The new undergraduate major at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs is inspiring students with its motto of “Developing Leaders Engaged in Social Change.” It’s a mission that’s drawing in donors, too.
A Gift to Support Students
UCLA Luskin advisory board member Laura Shell ’93 and her husband, Jeff, have established the Shell Family Centennial Scholarship to support students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in public affairs. The gift secured the UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match, increasing funds for those in financial need.
“We want to make the excellent college education provided by UCLA Luskin possible for students without the worry of tuition,” says Laura Shell, who has spent 25 years working for local government and with environmental organizations. “We are thrilled our contribution will support the education of future leaders in our community, who will undoubtedly work in public service after graduation.”
A Unique Education
Launched in Fall 2018, the major connects the dots between theory and action, equipping students with the skills to solve issues of poverty, housing, criminal justice, health, education, and migration. The UC system’s only bachelor’s degree combining public policy, social welfare, and urban planning requires a yearlong capstone project engaging seniors in real-world research and service.
Current student Callie Nance ’22 discovered the major as she scoured UCLA’s website and its dozens of degree programs. “When I came across public affairs, I realized it hit all of my passions,” she says. “This major doesn’t just expand knowledge. It shows us how to do something with that knowledge.”
Today more than 150 undergraduates are enrolled in the major, with plans to grow to 600 in the years to come. With students’ commitment — and the Shells’ support — UCLA Luskin will continue to develop leaders engaged in social change.
Published September 2019