Disability Studies lauds the generosity that the Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation has provided via scholarships to promising students in the Disability Studies Minor. For years, students have been rewarded for their ongoing dedication to service and advocacy on issues of importance to the disability community.


The Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation was founded in 1981 by the late Samuel Oschin, an entrepreneur, explorer and philanthropist who was dedicated to giving back to the Los Angeles community. Under the direction of Mrs. Samuel Oschin, the Foundation continues her husband’s work by supporting a variety of causes in the areas of astronomy, medicine, education, and the arts.

Lynda Oschin says her husband wanted nothing more than to make a difference and encourage others to share in the work of improving our world and bringing hope for the future through stimulating collaboration. With this generous gift to UCLA’s Disability Studies program, students are able to continue Samuel Oschin’s legacy and dedicate themselves to improving the quality of life for those in the Los Angeles community and beyond.




Award Amount:  $5600 and $6400 (two awards or split into multiple awards)

Eligibility Criteria:
Recipients of the Disability Studies fall scholarships are selected based on (1) strong academic achievement, (2) commitment to the field of disability studies and (3) to working as an advocate on issues of importance to the disability community. To be eligible for the scholarships, students must have:

      1. A 3.0 cumulative GPA;
      2. Admittance to the UCLA Disability Studies minor;
      3. Completed or currently enrolled in Disability Studies 101W and;
      4. Completed or currently enrolled in at least one elective course for the minor.
  • Note: All applicants will apply for both scholarships using one application. Only US citizens, permanent residents or AB540 eligible students will be selected for the Samuel Oschin Scholarship.

Application instructions:
1. In a single PDF document, include the following two items:

  • An essay not to exceed 750 words (3 double-spaced pages) that describes your experience working in the disability community to date and discusses how the Disability Studies minor has influenced (or how you envision it will influence) the direction of your academic career and future plans. If applicable, please include a discussion of your internship and/or capstone research plans.
  • A current resume

Save the PDF in the following format:

  • LastName_FirstName_Application.pdf
  • Ex: Block_Gene_Application.pdf

2. Obtain a copy of your unofficial transcript and save it in the following format:

  • LastName_FirstName_Transcript.pdf
  • Block_Gene_Transcript.pdf

Email both files to the Disability Studies Fall Scholarship Committee*. Your application materials will be automatically uploaded to a drive once they are received.

Confirmation email:

You will receive a confirmation email for each file when your application materials have been successfully uploaded. Important: If you do not receive a confirmation email or if you are having issues uploading your application, please send application materials to Charlotte Vo at cvo@college.ucla.edu.

*Your application materials should be sent directly to the committee via the following email address: Fall_20.6ywqkdgpjljitdsd@u.box.com.

Application Deadline: Extended to Monday, November 16, 2020, 9:00am

Note to Non-DS Minors: Students who are not yet admitted to the minor may submit their application to the minor at the same time as their application for the scholarship—but their scholarship application will only be reviewed AFTER admission to the minor is confirmed.



Thanks to the generous support of the Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, UCLA Disability Studies is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Fall Disability Studies Scholarships. Kathleen De Nicola, Natalee Decker, and Amy Vandyken were the winners of the 2020 Samuel Oschin Scholarship – they will be awarded $2,300, $2,300, and $1,000 respectively.

The winners were chosen from a pool of truly exceptional candidates of high academic caliber and a strong history of service within the disability community. Kathleen, Natalee, and Amy were the top candidates for the award due to their adept linking of disability scholarship to their goals and service initiatives.


Kathleen is pictured smiling against a blurred, white background. She has long brown hair and brown eyes. She is wearing a ruffled, pink tank top that is layered over a white t-shirt.

Kathleen De Nicola is a graduating senior with a major in Dance and minors in Applied Developmental Psychology and Disability Studies.  As a dancer who experienced impairment herself, Kathleen has been exploring ways to address ableism and inclusion in dance education.  Kathleen is a founding member of the Expressive Movement Initiative and currently serves as the Assistant Artistic Director, where she teaches dance classes to more than 20 children with disabilities.  As part of Kathleen’s capstone research, she will be working with Victoria Marks, chair of Disability Studies, to investigate how verbal descriptions can contribute to making dance accessible to the blind and visually impaired community.  Kathleen is currently the Disability Studies Student Ambassador and will be interning at the Disability Rights Legal Center. In the future, Kathleen aspires to work at the intersection of art, education, and advocacy and to participate in movements that are increasing inclusion in the world of dance.


Photograph of Natalee, a white woman, sitting on a blue couch with her legs crossed. She has straight dark brown hair and red lipstick and is wearing a blue and green silk scarf on her head, a black and white daisy pattern long sleeve shirt, and cow print pants. She has her hands folded on top of the handle of a silver quad cane.

Natalee Decker (she/her) is a transfer student in the Design|Media Arts program, minoring in Disability Studies. She is a Chicago born Los Angeles based artist who employs a multidisciplinary and ever shifting approach to investigate the disability aesthetic and the transformation of scarred memories. As a co-founder of the UCLA Disabled Student Union she advocates for better campus accessibility and creating space for cultural celebration. She is currently working on programming for the Disability Inclusion Lab, and is a member of the UC System Disability Ad Hoc Committee and the UCLA Committee on Disability.  She is employed as an animator and content manager for the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge and as a faculty assistant tasked with bolstering web accessibility for a future online software art archive. In fulfillment of her DS Minor, she is interning at Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, assisting with web accessibility and the digital media lab. Artistically, she is working at the intersection of 3D computer generated animation, machine learning, and the disabled body. Natalee is a white queer disabled cis-gender woman.


Portrait of Amy Vandyken standing under the columns of UCLA’s Royce Hall. She is smiling, and wearing a blue shirt and blazer.

Amy Vandyken is a third-year student majoring in Political Science and minoring in Disability Studies. Amy’s service has centered on education and she is currently a Team Leader for Jumpstart Americorps. Amy’s experience as an intern at the Disability Rights Legal Center and as an alumna of the Autism Media Lab, a two-quarter class where undergraduates collaborated with Autistic Self-advocates to create short documentaries on important issues affecting the ASD community, fueled her efforts to address the lack of higher education opportunities for young adults with ASD.  Amy is currently advocating for UCLA’s Office of Strategic Communications to create internship opportunities for young adults with ASD.  In the future, Amy hopes to complete a Ph.D. in disability studies and to explore social mobility outcomes for students with ASD who participate in higher education programs.



Amy Bugwadia – 2019
Major: Political Science
Thaksaporn Chitrakorn – 2019

Major: Psychology

Lily Shaw – 2018
Major: Political Science
Isita Tripati – 2018
Major: Neuroscience
Egle Urbonaite
Major: Psychology
Elizabeth Stephens – 2017
Major: Psychology
Zhe Zhang – 2017
Major: Statistics
Jake Abarca – 2016
Major: Anthropology
Jameelah Najieb – 2016
Major: Political Science and Sociology
Rachel Davis – 2015
Major: Linguistics & Psychology
Justin Kawakami – 2015
Major: English
Rowan Smith – 2015
Major: Theater
Sonia Fan – 2014
Major: Psychobiology
Cindy Sayani – 2014
Major: Psychology
Jessica Kianmahd – 2013
Major: Psychology
Ashton Rosin – 2013
Major: International Development Studies


Elaine Lu – 2017
Major: Neuroscience
Amanda Mekhail – 2016, 2015
Major: Psychology
Rachel Davis – 2014
Major: Linguistics & Psychology
Olivia Hansell – 2014
Major: Human Biology and Society
Sonia Maldonado – 2014
Major: Sociology