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Gallery: Alumni professors reflect on their experiences as Bruins

(Anika Chakrabarti/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Julia Zhou, Anika Chakrabarti, Nicolas Greamo, and Amelie Ionescu

June 11, 2023 8:35 p.m.

 

(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Adjunct professor of political science John Branstetter motions with his arms to show where he sat during his “extra office hours.”

In his early years as a professor, Branstetter frequented the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden with his students, offering them the opportunity for conversation and learning.

“We did them (office hours) in a really unstructured way, where I just sit here if people want to show up and talk about political theory,” Branstetter said.

(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

The alumnus poses outside Bunche Hall.

Bunche houses several departments, including the history and political science departments, both staples of Branstetter’s time as a doctoral student.

(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Branstetter gestures as he reminisces.

He decided to remain in Westwood after graduating in 2017, citing the warmth as a key draw to his time here. Nevertheless, he added that he likely would have been back even if he had moved to a different institution after receiving his doctorate.

(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Carey Nachenberg poses on the roof of the Math Sciences Building.

The computer science alumnus got his bachelor’s and master’s at UCLA, before returning as an adjunct associate professor in computer science. While his primary class in recent years has been Computer Science 32: “Introduction to Computer Science,” he branched out to Computer Science 131: “Programming Languages,” which he is teaching both currently and in fall 2023.

(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

A fan of telling stories, Nachenberg often reminisces on his days as a student and his time working at Google, while teaching.

One of his favorite memories is “trick or treating by basically making a costume out of Daily Bruin newspapers.”

“My whole body was covered in Daily Bruin newspapers, literally from head to toe,” he said. “Walking down Gayley, and getting egged by somebody, which was not a problem – just rip the top layer and you can just say, ‘Rah.’”

(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Amelie Ionescu/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Nachenberg gives the camera a thumbs up on the roof of Boelter Hall.

As a student, he enjoyed going to the roofs on campus, including those on the Math Sciences Building and Boelter Hall, to look at stars with friends.

(Anika Chakrabarti/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Anika Chakrabarti/Daily Bruin senior staff)

William McDonald sits on a camera dolly in a sound stage in Melnitz Hall.

Drawn by UCLA’s film school, McDonald transferred to UCLA from UC Berkeley in 1980 as a third-year undergraduate student. He then stayed at UCLA to earn a Master of Fine Arts in cinematography in 1986.

(Anika Chakrabarti/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Anika Chakrabarti/Daily Bruin senior staff)

McDonald adjusts a light on the catwalk that borders the room.

McDonald, who is now the head of cinematography in the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, said he has observed many parts of the student body that have stayed constant during his 40 years of teaching.

While the cohort sizes and technology have changed, he said the students he’s worked with have all shared similar experiences over the years.

“The cultural touchstones are different,” McDonald said. “The engagement with technology is different, but the issues they’re (students) wrestling with, the creativity they want to express, it’s been very consistent over that timeframe.”

(Anika Chakrabarti/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Anika Chakrabarti/Daily Bruin senior staff)

McDonald leans against a railing on the catwalk.

He said his favorite memory as a Bruin was the moment when he met his wife while in graduate school at UCLA. McDonald described the outfit she wore on the first day he met her.

“We had a lovely, creative relationship and a beautiful friendship,” McDonald said, remembering his partner, who died last year. “We’re lifelong fans, devotees of UCLA.”

(Julia Zhou//Assistant Photo editor)
(Julia Zhou//Assistant Photo editor)

Psychology professor Howard S. Adelman leans on a bookshelf in an office.

Adelman is a triple Bruin, having earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree and doctorate in psychology, all at UCLA. Adelman started his teaching career as a remedial teacher at what was called the Psychology Clinic School at UCLA in 1960.

(Julia Zhou//Assistant Photo editor)
(Julia Zhou//Assistant Photo editor)

Adelman stands in front of Pritzker Hall.

Since graduating in 1960, Adelman said he has witnessed many campus changes.

“UCLA stands for ‘Under Construction Like Always,’” Adelman said. “There is so many changes, the whole physical structure is much bigger now than when I can remember how long ago I came here.”

(Julia Zhou//Assistant Photo editor)
(Julia Zhou//Assistant Photo editor)

Adelman looks into the camera with a smile in front of Pritzker Hall, the signature building of the Psychology Department.

After becoming a professor, Adelman said, he realized that advice to students is not a one-size-fits-all.

“What goes on in terms of advice to all students doesn’t make much sense. Everybody is different. You need different advice than somebody else’s,” Adelman said. “I do think that everybody needs to think carefully about what they want to do.”

Adelman suggested that passion is the key to finding one’s purpose.

“What you really feel strongly committed to, that’s what you should be seeking out,” Adelman said.

(Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Ryan Rosario sits by Jacques Lipchitz’s “The Bather” in the sculpture garden.

Rosario, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees alongside his doctorate from UCLA, now works as a data scientist at Google and lecturer in the computer science department. As a student, his favorite place to study was the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, but, as a faculty member, he now prefers to relax and work in the sculpture garden.

“I spent a lot of time in my office or in a lecture hall, so every once in a while, I like to treat myself by going up there,” Rosario said. “I fall in love with UCLA all over again.”

(Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Rosario stands for a portrait next to Auguste Rodin’s “The Walking Man.”

Trained as a statistician, Rosario specializes in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Throughout his time at UCLA, he has seen the growth of AI technology and the rise of language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, which can mimic human writing and speech to an unprecedented extent.

“It’s hyperbole to say that they’ve gotten as good as humans, but computers are improving and starting to reason a little more similarly to humans than they once were,” he said.

(Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)
(Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Rosario smiles behind Lynn Chadwick’s “Encounter VIII.”

Rosario never imagined he would end up teaching at UCLA, specifically in the field of computer science. While a doctoral student, his first experience teaching a class came after a member of his Ph.D. committee, who wanted to focus more on research, offered a course for Rosario to teach.

“It was really just the perfect mix of events that led to this,” Rosario said. “I hope to retire from UCLA. I hope to stay, you know, until I retire.”

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Julia Zhou | Assistant Photo editor
Zhou is the 2023-24 Photo editor on the News beat. She is a fourth-year psychology student with a minor in cognitive science and film, television, and digital media. She was previously a photo contributor during the 2022-23 year.
Zhou is the 2023-24 Photo editor on the News beat. She is a fourth-year psychology student with a minor in cognitive science and film, television, and digital media. She was previously a photo contributor during the 2022-23 year.
Anika Chakrabarti | Photo editor
Chakrabarti is the 2022-2023 Photo editor. She was previously the 2021-2022 assistant Photo editor on the News beat. She is a fourth-year mathematics of computation student at UCLA, and she is from Sacramento, California.
Chakrabarti is the 2022-2023 Photo editor. She was previously the 2021-2022 assistant Photo editor on the News beat. She is a fourth-year mathematics of computation student at UCLA, and she is from Sacramento, California.
Nicolas Greamo | Assistant Opinion editor
Nicolas Greamo is a 2023-2024 assistant Opinion editor. He was previously a 2022-2023 assistant Opinion editor and a Photo contributor. He is also a third-year history student from Washington, D.C.
Nicolas Greamo is a 2023-2024 assistant Opinion editor. He was previously a 2022-2023 assistant Opinion editor and a Photo contributor. He is also a third-year history student from Washington, D.C.
Amelie Ionescu | Sports senior staff
Ionescu was previously an assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, swim and dive and rowing beats, and a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
Ionescu was previously an assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, swim and dive and rowing beats, and a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
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