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Luskins Honored as UCLA Alumni of the Year University also recognizes Bill Coggins MSW '55 with award for community service

The UCLA Award for Community Service was awarded to Wilfred “Bill” Coggins MSW ’55.

Meyer and Renee Luskin, namesakes and major benefactors of the Luskin School of Public Affairs, have been recognized as the 2020 Edward A. Dickson Alumni of the Year, UCLA’s highest alumni honor.

The university’s Alumni Association also honored Wilfred “Bill” Coggins MSW ’55 with this year’s UCLA Award for Community Service, which recognizes alumni who have worked for the enrichment of others and the betterment of their communities.

The Luskins are entrepreneurs, philanthropists and lifelong friends of UCLA.

“Together, Renee and Meyer have shaped UCLA’s greatness for nine decades, transforming UCLA through their many gifts benefiting students, families, communities and institutions around the globe,” the Alumni Association said in announcing the award.

Meyer Luskin earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1949, then went on to launch Scope Industries, which recycles bakery waste to make an ingredient in animal feed. Renee Luskin earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1953.

“The Luskins have transformed their success with an extraordinary generosity of spirit and resources to help UCLA impact countless lives,” the association said.

In 2019, the Luskins were awarded the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor. At a reception at the university conference center bearing their name, Chancellor Gene Block said, “What drives Meyer and Renee is precisely what drives UCLA: a desire to solve society’s biggest challenges and to create opportunity for all through education and research.”

Coggins was honored for his decades of stewardship of the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center, which helps families achieve academic and personal success, the Alumni Association said.

Amid the unrest of 1960s Los Angeles, Kaiser Permanente hired Coggins, an Army veteran, Fulbright scholar and psychiatric social worker, to develop a program that would meet the social and emotional needs of the Watts neighborhood.

“Coggins established trust with the community to create an organization that serves as an essential mental health and educational resource,” the association said.

“Bill Coggins has been called the heart and soul of the center, which continues to thrive due to his creative and thoughtful leadership that benefited generations of Watts residents,” it said.

Coggins, who retired as the center’s executive director in 1998, has been inducted into the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. In 2018, he became the first recipient of the UCLA Luskin Social Welfare Lifetime Achievement Award.

The UCLA Alumni Awards have recognized distinguished Bruins since 1946. This year’s honorees were announced in the spring; a celebration of their achievements will be planned at a later date.

Read more about the 2020 UCLA Alumni Awards.

Alumni Notes Urban Planning alumni provide leadership in El Monte and Cincinnati; a '96 MSW and triple Bruin oversees the L.A. County Office of Education

El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero MA UP ’01, JD ’01 and City Manager Alma Martinez BA ’01, MA UP ’13.

MAYOR AND CITY MANAGER OF EL MONTE ARE BOTH UCLA LUSKIN PLANNING ALUMNI

El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero MA UP ’01, JD ’01 and City Manager Alma Martinez BA ’01, MA UP ’13 reflected on how their UCLA Luskin education helped shape their respective paths and prepared them for careers in government office.

The two alumni apply the skills they developed as graduate students in urban planning to make collaborative decisions to solve problems and maximize the well-being of the residents of their San Gabriel Valley city.

After earning degrees in sociology and political science from UCLA as an undergraduate, Martinez returned to earn her master’s in urban planning at UCLA Luskin.

“I knew I wanted to work with the faculty in the department,” Martinez said. As an undergraduate, then-faculty member Leo Estrada, who died in 2018, had encouraged her to pursue a graduate degree in urban planning, and he became an important mentor during her time in the program.

Looking back, Martinez’s Luskin School education “taught [her] to look at planning and development from a holistic point of view — not only how they affect the city itself but the surrounding communities as well.”

She keeps that holistic perspective in mind as she makes decisions as city manager that she knows will affect thousands of people.

Martinez said the interdisciplinary nature of the UCLA Luskin program gave her “the ability to shift priorities and understand the immediate needs of the community and approach it from a point of view of proactiveness and compassion.”

Quintero received his undergraduate degree in political science from UC Riverside, where he served as student body president

and president of the statewide University of California Student Association.

“I knew I wanted to have a life of public service,” Quintero recalled.

Being able to earn a dual degree from UCLA Luskin and the UCLA School of Law made for an appealing combination when he sought out graduate education.

“While the joint degree was a challenging academic experience to balance, the faculty were amazing and helped me get through as a first-generation student,” he said.

Looking back, Quintero said the joint-degree program made him a more well-rounded student.

“The experience and training that I received at UCLA were essential to what I believe to be good decision-making,” he said.

Quintero was elected in December 2009 as mayor of El Monte. He and Martinez have been working closely together since Martinez was elected city manager two years ago.

“I’ve always aspired to have a strong, collaborative relationship with the city manager, and I finally have that,” Quintero said. “I have a city manager that I can collaborate with at a very high level, and I enjoy our intellectual conversation.”

Having a city manager with a similar academic background creates “a wonderful environment for collaboration.”

Any advice for current UCLA Luskin graduate students?

“Be bold, develop relationships and pursue their passion,” Quintero recommended.

Because planners populate many different departments of city organizations, he recommends that students “go out and find what niche they would like to be involved in. Cities need good and experienced planners who can shape policy at a much higher level.” — Zoe Day

DUARDO LEADS L.A. COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION THROUGH CRISIS

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, UCLA Luskin alumni across the world stepped up to lead their communities through an unprecedented crisis. It’s just that Debra Duardo’s community happens to be bigger than most.

Duardo is a triple Bruin. She received her undergraduate degree in women’s studies in 1994, then got an MSW at UCLA Luskin in 1996 before going on to a Ph.D. in education in 2013.

As superintendent since 2016 of the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), Duardo has oversight of 80 school districts and more than 2 million preschool and school-age children. LACOE is the country’s largest regional educational agency. Her 30-year career in the Los Angeles Unified School District included positions in health and human services and academic counseling.

During the health crisis, Duardo’s proactive communication was credited with preparing Los Angeles schools to respond quickly in the face of a rapidly shifting landscape. She had the foresight in February to lay contingency plans for school districts to transition to online learning and continue essential services, doing so at a time when fewer than five cases had been confirmed in Los Angeles County.

ALUMNA HAS BROUGHT LUSKIN EDUCATION BACK TO HER CINCINNATI HOME

The charge for every graduate of the Luskin School is the same: Be a change agent and bring solutions to your community’s most pressing issues. For Sara Sheets MA UP ’97 that has meant supporting urban community development in her home state of Ohio for over 20 years.

First making her way to Los Angeles via Teach for America, she taught elementary school for two years. The experience of educating students who lived in underserved neighborhoods beset by a lack of quality housing, rampant crime and unequitable access to food and transportation inspired Sheets to change course. UCLA Luskin’s focus on social justice and community development drew her to enroll as a Master of Urban Planning student.

Upon graduation, Sheets took her UCLA Luskin training and hands-on experience back home to Ohio.

Initially, she worked in community development, seeking to revitalize once-neglected areas of Cincinnati. Currently, she is a loan officer at the Cincinnati Development Fund, supporting real estate lending in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods in attempts to bring affordable housing and new businesses to those parts of town that have been struggling.

She said she is especially proud of Cincinnati’s tremendous growth in the decade after the 2008 Great Recession.

More recently, in the face of COVID-19, that growth was threatened, and Queen City tenants have been counting on Sheets’ leadership and creative thinking more than ever. She is working extensively with small business owners and other borrowers in Cincinnati to help them pay rent, pay their workers, and keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic.

Her initiative quickly turned into a statewide effort to support other businesses and borrowers across Ohio, including with groups like the Cincinnati Development Fund.

“Even though it has been 23 years since graduation, I feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to attend UCLA,” Sheets said. “I remember feeling consistently inspired by my professors — Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Jackie Leavitt, Allan Heskin — as well as my fellow classmates who came to UCLA with rich personal and professional backgrounds and a deep commitment to equity.”

Although Sheets said she often misses Los Angeles, “I also love the benefits of living in a smaller city and being able to contribute in large and small ways to my community.”

Alumni Accolades Career changes and other updates from the alumni of UCLA Luskin

Svetha Ambati MURP ’17 is now the senior planner for the city and county of San Francisco, working on the Land Use and Community Planning team.

Jonathan S. Bell Ph.D. UP ’14 assumed the role of vice president of programs at World Monuments Fund in Washington, D.C. Formerly, he was the director of the
Human Journey Initiative at National Geographic.

Karen Diaz MURP ’19, MPH ’19 is the associate relationship manager at NeighborWorks America in Los Angeles. Diaz is an advocate for issues of poverty and racial equity.

Jasdeep Chahal MSW ’18 brings a strong background in working with diverse populations to her new position
as associate clinical social worker at the Elizabeth Hospice in Escondido.

Janine (Berridge) N’jie David MPP ’14 is back on campus as the deputy director for the Luskin School’s new Global Lab for Research in Action. The Global Lab pursues evidence-based solutions to critical health, education and economic challenges faced by children, adolescents and women around the world.

Jacklyn Oh MURP ’17 was promoted to project manager from associate project manager at Community HousingWorks, and she is working in the development of affordable housing.

Erica Ontiveros MSW ’18 is now deputy probation officer for Santa Barbara County. Working in juvenile services, she facilitates treatment opportunities for youth and their families while monitoring their progress.

While Tony Rodriguez MPP ’16 is studying for his MBA at Cambridge Judge Business School, he began a new position as MBA consultant at Citi Ventures at Citi in the London office.

Sam Stalls MPP ’19 is based in Washington, D.C., as a researcher for Collaborating for Resilience (CoRe), where he reviews field guides for practitioners building stakeholder platforms.

Jennifer Vallejo BA ’07, MSW ’12 was appointed as the mental health deputy for Hilda Solis, the Los Angeles County supervisor for the 1st District.

Taylor Liebolt Varner MURP ’15, in addition to holding the roles of planning commissioner for La Quinta and board member of the Desert Valleys Builders Association, has started a new position as regional affordable housing planner at Lift to Rise in California’s Coachella Valley.

Sara Estes (Cohen) White MPP ’08 is currently the worldwide industry lead – government at Apple. Emergency response/management and technology have been a focus of her career, particularly as it relates to innovative use of social media in disaster relief.

 

Alumni Offer Advice on an Uncertain Job Market Class of 2020 hears words of encouragement from two who graduated during the Great Recession

By Mary Braswell

Joey Shanley and Andy Sywak know what it’s like to look for a job in an economy shaken by uncertainty. The two UCLA Luskin alumni graduated in 2009 as the nation struggled to emerge from the Great Recession.

Each embarked on career paths that took surprising-but-welcome turns, and each emerged with insights about job strategies that work, including adjusting your mindset to weather unpredictable times.

At an online panel hosted by UCLA Luskin Career Services, Shanley and Sywak shared their wisdom with graduates entering the workforce during a downturn that has eclipsed the recession of a decade ago. Their words of advice to the Class of 2020 were both practical and encouraging.

“You have a master’s degree from one of the top top-tier universities in the world. I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t tell you when you will find a job, but I will tell you that you will find a job,” said Shanley, who earned his master’s in social welfare and now manages transgender care programs at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

Before and after he earned his master’s in public policy, Sywak worked in journalism, government, nonprofits and the private sector. He now uses policy and planning skills as a compliance manager for the West Hollywood startup AvantStay, which specializes in high-end short-term rental properties.

In each position he has held, Sywak pursued his longstanding interest in local government, and he encouraged students to “find that common thread” when presenting resumes with a wide range of experiences.

‘The thing that we always look for is people who can create solutions.’ — Andy Sywak MPP ’09

Shanley pursued politics and film before dedicating his life to social work, and even then a few unexpected turns awaited him.

“If you pulled me aside five years ago and said, you know, Joey, you’re going to be neck-deep in transgender health, I would have said that sounds great but that’s not my career path,” said Shanley, who manages Kaiser’s gender-affirming surgery program and is helping to launch a pediatric transgender care clinic.

“This is where my career has gone, and it’s been beyond even my wildest hopes.”

The May 29 panel launched a series of Career Services activities aimed at supporting students and alumni throughout the summer. At the next event, a Zoom conversation on July 7, Marcia Choo, vice president of community development at Wells Fargo Bank, will discuss how to align career decisions with equity and social justice.

Shanley and Sywak invited freshly minted policy, planning and social welfare graduates to remain in touch, to seek career advice or simply to strengthen the UCLA Luskin alumni connection.

The power of networking can be tapped well before graduation, Shanley noted. He recalled poring over the entire list of MSW field placements, then scouring websites of employers that piqued his interest. Whether or not they had active job listings, he reached out to set up introductory meetings and always followed up with both an email and a written note.

“I’m still old school,” he said, and hiring managers may be, too. “When all the candidates look equal but there’s a nice, handwritten thank-you card from you, that’s going to actually help elevate your position in the rankings.”

Both in interviews and on the job, the ability to communicate clearly and think creatively are key, Sywak added.

“When you work at a startup, people are given pretty big responsibilities pretty easily. … The thing that we always look for is people who can create solutions,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made certain skill sets essential on the job, the alumni added. Employees who have transitioned to a virtual environment, with clients or with colleagues, should master new technologies, design skills and ways of communicating to remain relevant, they said.

Both Shanley and Sywak counseled the graduates to view their hard-won master’s degrees as the beginning, not the end, of their education.

“There’s a lot that we can learn in those first few years out of grad school,” Shanley said. “Make sure that you’re listening, make sure you continue to have curiosity. …

“Especially now, life is hard for everybody. Make sure that you can funnel that into a place that’s effective in the workplace. Help find the solutions.”

 

Alumni Accolades Career changes and other updates from the alumni of UCLA Luskin

Lande Ajose MA UP ’95 of Oakland has been appointed to the Advisory Selection Committee for the Regents of the University of California by Gov. Gavin Newsom. This year, she also was named a senior advisor on higher education in the Office of the Governor.

Christopher Ayala ’15, MSW ’18 now holds the position of medical social worker at Harborview Medical Center in Washington state.

Megan Ebor ’04, MSW ’12, an instructor at CSU Dominguez Hills and UCLA, is an affiliate researcher at the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

Dora Epstein Jones MA UP ’96, Ph.D. ’04, an architecture educator, theorist and scholar, was appointed chair of architecture at the Texas Tech University College of Architecture.

Margaret Gross MSW ’18 relocated from California to the East Coast and is now working as a crisis clinician at First Call for Chittenden County at the Howard Center in Burlington, Vermont.

Dylan Jouliot MURP ’18 was promoted from transportation specialist to senior transportation specialist at Commute Seattle in Seattle, Washington.

Ramon Quintero MURP ’16, after working in the Bay Area, is now a community urban regional planner for the state of Florida, based out of Sarasota.

Vicente Romero De Avila Serrano MURP ’14 worked in Spain before relocating to San Francisco. He is assistant transportation planner at the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Ben Russak MURP ’14, a leader at the Liberty Hill Foundation, recently took on the role of acting director of environmental health and justice.

Elsie Silva, MSW ’16 is a medical social worker at the Elizabeth Hospice in San Diego.

Jenn Tolentino MPP ’11 is now a senior project manager at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office Innovation Team after working as vice president of impact and innovation at Rock the Vote.

Darryl Yip MURP ’15 returned to the Bay Area and was recently promoted to transportation planner for policy and long-range planning for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

A Passion for Diversity UCLA Luskin showcases its programs — and its people — who are pushing for all voices to be heard on issues of public concern

By Les Dunseith

The social justice ethos and commitment to diversity that form the backbone of UCLA Luskin’s graduate degree programs were front and center during the fourth annual Diversity Fair.

Dozens of graduate student recruits came to campus in November for a full day of discussions and workshops. Key speakers included Dean Gary Segura and the chairs of each graduate department: JR DeShazo of Public Policy, Laura Abrams of Social Welfare and Vinit Mukhija of Urban Planning, all of whom are professors in their respective fields.

A highlight of the day was a panel discussion during which six alumni talked about why they chose UCLA Luskin and offered insightful advice about how the graduate school experience can help people with a passion for change figure out ways to turn their ideals into action.

“How do governments create safe spaces for immigrants? How do we improve the basic services that government provides so that it actually fits the needs of the people who are using them? All of those things were in my mind as I started the program,” said Estafanía Zavala MPP ’18, who is now project lead, digital engagement, for the city of Long Beach. “I feel like the program really helped me gain a good understanding of what was actually going on in the world and how to process it.”

Taylor Holland MURP ’19, assistant project manager at PATH Ventures, a nonprofit agency that works with the homeless population in Los Angeles, said that she chose UCLA in part because of its vast alumni network in Southern California. She said she met “great alumni by coming to events like this. We have super-active alumni who you can really tell are pushing for change in different systems throughout urban planning.”

Several panelists said that UCLA Luskin helped them to further develop a social justice perspective, and they talked about their own efforts to foster inclusiveness.

Ulises Ramirez MSW ’96 is a clinical social worker and therapist in the Adult Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, and he said that mental health service protocols are too often developed only with English-speaking clients in mind.

“The community that we serve at Harbor UCLA is very diverse. We see a lot of Spanish-speaking clients, and my goal there has been to provide top treatment to monolingual, Spanish-speaking clients,” Ramirez said. “It’s an underserved population, and they have nowhere else to go.”

Christina Hernández MSW ’17, community accompaniment coordinator for Freedom for Immigrants in Santa Monica, said her clients come from immigration detention centers.

“They are asylum-seekers; they’re refugees; they’re immigrants. These are people coming from all over the world,” she said. “Our goal is that the documents that we have for English speakers, we also make available for other languages as well.”

The speakers noted that racial minorities and women have traditionally been underrepresented in some of their fields.

“I think our perspectives as folks of color are so important in transportation planning,” said Carolyn “Caro” Vera MURP ’17, who was born and raised in South Los Angeles and now works as a planning consultant. She makes an extra effort to encourage minorities to pursue planning careers.

“If you ever need anything, hit me up,” Vera told the prospective students of color in attendance at the Diversity Fair. “It’s hard to get into the field. It’s daunting. But we need you in that field.”

Wajenda Chambeshi MPP ’16, a program manager for the city of Los Angeles, noted that a lack of diversity in some professions starts with decisions by young people from minority communities about which courses of study to pursue.

“Some of these professions that we overlook make really, really important decisions about where funds are going to be allocated, how they are going to be allocated and, ultimately, who receives what. That’s why we need diversity,” Chambeshi said, “so when we graduate, we will be able to filter into those positions that are able to divert resources — or even just rethink how we think about planning and public policy.”

As “the housing person on this panel,” Holland talked about the ethnic component of the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.

“We have 60,000 people on the streets in L.A. on any given night, and it’s largely a black crisis. We have 9 percent of the city that is black; 40 percent of our homeless population is black,” she said.

Holland said her focus is on chronically homeless people, many of whom are people of color.

“They are … people who have been forgotten about in every aspect of their lives and cannot be pulled up by their bootstraps. Looking at social justice and housing — it’s particularly in a crisis in L.A. right now,” she said, directing her attention to the prospective students of color in the audience. “And we need all of you guys to help out as you can.”

The alumni panelists spoke passionately about the advantages of being actively involved as students, and they urged attendees to build expansive personal and professional networks.

Vera said she battled depression during her time as a UCLA student and suffered a panic attack during an exam that threatened her opportunity to graduate. But friends helped her through.

“Always advocate for yourself. Create peer networks and check in on each other,” she said.

Noting that the pressures of academic life can be especially difficult for first-generation college students from disadvantaged populations such as herself, she continued: “You are more prone to having depression and anxiety when you come into a program that just doesn’t look like what you are accustomed to.”

Building a network as a student was important to Ramirez as well. He cited his involvement in the Latinx Caucus as a particularly beneficial connection, “and 23 years later, we still get together.”

Hernandez echoed those experiences.

“I am a first-generation daughter of immigrants, and navigating these spaces was very difficult for me,” she said. “So networks were a lifesaver.”

Hernandez ticked off the names of UCLA faculty and staff members who helped her as a student and remain close. “It was amazing to have people who look like me, Latinos, as advisors and as supervisors, who I could go to and say, ‘Hey, I’m stuck with this issue.’”

She continued: “That is the beauty of joining this school. Even after you graduate, you still have folks who are going to be there to support you regardless of the situation.”

View more images from the event on Flickr:

Diversity Fair 2019

We Host, We Toast, We Boast (Just a Little)

A larger turnout than anyone could remember showed up for the 9th annual Block Party in late September to help UCLA Luskin kick off another academic year. The event-filled week also included the annual Orientation for new graduate students, and an open house and information session for undergraduates. Staff volunteers from throughout the School provided helping hands and welcoming smiles to assist Director of Events Tammy Borrero in creating a Block Party to remember. Before he introduced Renee Luskin to lead a toast to the School’s 25th anniversary, Dean Gary Segura reminded the enthusiastic crowd that 2019-20 not only marks UCLA’s 100th anniversary, but it’s also a year of milestones at UCLA Luskin. “We have a lot to celebrate tonight,” Segura said. “We celebrate our founding as the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs — we’ve been in existence 25 years, but our mission has lasted a lot longer. In Public Policy last year, we celebrated some 20 years in existence. Later this year, we’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of Urban Planning. And this is the 72nd year of operation of UCLA Social Welfare. Together, we have sent 8,000 alumni into the world to do good things.” A large contingent of those alumni were on hand at the Block Party, and you can view their pictures along with photos of the entire UCLA Luskin community on our  Flickr feed or by clicking through the individual galleries below.

2019 Orientation

Undergrad Open House 2019

Luskin Block Party 2019


 

Shell Family Endowment Supports Public Affairs Undergraduates

Laura Shell, a member of the UCLA Luskin board of advisors, and her husband, Jeff, have established an endowed scholarship to support students in the Luskin School’s new undergraduate program. The UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match Initiative, which matches gifts for such scholarships at 50 percent, will establish the Shell Family Centennial Scholarship Matching Fund. The funds will support scholarships for students who have declared the new Public Affairs major and have demonstrated financial need. The first recipients of the scholarship will be announced in 2020. “We want to make the excellent college education provided by the UCLA Luskin School possible for students without the worry of tuition,” Laura Shell said. “We are thrilled our contribution will support the education of future leaders in our community, who will undoubtedly work in public service after graduation.” Shell, who earned a B.A. in political science from UCLA and a master’s in public administration from USC, has maintained a 25-year career working in local government and with environmental organizations. The Shells’ gift is part of a network of support inspired by the launch of the UCLA Luskin undergraduate program. In June 2018, Richard Lieboff endowed the Gene Dudley Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship in memory of Llewellyn Eugene “Gene” Dudley. That gift was also matched by the UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match Initiative.

 

 

Alumni Accolades Career changes and other updates from the alumni of UCLA Luskin

Jane Christenson MA UP ’02 has joined Placer County’s executive management team as assistant county executive officer.

Stephen Cheung MSW ’07 has been named executive vice president of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), in addition to his role as president of World Trade Center Los Angeles.

Saira Gandhi MPP ’14 has been named investment management analyst at Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS).  Gandhi is a former UCLA Luskin Bohnett Fellow in the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles.

Khalilha Haynes MURP ’18 has been named an associate at Estolano LeSar Advisors.

Nate Hughes MPP ’01 has been named senior manager for business development and client management at CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services.

Laurel Hunt MURP ’14 has been appointed vice chair at Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA).

Amalia M. Merino MURP ’13 started a new position as associate planner for the Woolsey Fire Rebuild and Recovery Unit, City of Malibu, at 4LEAF Inc.

Julie Munjack MPP ’09 has been appointed Pacific Northwest regional director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Paul Sorensen MA UP ’05 has been promoted to principal at the transportation consulting firm Cambridge Systematics.

Takao Suzuki MA UP ’04 has been appointed to the Affordable Housing Advisory Council by FHLBank San Francisco.  Takao is currently director of community economic development for the Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation in Los Angeles.

Naomi Tacuyan Underwood MPP ’08 is the new executive director of the Asian American Journalists Association. She joins AAJA from the Washington, D.C.-based Faith & Politics Institute, where she served as director of programs.

In Support Fellowship recipients meet with benefactors; new partnerships expand opportunities for student learning

SHAPIRO FELLOWS SHARE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE AT APPRECIATION LUNCH

UCLA Luskin’s Shapiro Fellows shared their impactful experiences and plans for the future at a lunch with Peter Shapiro, whose family has provided generous support to students from all three of the School’s graduate programs. UCLA alumni Ralph and Shirley Shapiro have maintained a lifelong commitment to helping the Bruin family. Their son Peter is president of the Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation, which supports organizations that advocate for the arts, education, environmental issues, religious causes, children’s health and human rights.

Monica Salinas, center, with Gabriela Solis and Julio Mendez-Vargas.

RECIPIENTS OF MONICA SALINAS FELLOWS MEET FOR LUNCH

Monica Salinas hosted recipients of her fellowship over lunch at her home in March. Established in 2005, the Monica Salinas Fellowship is awarded to students who have an interest in public policy issues affecting Latinos. Of particular interest are the contributions and achievements of the emerging Latino community as it plays an increasingly important role in our country’s social, economic, cultural and political life. The 2018-19 fellowship recipients are Gabriela Solis, a dual MPP and MSW student,
and Julio Mendez-Vargas, an undergraduate Political Science major and Public Affairs minor. The students, who are on track to graduate in June, have worked closely with the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative at UCLA Luskin.

Old Ph.D. Suite

 

New Ph.D Suite

PH.D. SUITE RECEIVES NEW COMPUTER LAB

Thanks to generous support from The Ahmanson Foundation, a newly modernized computer lab is nearing completion for doctoral students at UCLA Luskin. The project provided the perfect opportunity to redesign the old lab space and customize it to better fit the needs of our students. The refurbished lab is now equipped with brand-new computers, specialized software and upgraded furniture. Its open layout is conducive to students working individually or collaboratively. An adjoining office space was converted into a conference room to accommodate private meetings and has videoconferencing capability.

Dannielle Campos, senior vice president with Bank of America, welcomes summit participants.

INAUGURAL ‘LUSKIN SUMMIT’ ADVOCATES FOR A LIVABLE L.A.

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs marked its 25th anniversary with the inaugural “Luskin Summit 2019: Livable L.A.” — made possible by support from sponsors Bank of America, the Los Angeles Rams, The California Endowment, Guidehouse, the Southern California Leadership Network and ABC7, which also served as the media partner. Leaders from government; business; academia; and the civic, nonprofit and philanthropic spheres gathered at the summit for a cross-sector conversation centered on the latest UCLA Luskin research. “We do hope you learned more about the great work at the Luskin School and that you’ll be our advocates out in the community, helping us make an even greater impact,” Dean Gary Segura told supporters at the close of the summit. “We ask that you become engaged with the Luskin School in a variety of ways: host students as interns or hire our graduates, fund summer internships or full-year fellowships, learn more about our faculty research and support it, and connect us with others who want to learn more about our great work and the progress we are leading.” Segura concluded, “Philanthropy truly makes our work possible and we have so much more we want do to.”

Michael Dukakis, center, with this year’s internship recipients.

DUKAKIS MEETS WITH STUDENT FELLOWS

This spring, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis met recipients of the Michael S. Dukakis Internship award to hear about their experiences. Dukakis spearheaded this privately funded internship program to provide students with first-hand public service experience in government. As power shifts from Washington, D.C., to the state and local level, the need for talented public servants has never been greater. The internship program provides stipends for students serving in nonpartisan internships in government, with a special emphasis on California.

Michael Loper, center in blue shirt, at Estolano LeSar Advisors.

ESTOLANO LESAR ADVISORS ESTABLISH SUMMER INTERNSHIP AWARD

Luskin alumnae and business partners Cecilia Estolano and Jennifer LeSar established a summer internship award for deserving students in urban planning. Each summer, one graduate student will receive a stipend while developing professional skills working at a nonprofit organization that offers critical services in areas such as affordable housing, sustainability, transportation, land use, or workforce and economic development. The first recipient of the award was Michael Loper, a dual MURP and MPH candidate, who interned at the Los Angeles Food Policy Council last summer to help communities achieve food justice and social equity. Estolano LeSar Advisors invited Loper for lunch at their office in downtown L.A. to share his experience.