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Students and Faculty at Amgen Scholars UCLA Poster Session

UCLA receives grant from the Amgen Foundation to continue hosting Amgen Scholars Program

Through a $74M, 16-year investment, Amgen Scholars Program will partner with 24 top educational and research institutions worldwide.

Students and Faculty at Amgen Scholars UCLA Poster Session

Amgen Scholars Poster Session | Photo credit: Reed Hutchinson

 

UCLA has been awarded a four-year grant from the Amgen Foundation to continue providing hands-on laboratory experience to undergraduate students across Southern California through the Amgen Scholars Program. The Amgen Foundation is expanding the Amgen Scholars Program, bringing the program to a total of 24 premier institutions across the U.S., Europe, Asia and, for the first time, Australia and Canada, to provide undergraduates with financial support and hands-on summer research opportunities in biomedical and biotechnology fields.

The UCLA Amgen Scholars Program, which has hosted 276 Amgen Scholars since 2009, offers an intensive research experience for students to work in the labs of distinguished UCLA faculty members. Students are matched with faculty mentors of their choice and work full time within their mentor’s laboratory for 10 weeks during the summer. In addition to laboratory research, students attend weekly seminars where they learn about the research of invited faculty speakers as well as discuss graduate school applications and interviews, how to prepare research presentations, and discuss the different career opportunities in the basic sciences.

“The Amgen Scholars Program has long been an integral part of Undergraduate Education – offering students both from UCLA and other institutions the unique opportunity for intensive lab work and mentorship opportunities during the summer,” said Dean and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Patricia Turner. “We’ve seen that graduates of this program are better prepared and motivated to attend graduate school and pursue research careers.”

This signature initiative builds upon the Amgen Foundation’s mission to advance excellence in science education and empower tomorrow’s innovators, a goal to which the Foundation has contributed nearly $150 million globally to date. Eight new partners — Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, National University of Singapore, Tsinghua University, University of Melbourne, University of Toronto, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Yale University — will join the already distinguished group of host institutions including UCLA.

“As the pace of innovation increases, so too does the need to educate the scientists of tomorrow,” said Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer at Amgen. “We look forward to further expanding the reach of the Amgen Scholars Program, which has already provided research opportunities to thousands of talented undergraduates at premier institutions around the globe, and now has the potential do much more.”

Since its inception in 2006, the Amgen Scholars Program has made research opportunities at premier institutions possible for more than 3,900 undergraduate students representing 700 colleges and universities. Of those alumni who have completed their undergraduate studies, nearly 900 are currently pursuing an advanced graduate degree in a scientific field, and another 280 have earned their Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D. More than 500 are employed in scientific fields across 33 countries, with 99 percent of surveyed alumni saying the program impacted their academic or professional direction. Alumni of the program are beginning to make a growing impact across academia, industry and government, garnering numerous awards and recognitions such as the Rhodes Scholarship, NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and selection to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Healthcare.

Amgen Scholars provides a unique opportunity for students to engage in the process of discovery and build intellectual connections with some of the most accomplished scientists around the world. Undergraduate participants benefit from undertaking a research project with the mentorship of top faculty, being part of a cohort-based experience, participating in seminars and networking events and taking part in a symposium in their respective region where they meet their peers, learn about biotechnology and hear from leading scientists in both industry and academia.

The program aims to break down barriers for many students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to engage in science at the world’s top educational and research institutions. Financial support for students is a critical component of the program, which seeks to ensure that eligible students, regardless of their financial status, can participate.

UCLA will soon be accepting applications for the 2019 Amgen Scholars Program through February 1, 2019.

 

Amgen Scholars Program Host Institutions:

*Indicates New Host Institution for 2019

  • United States:  California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Duke University,* Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University,* National Institutes of Health, Stanford University, UC Berkeley,  UC Los Angeles, UC San Francisco, UT Southwestern Medical Center,* Washington University St. Louis, Yale University*
  • Europe:  ETH Zurich, Institut Pasteur, Karolinska Institute, LMU Munich, University of Cambridge
  • Asia:  Kyoto University, National University of Singapore,* Tsinghua University,* The University of Tokyo
  • Australia:  University of Melbourne*
  • Canada:  University of Toronto*

 

About the Amgen Foundation:

The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators and to invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $300 million to local, regional and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. For more information, visit www.AmgenInspires.com and follow us on Twitter at @AmgenFoundation.

 

Photo of Royce Hall and Powell Library

UCLA seeks community feedback during accreditation process

Photo of Royce Hall and Powell Library

Royce Hall and Powell Library

 

UCLA has begun the three-year accreditation process administered by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

The regional accrediting agency serves higher education institutions in California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Region. The agency has accredited UCLA since 1949, and the most recent accreditation was reaffirmed in June 2010.

“UCLA aims to use the reaffirmation process to highlight and enhance ongoing efforts to improve our educational effectiveness,” said Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Patricia Turner, who is co-chair of the campus’ accreditation steering committee. “Together, as a campus, we engage in reflection and self-study, and then apply the insights gained to refining our goals and strengthening our programs.”  

The first step in the accreditation process will be the submission of UCLA’s institutional report in December 2018.

Turner noted that the institutional report will drafted in close collaboration with faculty, administration, students and staff. To make the review process as transparent as possible, the steering committee has published all documents for review online. The campus community is encouraged to provide feedback on the Reaffirmation of Accreditation by WSCUC website no later than Friday, November 16.

“This process is meant to assure the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that an accredited institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness,” Turner said.

Following the submission of the institutional report, there will be an offsite review in Spring 2019. The final phase of the accreditation process will include a three‐day campus visit in Fall 2019, culminating in WSCUC’s commendations and recommendations.

Photo: Hoover Photographic Collection, UCLA Library

UCLA Honors Legacy of Arthur Ashe on 50th Anniversary of His Historic US Open Win

Photo: Hoover Photographic Collection, UCLA Library

Photo: Hoover Photographic Collection, UCLA Library

The 2018 US Open Tennis Championships kicks off today, marking 50 years since UCLA alumnus Arthur Ashe ’66 won the tournament’s first men’s singles title. In honor of this milestone, UCLA will pay tribute to his legacy as a tennis champion and humanitarian.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Ashe’s win, the UCLA College has launched a special Arthur Ashe Legacy social media campaign. Tweet about how Ashe and his legacy inspires you using the hashtag #ArthurAsheLegacy to join in the conversation.

A new UCLA Spark campaign will support the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund. If the campaign’s goal of 50 individual donations of any size is met, $25,000 will be donated to the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund. The Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund will be used to create physical and digital exhibitions of Ashe’s humanitarian and athletic accomplishments, or to host public events in Los Angeles and around the country. Donor support will help UCLA faculty and historians to develop academic events which will explore Ashe’s life and connect his legacy to the realities faced by current students and community members.

As in previous years, UCLA staff and volunteers are operating the Arthur Ashe Legacy booth on the grounds of the US Open for the duration of the tournament. The booth sells merchandise, offers free educational materials and informs visitors about Ashe’s life and accomplishments.

Ashe was the first African American male to win the US Open men’s singles title, and the first winner of the tournament in the Open Era. In addition to his 51 titles and over 800 wins throughout his career, Ashe was known for his published writing and his activism around issues including apartheid in South Africa and AIDS awareness.

The US Open is one of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments along with the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and is one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world. It is held annually at the end of August at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

Startup UCLA Accelerator teams meet Chancellor Block

Chancellor Gene Block offered encouragement to UCLA’s newest entrepreneurs during his visit to Startup UCLA’s Summer Accelerator in early August. Startup UCLA’s annual Summer Accelerator provides a workspace, guidance, legal services and mentors to early-stage companies. The 10-week program connects teams of UCLA students or recent graduates with top entrepreneurs, investors and tech experts. At the end of the summer, teams pitch their companies to Startup UCLA’s network of local entrepreneurs and investors.

Chancellor Block pictured with students of the Startup UCLA Summer Accelerator

During his visit to the Startup UCLA co-working space in Covel Commons, Block met briefly with Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Programs Deanna Evans and Director of Startup UCLA’s Summer Accelerator Robert Jadon before visiting with each team at their work stations, hearing about their projects and asking questions.

Several participants showed Chancellor Block their product prototypes on their smartphones and laptops, while others explained what inspired them to start their company and how they came together as teammates.

“Having Chancellor Block take time from his schedule to learn about the innovative ideas of Startup UCLA’s 2018 Summer Accelerator teams meant a great deal to our program,” Evans said. “The teams were excited to share their products and early stage progress with UCLA’s chief executive officer.”

Chancellor Block is photographed with accelerator student Nick Pfister '17

Pictured: Nick Pfister ’17

While meeting with Magnus Care, a team that is developing a video check-in service for seniors, Block commented that research on circadian rhythms, an area he specializes in, has found that older people benefit from sticking to a routine. Magnus Care’s service enabling care providers or family members to check in remotely throughout the day could be beneficial, he said.

“It was helpful to hear the Chancellor address the importance of our core mission, which is helping seniors stick to a daily routine,” said Jai Kyeong Kim ‘17. “He gave us some scientific examples and addressed the growing market and opportunities.”

Kim’s teammate Bryan McDermott ’16, who quit his banking job to work full-time on the start-up, added that having the support of the Chancellor of his alma mater is especially meaningful.

“When there’s support from UCLA, it really validates my decision and what we’re trying to do here,” McDermott said.

Block also asked detailed questions about a high protein pancake mix for athletes, which Marcel Salapa ’18 is developing through the e-commerce brand Phoros Nutrition. Salapa explained that he’s gotten positive feedback from customers who like the taste and consistency of the product.

Chancellor Block speaks with accelerator students Bhupendra Chaudhary and Sonali Galhotra MBA ‘18

Chancellor Block with Startup UCLA participants

Salapa said he appreciated the Chancellor taking time to visit Startup UCLA and acknowledge the work being done at the Summer Accelerator.

“Having the [Startup UCLA] space and all these awesome people around, and having the Chancellor come by and recognize that, I think is really awesome,” Salapa said.

Kim Seltzer ’17 and Sachin Medhekar ‘15, who are building an app for discovering self-guided adventures called Disco – Discover Local, said they were excited to meet the Chancellor. From the questions he asked and his interest in their project, Seltzer and Medhekar felt he was engaged in their conversation.

“It’s cool already that UCLA provides us this space, but that the head of UCLA came to talk to us was a great feeling,” Medhekar said.

UCLA’s Bunche Center Launches New Arthur Ashe Legacy Website

Hundreds of videos, interviews, photos, articles and other resources related to the life of tennis legend and UCLA alumnus Arthur Ashe are now accessible via the Ralph J. Bunche Center at UCLA on its new Arthur Ashe Legacy website.

The website was migrated from the site of the former Arthur Ashe Learning Center (AALC), which transferred its activities to UCLA in October 2017.

Ashe’s widow, Jeanne Moutousammy-Ashe, founded the AALC in 2008 to promote her late husband’s legacy and values.

Arthur Ashe at UCLA, 1965 (Hoover Photographic Collection, UCLA Library)

Visitors to the new website can read a brief biography of Ashe’s life and an excerpt from his book, A Hard Road to Glory, and watch archival video clips featuring Ashe and Moutousammy-Ashe. Educators can download activity books about Ashe for elementary and middle school students.

The website also retains hundreds of blog posts written by former AALC staff and other guests about topics such as civil rights, African-American leaders in sports, arts and the military, and historic events.

Along with the website, UCLA will acquire exhibit materials including photographsby Moutousammy-Ashe and artworks, and endow an Arthur Ashe scholarship to be awarded to students who exemplify the ideals Ashe displayed as a UCLA student.

Dean and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Patricia A. Turner said it is an honor for UCLA to become the guardian of Ashe’s legacy and that the new website ensures that Ashe’s life and achievements will live on, accessible to anyone around the world, at the alma mater he loved so much.

“This is a truly special moment for UCLA, and we are grateful to have been entrusted with Arthur Ashe’s towering legacy,” Turner said. “The scholarship and exhibit materials are tangible reminders of his transformative impact on the world.”

First-of-its kind crowdfunding campaign raises over $69,000 for undergraduate research

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.”

Pauley Pavilion fills with students on Research Poster Day

Undergraduate Research Week is an opportunity for students across campus to share their research.

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.”

UCLA hosts its biggest early education literacy fair

400 children and their families head to campus to celebrate literacy

Every spring Dickson Court rings with the rare laughter and shouts of preschool children chasing one other in a game of tag. UCLA students wearing bright red Jumpstart t-shirts with AmeriCorps logos can be seen reading to little children and painting colorful flowers and dragons on lit-up faces.

Parents and teachers look on, smiling as their little ones run up to them with arts and crafts projects they’ve made with their Jumpstart teacher. Along the perimeter of Dickson Court, professors and staff look briefly lost as they navigate around UCLA’s biggest early education literacy fair.

Rayna Jackson/Jumpstart Literacy Fair

This scene will be replayed at the third annual Jumpstart UCLA Literacy Fair on May 17. More than 400 preschool children, families and teachers from eight preschools are set to join UCLA students and staff in fun-filled games and interactive activities.

The event celebrates local preschoolers’ achievements and features various interactive literacy activities, all of which are free for the families in attendance. Jumpstart’s Senior Director of Programming for California, Truyen Truan, says that this campus event is a “top priority” and is what makes the UCLA Jumpstart program so unique.

“UCLA really feels that it is valuable to bring [Jumpstart] children and families to the campus so that the children can see where the corps members go to school,” Truan said. “Corps members instill in the children early-on that anything is possible and that they can be UCLA students one day.”

The upcoming literacy celebration is just one of the ways that Jumpstart UCLA connects with the local community. Throughout the academic year, AmeriCorps members in the program work in local low-income classrooms to help children develop language, literacy and social skills crucial for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Jumpstart UCLA: Where coursework meets community work

As a “super-site,” UCLA currently has two site managers and 80-85 corps members, who complete a total of 25,500 service hours each year. Working out of the UCLA Center for Community Learning, students travel to eight local preschools in Santa Monica, Venice, Los Angeles and Culver City to teach in classrooms in low-income neighborhoods.

Dr. Kathy O’Byrne, director at the UCLA Center for Community Learning, says that civic engagement programs like Jumpstart UCLA not only address social issues like literacy and poverty in Los Angeles, but are key to students’ undergraduate education.

“Students see firsthand the power of ‘learning by doing’ and thinking critically as hallmarks of a 21st century college education,” O’Byrne said.  “By working in low-income communities of Los Angeles, students learn about issues of diversity, income inequality, and policy that impacts the futures of our preschoolers.”

It was the “hands-on” nature of the work-study program that caught the attention of Angelica Castro, a third-year political science major with a double minor in education and labor and workplace studies. For Castro, the idea of sitting behind a desk for a work-study job did not appeal to her. She was looking for a work experience that would give her the opportunity to work off-campus.

“Jumpstart UCLA gives me opportunity to get out into the local community and apply what I am learning in ‘theory’ from my education minor courses,” Castro said. “It has given me a better idea of the various issues in our education system and how I can help be a part of the solution to help students, who like me come from low-income and immigrant families.”

Growing up in Santa Maria, California, an agricultural community, Castro gained special insight into educational disparities facing immigrants and first-generation students. She saw that many of the kids she grew up with were placed in remedial courses and were rarely offered the necessary resources to graduate. The educational inequities she witnessed often derailed the academic ambitions of many of her peers growing up.

“Every student should have the opportunity to achieve their goals, but there is so much work to be done.” Castro said.  “I want to go to graduate school for education and conduct research to find ways to ensure that in the future, the kids I work with will be a part of an education system that not only focuses on promoting equality, but equity as well.”

Although looking toward the future, students like Castro are working every day to remove literacy barriers for children in low-income neighborhoods, many of whom “start kindergarten 60 percent behind their peers from more affluent communities,” according to Jumpstart.

The Bessie and David Pregerson Child Development Center (BPCDC) is one site that partners with UCLA’s Jumpstart program. Located in Westwood, the BPCDC serves low-income children, 95 percent of whom are homeless. BPCDC is adjacent to a transitional village and sees many children who are part of families that ‘double-up,’ which is when four to five families share one house and each family lives in one room.

Bessie and David Pregerson Child Development Center/Rayna Jackson

Guadalupe Placencia, director of BPCDC, gives credit to Jumpstart UCLA students for giving children the rare advantage that they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

“You can see how our preschoolers are progressing because of the Jumpstart UCLA students,” Palencia said. “The college kids come in wearing their jeans, t-shirts and sneakers ready to go. They get to know all of the children. They come in and sit on the carpet and get dirty with them, which is great because you don’t see a lot of that with teachers.”

This “all-in” approach has been a success. Placencia says that the children who work with UCLA students are not just going into transitional kindergarten or kindergarten, but some even exceed expectations and go directly into the first grade.

Palencia also notes that because BPCDC operates on a limited budget, the services provided by the program are essential to her student’s literacy achievements and social success. If UCLA students were not present in the classroom, the student-teacher ratio would increase, decreasing the one-on-one time students need. An absence of corps members would also severely reduce the assistance given to dual-language learners, who make up a large percentage of her student population.

Jumpstart UCLA: Benefiting students and the community alike

 Jumpstart impacts UCLA students just much as it does the community they work within.

“Jumpstart exemplifies the idea of ‘reciprocal benefit’ in that UCLA students ‘get’ as much as they ‘give,’” O’Byrne said.

Throughout the year, students get extensive training and some, like Castro, are selected to be team-leaders who manage a group of five other students in the classroom setting. Team leaders undergo additional leadership training and are responsible for everything from running team meetings to creating supplemental classroom materials and working closely with preschool teachers to organize sessions in the schools.

“We are not only looking for students who can work well with children, but can also work well in a team of their peers,” said Maria Monarrez, Jumpstart UCLA site manager. “Team leaders are selected because they have great attention to detail, event planning, communication and conflict resolution skills.”

In addition to training, many students find there are financial benefits as well. The UCLA Center for Community Learning reports that since the start of Jumpstart in 2009, close to 98 percent of students have been recipients of work-study.

Jumpstart team leader Angelica Castro and her team ‘The Incredibles’/Genesis Ramirez

The UCLA Financial Aid Office Financial Aid confirms that, on average, students receive between $1,500 and $2,000 in work-study monies. However, students who work under “community service” work-study positions like Jumpstart, can potentially get upwards of $5,000 in aid.

“Education is important; however, professional training and being prepared for the work force is also fundamental, because that’s the next step in the student’s life,” said Victor Cisneros, work-study coordinator with the Financial Aid office. “A lot of students use this experience and they go on to put it on their CV or resume and that gets them a foot in the door to other possibilities after school.”

Castro shares that she has received practical training, professional experience and financial aid assistance, and that Jumpstart UCLA has done just as much for her as it has done for the children she works with. She says that her experience in the program has been as a defining part of her undergraduate education. She admits that her first year and a half at UCLA were a struggle. As a first generation student and being away from her family, there were many times she wanted to give up.

“There were times when I thought college wasn’t for me,” Castro said. “I would think, ‘What am I doing here?’ I felt very lost and didn’t feel like I was a part of something to keep me rooted here. And then I joined Jumpstart and felt so relieved. I was a part of something.”

It is that feeling of belonging that Castro wants each of her young students to feel as soon as they step off the bus to attend this year’s Literacy Fair. She gets excited thinking about one of her students who recently told her, “When I grow up, I’m going to wear a Jumpstart t-shirt and be a part of you guys.”

After this year’s event, Castro hopes that more of the children she works with can picture themselves in the same red Jumpstart t-shirts that she and the other corps members wear. But most of all, she hopes that they can see themselves donning UCLA’s iconic blue and gold.

It is through fundraising that the Jumpstart UCLA Literacy Fair is made possible. Those who are interested in volunteering for the event, or donating books, food or in-kind services can contact the Jumpstart UCLA’s Site Manager, Maria Monarrez at mmonarrez@college.ucla.edu.