Alumni, parents and students raised more than $100,000 over the past six months for an endowment that funds undergraduate student research in civic engagement.
Students who want to conduct research that improves the community can apply to the Astin Scholars Program for their senior year, according to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. One scholarship recipient started a writing club at an LA elementary school, and others have studied how rehabilitation programs help incarcerated individuals.
The Office of the Chancellor created the scholarship in 2008 to honor Helen Astin, a UCLA professor emerita and co-founder of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women. Astin, a well-known advocate for women’s rights, wrote 14 books on feminism, equity and civic engagement, said Beatrix Richman, director of development for UCLA Undergraduate Education.
Richman added Astin’s passing in October encouraged more community members to contribute to the Astin Scholars endowment, resulting in the $100,000 spike in funding.
In 2008, five recipients were awarded either $1,000 or $5,000, and in 2013, seven scholars received $6,000. UCLA spokesperson Judy Lin said she hopes the program will be able to award more than 100 scholarships as the endowment grows.
To apply, students must submit formal research proposals in winter quarter. Those accepted must enroll in a preparatory spring research seminar and begin their research the following fall quarter in their senior year, said Gabrielle Bonder, a former scholarship recipient and UCLA alumna.
Bonder studied the effects the Museum of Tolerance’s exhibits and programs on the Holocaust had on class climate, diversification of classroom curriculum and multicultural respect.
Scholarship recipients must also intern with an organization within their field of study during spring quarter of their third years, said Jaime Balboa, director of communications, academic planning, and external partnerships at the undergraduate education division. He added students use their internship experience in the fall to conduct research with the help of faculty advisers.
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