On September 9 and 11, students in the Labor Summer Research Internship Program (LSRIP) presented their preliminary research findings at the Earners and Learners Gallery Walk at the UCLA Labor Center and at Pierce College. Students presented research on young people from Los Angeles County who attend college while working, focusing on issues such as mental health, internship and work-study opportunities, and labor violations. The course is taught by Labor Center researchers Saba Waheed and Janna Shadduck-Hernández, with teaching assistant Michele Wong.
LSRIP is a seminar that offers students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in applied research focused on the Los Angeles labor movement, which is leading national efforts to promote social justice for working people. Students worked in groups to create a final project addressing specific themes, using project surveys, interviews, and analysis of national data. Over the course of Summer Session C, students collected a total of 154 surveys and 31 interviews with earners and learners at various UC, CSU, and community college campuses in Los Angeles County.
The LSRIP program is open not only to Bruins but also to students from other colleges. This year’s class included Daniella Efrat, attending community college with plans to transfer to UCLA to study political science and labor studies; Simon Ngyuen, majoring in math and economics at UC Irvine; and Julio Gonzales, majoring in sociology and English at UC Santa Barbara.
Efrat, who hopes to pursue a career in labor policy, conducted research on labor violations: “I’ve never been able to channel my interests into the curriculum of a class until now. Working with other students, I became passionate about the real-life impact that we could make based on our research.” She learned about workplace discrimination, overtime, and verbal harassment.
Nguyen explained that LSRIP was different from his other classes: “I’m very used to taking theoretical or abstract classes, but to apply it to a real-world society and to know that the work that I do has an effect on society, in particular students and workers, has a big impact not only on the people who we are doing research on but also us as researchers. To know that we actually contribute to society in such a way is really fulfilling for us.” After the course, he plans to seek out other research opportunities like this one.
Gonzales commented that “the best part about the research is that it is relevant to what is occurring right now. I know that one of the biggest outcomes I’d like to see come out of the project is eventually a law that mandates students’ work [schedules] accommodate students’ [class] schedules.” Gonzales applied for the course because of his interest in pressing issues in higher education. Part of the goal of the program is to allow researchers to inform policy change and provide calls to action that will help earners and learners.
The final report on earners and learners will be published in early 2020. For more information, please visit the Labor Center website.