Leadership Development at Luskin


The UCLA Luskin Leadership Development Program enhances students’ professional development and prepares graduates to assume leadership roles in the public, nonprofit and for-profit sectors. A student who fully participates in the program will experience the vision, perspectives, resources and tools they need to be active, transformative change agents.  The three segments of the program are the Senior Fellows program, fellowship/internship awards, and hands-on leadership experiences.



Senior Fellows Leadership Program


The Senior Fellows Program is the premier leadership career training program of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. The mission of the Senior Fellows Leadership Program is to engage prominent leaders as role models for graduate students from Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning. The program features policy, public service and community leaders who act as role models to lead UCLA Luskin students to careers in the public interest.

For a list of all past Senior Fellows, click here.

The Senior Fellows Leadership Program was designed to enrich students’ education by giving them individual access to policy makers and community leaders who have successfully addressed major public issues. The goal of the mentor program is to help two to three students build a relationship with a Senior Fellow in their field of interest. Students participating in the Senior Fellows Leadership Program utilize this unique opportunity to shadow their Fellows, meet leaders and senior level managers, gain invaluable career guidance, and obtain applied knowledge that enhances their academic courses of study.  To hear more about previous students’ experience with their senior fellows, click here.


Application Process

1. Send an email to leaders@luskin.ucla.edu with “Invitation to CCLE” in the subject line.  This will give you access to CCLE where you will upload your application and resume.

2. On your application document, provide the following information:

  • Last name, First name
  • Address including City, State, ZIP Code
  • Preferred Phone number
  • Preferred Email address
  • Department: Public Policy, Social Welfare or Urban Planning
  • Degree Program and year in program: first or second year masters or year in PhD
  • Your area of concentration
  • Write one or two paragraphs explaining your interest in strengthening your leadership skills. What are your current leadership roles? What does leadership and/or being a change agent mean to you?
  • Name of first choice
    Write one or two paragraphs explaining why you are interested in this person.
  • Name of second choice
    Write one or two paragraphs explaining why you are interested in this person.
  • Name of third choice
    Write one or two paragraphs explaining why you are interested in this person
  • ON A SEPARATE PAGE:  A biographic profile (about 300 words), written in third person
  • ON SEPARATE PAGE(S): include your resume.

Please note: Most Fellows will be assigned one or two students. Graduate student advisers will participate in the selection process. Priority will be given to Luskin second-year students.  Order business cards from your department (recommended).

Read the Senior Fellows program handbook (PDF)

  • Provide a practical component of their academic experience by exposing them to premier leaders in the field.
  • Provide opportunities to engage with community leaders for the purpose of professional development, networking, and personal growth.
  • Strengthen ties between Senior Fellows and UCLA Luskin to broaden the School’s ability to bring timely, informative events to the University and greater community.
  • Provide opportunities for internships, job market advice, and career exploration in order to accelerate students’ career trajectory.
  • Connect the world of political and policy action to education for public interest.

UCLA Luskin 2020-2021 Senior Fellows Mentor Program Participants

Warren T. Allen MPP ’03, Founding Member and Attorney, WTAII PLLC

David Ambroz JD ’05, Foster Care Policy Reform Advocate; LA City Planning Commission member; Walt Disney Television, Corporate Social Responsibility

Nahtahna Cabanes MSW ’13, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, L.A. Works

Nancy Sutley Chief Sustainability Officer, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Randy Barth, Founder and CEO, Think Together

Ken Bernstein, Principal City Planner, Policy Planning and Historic Resources Division, Los Angeles Planning Department

Jonathan Beutler MPP ’09, Director of Public Affairs, Sunrider International

Kafi Blumenfield, Board Member, The James Irvine Foundation

Dannielle Campos BA ’93, Senior Vice President & Philanthropy Director, Bank of America Charitable Foundation

David M. Carlisle, President and CEO, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Debra Duardo BA ’94, MSW ’96, EdD ’13, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools

Megan Ebor BA’ 04, MSW ’12, PhD ’19, Assistant Project Scientist, Clinical Director of the Integrated Scientist Practitioner Training Program (ISPTP) in the Center for Culture, Trauma, and Mental Health Disparities, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Thomas Epstein JD ’76, President, California Community Colleges Board of Governors

Christine Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers

Jennifer Ferro, President, KCRW

Clare Fox, MURP ’10, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Everytable

Honorable Warren Furutani, Former California Assemblymember, 37th District

Lisa Hasegawa, Regional Vice President, Western Region, NeighborWorks America

Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director, San Diego Association of Governments

Seth Jacobson, MPP ’03, Senior Director, Energy and Water Programs, Climate Resolve

Lorri L. Jean, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles LGBT Center

Travis Kiyota BA ’93, Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Public Affairs, East West Bank

Ann-Louise Kuhns, President and CEO, California Children’s Hospital Association

Shawn Landres, Commissioner, Santa Monica Planning Commission; Co-founder, Jumpstart Labs; Former Commissioner & Chair, Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission

Chanchanit Martorell BA ’90, MA UP ’93, Founder & Executive Director, Thai Community Development Center

Honorable Michael Nash, Director, Office of Child Protection, Los Angeles County

Anita Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, SRO Housing Corp

Honorable Brian Nestande, Deputy CEO, County of Riverside; Former CA Assemblymember, 42nd District

Barbara Osborn, Director of Communications, Office of Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Claire Peeps, Executive Director, Durfee Foundation

Kathryn Phillips MPP ’01, Director, Sierra Club California

Michele Prichard, Director, Common Agenda, Liberty Hill Foundation

Dan Schnur, Professor of Political Communications, USC, UC Berkeley and Pepperdine

Paco Retana, MSW ’90, Vice President of Programs, Wellnest (Formerly Child Guidance Clinic)

Maria Salinas, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Brenda Shockley, Deputy Mayor/Chief Equity Officer, Office of Los Angeles Mayor Mayor Eric Garcetti

Robin Toma, Executive Director, Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations

Peter Villegas, Vice President; Head, Office of Latin Affairs, Coca Cola North America

Jason Vorderstrasse, U.S. Department of State Diplomat in Residence

Brian Williams BA ’86, JD ’89, Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission

Emily Williams, MPP ’98, Senior Deputy for Human Services and Child Welfare, Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

Honorable Michael Woo, Former Dean, College of Environmental Design, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; former Los Angeles City Councilmember




Leadership Awards Programs


At the convergence of the fields of social work, urban planning, and policymaking, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs cultivates leaders and change agents who advance solutions to society’s most pressing problems. UCLA Luskin graduate students are examining issues affecting our nation and the needs of our society through this unique and beneficial interdisciplinary lens.

Hands-on, yearlong fellowships and summer internships are an integral part of the training UCLA Luskin graduate students receive as they become leaders throughout Los Angeles, across the nation, and around the globe. Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Public Policy graduate students are placed within community foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies where they receive invaluable practical experience with advanced research, policy, and advocacy while simultaneously providing high-level work aligned with the placement organizations’ missions.


Summer Awards


Placement opportunities for summer internships have been announced and are listed below. Application deadline is Friday, May 7, 2021 by 5pm PT. Students may apply to either one or a maximum of two opportunities.


Professor Michael Dukakis spearheaded this privately funded internship program to provide UCLA Luskin masters’ students with first-hand public service experience in government. As power shifts from Washington, DC to the state and local level, the need for talented public servants has never been greater. The Michael S. Dukakis Internship Program provides stipends for UCLA Luskin masters’ students serving in non-partisan internships in government with a special emphasis on California. The focus for this 10-week (40 hours/week) summer internship is on government settings rather than non-profits or NGOs.

Students who have secured a government internship meeting the criteria above may apply. The internship must be in a policy-related, public service function in a non-partisan government setting. Working for an elected partisan official would not qualify. Non-partisan city council or county board of supervisors qualify, but senate, assembly, or congress do not, nor would working for a non-profit or NGO. The internship site would ideally be in local or state government in California. If the internship is in Washington, D.C. with a Federal agency, the focus of the internship must be on California. The internship is limited to UCLA Luskin graduate students pursuing the MPP, MSW or MURP.  Ph.D. students are not eligible.

To apply, write a one-page description of the internship and how it was secured, along with a one-page statement of interest that describes how the internship fits into your long-term career aspirations in public service.  Include your name and department at the top of each document.  Add your resume.  To submit your description, statement of interest, and resume, apply to the posting in Luskin CareerHub: https://luskin-ucla.12twenty.com/job-postings/31999904820813

The award is a $3,000 to $5,000 stipend. Important Note:  In some cases, final award amounts may be adjusted for indirect costs and/or taxes.  The final amount for a $5,000 may be approximately $4,600.  Awards may also impact students’ financial aid packages.  In all cases, students will be notified of final award amount and are strongly encouraged to discuss possible financial aid impact with UCLA Financial Aid Office.

UCLA Luskin will provide one or two 2021 summer internship awards to a UCLA Luskin graduate student who will be accepting non-paid internships with organizations that are engaged in public service. The internship organization must be bi-partisan/non-partisan and can be a civic organization, non-partisan government agency or department, a community program or nonprofit organization, advocacy group or civic engagement. Internship will be ten weeks between June and September (400 hours). Awards are $5,000 each.

Application Process

To apply, write a one-page description of the internship and how it was secured, along with a one-page statement of interest that describes how the internship fits into your long-term career aspirations in public service. Include your name and Luskin department at the top of each page. Add your resume. To submit your application and resume, apply to the Luskin CareerHub: https://luskin-ucla.12twenty.com/job-postings/31999904820815

Important Note: In some cases, final award amounts may be adjusted for indirect costs and/or taxes. The final amount for a $5,000 may be approximately $4,600. Awards may also impact students’ financial aid packages. In all cases, students will be notified of final award amount and are strongly encouraged to discuss possible financial aid impact with UCLA Financial Aid Office.

Liberty Hill is a non-profit organization that advances social change through a strategic combination of grants, leadership training and campaigns. Liberty Hill is first to identify community leaders at the frontlines of change. They invest in changemakers and equip them with the skills and relationships they need to build power and advance social justice. With a near 40-year track record, Liberty Hill is uniquely positioned to bring together forces for change and forge a common agenda for equality and opportunity in Los Angeles.

Click here to visit Liberty Hill Foundation Website

Internship Positions Available

Liberty Hill is hiring Luskin interns to focus on one of the following areas: environmental justice, grantmaking, housing justice, and youth justice. For a full description of each of these areas, please view the job posting in CareerHub: https://luskin-ucla.12twenty.com/job-postings/31999904789748

Application Process

To apply, write a one- or two-page cover letter that describes how the Liberty Hill internship option you select fits into your long-term career aspirations and what you hope to learn from the experience.  Add your resume.  To submit your cover letter and resume, apply to the Luskin CareerHub: https://luskin-ucla.12twenty.com/job-postings/31999904789748

This application process also includes a writing sample (five pages maximum) and interview (via Zoom, to be scheduled).  Writing samples will be requested when you are selected for an interview.

One $5,000 award will be made for each internship. Important Note:  In some cases, final award amounts may be adjusted for indirect costs and/or taxes.  The final amount for a $5,000 may be approximately $4,600.  Awards may also impact students’ financial aid packages.  In all cases, students will be notified of final award amount and are strongly encouraged to discuss possible financial aid impact with UCLA Financial Aid Office.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that builds collaborations to achieve equitable climate solutions. We connect communities, organizations and policymakers to address the global climate problem with local action. Working with others, we develop practical initiatives that reduce climate pollution and prepare for climate impacts. Climate Resolve’s purpose is a just and resilient future.

Click here to visit Climate Resolve’s Website

Internship Position

Climate Resolve is working on a variety of programs that are fostering solutions to climate change in Southern California. The Intern will work on more than one of these programs. Tasks may include conducting online research, interviewing local stakeholders, writing grant applications and reports, analyzing program opportunities/alternatives, and presenting key findings to Climate Resolve staff and other stakeholders. Full internship description can be found on CareerHub: https://luskin-ucla.12twenty.com/job-postings/31999904789731

Application Process

To apply, write a one-page cover letter that describes how the Climate Resolve internship option you select fits into your long-term career aspirations and what you hope to learn from the experience.  Add your resume.  To submit your cover letter and resume, apply to the Luskin CareerHub: https://luskin-ucla.12twenty.com/job-postings/31999904789731

This application process also includes an interview (via Zoom, to be scheduled).

One $5,000 award will be awarded to the chosen candidate. Important Note:  In some cases, final award amounts may be adjusted for indirect costs and/or taxes.  The final amount for a $5,000 may be approximately $4,600.  Awards may also impact students’ financial aid packages.  In all cases, students will be notified of final award amount and are strongly encouraged to discuss possible financial aid impact with UCLA Financial Aid Office.

Application Process

1. Review each type of internship award above with associated descriptions and application instructions to determine which one or two awards you would like to apply to.

2. Prepare your application(s). Application instructions vary based on type of award. Please see application instructions above for more detail.

3. All applications should be submitted on Luskin CareerHub by Friday, May 7, 2021 at 5 pm PT.


Yearlong Fellowships


UCLA Luskin offers a limited number of yearlong fellowships with nonprofit organizations, government and public service agencies.  Placement opportunities include public health, child welfare, education policy, social justice, environmental policy, city/county government, and other public service organizations. Currently enrolled first-year Public Policy, Social Welfare, and Urban Planning students are eligible to apply for awards. The fellowships are full-time during the summer and part-time during the 9-month academic year (fall 2021 through spring 2022).

Below are awards available for the 2021-22 school year:


The David Bohnett Fellowship Program was established as a hands-on working experience in the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office for exceptionally promising public policy, social welfare, and urban planning students. The Bohnett Fellowship Program will offer students first-hand experience in the highest levels of city government and will provide senior executives in the Mayor’s office with an outstanding cohort of policy interns. Three UCLA Luskin students will be selected. $35,000

  • There is no official job description for this fellowship, but for details about specific offices within the Mayor’s Office, please reference this site: https://www.lamayor.org/intern 

UCLA Luskin Leadership Fellowship is a high-level apprenticeship program for exceptional public policy, social welfare and urban planning graduate students that serve within selected government agencies and nonprofit and civic organizations to work on research, policy, advocacy and applied projects tailored to the students’ tracks of study and consistent with the mission and goals of the organization. For 2021-2022, the host organization will be the Los Angeles County, Office of Child Protection. $30,000 (to be confirmed)

  1. Please submit your application to associated job posting in Luskin CareerHub. (Bohnett job posting link: https://luskin-ucla.12twenty.com/job-postings/31999904704968, Office of Child Protection job posting link: https://luskin-ucla.12twenty.com/job-postings/31999904704970)
  2. Applications can be submitted between Monday, January 11 at 5 pm PT and Friday, February 12 at 5 pm PT. No applications will be accepted after the Friday, February 12th deadline. Check back for the specific links to the job postings.
  3. Students may apply for both awards, but if applying to both, students need to submit an individual application for each.
  4. Your application will include a letter of interest prepared as a two-page cover letter, not a personal statement and your resume. Address cover letter to: “Dear Selection Committee”
  5. The applications will first be reviewed by the academic departments for merit and to determine if the applicants’ academic program is a good match to the organization. For the Bohnett Fellowship, the Mayor’s Office may also prescreen applications to help select finalists to be interviewed.
  6. Finalists will be interviewed in March/April and will be asked to provide a 2-5 page (maximum) writing sample prior to the interview.
  7. The Bohnett Fellowship will select three Luskin students for the Office of the Mayor; the Office of Child Protection will select one Luskin student.

All students interested in applying for one or both of yearlong fellowships are highly encouraged to attend one of the below information sessions to learn more and get your questions answered. Current fellows and/or representatives from the host organization will be in attendance.

Yearlong Fellowships (Bohnett & Office of Child Protection) Info Session

January 19 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm

Bohnett Fellowship Information Session 

January 22 | 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Office of Child Protection (OCP) Fellowship Information Session

January 26 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm


Important Note: In some cases, final award amounts may be adjusted for indirect costs and/or taxes. Awards requested at the $30,000 level may be adjusted to approximately $27,050. Awards may also impact students’ financial aid packages. In all cases, students will be notified of final award amount and are strongly encouraged to discuss possible financial aid impact with UCLA Financial Aid Office.

Deadline is Friday, February 12 by 5pm.

Questions? Email Caroline Lee at leaders@luskin.ucla.edu.




Award Spotlights


Courtney Taylor, Public Policy, received the David Bohnett Fellowship to work in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation


Alejandro Gonzalez, Urban and Regional Planning, received the David Bohnett Fellowship to work with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Chief Design Officer


Karishma Shamdesani, Public Policy, received the David Bohnett Fellowship to work in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Transportation



Merhawi Tesfai, Social Welfare, is a UCLA Luskin Leadership Fellow for the Venice Family Clinic


Kimberly Fuentes, Social Welfare, is a UCLA Luskin Leadership Fellow for the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection