Alumni News and Notes Recent gatherings and other updates from the alumni of UCLA Luskin

Each issue of the Luskin Forum magazine includes information regarding alumni gatherings and notes about what our graduates have been up to lately. Here are highlights from the most recent issue:

First Fridays: It Begins With Coffee

For several months now UCLA urban planners have been rising early to catch up with fellow alumni and colleagues at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles.

They do so as part of First Fridays, a new monthly meetup for alumni, students, and friends of UCLA Luskin. Because we are urban planners, the location one block from Pershing Square was deliberately chosen for its geographic centrality and its proximity to public transit.

“Once you get into the working world, it’s easy to lose touch with people you know from school, but informal events like these keep the conversation going,” says Doreen Zhao MURP ’14, a transportation planner with STV.

Professors are also a regular presence at First Fridays with guests like Urban Planning Department Chair Vinit Mukhija and new assistant professor Kian Goh.

“In my work I focus on current laws and policies, so it’s refreshing to hear what professors are working on and what the students are curious about,” said Jessica McBride MURP ’14, a land use consultant. “Those ideas will likely be the current planning practice in the near future.”

These connections are invaluable, since a few short conversations can later blossom into internships, collaborations, or even job opportunities. Current student Nick Sundback says he recently ran into an alumnus he originally met at a First Fridays event. “We reconnected and I look forward to discussing how our work might intersect in the future.”

All are welcome to stop by G&B Coffee at Grand Central Market on the first Friday of each month, any time between 8-9:30 a.m. See you there!

Nate Holmes MURP ’15 of Los Angeles Council District 15

Social Work Values at the ‘Herstoric’ Women’s March

Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles.

The Women’s March—Jan. 21, 2017—was more than a single moment in history. For many women, men, and children, it was a transformational movement in herstory. Millions of people representing communities of all genders, backgrounds, and generations united to recognize women’s rights as human rights with UCLA Luskin alumni, faculty, staff, and students at
the forefront.

With approximately 750,000 attendees, downtown Los Angeles hosted the world’s largest turnout. UCLA Luskin social welfare students and alumni unequivocally stood in unity with and for the marginalized and underrepresented populations they serve.

The herstoric Women’s March mission implicitly echoed the egalitarian ideals that fuel social workers in their daily advocacy for clients, policy, and systems change. Concurrently, attendees took a collective stance against a political administration that has, at the least, turned a blind eye toward violence against women and hate crimes toward minority groups.

As MSW alumni, we have chosen careers geared toward uplifting social justice and dismantling systematic oppression. Social workers support the dignity and worth of the most disenfranchised populations, especially in the face of the current political climate which sanctions overt misogyny, xenophobia, islamophobia, homophobia, and general fear-mongering politics.

Attending the march was an opportunity to uplift intersectional feminism, an ideology that embraces an inclusive, multiracial, multimovement collective for social justice. Through meaningful Women’s Marches held across the world, attendees were able to build an inclusive community of impassioned citizens willing to stand against institutional discrimination. It is our hope that the march incites commitment to activism centering upon human dignity and the worth of all people.

Emily Blake MSW ’12 of L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce & Sarah Godoy MSW ’15 of UCLA Semel Institute

On the Road

UCLA Luskin has been touring cities across the country to connect alumni and introduce Dean Gary Segura.

In Washington, D.C., Jackie Gillam MA UP ’75 and her husband Ernie Beyard hosted the new dean along with more than 60 alumni and friends at their home on Capitol Hill.

The hometown reception in downtown Los Angeles was packed with well over 100 attendees, and New York City’s event bustled with guests hailing from all over the East Coast, in part because the American Planning Association’s national conference fell on the same week.

Segura is looking forward to the Bay Area Regional Reception in August. Let us know if you would like to host an event in your community.

Alumni Accolades

  • Sonja Diaz MPP ’10 was appointed by Dean Gary Segura to lead the new Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, a UCLA Luskin collaboration with the Division of Social Sciences that aims to champion nonpartisan, evidence-based policy solutions for Latinos and all Californians.
  • Kathy Dixon MA UP ’93 has been elevated to the College of Fellows within the American Institute of Architects because of her notable contributions to the advancement of the profession of architecture.
  • Eve Garrow MSW ’03 PhD ’08 and Distinguished Research Professor Zeke Hasenfeld were bestowed the 2017 Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize honoring the best article published in “Social Service Review.”
  • David Hamilton MSW ’89 was given the Glenda McDonald Board Administrator Award for Outstanding Commitment to Social Work Regulatory Board Service from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) in New York.
  • Therese A. Hughes MA UP ’99 was inducted by the U.S. Department of Defense as a new member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. The committee provides recommendations on policies relating to recruitment, retention, treatment and well-being of women in the Armed Forces.
  • Tae Kang MPP ’16 was installed as the vice president of the Korean American Democratic Committee in Los Angeles, which represents the Korean American community in local and state politics and encourages individual involvement.
  • Paco Retana MSW ’90 was named vice president of programs at the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic. The clinic strengthens the social and emotional relationships for children and families in South L.A. through mental health and supportive services and has been doing so for more than 90 years.
  • Carolina Sarmiento MA UP ’06 and Revel Sims MA UP ’06 UP PhD ’14 received the ACSP/UIUC Chester Rapkin Award for the best article published in “The Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER).”
  • Manan Trivedi MPP ’07 was named the new president of the National Physicians Alliance. The alliance creates research and education programs that foster active engagement of physicians with their communities and affordable health care for all.




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