Astin Community Scholars Program

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The Astin Community Scholars Program supports the work of a select group of undergraduates who will conduct research in partnership with a community-based organization for an entire academic year. Scholars enroll in credit-bearing upper division courses each quarter that help them to better understand the process of conducting community-engaged research. Each Scholar receives a financial award to design and implement a research project meant to aid the partner organization’s capacity to serve their communities.

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.

Remembering Helen Lena Astin

Helen (Lena) AstinThe Center for Community Engagement joins the greater UCLA and higher education communities in honoring the life Helen S. (Lena) Astin. Lena 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 Scholars over the last 7 years, 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 will be so greatly missed. Our thoughts go out to Sandy, their children, and their grandchildren.

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.

Chancellor Gene Block on the Astin Program

Dear Colleagues:

As you know, civic engagement is one of UCLA’s high priorities. So I am pleased to announce an innovative new program that provides scholarships for undergraduate students who participate in civic engagement research with a community partner and a faculty mentor.

With funding from the UCLA Foundation, we have created a Civic Engagement Scholars Program, which builds on UCLA’s success in providing an academic context to develop students’ passions, interest in public service and leadership skills. The program will be administered by the UCLA Center for Community Learning and is named for emeriti faculty Helen S. and Alexander W. Astin. The Astins are visionary scholars with deep UCLA roots and are widely recognized for their seminal research on how civic engagement experiences enhance undergraduate education.

Please inform students about this scholarship opportunity.

Sincerely,

Gene D. Block
Chancellor

HOW TO APPLY

The Astin Community 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. This year, in partnership with the UCLA Labor Center, Labor Studies, and the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, students chosen as Astin Scholars will collaborate with graduate students and community stakeholders and advocates on applied research projects to explore the unique nature of collaboration between social justice practitioners on both sides of the US-Mexico border working to address exploitation, health and humanitarian needs, and social and legal discrimination across migrant journeys. The types of research conducted will vary, but will likely include collectively identifying key research and policy priorities, collecting and interpreting data, and articulating migrant-informed solutions and a framework to sustain community leadership and solidarity across borders.

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 participating 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 2020-2021 cohort has been selected. Please check back in April 2021 for 2021-2022 application information.

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.

2020 – 2021 SCHOLARS

Sebastian Aguilar Tinajero

Sebastian Aguilar Tinajero

Class of 2022

Sebastian is majoring in Political Science.

Kayleah Kellybrew

Kayleah Kellybrew

Class of 2021

Kayleah is majoring in Political Science concentrating in American Politics with an Education Studies minor.

Guadalupe Martinez

Guadalupe Martinez

Class of 2021

Guadalupe is majoring in Physiological Science with a Global Health minor.

Uwaila Omokaro

Uwaila Omokaro

Class of 2021

Uwaila is majoring in Sociology with a Public Health minor.

Fernanda Soto

Fernanda Soto

Class of 2021

Fernanda is majoring in Sociology and double minoring in Labor Studies and Public Affairs.

PREVIOUS SCHOLARS

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 
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)
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
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)
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

CONTACT

For information and questions about the Astin Community Scholars Program, students should contact:

Doug Barrera
UCLA Center for Community Engagement
A265 Murphy Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1571
phone: (310) 825-7867
fax: (310) 206-2175