In just a few days, UCLA space physicist Marco Velli will take a deep breath, look to the skies and take his place in history as part of the monumental Parker Solar Probe mission, billed as humanity’s first visit to the sun.
With the funding, the new UCLA-led Synthetic Control Across Length-scales for Advancing Rechargeables center, or SCALAR, will help accelerate research on new types of chemistry and materials for rechargeable batteries.
A first-of-its-kind crowdfunding campaign raised more than $69,000 for the UCLA Undergraduate Research Centers in the span of two weeks, providing critical funding for students to pursue mentorship and research opportunities throughout campus.
Tama Hasson, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Research, sees first-hand how these resources can transform a student’s career path.
“When you are in a certain major, and you’re exploring a career, undergraduate research is a way to explore your interests in that career,” she said. “Research is useful for any career. Every discipline is going to ask you to take information and synthesize it.”
Hosted on the UCLA Spark crowdfunding site, the campaign launched just before Undergraduate Research Week, an annual event that brings student researchers from across campus to present their work. After just two weeks, more than 200 donors had contributed nationwide.
For the students who rely on the research centers to deepen their research portfolio, this funding will have a significant impact on their undergraduate experience.
“If it wouldn’t have been for undergraduate research I have no idea what my UCLA experience would have been like,” said Evelyn Hernandez ‘18, who will be pursuing her Ph.D. in the fall. “I’m just glad I got to focus on something – with the money that I got from C.A.R.E., and the fellowships – that I got to focus my extra time solely on research.”
Generations of students and faculty have relied on the Undergraduate Research Centers as catalysts for academic and professional growth. UCLA is the only university in the country to have two research centers, one focused on the sciences and another focused on the humanities, arts and social sciences. Together, the centers connect students with mentorships and opportunities to conduct research with top UCLA faculty, providing hands-on experiences that shape their careers.
The campaign also accomplished something invaluable – visibility. As a result of this dedicated effort, the Undergraduate Research Centers have built a community of supporters who are invested in the success of their students.
That community will prove vital as the centers continue their work providing crucial resources for undergraduate researchers. Whitney Arnold, Director of the Undergraduate Research Center–Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, is optimistic about the show of support.
“What I think is the coolest thing is how people at all levels and in all places in their careers contributed to the undergraduate research campaign,” Arnold said. “It just shows you the breadth and the impact of undergraduate research.”
Researchers from UCLA and the University of Oslo have documented a complex but universally felt emotion they call kama muta — a Sanskrit term that means “moved by love.”
“In part, we hope this serves as tool for artists, producers, writers, directors and actors who are seeking funding and support for future projects that appropriately and creatively reflect the gender and ethnic diversity of the United States.”
The program will provide year-long support for underrepresented minority pre-med students and offer an innovative curriculum that includes seminars, filmmaking and bench research focused on environmental variables contributing to health disparities.
Hammer is an environmental economist and data expert, and the co-founder of Earth Genome, a nonprofit that seeks to provide environmental data to decision makers.
Named for the renowned linguist Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali, the fellowship will promote research on the linguistic heritage of Iran, focused on Persian and Iranian languages.
Elaine Hsiao, UCLA assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology, and Hosea Nelson, UCLA assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, are among 18 outstanding young scientists in the U.S. to be awarded Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The center, which will be housed in the UCLA College, will build on the university’s strengths in Hellenic studies and support research across disciplines ranging from archaeology and classics to languages and digital humanities.