Your generosity has a direct impact on our young scholars. By supporting students pursing undergraduate research you are helping them build confidence, gain critical thinking skills, develop intellectual creativity, and become tomorrow’s leaders.

Below we share a few stories from current undergraduate researchers on how you have changed their lives with philanthropic support.

A Transfer Story

As a community college transfer student, I had limited access to research opportunities. Coming into UCLA, I felt that I was already behind on my chances of being a competitive applicant for graduate school, but the URC gave me the resources and community to conduct independent research projects as a beginning researcher.

I started with the two-quarter-long Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (URFP), which allowed me to take time with my application and apply during my first quarter at UCLA. URFP had a seminar component to it, and I learned a lot on how to design and execute my own research project. I also benefited greatly from learning with the URC’s graduate mentor. I met with her at least once every week and she was very helpful and supportive.

My URFP project examined how community college stigma and the model minority myth can impact Asian American community college students’ mental well-being and sense of belonging. As a follow-up, my Undergraduate Research Scholars Program project was identifying the needs of AAPI students attending community colleges and finding ways to better support them with relevant resources. Currently, my Keck project examines the experiences of overall community college students in a broader context, looking at the impact of community engagement and transfer receptive culture on their academic trajectories.

As a community college transfer student myself, I appreciated this opportunity to conduct a project that was related to supporting underrepresented community college students in pursuing higher education. URC has provided me resources, both academically and financially, and has been a fundamental support during my undergraduate career.

As someone that’s been heavily engaged with URC, I now feel confident going into graduate school. URC gave me the opportunity and space to hone my research skills. Wherever I go, I now know I can execute my own research projects and even mentor others. For instance, I worked as a peer learning facilitator during the summer for the Academic Advancement Program’s Transfer Summer Program to help incoming transfer students from historically underrepresented backgrounds get involved with research. They had similar concerns that I had, including, “Will I have time to be involved with research while working two part-time jobs?” A parenting student approached me to tell me that it was hard enough being a full-time student while supporting her children. I encouraged her to apply to the programs at URC and treat it like a part-time job.

I would recommend anyone interested in graduate school to take advantage of resources that URC has to offer and explore their research interests. The funding allowed me to prioritize my research projects, as did the accountability that the programs gave me (e.g., the colloquiums, faculty advisor contract courses, and graduate mentoring). If it weren’t for URC, I doubt that I would’ve had the opportunity to make time and prioritize conducting these research projects during time I had at UCLA.

—GLORIA JIYOON KIM, Class of 2023

Discovering the Discoverers

The opportunity to participate meaningfully in research at the undergraduate level at UCLA has been amazing. I am very grateful to the URCs and the PEERS and CARE Fellows programs—without them, I would not have been financially able to obtain valuable exposure to cutting-edge laboratory studies in chemistry, which ended up supercharging my academic experience. The URCs allowed me to develop research skills early on and to participate in meaningful science aimed at developing new and better medicinal treatments for life-altering diseases. I have been able to make so many supportive connections with like-minded faculty and students and feel closer than ever to my goal of becoming a chemist and conducting pharmaceutical research.

There are so many bright, talented undergraduate students at UCLA who, with the right support, could become the next researcher to discover a needed cure, treatment or breakthrough. The URCs provide this vital opportunity by helping students gain invaluable experience that will allow us to make significant contributions to the world and the well-being of others.