See stories and progress from The CENTENNIAL Campaign for
AAP opens doors to higher education and beyond for students of all backgrounds.
“In tenth grade, I didn’t even know that I wanted to go to college,” says Elijah Ozuna ’18. But after participating in UCLA’s Vice Provost Initiative for Pre-College Scholars (VIPS) program, he was open to new possibilities. “The VIPS program showed me I could do anything I want and that university can help you determine what you want to do in life.”
The VIPS program is part of UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program (AAP), the nation’s largest university-based student-diversity program. Serving more than 5,500 students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds — whether from minority ethnic groups, low-income households, or families who have never attended college — AAP is committed to increasing access and equity for all.
It starts with getting students to college. Beyond encouraging high schoolers, AAP supports community college students in transferring to university. Llanet Martín ’04, now associate dean of student equality at Los Angeles Valley College, benefited from a summer transition program through AAP’s Center for Community College Partnerships.
“That experience and everyone involved not only changed my life, but that of my whole family and my entire community,” she says. “It helped me believe that a woman of color from a very, very modest home with immigrant parents, who really couldn’t help me navigate the system, could have a shot here.”
Once students are at UCLA, AAP offers counseling, mentoring, and preparation for graduate school. As a teen, Eric Nealy ’12 aspired to become a cancer researcher after seeing his mother suffer through chemotherapy. Programs like AAP, an academic mentor of color, and undergraduate research experience helped him land at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
“I want to be the kind of scientist who discovers new therapies and things like that,” Nealy says. “But at the end of the day, I would love to give back to my community.” Bringing it full circle, he shares: “I’m playing with the idea of being a high school teacher.”
Your gift to AAP is a powerful investment in that cycle of success.
Students at the AAP Celebration of Excellence
AAP students with Professor Darnell Hunt
India Carney '15 with Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Patricia A. Turner
High AIMS provides support to students interested in attending health profession schools.
AAP High AIMS students at the annual white coat ceremony.
Parents and students share excitement on Freshman/Transfer Summer Program Move-In Day.
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