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Giving the university the means to develop new programs and curricula, retain faculty and students, and empower them to thrive
First-generation college student Rosie Mejia ’20 was attending UCLA full time, commuting to campus from South Central L.A., and working at a fast-food restaurant when something life-changing happened. La’Tonya Rease-Miles, who directs UCLA First Year Experience, walked into the restaurant decked out in UCLA attire during Mejia’s shift. The two struck up a conversation, and that chance encounter introduced Mejia to UCLA First to Go, a program that provides support for Bruins, like Mejia, who are the first in their families to go to college.
Rease-Miles connected Mejia with various First to Go resources, helping her get an academic advisor, an affordable apartment near campus, a job on campus, and an introduction to the Academic Advancement Program (AAP); Mejia, who is studying psychology and Spanish linguistics, now participates in an AAP research forum. These are some of the ways First to Go, one of many UCLA programs supported by the Chancellor’s Greatest Needs fund, is helping Mejia fully experience university life and excel on and off campus.
The Chancellor’s Greatest Needs helps UCLA provide one of the most enriching educational experiences and environments in the world — from mental health and wellness care to opportunities for civic engagement to experiential learning outside of the classroom. The fund gives the university the means to develop new programs and curricula, retain faculty and students, and empower them to thrive.
By defraying her tuition, the Chancellor’s Greatest Needs fund made it possible for Stephanie Y Shire, PhD ’13 to contribute new research and co-write a book about behavioral interventions for people with autism while attending graduate school. “I had the privilege at UCLA to place 100 percent of my focus on furthering my research.” Shire is now a professor of special education and clinical sciences.
For every program the Chancellor’s Greatest Needs fund supports, you can find someone with an inspiring story demonstrating how meaningful that program is in his or her UCLA experience. Your support will help write the next one.
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