UCLA Luskin hosted an opening breakfast to kick off the 22nd year of the Senior Fellows Leadership Program, a mentoring program that matches UCLA Luskin graduate students with distinguished leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. This program gives students an opportunity to enhance their academic experience by connecting and establishing networks with leaders in their areas of interest. This year, Dean Gary Segura welcomed 12 new Senior Fellows, including several UCLA alumni, in addition to the 36 returning Senior Fellows, making up the largest group of Senior Fellow mentors in the program’s history. Edmund Cain, vice president of grant programming at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and returning Senior Fellow, was the keynote speaker for the Oct. 25, 2018, breakfast, which was organized by UCLA Luskin External Programs and Career Services. The event served as an icebreaker for students and their new Senior Fellow mentors, who will serve as role models for the next generation of leaders in public policy, social welfare and urban planning.
This year’s new Senior Fellow mentors are:
- Bob Alvarez, BA ’88, chief of staff, California State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani
- Michael Alvidrez, MA UP ’83, external ambassador, CEO emeritus, Skid Row Housing Trust
- Cecilia Choi, foreign service officer, U.S. Dept. of State; UCLA Diplomat in Residence
- Honorable Mike Gatto, former California Assembly member, D-43rd District
- Seth Jacobson, MPP ’03, senior director, energy and water programs, Climate Resolve
- Cheryl Mathieu, PhD ’05 (Social Welfare), founder and CEO, AgingPro
- Honorable Brian Nestande, former California Assembly member, R-42nd District
- Berk Özler, lead economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank
- Paco Retana, MSW ’90, vice president of programs, Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic
- Joel Reynolds, western director, senior attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Faye Washington, president & CEO, YWCA Greater Los Angeles
- Emily Williams, MPP ’98, senior deputy for human services and child welfare, Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
For more information about the Senior Fellows Leadership Program or to access a list of all past and returning Senior Fellows, click here.
View more images from the 2018-2019 Senior Fellows Breakfast.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a UCLA research team more than $944,000 to develop a framework for integrating massive amounts of data from several types of news sources. The cross-campus collaboration between the Department of Communication and the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs will produce a database that analyzes text, images, video and audio from print, television and online media. “No one has attempted to merge different sources of social and mass media data into one database,” said Assistant Professor of Communication Jungseock Joo, the principal investigator. Using cutting-edge computational methods, the team will build a system to automatically evaluate the data to identify topics, actors, events, sentiments and other large-scale patterns. The team includes UCLA Luskin’s Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld, an assistant professor of public policy who has studied vast troves of social media data in his research into subnational conflict. Steinert-Threlkeld said the new tool will enable researchers, students, policymakers, politicians and ordinary citizens to learn more about how information is disseminated. The team, which includes UCLA Communication faculty members Francis Steen and Tim Groeling, will collaborate with Stanford University’s Jennifer Pan, a specialist on social media data from China. — Mary Braswell
UCLA Luskin’s just-launched undergraduate program is off to an exciting start. A month into the new academic year, 90 students have declared public affairs as a pre-major, and dozens more have reached out. The ambitious program combines critical thinking, social science methodology and deep engagement in the community. Freshman Callie Nance was immediately attracted to the public service ethos at the heart of the major. “This major doesn’t just expand knowledge,” she said. “It shows us how to do something with that knowledge, to make an impact.” That sentiment is reflected in the undergraduate program’s motto: Developing Leaders Engaged in Social Change. “Our students are developing knowledge and skills in the service of solving society’s most pressing problems, which is really what distinguishes this major from others,” said Undergraduate Affairs Chair Meredith Phillips, who is also an associate professor of public policy and sociology. The energy surrounding the major was on display during an undergraduate open house during the first week of school. Phillips led the welcoming committee, along with more than 20 faculty from across the School and Dean Gary Segura, who noted that he too will teach an undergraduate course this year, Foundations and Debates in Public Thought. The event offered a glimpse of the resources available to students pursuing the B.A. in Public Affairs. Freshman and sophomores freely mingled with professors who teach graduate-level courses and conduct cutting-edge research. And the undergraduate staff, who came together this summer to ensure the major was launched without a hitch, was out in force to answer questions and offer encouragement.
View more photos from the Undergraduate Open House.
A new report co-authored by Martin Wachs, UCLA Luskin distinguished professor emeritus of urban planning, assesses California’s transportation revenue stream and the potential impact of a ballot measure to repeal the state’s gas tax. The tax was part of a law adopted in 2017 to fund road repairs and maintenance, along with new transit projects and infrastructure upgrades. Proposition 6, on the Nov. 6, 2018, ballot, would repeal the law and require voter approval for future increases in transportation-related taxes. The study by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University projects that, between now and 2040, California would lose approximately $100 billion in transportation revenue if Proposition 6 passes. “California’s ability to plan and deliver an excellent transportation system depends upon the state having a stable, predictable and adequate revenue stream,” said Wachs, lead author of the report. The study also measured voter sentiment about how to pay for transportation improvements. “Of clear importance to the public is assurance that the revenue is being spent efficiently and on things that they care about such as maintenance, safety improvement and programs that benefit the environment,” said Hannah King, a Ph.D. student specializing in transportation planning at UCLA Luskin. King is co-author of the report with Asha Weinstein Agrawal, director of the MTI National Transportation Finance Center.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named UCLA Luskin Professor of Social Welfare Mark S. Kaplan to a board of experts on the prevention of violence and injuries. Kaplan will serve a four-year term on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports that 214,000 people die from injury every year in the United States, and millions who survive an injury face lifelong mental, physical and financial problems. The board will advise the federal agencies on a variety of research areas to help set priorities and improve public health. “This is an incredible career achievement,” Social Welfare chair Laura Abrams said of the appointment. Kaplan’s research has focused on understanding suicide risk factors among veterans, seniors and other vulnerable populations. The CDC reports that suicide is one of just three leading causes of death that are on the rise. Members of the Board of Scientific Counselors represent several disciplines and include epidemiologists, statisticians, trauma surgeons, behavioral scientists, health economists, political scientists and criminologists.
“Latino Mass Mobilization: Immigration, Racialization, and Activism,” recently published by new UCLA Luskin Associate Professor of Public Policy Chris Zepeda-Millán, was awarded the Ralph J. Bunche Award at the 2018 American Political Science Association’s (APSA) annual meeting and exhibition held Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in Boston. The award, accompanied by a $1,000 prize, is presented annually for the best scholarly work in political science that explores the phenomenon of ethnic and cultural pluralism. The book, a study of the 2006 wave of immigrant rights protests, also garnered the Washington, D.C.-based organization’s 2018 Race, Ethnicity, and Politics award for “Best Book on Race and Immigration.” “This groundbreaking book stood out to the entire committee for the depth of original data collection, its ability to simultaneously bridge and make original contributions to the fields of racial politics, immigration and social movements, and its nuanced conceptualization of various types of threats and the racialization of Latino identities,” according to the APSA award announcement. “Zepeda-Millán provides strong evidence that despite the fact that Latinos are often characterized as a ‘sleeping giant,’ they are actually extremely politically active and often work together to resist anti-Latino and -immigrant policies using both electoral politics and political activism.” The book also received two awards from the American Sociological Association: the 2018 Charles Tilly Book Award from the association’s Collective Behavior and Social Movement section; and an honorable mention for the 2018 Oliver Cromwell Book Award from the Sociology of Racial and Ethnic Minorities section.
Community leaders working to make Watts a safer, healthier and more vibrant place were honored at a beachside gathering on Aug. 11, 2018. The advocates, all part of the original cohort of the UCLA Luskin-based Watts Leadership Institute (WLI), came together with family, friends, philanthropists and leaders in the nonprofit sector at a celebration held at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. GRoW@Annenberg, a major sponsor of WLI and its cohort members, hosted the event. Founded in 2016 by Social Welfare faculty member Jorja Leap’78 MSW ’80 PhD ’88 and Karrah Lompa MSW ’13, the institute identifies and empowers community leaders in Watts so that they can maximize their impact on the ground.
View more photographs from the event.
Read about recent grants to WLI.