Made possible by a generous gift from the Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation, the Shapiro Family Scholarship will support one or more students in the Disability Studies minor, to be selected annually based on strong academic achievement and commitment both to the field of disability studies and to working as an advocate on issues of importance to the disability community.


The Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation was founded in 1984 by Ralph and Shirley Shapiro and their children, Alison and Peter, and Peter serves as foundation president. Through their foundation, the Shapiro family has generously supported medical and environmental research, as well as education, arts and children’s welfare programs, including initiatives that serve children with developmental disabilities and their families. The Shapiro Family are legendary leaders and philanthropists to UCLA. They remain intricately involved in UCLA activities, supporting the university in a variety of capacities and maintaining a lifelong commitment to helping the Bruin family. Their contributions have helped to make UCLA a world-class institution, accessible to students in current and future generations.




Award Amount: $7,250 (one award or split into two 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.

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

  • An essay not to exceed 500 words (2 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.x41xkhz4f722oyqm@u.box.com

Application Deadline: Monday, October 30, 2023, at 11:59pm

If selected as a scholarship recipient, your accomplishment will be announced via email to the disability studies community, including the Shapiro family, faculty, and staff. Charlotte Vo will be in touch to confirm pronouns and announcement details prior to it being shared. Please let her know if there is anything that was shared in the scholarship application that should remain confidential.

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 Shapiro Charitable Family Foundation, UCLA Disability Studies is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Fall Disability Studies Scholarships.

The Shapiro Family Scholarship  aims to celebrate the strides made by our students, who have been agents of change on this campus and beyond. Arezo Ahmadi and Rachel Rothschild were the winners of the 2023  Shapiro Family Scholarship – they will receive $5,250 and $2,000 respectively. Adam Kipust is also recognized with an Honorable Mention.

Arezo, Rachel, and Adam rose to the top of the applicant pool through the connections they drew between disability studies scholarship, their goals and advocacy efforts.

Arezo Ahmadi

Photo of Arezo Ahmadi. Arezo has long black hair and is wearing a floral dress with a necklace and white shoulder purse. Her hands are stretching her dress outwards. She is smiling at the camera while she is in front of an indoor garden with different colored flowers and a green statue of a hand holding flowers.

Arezo is a fourth-year Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology Major, as well as a Global Health minor and Disability Studies minor. As a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) from Fremont, California (home of one of California’s two Schools for the Deaf), Arezo has been an active advocate for the Deaf community. This passion blossomed into an Instagram advocacy platform called “Deaf Diaries” during the COVID-19 pandemic and Arezo’s freshman year, where she shared important accessible information about COVID-19 and highlighted the work of Deaf community members. At the end of her freshman year, Arezo enrolled in Professor Lewis’s Enforcing Normalcy: Deaf and Disability Studies, after which she was inspired to join the Disability Studies minor and grow her disability advocacy work. Since then, Arezo used her newfound social media talent as a member of the Social Media Access for All (SoMAA) lab and as the Social Media and Outreach Coordinator for UCLA’s Disabilities and Computing Program. Arezo is grateful for the opportunities that the Disability Studies department and minor has given her, as she aims to become a physician that provides accessible care to all.

Rachel Rothschild

A photo of Rachel Rothschild smiling from the chest up standing in front of a mossy wall and trees. She is wearing a tan shirt with a blazer and has light skin and long brown hair.

A photo of Rachel Rothschild smiling from the chest up standing in front of a mossy wall and trees. She is wearing a tan shirt with a blazer and has light skin and long brown hair.

Rachel Rothschild is a third year Human Biology and Society BA student with a minor in Disability Studies. For nearly ten years, Rachel has raised and trained puppies with Canine Companions and was exposed to the obstacles that people with disabilities can encounter on a daily basis. Rachel is the founder of Collar Scholars at UCLA, the University’s first service dog in-training organization, sponsored by Chair of Disability Studies, Professor Victoria Marks. Together, they successfully revised the UCLA Policy 135: Animals on University Property to align with California Law. Rachel is also a student assistant for the UCLA Tarjan Center, a peer mentor and tutor for neurodiverse students in Pathway at UCLA Extension, a staff writer for the Daily Bruin, an officer for the Astronomical Society, and a member of the Genetic Counseling Interest Group at UCLA. In the future, Rachel is interested in bringing her disability-centered perspective to pursue disability rights and healthcare equity in genetic counseling.

Honorable Mention – Adam Kipust

Adam Kipust is a Psychobiology major with a minor in Disability Studies graduating this Fall. Adam brings his expertise as an EMT to his role as a UCLA Pathway Program Educational Coach to educate others on how to be self advocates when interacting with first responders and vice versa, how EMTs can make service and care accessible to patients with disabilities. Adam’s research has contributed to new policies at the LA County EMS Agency such as trainings, alternative pharmacologic interventions, and a suicide screening protocol to offer a comprehensive continuum of care for patients who experience behavioral health emergencies. In his final quarter, Adam’s capstone project in partnership with Dr. Lauren Clark, is to create a course on sexual health and disability. Adam intends to be a physician and has been accepted to UCLA’s School of Medicine.

Vinita Saxena – 2022

Major: Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

Desiree Eshraghi – 2022 – Honorable Mention

Major: Pre-psychobiology

Cheri Sledge – 2022 – Honorable Mention

Major: Musicology

Katherine Chow – 2021

Major: Human Biology and Society

Rowan O’Bryan – 2021

Major: Fine Arts

Isabella Poschl – 2021

Major: Neuroscience

Quinn O’Connor – 2020

Major: Theater

Nicole Jacobs – 2020

Major: Physiological Sciences

Juliette Lerner – 2020

Major: Psychology

Lily Shaw – 2019

Major: Political Science

Isita Tripati – 2019

Major: Neuroscience