When ambition meets opportunity, everyone succeeds.
As a boy, Stephen Cheung ’00, MSW ’07 saw his mom labor long hours for little pay in a Hacienda Heights sweat shop. That experience and growing up in poverty instilled in him a drive to succeed and a desire for social justice.
Cheung says, “UCLA Luskin provided so many doors to prepare me for my career.” Now president of the World Trade Center Los Angeles, he puts his passions into action every day, bringing socially responsible businesses to L.A. and creating opportunity for Angelenos. Cheung continues that the talent UCLA turns out is a major factor in bringing great companies to the Los Angeles region.
Katelyn Tran, MPH ’16 tasted her first apple at the age of seven. When she and her family left Vietnam for the U.S., she was malnourished from lack of food. Years later, when it came time to choose a career path, those experiences guided her. Tran is now head of nutrition services at Project Angel Food, a Los Angeles non-profit that delivers meals to thousands living in poverty and with debilitating illness.
She credits UCLA Fielding School of Public Health—and fellowship funds—with preparing her to serve the underserved. “My mother stressed the importance of giving back,” she says. “If I had a huge amount of debt, I would have to choose salary over service.”
Even small gifts open big doors.
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Not all valedictorians are created equal.
When Kaylin Portillo Chavez ’20 entered high school in Fresno, her family was homeless, taking refuge in friends’ homes for two years. Inspired by a hard-working and motivating mother, she applied her smarts to achieve through adversity. Kaylin graduated valedictorian of her class and earned admission to UCLA.
Thanks to scholarship support, she was able to take her place among the Bruins. “I could not be here without the support of donors,” she says. The first-generation college student, who calls her first year at UCLA life changing, is studying political science and plans to practice law and help fight injustice in impoverished areas.
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Infographic: As reported in the NY Times
UCLA ranks number one for upward mobility.
The New York Times ranked UCLA number one out of 64 top-tier colleges for creating upward mobility for alumni. This recent report placed UCLA highly in a number of categories.
When college graduates gain greater economic status, their communities, the economy, and all of us prosper.