UCLA Advocates In Action: Dick Ackerman and Mel Levine Lean on Vast Experience

Former State Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman and former Democratic Congressmember and State Assemblymember Mel Levine draw upon their experiences in government.

Former State Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman and former Democratic Congressmember and State Assemblymember Mel Levine may come from different sides of the political aisle, but their love of higher education has united them in a common cause as co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education.

Both men came to politics in completely different ways.

“I’m, in many ways, a child of the 1960s — deeply concerned about civil liberties and civil rights,” said Levine, noting his opposition to the Vietnam War as a younger man and his desire to protect the coast and bolster higher education as sparks to the beginning of his political career.

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21,000 Messages Make a Difference

Dear Advocates,

Over the course of the past year, you joined with fellow University of California advocates to urge Congress to pass robust and sustained funding for the federal agencies and programs important to UC. Throughout this process, UC advocates reached out to Congress more than 21,000 times.

It is in large part because of your efforts that we successfully secured funding for many of the university’s priorities.

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Postcard From Washington, DC: Dean Jayathi Murthy Demonstrates Engineering’s Importance

UCLA Samueli School of Engineering Dean Jayathi Murthy is greeted by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein during a recent trip to the nation’s capitol. (photos by Kathy Eiler)

What the students of the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering are working on, working toward, and graduating to, is often determined by U.S. federal government funding and partnerships, a fact Dean Jayathi Murthy knows all too well.

Keeping in contact with elected officials and demonstrating the value of the engineering school is of the utmost importance to her.

“I speak about engineering with an eye to the future,” she said, reflecting on a recent trip to Washington, D.C., where she participated in an engineering conference and met with major California representatives and several key Congressional committees in a group that included deans of other UCs and CSUs. “If you don’t invest in fundamental science and engineering ideas now, 50 years from now you aren’t going to have anything.”

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Viewpoint: How UCLA Graduate Students Shaped My Education

UCLA undergraduate student Jennifer Brice considers her place in regards to graduate school, students and how they impact the overall UCLA student body.

Viewpoint by UCLA undergraduate student Jennifer Brice

In less than three months, I’ll be graduating from college. When I was graduating from high school, the inevitable question was, “Where are you going?” Now, as a graduating college senior I get asked, “What are you going to do?”

To me, that is the interminable question we all must answer. Though I have not come up with a definite answer, I have gotten better at how to approach this question. Some soon-to-be graduates will enter the workforce, while some will start graduate school. As for me, I hope to do both.

Before attending UCLA, I did not know too much about graduate school. It wasn’t until I started college and had graduate students explain the landscape of academia, their research, and their role as teaching assistants during discussion sections, that I understood how graduate school works. From them, I have learned that it is not where you are going next that matters, but what you are doing with your education that counts.

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Graduate students push for funding in Sacramento

The UCLA coalition for UC Graduate Research Advocacy Day. (photos by Jennifer Brice)

UCLA contingent was there as part of the annual UC Graduate Research Advocacy Day

To help ensure that UCLA can continue turning its research into positive impacts throughout Los Angeles County, four graduate students recently traveled to Sacramento to lobby state legislators for more funding so they can continue that kind of difference-making work.

“The nice thing about graduate students is you sort of get two for one. You have them supporting the undergraduate population, and then, in addition to that, doing the research that is also an important part of the university’s mission,” said Leslie Rith-Najarian, who is a fifth-year doctoral student studying clinical psychology at UCLA.

Rith-Najarian, and three other grad students, along with Robin Garrell, dean of the graduate division, and associate dean of the graduate division Susan Ettner traveled to Sacramento for UC Graduate Research Advocacy Day.

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Senator Dianne Feinstein Convenes Gun Violence Prevention Roundtable Including City Attorney Mike Feuer, UCLA Experts

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer speaks with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein during a gun violence prevention roundtable. (photos by Jonathan Van Dyke)

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein visited the UCLA campus March 27 to convene a roundtable on gun violence prevention with Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, academic experts, medical professionals and community members.

Feinstein sought the expertise of a number of people, including UCLA physicians, victims of gun violence and advocacy groups.

“That’s the job in front of us, to do something about it,” she announced to the group of about 15 as the meeting convened. “We thought it would be good to pull people together and have this roundtable.”

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