UCLA’s new undergraduate student welcome event, This is Bruin Life, is a unique program featuring artistic performances and welcome addresses from our Chancellor, student body president, campus leadership, current students and alumni. Each speaker will share how they have grown, intervened and worked to create the Bruin Life they want to see—and the world they believe ought to be.
This year's program is posted below. Blind and low-vision Bruins may prefer to screen this extended video with audio descriptions.
As we witness Bruins share their stories, we invite you to step outside your comfort zone and embrace your power to contribute to Bruin Life.
After the program, please take a brief survey at thisisbruinlife.ucla.edu/survey.
Vivica Rush is a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles where she is majoring in African-American Studies and Political Science with a concentration in American Politics. Passionate about advocacy on and off-campus, Vivica serves on the Student Advisory Board for the UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and is a Policy Fellow for the Los Angeles Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department. After completing her undergraduate education, she intends to pursue a career in law, with a specialization in Critical Race Studies or Public Interest and Policy.
Gustavo Cuauhtémoc Tepetla
GUSTAVO TEPETLA is a designer from Los Angeles, currently a UCLA Design Media Arts undergraduate, with a minor in Visual and Performing Arts Education. His focus as a designer is to create influential and impactful works through technological mediums to manifest the metaphysical into the physical, via light (truth), as a means to social awareness and action. Gustavo is an aspiring professor, with a goal of teaching at UCLA while maintaining his design practice.
Chris Gerhart is a 3rd year Physiological Science major double minoring in Disability Studies and Biomedical Research. As a community college transfer and physically disabled person, Chris fully embraces being a non-traditional student at UCLA. She advocates for disability equity via student organizations such as Bruin Mental Health Advisory Committee and she hopes to increase disability awareness and education on her journey to becoming a physician.
Originally from Louisiana, Mike Hill lived all around the United States before joining the faculty at UCLA in 2015 as a Professor in the Mathematics Department. A year later, he joined the Faculty in Residence program, and he and his husband Tim have lived in De Neve ever since. Dr. Mike’s research is about understanding shapes and geometric objects using techniques of algebra, and this ties into his favorite courses to teach: Math 32A and a Fiat Lux on art and math. He is excited to be back in person this fall and is looking forward to meeting students up on the Hill!
Ashley is a senior with the class of 2021 majoring in English and African American Studies and minoring in Film. Some of her passions include creative writing, dark fantasy movies, and Black speculative fiction. As a Films and Festivals Director of UCLA’s Campus Events Commission, she spends most of her time bringing blockbusters and short film festivals to campus for student enjoyment. She is from Chula Vista, California.
Alma Zuniga Munoz
Hey friends, my name is Alma :) I am a 4th year Physiological Sciences major at UCLA. I am a first generation student from South Central Los Angeles, born to Mexican and Salvadoran parents. I have a passion for mentorship, programming, and laboratory research. My favorite food of all time are avocados.
Asma Sayeed is Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Director of the Islamic Studies program at UCLA. Her primary research interests are in early and classical Muslim social history, the history of Muslim education, the intersections of law and social history, and women and gender studies. Her book, Women and the Transmission of Religious Knowledge in Islam (Cambridge University Press, 2013) analyzes Muslim women’s transmission of ḥadīth from the rise of Islam to the early Ottoman period. She is also passionate about fostering collaborations between the broader community and partners at UCLA to promote better public education about Islam and Muslims.
Arlene (they/them) is a 4th Year Undergraduate in Sociology with an LGBTQ Studies minor. They currently work as a Special Projects Intern for the LGBTQ Campus Resource Center, and is a leader for the student organization, Prism. In the past, they have also worked as a student manager at the James Bridges Theater for the School of Theater, Film, and Television. Arlene is looking to attend a Master's program in Higher Education Student Affairs.
Sean Sugai is a second-year undergraduate student at UCLA double majoring in Pre-Human Biology and Society and Anthropology and minoring in Public Health. As a first-generation, out of state college student from O'ahu, HI, Sean understands how difficult the transition to remote learning has been for all students. With a new and exciting future on the horizon, Sean is looking forward to a safe return back to campus where he can reunite with his friends, see more of Los Angeles, and continue making more memories on campus.
Lauren is a 3rd year Political Science major from San Bruno, CA. Passionate about all things related to advocacy, access, and tech for social good, Lauren hopes to pursue a career public service in the future. She is so grateful to be a performer in This is Bruin Life 2021 and hopes that the roundtable warmly welcomes new Bruins to the life-changing rollercoaster that is UCLA!
Natalie Chou is a Chinese-American college basketball player for the UCLA Bruins of the Pac-12 Conference. Chou is currently completing her Master's in Transformative Coaching and Leadership in the School of Education at UCLA. Recently, Natalie was featured in articles by the LA Times, "UCLA' s Natalie Chou wants to make a difference for Asian Americans," and another article by ESPN, "UCLA 's Natalie Chou won't stand for anti-Asian racism related to coronavirus." Growing up in Plano, Texas, she was named the first Asian-American to make a USA Basketball team and was selected for the McDonald's All-American team as a high school senior in 2016. She is the daughter of Quanli Li and Joseph Chou, and has one sister, Tingting Chou.
Dr. Tyrone Howard, a professor in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, is the author of the definitive book, Why Race and Culture Matter in Schools, which investigates schools that have successfully closed the achievement gap. At UCLA, he directs three programs: the Black Male Institute, which seeks to improve the educational outcomes of Black males; the Pritzker Center, which addresses issues and advocacy around foster youth; and the Center for the Transformation of Schools, which is dedicated to the improvement and effectiveness of schools for all students, but especially students of color, and from low-income backgrounds.
Dean Adriana Galván
Adriana Galván is UCLA’s new dean of undergraduate education. A member of the UCLA faculty since 2008, Galván is a professor of psychology and director of the Developmental Neuroscience Lab at UCLA. Galván’s research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and numerous private foundations, focuses on adolescent brain development and behavior, particularly in the domains of learning, motivation, and decision-making. She earned her B.A. in neuroscience and behavior at Barnard College, Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in neuroscience at Cornell University.
D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American actor/writer/comic. His solo shows have toured the college circuit, and theaters & festivals internationally. His work has been published or written about in academic journals and anthologies, with features in The Guardian, NBC, and The Advocate. His acting credits include: LOOKING, TRANSPARENT, SENSE 8, Mr. ROBOT. Currently, he has a series based on his life that is set up at BTR Media and Paul Feig’s Powderkeg Media.
David Jesus Flores
David Flores, born in East Los Angeles to Immigrant parents, is a UCLA doctoral student in Chicana/o Studies. His research explores the intersections of spirituality and social change. David is also the co-founder of Las Cafeteras, a Chicana/o musical group that tells the history, resilience, and beauty of East LA. They travel around the country singing their strategy for social change - If you want to see a change, imagine it, be it, do it.
Devin Mallory is entering his 4th year at UCLA as a Dance Major, with a minor in Food Studies. He is the first male to be a member of UCLA's Dance Team of 2019-2020. Devin is very ecstatic to share his experience as a trailblazer of UCLA's Dance Team through dance and speaking at This is Bruin Life
Kenny Ramos is a Kumeyaay theater artist from the Barona Band of Mission Indians. He grew up on the Barona Indian Reservation in San Diego County and graduated from UCLA with a BA in American Indian Studies. He has performed around the country in contemporary Native American theater productions with Cornerstone Theater Company, Native Voices at the Autry, The Kennedy Center, Perseverance Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Dakota Shakespeare Festival, and Denver Center. Kenny is passionate about theater that centers Native perspectives and believes the stories we tell in theater have the power to challenge, change, and heal our society.
Tina and Jessa Calderon
We are Tina and Jessa Calderon, mother and daughter, representing the Gabrielino Tongva and Ventureño Chumash nations. We are singers, song writers, and creative writers and we both enjoy dancing at California Tribal Gathers. As singers, dancers and Cultural Speakers / Story Tellers we enjoy sharing our culture, knowledge and experiences with our local community. We have had the honor of doing Land Acknowledgments and opening up meetings, conferences and concerts in a good way with song and prayer.
Vice Provost Youlonda Copeland-Morgan
Youlonda Copeland-Morgan is the Vice Provost for UCLA Enrollment Management. She joined UCLA in 2012, the first individual entrusted with primary responsibility for formulating and achieving the university’s undergraduate enrollment strategy and goals, including oversight of Undergraduate Admission, Financial Aid and Scholarships, outreach and community engagement. A nationally recognized leader in higher education for more than 35 years, Copeland-Morgan has received numerous distinguished service awards honoring her leadership in sound enrollment management and financial aid policy that affects access, equity, and minority participation in higher education. Prior to UCLA, she served at Syracuse University as the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management.
Chancellor Gene Block
As UCLA chancellor since 2007, Gene Block oversees the university’s three-part mission of education, research and service. He has defined academic excellence, civic engagement, diversity and financial security as his top priorities. Chancellor Block also holds faculty appointments in the David Geffen School of Medicine and the UCLA College. An expert in neuroscience, his research focuses on the neurobiology of circadian rhythms. Before becoming chancellor of UCLA, Block spent 29 years at the University of Virginia, where he was most recently vice president and provost. He has served on the executive boards of several leading organizations, including the Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and Association of Pacific Rim Universities.