UCLA Advocate of the Year: Dennis Gutierrez Speaks Up For Higher Education

Dennis Gutierrez is always ready to extoll the virtues of UCLA and higher education.

Dennis Gutierrez is a man with a message. He has never been afraid to speak up, and that stick-to-itiveness has served him well in every new vocation and every cause he’s promoted, including that of his alma mater UCLA.

“I’ve had nine careers in my life,” he said with a laugh reflecting on his own personal resume. “It’s like, ‘What do you do?’ Look, I learned a long time ago that you follow your passion. If you do not follow your passion, it’s work, and if it’s work, you’ll never be good at it.”

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UCLA Landmark Community Program of the Year: Caring for the Underserved

Through Song-Brown grant money, UCLA family nurse practitioner students go out into underserved communities for their training.

Professor Mary Ann Lewis only wants students in her UCLA family nurse practitioner (FNP) program who understand what it really means to have that title.

“We’re not preparing family nurse practitioners to practice dermatology in Beverly Hills, that’s not our philosophy. Nursing has always meant taking care of the poor. From public health nursing in the early 1900s, all the immigrant communities, they took care of the poor, that is nursing’s forte.”

Through California Song-Brown grants, the Caring for the Underserved program was born more than 20 years ago, pairing UCLA School of Nursing with community health clinics around the Los Angeles region. Now, the program is being recognized for its longterm successes with the UCLA Landmark Community Program of the Year.

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UCLA Rising Advocate of the Year: Juana Hernandez Looks To Pay It Forward

Juana Hernandez uses her position at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce to help students and build partnerships with higher education institutions.

It takes a Westwood Village? Juana Hernandez, who graduated from UCLA in 2009, said she owes a lot to the greater UCLA community, a community she has been an active member of since graduating, paying it forward to the next generation of students.

Her parents immigrated to Southern California from Guanajuato, Mexico in the 1970s. They wanted to give their children the best shot they could in America, and understood the importance of education in that process, but their experience with the U.S. education system wasn’t just limited, it was non-existent.

Hernandez, however, came out the other side stronger than ever, putting in the kind of civic work for students and higher education that has garnered her the UCLA Rising Advocate of the Year award.

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UCLA Catalyst Community Program of the Year: UCLA Allied Healthcare Careers Program

Dr. Carol Mangione speaks with 130 sophomores and juniors from Orthopedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School for a special presentation by the Allied Healthcare Careers Program.

Two stark realities existed as the impetus for the creation of the UCLA Allied Healthcare Careers Programs.

On the one hand, UCLA Health laboratory technicians’ average age is over 60, and California is projected to have a major workforce shortage in the area, despite a rapidly aging population that will lean on the system more than ever.

On the other hand, there are pockets of Los Angeles being neglected when it comes to higher wage workforce training. For example, Service Planning Area 6, more generally known as South Los Angeles, is known for high rates of unemployment among young people.

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Senator Henry Stern Conversation Answers Questions, Champions Advocacy

State Senator Henry Stern addresses a room of Pierce College students for their annual Day of Politics.

You can make a difference.

It was a simple message, but consistently, the conversation between California Senator Henry Stern and UCLA journalist-in-residence Jon Christensen, came back to civic action and what students in the crowd could do to make a difference.

“The real work is in advocacy and leaning on local representatives like me to make sure we are serving you,” said Stern, who just completed his first year in the state legislature as the youngest member of the Senate, representing the 27th district.

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Assemblymember Cristina Garcia Gives Inside Look at State Politics

Cristina Garcia’s day at UCLA began with a meeting with Ramona Cortés Garza, executive director of UCLA State Relations, and LPPI’s leadership — Political Science and Chicana/o Studies Professor Matt A. Barreto, Luskin Dean Gary M. Segura and LPPI Director Sonja Diaz. (Photo by Bryce Carrington)

Cristina Garcia of the California State Assembly spoke about her efforts to make government more transparent during an Oct. 16, 2017, gathering at UCLA hosted by the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative. Garcia talked about the grassroots battle against political corruption in the 58th Assembly District in Southeast Los Angeles that eventually led her to seek office.

“I’m an idealist at heart, and I do believe that we can have a democracy that works for us all.” Garcia talked about her three policy pillars: government transparency, women’s issues and environmental justice.

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