The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has a global network of more than 7,000 alumni living and working in more than 40 countries. UCLA Luskin’s Office of Alumni Relations seeks to engage all Luskin alumni in a meaningful way that facilitates a lifelong connection with each other, the School, and encourages support and guidance for future generations of Luskin students and fellow alumni.


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Connect with hundreds of UCLA Luskin alumni and students in four easy steps by updating the education section in your personal LinkedIn profile:

  1. In the Education section of your personal profile, add “UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs” as your school (not UCLA, the undergraduate college)
  2. Add your “Dates Attended”
  3. Add your “Degree”
  4. Click “Save” and your profile will automatically connect to UCLA Luskin alumni & student profiles via the UCLA Luskin LinkedIn university page so you can network with fellow Luskin-ites!


UCLA Luskin Alumni of the Year

Alumni of the Year awards honor members of the alumni community who have been impactful through community service, public service, University service and/or professional achievement. By recognizing alumni, the award hopes to inspire leaders and change agents who advance solutions to society’s most-pressing problems.

Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed MPP ’07 has been named 2017 alumna of the year by the Department of Public Policy. Based in Los Angeles, Ahmed is an activist, politico, and storyteller. Ahmed has mobilized thousands of Asian American & Pacific Islanders to the polls in more than 17 different languages over the past 15 years. At the age of 25, she founded South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), a national organization that empowers South Asian American youth to have a political voice. She is currently Campaign Strategist at, an organization for the Asian American community focused on new media and AAPI civic engagement. Ahmed’s innovative use of media and art in her pursuit of activism has brought her many honors, including being selected as one of ten individuals honored by President Barack Obama as a Champion of Change for AAPI Art and Storytelling. Ahmed embodies the kind of change agent we are proud to have as part of the UCLA Luskin family. Hear more by Ahmed herself via her monthly podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim.

Aurea Montes-Rodriguez MSW ’99 is the 2017 recipient of the Joseph A. Nunn Alumna of the Year Award, honoring members of the UCLA Luskin Department of Social Welfare. It is named in honor of Dr. Joseph A. Nunn, alumnus and former vice chair and director of field education for the Department of Social Welfare.

Aurea Montes-Rodriguez is the Executive Vice President of Community Coalition, a social justice non-profit based in South Los Angeles that serves as a vehicle for everyday residents to tackle the most pressing community issues resulting in concrete public policies to create quality schools, safe neighborhoods, a strong social safety net, and positive economic development. She brings a wealth of experience as a community organizer and champion for equity. Montes-Rodriguez was born in Mexico and raised in South LA where she developed a passion creating change at the local level. She has worked to improve community health by leading the effort to build the organization’s headquarters into a permanent community institution for social justice.

She led efforts to achieve in-district reform during the LAUSD’s restructuring of Fremont High School in 2009, one of the lowest performing schools in Los Angeles. Today, the school has nearly eliminated suspensions, boasts an attendance rate of over 90%, and has increased the graduation rates from 19% to 77%. Fremont has also established career pathways to prepare students for college and 21st century careers.

Montes-Rodriguez is a co-founder of Partners for Children South LA, a multiagency organization that seeks to improve children’s development and reduce the risk of involvement with the child welfare system. She is also a member of the Building Movement Project working to build capacity within the non-profit sector to promote social justice efforts at the national level.

Aurea was honored at the Social Welfare Alumni Gathering on Saturday, May 20th, 2017. Read more about Montes-Rodriguez and see photos from the event here.

Previous Alumni Award Recipients

2016 Joseph A Nunn Alumnus of the Year: Marvin J. Southard DSW ’83

Marvin J. Southard DSW ’83 received the UCLA Luskin Joseph A. Nunn Social Welfare Alumnus of the Year Award in recognition of his contributions and tireless dedication to the field of mental health. The former director of the L.A. County Department of Mental Health retired last year, leaving behind a 17-year legacy that has been recognized on the state and national level.

“I’ve been honored with quite a few awards, but this award is special because of my feelings toward Luskin and UCLA and because I actually know the person the award is named after,” Southard said. “So it’s really a triple honor for me. As a person moves through life, they never really know those parts that are going to be really influential. But, for me, my time at UCLA was one of those times. It was truly pivotal in making my life more meaningful than it otherwise would’ve been.”

The Joseph A. Nunn Alumnus of the Year award was presented at the annual UCLA Luskin Social Welfare Alumni Gathering on May 14, 2016. More than 100 alumni, faculty and friends attended. Many of those who attended the event are MSWs from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH).

Read more.

For MPP alumna Vernessa Shih MPP ’14, she got the chance to relive one of her favorite student memories – a presidential debate – from an insider’s perspective. Shih spent the 2016 campaign working at Hillary for America in Brooklyn, New York where she served as digital correspondence manager. Read more.

Eve Garrow MSW ’03 PhD ’08, and distinguished research professor Yeheskel “Zeke” Haenfeld have been awarded the 2017 Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize by Social Service (SSR) for research on professional power relations.  Read more.

Jennifer LeSar MA UP ’92, Cecilia Estolano MA UP ’01, and Katherine Perez-Estolano MA UP ’97 have one goal: change the world. Working together in the heart of Los Angeles, these three graduates of the UCLA Luskin Urban Planning program are fulfilling a shared vision of diversity and innovation. Read more.

Update & Feedback

Interested in speaking on a panel, serving on a committee, or helping with recruitment? Have you moved or changed jobs? Please take a moment to update your contact information and tell us how you’d like to get involved.

Contact the UCLA Luskin Office of Alumni Relations

We’d love to hear from you! Update us with your professional milestones, your day-to-day victories, as well as your ideas.

Marisa Lemorande
Director of Alumni Relations & Social Media
(310) 825-3589