Astin Community Engaged Scholars

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

ThAstin Community Engaged Scholars program provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates to spend a year learning about, and then conducting, community-engaged research. As Brian, an Astin Scholar alum (2017-2018), shares, “The Astin program allowed me to cultivate the idea that you can be passionate for disadvantaged communities, vulnerable populations….It strengthens you as an academic in a way that is unmatched at UCLA”.

Scholars enroll in a credit-bearing course each quarter, and receive a financial award to engage in research that will support social justice movements. Always keeping in mind our goal of having a positive impact on the communities we work with, the program has continued to 

evolve over the years to incorporate more community voice. In its current conception, Scholars spend the fall quarter learning about the principles of conducting community engaged research, and then during winter and spring quarters, collaborate with graduate students and community activists to produce action-oriented research on a specific social issue, as part of the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment’s (IRLE) long-standing Community Scholars program.

The program is named for visionary UCLA higher education scholars Helen (“Lena”) and Alexander (“Sandy”) Astin to honor their nationally recognized body of research in the area of civic engagement.

“The Astin Community Engaged Scholars program was fundamental to my growth as a leader and researcher, as it reinforced the importance of community-based research. We could not research the public education system in Los Angeles without involving the community of students, parents, and teachers in our work. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with community leaders of important organizations and schools in the Los Angeles area and this has reinforced my desire to become a teacher in my postgraduate career. I will take my experience with this program with me to my position as an English Teaching Assistant in Spain next year.” -Aliena Pitts, Political Science major with a Community Engagement and Social Change minor

2020-2021 Astin Scholars Research Week Presentation

Remembering Lena

Helen (Lena) AstinHelen S. (Lena) Astin was a pioneer in the research of student experiences while in college, specifically on issues related to women, equity, spirituality, and civic engagement. She was a prolific writer, having authored 14 books among her vast accomplishments in a career that spanned over 50 years. But to the students who have been chosen as Astin Community Engaged Scholars, Lena personified what an educator should be: someone who deeply cared about students.

Her insight, encouragement, and warmth were tremendously meaningful for these young scholars learning how to incorporate their passions into rigorous inquiry. And the feeling was mutual — Lena always had a big smile on her face while listening to the students talk about their research. All of us who knew and worked with Lena have been honored by her company. She is so greatly missed.

To learn more about Lena’s life and career, and to share your own memories of her, please visit the Higher Education Research Institute’s Tribute  to Lena.

HOW TO APPLY

The Astin Community Engaged Scholars program funds a select group of upper-division students who demonstrate a strong, ongoing commitment to community engagement and social change. The program is named for visionary UCLA higher education scholars Helen (“Lena”) and Alexander (“Sandy”) Astin to honor their nationally recognized body of research in the area of civic engagement.

In partnership with the UCLA Labor Center, Labor Studies, the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, and the Department of African American Studies, students chosen as Astin Community Engaged Scholars will collaborate with graduate students and community stakeholders and advocates to leverage community-engaged research, policy analysis, and elevation of worker voice to shape the ‘Future of Work in a Decarcerated California.’ The types of research conducted will vary, but the goal will be to use these methodologies to support people who have worked in the juvenile and criminal justice systems to inform decarceration strategies. This research will add to an ongoing direct engagement of people who have worked in existing carceral regimes to add an important voice to the reimagination of juvenile and criminal justice, racial justice, and public sector work in California.

Fall quarter will be spent learning about the practice of conducting community-engaged research. In winter quarter, undergraduates will team with their research partners to design the projects and begin collecting data. Spring quarter will be dedicated to analyzing data collected and sharing the teams’ findings.

Each quarter, undergraduates will enroll in a 4-unit upper division course. The chosen recipients will receive a research scholarship during the year. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and have junior or senior standing in the fall of the year they begin the program.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

The 2021-2022 Cohort has been selected. Please check back in Spring 2022 for 2022-2023 application details.

Questions about the application or the program in general can be sent to Dr. Douglas Barrera at dbarrera@college.ucla.edu. Dr. Barrera is also happy to meet with any prospective applicants to discuss their research ideas. Please email him for an appointment.

2021 – 2022 Astin Community Engaged Scholars

Mina Anochie

Mina Anochie

Mina’s major is Public Affairs with a minor in Education and Labor Studies.

Valeria Coronado

Valeria Coronado

Valeria is majoring in Labor Studies and Chicanx/Central American Studies with a minor in Community Engagement and Social Change.

Jeniffer Cruz

Jeniffer Cruz

Jeniffer is double majoring in Public Affairs and Education and Social Transformation.

Patrosinio Cruz

Patrosinio Cruz

Patrosinio is majoring in Education and Social Transformation with a minor in Chicana/o and Central American Studies.

Chloe Kauffman

Chloe Kauffman

Chloe is majoring in Anthropology with a minor in African American Studies.

Jazmin Rivera

Jazmin Rivera

Jazmin is double majoring in Labor Studies and Political Science with a minor in Chicanx & Central American Studies.

Lauryn Wang

Lauryn Wang

Lauryn plans to major in History and double minor in Community Engagement and Social Change and Public Affairs.

Astin Community Engaged Scholars Alumni

Tehya Baxter 
2010-2011
Major: World Arts & Cultures
Project: Effectiveness of dance movement to further the verbal development of English Language Learners
Faculty Sponsor: Barbara Drucker (School of the Arts & Architecture)
Community Partner: UCLA Community School
Gabrielle Bonder
2014-2015
Major: World Arts & Cultures
Project: Tolerance learning outcome from the MOT (what is MOT?)
Faculty Sponsor: Anne Gilliland (GSEIS)
Community Partner: Museum of Tolerance
Audrey Mei Yi Brown
2016-2017
Major: Geography (Minor: Literature and the Environment)
Project: Rewriting Food Justice Narratives: An Oral History Project
Community Partner: Meet Each Need With Dignity (MEND)
Alexis Bruun
2009-2010
Major: World Arts & Cultures
Project: Benefits of arts programs with homeless adults
Faculty Sponsor: David Delgado Shorter (World Arts & Cultures)
Community Partner: Lamp Art Project
Christopher Butler
2012-2013
Major: History 
Project: To discover what motivates college students to volunteer their time to tutor and mentor incarcerated youth as well as what meaning they make of the experience
Faculty Sponsor: Mary Corey (History)
Cynthia Carvajal
2012-2013
Major: Political Science
Project: To explore the connection between the personal and political identity of undocumented students and their motivations to attend institutions of higher education
Faculty Sponsor: Robert Chao Romero (Chicana/o Studies)
Li-Tsung (Alyssa) Chen
2009-2010
Major: Political Science
Project: Comparison of self-help legal programs
Faculty Sponsor: Susanne Lohmann (Department of Political Science)
Community Partner: Inglewood Self Help Legal Access Center
Dana Christensen
2016-2017
Major: Anthropology 
Project: "I liked it!" A Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Community Partner: Read to a Child
Howard Chung 
2014-2015
Major: Study of Religion
Project: Analyzing ex-offenders' self-reported experiences of transitioning from prison to community life while participating in a faith-based offender rehabilitation program and receiving faith-based mentoring support
Faculty Sponsor: Robert Chao Romero (Chicano/a Studies & Asian American Studies)
Community Partner: Prison Fellowship
Gisselle Cortez
2019-2020
Major: International Development Studies
Project:
Cailin Crockett
2009-2010
Major: Pre-Political Science
Project: Outcomes of programs at shelters and transitional living centers
Faculty Sponsor: Patricia Gandara (Department of Education)
Community Partner: Working Wardrobes for a New Start
Sasha Davila
2012-2013
Major: Art History
Project: To understand the relationship between community cultural development and muralism in Los Angeles
Faculty Sponsor: Judith Baca (Chicana/o Studies)
Bryan Dean
2017-2018
Major: Political Science Minor: Public Policy
Project: The Charity of Political Empowerment: Rethinking Nonprofit Organizational Structure
Community Partner: Meet Each Need With Dignity (MEND)
Samantha Feldman
2017-2018
Major: Psychology (Minor: Civic Engagement)
Project: Psychological Impacts of MEND's Diabetes Health Education Program
Community Partner: Meet Each Need With Dignity (MEND)
Jesse Flores
2016-2017
Major: Geography
Project: Community Building with Care Farming at Wooden High School
Community Partner: Kindred Spirits Care Farm
Jaredd Franco
2019-2020
Major: Political Science
Project:
Carissa Garcia
2012-2013
Major: World Arts & Culture
Project: To discover the ways an art-based, sex education effects dropout rates for high school students
Faculty Sponsor: David Gere (World Arts & Culture)
Andrea Avila Gordillo
2011-2012
Major: Latin American Studies 
Project: Researching the experiences of domestic workers in work centers, and exploring efforts to organize themselves to have their voices heard in service provision
Faculty Sponsor: Leisy Abrego (Chicano Studies Department)
Community Partner: Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)
Dominic Guidry
2018-2019
Major: Philosophy
Project:
Community Partner: Mar Vista Family Center
Haley Hood
2014-2015
Major: Anthropology (Minor: Education Studies)
Project: Creative Writing Community: Impacts of Creative Writing on Elementary School Students' Attitudes towards Literacy 
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Tyrone Howard (GSEIS)
Community Partner: Nora Sterry Elementary School 
Kayleah Kellybrew
2020-2021
Major: Political Science concentrating in American Politics with an Education Studies minor
Project: Cross-border Movement Sustainability
Demi Kim
2016-2017
Major: Psychology
Project: Labor Relations in Koreatown, Los Angeles: Narratives of Latino workers
Community Partner: Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA)
Radha Kumar

Major: Sociology
Project: Music and Self Esteem: Examining changes in students' self-esteem after participating in a guitar workshop
Faculty Sponsor: Jeffrey Prager (Sociology)
Community Partner: Create Now
Colleen Ma
2012-2013
Major: Geography/Environmental Studies
Project: To uncover the reasons behind the successes and failures of a community organizing group in Los Angeles by understanding the community responses to an affordable housing campaign
Faculty Sponsor: Michael Lens (Urban Planning)
Guadalupe Martinez
2020-2021
Major: Physiological Science with a Global Health minor
Project: Cross-border Legal Defense
Teresa Melendrez
2009-2010
Major: Women's Studies
Project: Effectiveness of sex education programs in high schools
Faculty Sponsor: Grace Hong (Department of Asian American Studies)
Community Partner: The Venice Family Clinic
Deborah Membreno
2013-2014
Major: International Development Studies
Project: Examining the Development of College Aspirations Among Underrepresented Students in an Educational Outreach Program
Faculty Sponsor: Leisy Abrego (Chicana/o Studies) 
Kimberly Mendoza
2010-2011
Major: International Development Studies
Project: Examination of the health needs of day laborers
Faculty Sponsor: Abel Valenzuela (Department of Chicana/o Studies)
Community Partner: Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA)
Jerzy Messan
2018-2019
Major: Sociology
Project:
Community Partner: Mar Vista Family Center
Juan Munoz
2018-2019
Major: Political Science
Project:
Community Partner: Mar Vista Family Center
Andrea Murray
2013-2014
Major: English 
Project: Analyzing the Connection between Changes in Public Policy and the Effect on Nonprofit Organizational Strategy
Faculty Sponsor: Tony Tolbert (Law) 
Alma Nunez
2012-2013
Major: Sociology
Project: To explore the different methods and activities used to engage high school students in math education
Faculty Sponsor: Megan Franke (Education)
Nazaret Nunez
2018-2019
Major: Biology
Project:
Community Partner: Mar Vista Family Center
Uwaila Omokaro
2020-2021
Major: Sociology with a Public Health minor
Project: Cross-border Legal Defense
Lidia Orozco
2015-2016
Major: Spanish Community & Culture
Project: Cultivating Critical Consciousness in Urban Youth through Narrative Photography
Community Partner: Compton YouthBuild
Jocelyn Pacheco 
2010-2011
Major: Sociology
Project: Impact of mediation on middle school students
Faculty Sponsor: Wellford Wilms (Department of Education)
Community Partner: Mark Twain Middle School
Cinthia Padilla
2017-2018
Major: Political Science
Project: A Study of Empowerment: The Effects of ESL Beyond Language Acquisition
Community Partner: Meet Each Need With Dignity (MEND)
Melissa Pampanin 
2011-2012
Major: Sociology
Project: Assessing the connection between participation in transition programs for students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and the advancement of educational aspirations
Faculty Sponsor: Kathy O'Byrne (Center for Community Learning)
Community Partner: Pathway at UCLA Extension
Sandra Parra
2015-2016
Major: Dance
Project: The Latina-Ship: Exploring the Dance between Identity and Hip-Hop
Community Partner: Godinez Fundamental High School
Danielle Perez
2015-2016
Major: English
Project: Volunteer-Based Differentiation Techniques to Address Variant Student Needs
Community Partner: 826LA in Mar Vista
Linh Pham
2013-2014
Major: Psychobiology
Project: Exploring the Use of Bilingual Pedagogy in Preschool Classrooms
Faculty Sponsor: Alma Cortez (Psychology)
Tuanh Phan
2012-2013
Major: Psychobiology
Project: To explore the extent that teacher attitudes and preschooler participation in growing fruits and vegetables influence student intake of fruits and vegetables
Faculty Sponsor: Elisheva Gross (Psychology)
Aliena Pitts
2019-2020
Major: Political Science
Project:
Tifanni Prater
2015-2016
Major: Political Science
Project: The Lost Ones: A Case Study of Continuation High Schools in Los Angeles 
Community Partner: United American Indian Involvement (UAII) and Central High School
Anycia Reyes
2018-2019
Major: Political Science
Project:
Community Partner: Mar Vista Family Center
Sienna Roherer
2019-2020
Major: Geography/Environmental Studies
Project:
Edgar Romo 
2010-2011
Major: Sociology
Project: Evaluation of conflict resolution program for high school students
Faculty Sponsor: Val Rust (Department of Education)
Community Partner: Hamilton High School
Elena Salazar
2009-2010
Major: World Arts & Cultures
Project: Feasability of municipal ID program in Los Angeles
Faculty Sponsor: Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda (Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies)
Community Partner: Alliance for Immigrant Rights
Judith Saunders
2015-2016
Major: Anthropology
Project: Grow Together: A food desert intervention program that gives families access to fruits and vegetables
Community Partner: Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) 
Krystsina Shabanava
2018-2019
Major: English
Project:
Community Partner: Mar Vista Family Center
Noah Shepardson-Brewster
2017-2018
Major: Philosophy
Project: Poverty Attitudes within a Poverty Relief Organization
Community Partner: Meet Each Need With Dignity (MEND)
Fernanda Soto
2020-2021
Major: Sociology and double minoring in Labor Studies and Public Affairs
Project: Cross-border Movement Sustainability
Sebastian Aguilar Tinajero
2020-2021
Major: Political Science
Project: Cross-border Solidarity Zine
Juan Torres
2015-2016
Major: History 
Project: Building immigrant power through organized labor
Community Partner: The Immigrant Organizing Project with the American Federation of Labor- Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Joshua Varela
2019-2020
Major: Political Sceince
Project:
Freddy Yusuf
2009-2010
Major: Psychobiology
Project: Benefits of Tai-Chi programs for older adults
Faculty Sponsor: Sarosh Motivala (Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science)
Community Partner: Culver City Senior Center
Kelly Zhao
2019-2020
Major: Asian American Studies
Project:

**include 2019-2020 scholars

For information and questions about the Astin Community Engaged Scholars program, please contact:

Doug Barrera
UCLA Center for Community Engagement
A265 Murphy Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1571
phone: (310) 825-7867