From the president

Lauryn Wang is a third year student (class of 2024) at UCLA majoring in History and Asian American Studies, and minoring in Community Engagement & Social Change. In her time as an undergraduate, Lauryn has continuously linked her passion for social justice to her academic studies. In 2021-22, she collaborated with fellow undergraduates, graduate students, and community activists as a Helen S. and Alexander W. Astin Community Engaged Scholar, focusing on the future intersection of labor and decarceration in the state of California. She joined her colleagues to produce a report meant to inform the County of Los Angeles’ new Department of Youth Development on how to make its data regarding juvenile incarceration and diversion more transparent. This year (2022-23), Lauryn is a member of the inaugural cohort of West LA YPAR Scholars, where she is working with a community partner organization to design and implement a youth participatory action research project with young people experiencing homelessness. For these reasons, as well as her record of academic accomplishment, Lauryn was asked this past fall to serve as the student representative on the UCLA Strategic Plan Implementation Planning Group focusing on Goal 1: Deepening UCLA’s Engagement with Los Angeles.

Gene Block


University of California-Los Angeles


Personal Statement

I am a third-year History major and Asian American Studies and Community Engagement and Social Change double minor. My involvement in the UCLA Center for Community Engagement has transformed my perspective on research into one of reciprocity and community-based practices, and my commitment to ethnic studies has expanded my understanding of identity and intersectionality while remaining grounded in activism and advocacy. I conducted community-based research analyzing the L.A. Youth Development and Diversion program’s efficacy in connecting Community Based Organizations with youth in the juvenile justice system. I am currently mentoring BIPOC youth to design and implement their own research projects as a youth participatory action researcher at Safe Place for Youth. I am the Civic Engagement Coordinator for the Asian Pacific Coalition, partnering with Chinatown Community for Equitable Development to host basic needs drives and tenant outreach and leading voter education within diverse AAPI spaces at UCLA. I also serve on the Goal One Planning Group for UCLA’s 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, the sole student informing the campus’ 5-year plan to measurably impact L.A. for the greater social good. I am a firm believer that meaningful community engagement and coalition building are integral factors in enacting-long term change.

Lauryn Wang

History/Asian American Studies

University of California-Los Angeles