Social Welfare Students Make Impact with Internships Highlighting students interning at schools, hospitals and non-profits in honor of Social Work Month.

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By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Each March, the social work community celebrates National Social Work Month and some of the amazing work that UCLA Luskin social welfare students and alumni have done. This year, the theme for National Social Work Month is “Social Work Paves the Way for Change,” intended to highlight the people and projects that have been contributing their work to create social change. Below are just a few examples of Luskin social welfare students that have been doing just that with their internships.

Social Welfare student Leena Richman is an intern contributing to the Student Health & Human Services at Berendo Middle school. Student Health & Human Services is a team of professionals that collaborate with schools and families, education service centers and communities to provide physical and mental health services to students in the Los Angeles County.

During her time as an intern at Berendo Middle School, Richman took on a variety of roles from helping with mental health services to handing out fliers to make sure students know about the services they provide.

Richman was one of three interns highlighted in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Student Health and Human Services Newsletter in honor of Social Work Month.

“My experience as a school social work intern thus far has further ignited my passion for working within the school setting,” she said.

The executive director of the Student Health and Human Services Division, Debra Duardo, is a UCLA MSW alumna from 1996. In 2013, she was named the Joseph A. Nunn Social Welfare Alumnus of the Year.

Passionate Luskin students have also been doing work in Los Angeles at the Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC).

KYCC has given first year Social Welfare students the opportunity to gain interdisciplinary experiences in areas like gang reduction and youth development by being involved in different programs at the Center. Their responsibilities vary from conducting counseling intakes and providing case management to overseeing homework clubs and assisting with policy research.

Interns are also provided with training from staff members to learn about financial literacy, grant writing and clinical supervision, giving interns a well rounded experience of what it is like to be a social worker in Los Angeles.

Eva Ray, a student intern from the Department of Social Welfare said since each student is assigned an internship outside of their comfort zone, she wasn’t sure what to expect when she started at KYCC.

“As soon as I met the staff I would be working with, though, I felt fortunate to have been placed there because everyone is so collaborative, hard-working and energetic. There is a lot of opportunity to help shape the way the program will run in the future,” she said.

Ray is part of the Prevention and Education unit and is responsible for running a workshop for middle school students about alcohol and marijuana awareness as well as building their communication skills. Since many of the students are young Black and Latino males with behavioral issues and low socioeconomic status, Ray said that she is grateful to be granted the ability to change and adapt the curriculum provided based on each student’s unique needs. Ray has enjoyed helping students gain the skills to combat the challenges that they will face in a society built to oppress them.

“I like that I am…educating (the students) on how their thoughts and feelings inform their behavior, and helping them practice mindful communication and self-reflection so that they can express themselves more effectively,” Ray said. “I enjoy getting to know each student and learning about their lives, and I love the high energy and spirit that comes when working with middle school youth.”

Two first year MSW students, Elsie Silva and Karen Ochoa, celebrated Social Work Month on March 2 by taking part in a resource fair and undergarment drive for community members. Each year, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center organizes the event — the largest resource fair to date with 32 community organizations participating — in order to provide patients and employees with information on legal aid, mental health services, child and senior services, food, financial and employment assistance, and much more.

“It is truly remarkable to witness our community unite and celebrate the field of social work by giving back to our neediest patients,” said Silva. “The social work interns were an integral part of this event by contacting and enlisting the organizations that participated while also helping on the day of the resource fair.”

“These efforts to not only honor social work month, but outreach to some of the most underserved in our city cannot be underestimated,” said Field Education faculty member Gerry Lavina.

With the passion, energy and personal care of social welfare students, the Luskin community is well represented in Los Angeles and has made a profound impact in the lives of all ages for social worker month this March.

 

Professor Donald Shoup to Retire in June The popular professor of urban planning has taught at UCLA for 41 years.

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After 41 years of teaching at UCLA, Donald Shoup, distinguished professor of Urban Planning, will retire on June 30, 2015.

Shoup is widely known as the “parking guru” whose ideas on parking policies have been implemented in cities around the world. His influential book, The High Cost of Free Parking, has led a growing number of cities to adapt new policies for parking requirements and to charge fair market prices for curb parking. Shoup’s revolutionary ideas have gained an international following of students, alumni and urban planning professionals.

Shoup has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and the World Bank, and has served as Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA. The one-time Chair of Luskin’s Urban Planning department also serves as editor of ACCESS, a transportation magazine published by the University of California.

Read about Shoup’s legacy at UCLA.

“I can’t think of anyone who has made more scholarly contributions to the field of parking and transportation than Donald Shoup,” said Dean Frank Gilliam. “Don’s course on parking is wildly popular and receives terrific reviews from students. We are deeply appreciative and in awe of the impact he has made here at UCLA Luskin.”

A retirement celebration honoring Shoup will be held on Saturday, May 30. More details and information on how to attend will be announced in the coming weeks.

To learn more about Donald Shoup, visit our tribute page.

 

The Future of Civic Leadership Luncheon held in honor of Michael Dukakis' 20th year teaching

In honor of Gov. Michael Dukakis’ 20th year teaching at UCLA, faculty, students and friends of the School joined together for a luncheon in support of the Michael S. Dukakis Internship program.

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The setting was a picturesque private home near the Getty Center.

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Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., and School benefactor Meyer Luskin welcomed guests to the event.

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 Attending were Jill Black Zalben, Joan Ashton, Stanley Black, Marvin Caesar and Dean Gilliam.

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UCLA Luskin board member Annette Shapiro and Joyce Brandman spoke with Luskin.

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Murray Pepper and UCLA Luskin board member Vicki Reynolds talked with Pat Shoup and Professor Donald Shoup.

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Jill Black Zalben, former L.A. Controller Wendy Greuel and Christine Essel, president of Southern California Grantmakers, enjoyed the afternoon.

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Former L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Professor Martin Wachs, Meyer Luskin, Professor Donald Shoup and Bob Wilson took in the view.

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California Assembly members Jimmy Gomez and Matt Dababneh mugged for the camera.

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Frank Lopez MPP ’10, KCRW host Steve Chiotakis and Melissa Peraza.

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Christine and Jordan Kaplan chatted with Renee Luskin.

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Public Policy student and Dukakis Internship recipient Nelson Esparza spoke with Veronica Melvin MPP ’01 and Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey MPP ’99.

UCLA Team Advances To Final Round of HUD Design Competition UCLA Urban Planning team competes for HUD Design Competition

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By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

A team composed of UCLA Luskin and Architecture students find themselves in the finalist round of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s design competition.

The HUD hosts an annual design and planning competition with the goal of encouraging creativity and interdisciplinary innovation while designing financially affordable housing. Participants in this year’s competition were given the challenge of either renovating or reconstructing a senior housing high-rise built in 1971. The UCLA team opted to rehab the building, adding features such as a rooftop community garden and digital literacy intergenerational programming.

“We offer an innovative design that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. We also wanted a design where people could interact with each other easily, especially among different generations,” Edith Medina Huarita (MPP ‘15) explained. “For example, one of our design features is a space where residents of the retirement community could meet with children from local schools to learn to use computers and other digital media.”

Huarita, who was also part of the first place team in the recent Net Impact Consulting Challenge, found that this competition challenged a different set of skills. “Participating in another competition motivates me and the opportunity to engage with housing experts excites me.” said Huarita. “The differences in the competitions also develop different skills. The HUD design competition challenged my creativity because we developed the project from scratch.”

Come April, team members Laura Krawczyk (MURP ‘15), Edith Medina Huarita (MPP ‘15), Precy Agtarap (MURP ‘15), John Whitcomb, and Luis Ochoa will travel to Washington D.C. to make their final design presentation. The competition jury will then determine the first place team ($20,000 prize) and the runner-up ($10,000 prize).

 

Serving the Public Interest from the Statehouse to the Classroom Former governor Michael Dukakis has been teaching and inspiring students at UCLA Luskin for 20 years.

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By Alejandra Velarde-Reyes
UCLA Luskin Student Writer 

Though Michael Dukakis, the popular three-term Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential hopeful, has had a multitude of experiences and stories he could tell, he takes pride in sharing the success stories of former students he remembers teaching at the Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Thinking back on some of his most memorable experiences teaching at Luskin as a visiting professor of Public Policy, Dukakis proudly recalls the day his former teaching assistant, Rusty Bailey (MPP ‘99), became mayor of the City of Riverside.

“That was his ambition,” Dukakis remembers of Bailey. “We spent time making personal contact with every house and every voter. He was elected city counselor and six years later he was elected mayor.”

The story is just one instance of many that demonstrate Dukakis’ interest in his students. This year marks the 20th year that the well-known and oft-quoted politician and professor has been teaching at UCLA Luskin.

Dukakis says that when his time as governor came to an end and he knew he wouldn’t be taking up residence on Pennsylvania Avenue, he had to ask himself what to do next. He recognized he had a desire to share his knowledge, and with the wealth of knowledge and experience in successful public service, he decided to parlay that passion into work with young people. His goal: to inspire them to also seek careers in public service. After teaching at Northeastern University for a few years, Dukakis planted his flag at UCLA.

Through his courses, “Institutional Leadership and the Public Manager” and “California Policy Issues,” he has inspired many students to enter the field of government and public service. Whether students come in for his regular office hours or contact him from across the country, Dukakis says he always tries to makes time for individuals who come to him for guidance.

Mayor Bailey says because of the years of mentorship he received, he now patterns his work after Dukakis’s leadership style.

“Personal connection and relationships are important to Michael, and he gives his undivided attention when he speaks to people,” Bailey says. “He also is very committed and leads by example…All of these things have influenced my leadership style in my elected office.”

Though Bailey thinks Dukakis would have influenced history and the country in a powerful way had he won in ‘88, he believes the influence his former professor has as an educator and mentor is just as powerful.

“I think those of us who love what we’ve done, whether a doctor or a politician, we enjoy teaching and encouraging young people to follow in our footsteps,” Dukakis says. “I spend a lot of time with my students to talk about their futures.”

In addition to seeing Bailey climb to mayorship, Dukakis excitedly recounts the stories of other successful former students. Among them: Veronica Melvin, who leads a nonprofit organization for improving schools in Los Angeles County, and Matt Dababneh and Jimmy Gomez, who serve as committee chairs in the California Assembly and represent areas near Los Angeles.

“In many ways, working with students is the best thing I do,” Dukakis says. “ I feel strongly about this country and the world, and the importance of getting young people deeply and actively involved (in public service).”

When students come to him for advice and mentorship, Dukakis emphasizes the importance of optimism. “You have to be passionate about what you’re doing. You have to hold high standards of integrity for yourself and the people you work with, and you have to be good at bringing people together,” he says.

Urban Planning student Ben Kaufman says he was surprised when he first emailed Dukakis with the hopes of getting advice on which graduate schools he should apply to.

“I thought it was a ludicrous idea to Google a previous presidential nominee’s contact information, cold-email him, and expect a response,” Kaufman says. “But I did just that, and amazingly, he followed up within a couple of hours.”

The following week, Kaufman says he had an hour-long conversation with Dukakis during which the seasoned politician recounted old war stories and listened to Kaufman’s plans and goals for the future. After receiving a recommendation letter from Dukakis, Kaufman was admitted to UCLA a few months later.

“It’s amazing to me how kind and genuine he is as a person outside of the classroom, no matter whom he is speaking with,” Kaufman says.

Public Policy chair Mark Peterson agrees that Dukakis has been a true asset to the department as a skilled teacher giving students an unique perspective on politics, policy and public management.

“With a door that is always open, Dukakis avails himself to all who want to discuss current affairs, the coming election, next steps in their educations and long-term career choices,” Peterson says. “A devoted friend of the department and UCLA Luskin, Mike’s spirit resonates throughout the Public Affairs Building.”

Bailey cites examples of the former governor’s humility and leadership in everyday life as well, recalling the time after Dukakis’ service in elected office ended, and he asked the U.S. Postmaster General for permission to paint over graffiti on mailboxes.

“He would go around with a can of paint in his hometown and paint over the graffiti,” Bailey says.

In another incident, Bailey remembers Dukakis humbly declining a first-class seat that a flight attendant offered him.

“He replied without skipping a beat, ‘No I want to sit in the back with the Democrats,’” Bailey says. “That speaks volumes about his character and leadership style. It’s always been about public service and doing the right thing, and not about politics.”

Dukakis describes his typical day as beginning at 5 a.m., spending time with students, and doing a fair amount of public speaking outside of teaching. Despite his busy schedule, he enjoys coming to Los Angeles each winter quarter and being a part of the UCLA community.

“One of the great things about teaching is that you walk into a ready-made community,” he says. “You become a part of this community and don’t spend time wandering from friends. I’ve gained some wonderful friendships (at UCLA).”

Outside of his life as a professor, mentor and public speaker, Dukakis says he likes living in Westwood with his wife, Kitty, walking to campus, and enjoying the skyline of downtown Los Angeles from his window on clear days.

“Our favorite pastime is taking a brisk two-mile walk down Ocean Drive in Santa Monica and eating oysters by the beach. We know people around the whole region. It’s been really great,” he says. “It’s gratifying to be in a position to encourage young people and inspire them. I’m hoping I’m contributing to this country and the world.”

In honor of Gov. Dukakis’ 20th year as a UCLA faculty member, friends of UCLA Luskin will join together at a lunch in support of the Michael S. Dukakis Internship in Public Service. The fundraiser aims to raise $250,000 for the internship program and to expand the opportunities it provides for students who are seeking careers in public service. To learn more about attending the lunch and supporting the internship program, contact Melissa Bersofsky at bersofsky@luskin.ucla.edu.

Joan Ling Named Third District ‘Woman of the Year’ The Urban Planning alumna and lecturer was honored on March 9.

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Urban Planning alumna (MAUP ’82) and adjunct professor Joan Ling was recently named “Woman of the Year” in Los Angeles County’s Third District for her work to improve public policy, legislation, and government regulations that impact quality of life.

District 3 Supervisor Sheila Kuehl presented the award to Ling at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles on Monday, March 9. In her newsletter, Kuehl included a mention of the award saying: “At the thirtieth LA County Women’s Commission luncheon, I was very pleased to honor amazing affordable housing builder, activist and visionary, the incomparable Joan Ling, as the Third District’s Woman of the Year. Congrats again Joan!”

According to Kuehl’s website, the Los Angeles County Commission for Women and the Board of Supervisors honored a “Woman of the Year” from each Supervisorial district in celebration of Women’s History Month (March).

The website said: “These awards provide an opportunity to lift up and recognize courageous and dedicated women for their outstanding accomplishments in seeking gender equity as well as their valued contributions in addressing a variety of wellness and quality of life issues facing women throughout the County of Los Angeles.”

Last year, Ling was the Department of Urban Planning’s Alumna of the Year. Her projects include the first multi-family structure in the country awarded the gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

To read more about Ling’s accomplishments from Supervisor Kuehl’s website, go here.

 

 

 

 

Luskin Center Deputy Director Briefs U.S. EPA Leadership and National Conference Participants on Advancing Climate Justice Luskin Center representative at EPA Conference

One of the most significant events in the arena of climate justice took place when California’s Senate Bill 535 (SB 535) was signed into law, stated Charles Lee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and one of the nation’s most prominent leaders on environmental justice.  SB 535 mandates that at least 25% of the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund investments go to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.

Colleen Callahan, deputy director of the UCLA Luskin Center, was one of four SB 535 leaders from California invited by Lee to meet with senior EPA staff and also speak on a panel at the National Environmental Justice Conference on March 12 and 13th in Washington D.C. In addition to Callahan, the other panelists were the “father of SB 535” Shankar Prasad of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA, and formerly with the Coalition for Clean Air); Mari Rose Taruc, organizing director for the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and coordinator of SB 535 Coalition; and Arsenio Mataka, assistant secretary of environmental justice and tribal affairs, CalEPA.

The panelists shared the “backstory” of the efforts to conceive, pass and now implement SB 535.  They provided first hand perspectives on lessons regarding their successes and challenges—past and present, as well as implications for other parts of the nation.

Callahan emphasized that SB 535 and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) represent a tremendous opportunity to advance climate justice. She also noted the challenge in implementing such a major and unprecedented initiative. Pulling from the UCLA report on SB535 entitled, “Investment Justice through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund,” she provided key recommendations for implementing the GGRF to ensure the investments maximize environmental, economic and public health benefits for communities across California most in need. The recommended evaluation and performance management approach draws from an earilier report “Pathways to Environmental Justice: Advancing a Framework for Evaluation” created by the UCLA Luskin Center in collaboration with EPA and EJ leaders from across the nation.

Public Policy Alumna Gives Testimony on US Trade Partnership Importance Celeste Drake presents testimony on US trade possibilities

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By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin student writer 

Public policy alumna Celeste Drake presented testimony about U.S. trade possibilities in the Trans-Pacific Partnership at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing last Wednesday.

Her testimony addressed how trade through the Trans-Pacific Partnership can be used to ensure sustainable economic growth in the US, particularly by increasing wages and improving working conditions. Drake said that trade deals after NAFTA have created stagnant wages and increasing inequality, and suggested ways the Trans-Pacific Partnership can help revert those effects.  

“The most important thing the TPP can do to create jobs and raise wages is to address currency manipulation,” she said. “ If the TPP leaves countries free to use currency to create trade advantages,  the mammoth, job killing 500 billion dollar US trade deficit is only likely to grow.”

In her concluding statements, Drake asked for the US government to increase leverage over the TPP by rejecting a fast track model and properly enforcing it. 

“The TPP rules must require compliance on day one or it sends the message that the commitments aren’t serious. If the TPP rules  are entirely  discretionary allow for delays or no action at all they will not help workers gain the voice they need to raise wages and make their jobs safer,” she said.

UCLA Medical Marijuana Research Team Releases Brief On Dispensaries The team examined the changes in the number and location of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles.

By Angel Ibanez
UCLA Luskin Student Writer 

The UCLA Medical Marijuana Research team led by Social Welfare professor Bridget Freisthler recently released a brief that examines the changes in the number and location of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles over a seven year time period.

The brief illuminates the prevalence of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. In 2007, Los Angeles had 187 open and operating dispensaries but by 2014 the number had reached 418. This finding could have implications on the monitoring of dispensaries. In 2013 voters passed Proposition D, a city ordinance that would, in part, limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed in the city to 135. Despite this ordinance, Freisthler’s research showed that the city currently has over three times that limit as of 2014. 

The research also showed a shift in distribution of dispensaries across the city, moving “from the San Fernando Valley and East L.A. to the South L.A. and San Pedro areas”.


The map shows the rate of change of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city from 2007 to 2014. While some neighborhoods saw a decrease in dispensaries, the rate of change in others, like South LA and San Pedro, increased over 250 percent. 

According to Freisthler, the shift in dispensary distribution can be attribute to gang activity where in areas like South LA “dispensaries were run out by the gangs. And now gangs are converting parts of their street market to dispensaries.”

The large increase in dispensaries in San Pedro could also be a result of cause and effect.  As dispensaries were being shut down in Long Beach “due to increased enforcement, dispensaries migrated to San Pedro,” Freisthler says. 

The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and led by Dr. Bridget Freisthler, Principal Investigator, with Dr. Paul J. Gruenewald, Co-Investigator; Crystal Thomas, Graduate Student; Alexis Cooke, Graduate Student Researcher; and Alex Creek, Student Researcher.  

The UCLA Medical Marijuana Research team was initiated as a way to examine how the emergence of dispensaries change the ecological landscape of the neighborhoods in which they are located, including changes in crime and dependence. The research team hopes to provide communities with guidance on regulatory processes that may improve neighborhood problems related to dispensaries.