Bruin Spotlights

Read about some of our most noteworthy alumni and be inspired to recommend a Bruin for a UCLA story. Together, we won’t only share stories, we’ll live them.

Robert ’64, J.D. ’67, and Nancy ’64, M.A. ’66, Weeks

On a bench outside the County Government Center in San Jose, Calif., reads Gandhi’s profound teaching: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” The bench was donated by Robert ’64, J.D. ’67, and Nancy ’64, M.A. ’66, Weeks, who live by that powerful credo. For the last 20 years, the UCLA Alumni […]

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Bonnie Lee Gray ’93: An Unlikely Bruin Cinderella Story From Chinatown

Bonnie Lee Gray ’93 never felt truly beautiful or beloved. She had grown up in poverty and did her best to fit into society and be “normal” by erasing the parts of her cultural heritage that made her feel weird, flawed or broken. Although Bonnie was born in America along the hills of San Francisco’s […]

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Ralph Hernandez, M.S.W. ’74

Rafael (Ralph) Hernandez, M.S.W. ’74, was not only the first person in his family to receive a university degree, he was the first to attend school past the eighth grade. One of seven children in a Mexican-American family, his father a cement worker, his mother a janitor, he was told at his high school, Loma […]

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Eunice Lee ’17

Years in Peace Corps: 2017-19 Country: Namibia Region/City: Kavango West Eunice Lee ’17 had never traveled abroad until she joined the Peace Corps. At UCLA, Lee was involved with the Alumni Scholars Club, Alumni Mentor Program and the Achievement Scholars Club and believes that taking on leadership roles as a student helped her become a […]

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Wendy Maya ’10

Years in Peace Corps: 2012-14 Country: Mozambique Region/City: Chimoio Wendy Maya ʼ10 immigrated from Mexico to the U.S. with her family at age three. At UCLA, the first-generation college student enjoyed studying abroad, working part-time and taking Muay Thai classes, a type of boxing. In her senior year, while weighing her future options, she attended […]

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Michelle Bennett ’99, M.S.W. ’01

Years in Peace Corps: 2016-18 Country: China Region/City: Gansu Province The opening scene from the classic 80s movie “Dirty Dancing” inspired Michelle Bennett ’99, M.S.W. ’01, to enlist in the Peace Corps. In the movie, the character Baby Houseman narrates from the future about her younger self, “Before President Kennedy was shot, before the Beatles […]

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Emre Titizer, MBA exp. ’21

Years in Peace Corps: 2017-19 Country: Timor-Leste Region/City: Venilale, Baucau District “The Peace Corps service is for anyone who wants to make a positive impact in the world, while challenging themselves and gaining a new perspective,” says Emre Titizer, MBA exp. ’21. After graduating from UC Davis, Titizer moved to San Francisco to work as […]

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Adam Shahar, M.P.H. ’19, M.S.N. exp. ’21

Years in Peace Corps: 2014-16 Country: Ecuador City/Region: Pasaje, El Oro Province Adam Shahar, M.P.H. ’19, wanted to serve communities with a health need, “I wanted to challenge myself outside of academics, where I had an opportunity to grow and see things from a different perspective.” He first learned about the Peace Corps through his […]

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Hamilton Luu ’15

Years in Peace Corps: 2015-17 Country: Fiji Region/City: Taveuni Island “The most important advice for anyone considering the Peace Corps is this ꟷ expect to gain more from the entire experience than you could ever give,” says Hamilton Luu ’15. While a UCLA freshman, Luu enrolled in a Global Studies course that changed his world […]

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Ryan Ahari ’16

Years in Peace Corps: 2019-21 Country: Armenia Region/City: Gegharkunik Province Ryan Ahari ’16 learned about the Peace Corps in a high school government class. With a belief in leaving the world a better place grounded in his faith, Ahari knew his acceptance to UCLA would lead him to his goal of joining the Peace Corps. […]

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Jenny Wang ’01

Years in Peace Corps: 2010-12 Country: Cameroon Region/City: Baré, Littoral Region of Cameroon A traveler at heart, Taiwan native Jenny Wang ’01 is inspired to learn about other cultures. When a friend mentioned the Peace Corps, Wang, who had recently applied for U.S. citizenship was intrigued. “I needed a change of pace, and it seemed […]

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