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The Rishwain Award, sponsored by Brian Rishwain '87, a successful entrepeneur and attorney, seeks to recognize UCLA students who bring an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit to social justice work. While working on their undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees, this year's applicants to the third annual Rishwain Social Justice Entrepreneur Award are actively addressing issues such as foster youth, community organizing, language and literacy barriers, education, hunger, and criminal justice, just to name a few. Two UCLA students, May Thi Nguyen and Ashley Williams, were honored May 24, 2012, at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin School of Public Affairs for their efforts to address social justice for their local communities. Each received a $2,500 award.
May Thi Nguyen, a second-year UCLA law student, dropped out of law school for a year to work with residents of her home state of Louisiana to put together and carry out an "impact claims" strategy to get the government and British Petroleum to recognize their claim of subsistence use. Read more...
Ashley Williams, a Senior Sociology major, lived in 36 foster homes and attended 26 schools before making it to UCLA where she worked with Bruin Guardian Scholars which supports UCLA students brought up in the foster youth system. Read more...
Brian Rishwain (right) is pictured with 2011 award recipient Bryan Pezeshki, who founded Swipes for the Homeless a campus group that helps mitigate hunger both on and off campus through an innovative use of unused meal card “swipes.” Swipes for the Homeless has since been named a Champion of Change by the White House Campus Champions of Change Challenge.
Krista Barnes, 2011 Rishwain Award recipient, a graduate student in African Studies, is the founder of The REEL Project, a nonprofit organization that connects people “through, film, music, stories, technology and information.”