Can I Get A Side Of Research?

Studying in Powell Library

One of the many things that I love about UCLA—strike that, there’s everything to like about UCLA—is that students have the ability to literally put education into their own hands by taking up research positions regardless if it pertains to one’s major, and there are initiated student courses where current undergrads can facilitate a class. I took up a research position at the North Campus Student Research Program (SRP) during my first quarter at UCLA.

Being that one of my main reasons for transferring was to research in Sociology, which is quite untraditional as research is normally correlated to science, I wasn’t able to find it in most other institutions and I was inspired to pursue it at UCLA. So, as soon as I got accepted, I upheld my personal promise to find research and looked no further than the opportunities of the SRP. Although I was quite intimidated jumping into this right away, I was pleasantly surprised how accessible it is for students to not only find research but also find research in the social sciences.

I settled with Professor Walker’s sociological and economical effects of food trucks. I know what you’re thinking, am I eating food all day or what? I was shocked myself! Professors are so passionate about eclectic subjects and it’s so inspiring to be given the chance to network as well as study beside them in their research. Basically, this research is much more than the curb-side food joint as I am involved with a team of four undergraduates—who are currently studying various subjects from political science to biology, meaning that the constraints of majors are irrelevant in research curiosity—that code the menus of food trucks across three United States’ cities: Los Angeles, D.C., and Chicago.

To code these menus, we start with their Twitter handles (@name) to locate Google images, Twitter images, and Web images (in regards to their website) of their menus. By looking at their menus, we get a feel of what cuisine is on their menus and are able to code them by Yelp categories (e.g. Mediterranean, Japanese, Asian Fusion, etc.) to see how the relation of their prices and cuisine type are affected by the food truck legislation of that particular city.

But please note that this research didn’t come with a warning that I’d be staring at food all day, which makes me starving at the end of the 8-10 hour commitment per week. Despite that minor repercussion, I love every bit of researching. I have been working with Professor Walker for about two quarters now, and I hope to continue until the end of this academic school year to see how and where this research will ultimately lead!

Keeping It ‘K’

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I’m a recent UCLA transfer student from UC Santa Cruz. Amongst the forest and mountainous climate, UC Santa Cruz isn’t as different as UCLA due to their equal pride in community service. At UC Santa Cruz, I along with a group of undergraduate students began the first chapter of Camp Kesem at UC Santa Cruz last year. Camp Kesem is a national non-profit organization that strives to bring a community of children that have been affected by a parent’s cancer together for a week-long summer camp of shared realities and empathy. Working a year to not only raise, but exceed $30,000 (our fundraising goal) as well as meet thirty amazing campers ranging from 6-16 years old is not only humbling but motivating to continue working with this group of dedicated individuals.

Upon arriving at UCLA, I knew that I wanted to get involved with Camp Kesem UCLA because of my amazing summer meeting, working, and loving this community. While I was a member of Camp Kesem UC Santa Cruz, I learned that in the light of despair, disease, and death, hope can still be found with the physical presence of loving friends, family, and community. Therefore, this inspiring mantra has motivated me to find every outlet possible to be involved with Camp Kesem UCLA.

After stalking their Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/campkesemucla), I was invited to UCLA’s Camp Kesem Reunion (once a quarter events for the campers and counselors to catch up), and I found the UCLA community  to be just as magical as my own time at Camp Kesem UC Santa Cruz. For instance, a little girl named Lady Bug reminded me of the initial shyness we all feel when we meet new people, but after bonding about dogs and cookies she ended up introducing me to other counselors and campers! It’s amazing how the bond from one camp to another doesn’t change—they’re still Keeping It ‘K’!

After reunion, I excitedly finished my application to become a UCLA Camp Kesem counselor. After an initial interview, I got a call from Snickefritz, a student coordinator on Camp Kesem UCLA’s committee, congratulating me on becoming a Camp Kesem UCLA counselor! We have already had a few meetings, and I am excited to continue my involvement in this fantastic organization here at UCLA.