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The Bruin allowed me to amplify stories, build connections at UCLA and beyond -30-

Eva Danesh stands for a portrait. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Eva Danesh

June 10, 2024 9:02 p.m.

When beginning my time at UCLA in 2020, I had few ways to connect with my new Bruin community. With online learning, I was limited in the number of new people I could meet or professors I could interact with – the experiences I was most eager for.

Joining the Daily Bruin that same year created a path for me to develop those connections, something I am immensely grateful for.

My projects for The Bruin were collaborative. I worked closely with my editors and fellow contributors, many of whom had experienced UCLA before the pandemic, to create content for and about our community.

One of my earliest projects was a video on various winter holidays celebrated by students and faculty. While it may have seemed insignificant compared to ongoing pandemic coverage, crafting this video showed me the Bruin spirit. Through my interviews, I saw each person’s uniqueness and the common thread that connects us all.

With encouragement from my older brother and Daily Bruin mentor Noah, I became increasingly drawn to writing and started to explore various News beats.

I always saw this aspect of journalism as a significant responsibility. One day, I was sourcing, interviewing and typing, and the next, the story was printed in thousands of newspapers around campus and published online to our greater community. I am so grateful for the effort and care put in by all the News, Copy and content editors, along with staff and upper management, who have taken my drafts and made them worthy of print.

It has been incredibly rewarding to see our stories in the hands of people on campus. I have always loved picking up a paper on my way to class, feeling a sense of pride in the work done by our team.

It’s a privilege that our work is still being printed and distributed around campus. As we have developed our online presence, maintaining a print edition is a testament to our dedication to journalism. As a member of our editorial board, I understand the importance of advocating for student journalism, and I am grateful for the support it has received at UCLA.

My view of our university’s magnitude was expanded through the opportunities I have had to connect with a variety of people and places. I toured recently launched spaces such as Epicuria at Covel, the new university-owned apartments and the opening of the Olympic and Centennial residence halls alongside vice chancellors and campus leaders. I am grateful for the opportunity to ask them questions and inform my community with the insights.

Stories in the science and health beat always brought me back to my South Campus roots. I connected with researchers and faculty at the top of their fields to learn about new scientific discoveries and explain public health situations. I have also been able to highlight internationally recognized achievements within the UCLA community, most notably by speaking with Nobel Laureate and physics and astronomy professor Andrea Ghez. These articles connected me not only to the forefront of scientific discovery but also the dedicated individuals and teams behind these breakthroughs.

The most meaningful series of articles I wrote focused on the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center. I had the opportunity to meet organ transplant recipients encouraging others to donate blood and witness 5-year-old Wesley Rae – born with an impaired immune system – meet one of his platelet donors and the scientists who helped save his life. I realized the privilege of being part of The Bruin and having the opportunity to share the meaningful impact of our community’s generosity and efforts.

Over the past two years, I have been able to connect with the students, performers, artists and businesses being highlighted at the monthly First Thursdays events on Broxton Avenue. From the Night Market with dozens of vendors from across Los Angeles to the Joy Fest featuring Spring Sing performers, each event brought a different excitement to Westwood – one I was able to capture through quick interviews with community members, alumni and Chancellor Gene Block.

Expanding beyond Westwood, I worked with NBC to cover Bruins competing in the Capital One College Bowl and watched the trivia show unfold over the following weeks. I also worked my way up the email chain to interview the president of Jamba Juice, my favorite smoothie spot growing up.

My most exciting journalistic adventure was interviewing United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough during his visit to UCLA. Walking down a back staircase with his security detail trailing behind while holding up my phone to record our conversation felt like a scene from “The West Wing.” This interview, like many others, helped bridge my connection between UCLA and the broader world.

Over the past four years, I have been privileged to connect with many people at The Bruin and beyond who shared their stories and expanded my worldview. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been mentored and supported by amazing editors and co-writers, particularly my brothers.

My brothers Noah and Jonah have been my favorite writers to share bylines with. Working alongside them has been the highlight of my time at UCLA. Noah and I wrote pieces on Bruinwalk, heat waves and UCLA football players recruiting members for a bone marrow registry. With kindness and a lot of patience, he guided me through his process and helped me develop my own. I tried to return the favor when Jonah later joined me and we had the opportunity to cover many community events at UCLA.

Thanks to The Bruin, I have memories for a lifetime – memories triggered when I see Secretary McDonough at the State of the Union, a Jamba Juice in the wild or the newspaper clipping on my parents’ fridge with my name next to Noah’s and Jonah’s.

Danesh was a Video contributor 2020-2021; Photo contributor 2021-2024; News contributor 2021-2022, reporter 2022 and staff 2022-2024; and editorial board member 2022-2024.

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