UCLA Luskin students and faculty gathered Thursday to celebrate one of the school's signature attributes: UCLA Luskin’s Annual Fellowship Reception to honor donors and celebrate the achievements of more than 100 fellowship students.
At a reception drawing more than 100 guests, students mingled with donors – including the school's benefactors, Meyer and Renee Luskin – and shared stories of their achievements and scholarly ambitions.
Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., hailed the event as an opportunity for supporters to see their investment in action. "The donors – who are so passionate about supporting the best and brightest students – finally have a chance to be inspired by the energetic young people who will help shape our society tomorrow," he said in his remarks.
Three exemplary students followed the dean at the podium and spoke about their work on and off campus. Brandon Dowling, a master of public policy candidate, shared how his experience as an intern on Capitol Hill put his political science undergraduate degree to work, but UCLA Luskin was giving him the quantitative skills to understand the policy behind the politics. Dowling will put his knowledge to work as a Rosenfield Fellow in the L.A. County Chief Executive Office starting in the fall.
Social welfare master's candidate Megan Ebor talked about her work with aging women of color that are living with HIV and AIDS, a community she explores through the documentary film  "Even Me," which will air at UCLA June 2.
First-year student Carter Rubin gave the urban planning perspective, describing how his interest as a freelance writer in L.A. County's transit funding initiatives led him to enroll at UCLA Luskin. This summer he will begin a yearlong appointment in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office as a Bohnett Fellow, analyzing the extension of Measure R – the very subject that got him interested in urban planning in the first place.
The students' engaging stories, matched with the donor's generosity, gave the event the lighthearted atmosphere of a family reunion. "I love tonight's event because it brings together strangers who care about each other," Dean Gilliam said.