Qianyi Loo uses her work experience before transferring to UCLA to make the best of her journey here

Learn more about Qianyi’s journey in getting to UCLA, why she chose the Labor Studies program, and her plans after graduation.

This story forms part of our 2023 Labor Studies Graduation Stories series.

Marcos Ruiz Rojas | May 24, 2023

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

My name is Qianyi, I am a fourth-year, second-year transfer, and I am studying Labor Studies and Sociology at UCLA. My family is from rural China and immigrated to the Bay Area when they were around 18 to 20 years old. Additionally, my mother could not attend higher education because she had to focus on surviving and supporting family members through their education. This explains my first-generation struggle and having to navigate my experiences in higher education from a different perspective. Luckily, I do have two older sisters who went through college before me and were able to support me through this journey.

Why did you choose Labor Studies?

It’s funny because joining the Labor Studies program was entirely by chance and accidental. When I was transferring to UCLA, I had my eye on a different program because I was geared towards human resources, but ultimately, I decided on labor studies because the program’s values aligned more closely with mine. Additionally, before I even started my journey at UCLA, I reached out to Gloria Chan, Labor Studies’ Student Services Advisor, to see if it would be possible for me to double major in labor studies and sociology as a transfer student. During the advising meeting, I laid out my two-year plan, and thanks to Gloria, I moved my schedule around to take on labor studies!

On top of that, what solidified my choice of joining the Labor Studies program was when I took a class with Instructor Janna Shadduck-Hernandez. I asked her if there were any research opportunities available, and she let me know about the workers and learners project, which was life-changing because it gave me a chance to do meaningful research under a faculty here at UCLA. 

What opportunities have been the most meaningful within the Labor Studies program and while at UCLA? 

I’m grateful for my experience at UCLA, but what prepared me for the varying opportunities I took up here were two internships I was a part of before transferring. These internships include Connect-In-Place, which focuses on providing educational support, mentorship, and community to middle and high schoolers, and The HomeMore Project, which uplifts unhoused folks in the San Francisco area.

When I got to UCLA, my first job was a work-study position as an HR assistant. I then interviewed with UCLA Summer Sessions and landed a Summer Experience Leader Intern. This is where I got hands-on experience with student affairs. I later interviewed with UCLA Residential Life in Spring Quarter and landed a Residential Assistant position. This is what solidified my passion for student affairs. 

Additionally, I have worked within the USAC Transfer Student Representative Office as the Co-Director and sole Director of Transfer Transition in the last two years. I’m also a student researcher in the Department of Sociology Honors Program where I’m looking at working mothers and how they’ve been affected by the transition from the COVID-19 pandemic to the stage where jobs are going back in person.

What are your goals after graduating? Where do you see yourself going in the future with a degree in Labor Studies?

Yeah, so I see myself entering the space of Student Affairs for the next two years. Especially since taking on the Summer Sessions and Residential Life jobs, I realized that I enjoy the one-on-one contact with students. And so for the next two years, I hope to work within some realm of Student Affairs in whatever higher education opportunities present themselves, whether at a four-year university or a community college. 

After taking one to two gap years, I’m hoping to go back to get my Master’s in Social Work. For the past few quarters, I’ve been taking Master in Social Work courses at Luskin and it’s been incredible learning so much about ways to better support children and families. 

Learn more about commencement activities for the UCLA Labor Studies here.

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