academic experience through the minor to the work she wanted to accomplish with PATH.
“One of the pillars of UCLA is service. The civic engagement opportunities of the Astin Scholars program really allowed me to dive into my passion. UCLA has incredible professors who support these passions.”
Murray says one of the most rewarding aspects of her role is sharing client stories and spreading awareness of the institutional challenges they face. She deeply appreciates being able to support her home town, and has ready advice for anyone she comes across who is interested in getting involved in a nonprofit.
“There is so much you can do,” she said. “Find something that you connect with and go for it.”
Murray remains connected to UCLA through PATH’s partnerships with student organizations such as UCLA Furnish the Homeless and Swipe out Hunger. One of her favorite initiatives, the Welcome Home Program, utilizes the resources from these student organizations as well as local volunteer support to furnish new homes for PATH’s clients. She enjoys the opportunity to work closely with fellow Bruins who share her passion for improving the local community.