The Food Studies Minor is pleased to announce the establishment of the Marcie Rothman Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship available for students pursuing the minor in Food Studies.

The Marcie Rothman Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship was established to support students in the Food Studies minor with their academic interests and endeavors at UCLA. This scholarship is awarded annually to Food Studies minors and aims to support the expansion of food in the world as an area of interdisciplinary study, including research and practice as it relates to culture, public health, nutrition, sustainability, the environment, food activism, and justice.


Marcie H. Rothman grew up in Los Angeles surrounded by good cooks, fresh seasonal produce, and hundreds of restaurants full of the ethnic cuisines that have inspired her throughout her career. She studied cooking with such notables as Wolfgang Puck and Ken Hom, and was a longtime member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the San Francisco Professional Food Society and Toastmasters International. She continues to support the International Slow Food Movement. During her career, Rothman took great interest in the notion of creating healthy and delicious meals that are also affordable and accessible to all. This led to the development of the “The $5 Chef,” a weekly television show where Rothman impressed viewers with her uncanny ability to put seasonal foods together into quick, delicious $5 meals. She is the author of two cookbooks as “The $5 Chef.”

Rothman received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UCLA and later completed the Executive Program at the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management. She has extensive experience on the boards of non-profit organizations and is extremely excited to help foster the academic advancement of the field by supporting Food Studies minors in their studies. With this generous gift to UCLA’s Food Studies program, students are able to share Rothman’s passion for food, and dedicate themselves to understanding and improving its production, preparation, sharing, access, consumption, and disposal.




Award Amount: $7,600 (one award or split into two awards)

Eligibility Criteria:

Recipients of the Marcie Rothman Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship are Food Studies minor students who demonstrate passion for their interests and pursuits and academic achievement in the field of Food Studies and/or financial need.

To be eligible for the scholarships, students must have:

  1. Be in good academic standing and;
  2. Be admitted to the UCLA Food Studies minor
  • Note to non-Food Studies 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 once admission to the minor is confirmed.

Application instructions:
1. In a single PDF document, submit the following items before or on the deadline:

  • A complete scholarship application form
  • A current resume that highlights professional experience and extracurricular activities as well as community service and/or volunteer experiences
  • A short essay of 500 words or less that answers the following question:
    • Describe your experience in the Food Studies Minor and how it has informed your passions and interests in cultivating a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable world. Include how the knowledge and tools learned in the Food Studies Minor contribute to the direction of your academic career, future plans, and to the field of food studies.

Save the PDF in the following format:

  • LastName, FirstName.pdf

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

  • LastName_FirstName_Transcript.pdf
  • Block_Gene_Transcript.pdf

3. Email both files to the Marcie Rothman 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: 2023_20.ezaiz14k832oju63@u.box.com

If selected as a scholarship recipient, your accomplishment will be announced via email to the food studies community, including the Rothman 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 be remain confidential.

Application Deadline: Monday, October 31, 2022, 11:59pm



Thanks to the generosity of Ms. Marcie Rothman, the Food Studies Minor is pleased and excited to announce the recipients of the 2022-2023 Marcie Rothman Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship.  This year’s scholarship has been awarded to two students – Leilani Barnes and Sarah Schecter, who each received a $3,500 award.

Scholarship Awardee – Leilani Barnes

Leilani Barnes sitting on blue porch steps surrounded by beautiful, vibrant green plants. She has medium length blonde hair, tan skin, and a happy smile directed at the camera. Her chin rests on the palms of her hands as she wears a brown hat, a white shirt, and a denim dress.

Leilani Barnes is a fourth year UCLA student with a major in Environmental Studies and Geography and a minor in Food Studies. She was born and raised in Hawaii, where she fell in love with island life and multicultural cuisines. At a young age, Leilani found joy in eating Hawaiian food like poi and poke, and appreciated their significance of strength in her development. Food was an important focal point in social gatherings and was her mothers main love language. Despite the island’s ability to produce an abundance of fruits and vegetables, corporate food systems forced her family to consume within a food desert that resulted in severe health disparities. This experience fueled an ongoing passion for food justice that Leilani continues to exercise today. She has participated in a number of volunteer opportunities related to gardening, providing free community meals, developing CSA baskets, and conducting outdoor research. She plans to advance her understanding of food and its environmental and social relationships by becoming involved in numerous internships post college. Her goal is to gain hands-on experience related to sustainable food production, ethical food distribution, fighting for food justice, and using food as medicine. Leilani is beyond grateful to be a first generation college student and a recipient of the Marcie Rothman Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship.

Scholarship Awardee – Sarah Schecter

A medium shot of Sarah Schecter, a white woman with curly, shoulder-length brown hair, smiling at the camera. She is standing in front of a pomegranate tree, wearing a black collared shirt decorated with cranes.

Sarah Schecter is a writer and cook from Oakland, California. As a second-year Theater major with a minor in Food Studies, Schecter links the seemingly disparate worlds of food and performance with her writing and cooking, aiming to tell stories that champion joy, hospitality, and food culture.

Schecter’s love of food and storytelling is rooted in working in kitchens: after interning in the cafe of Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse, Schecter currently works at LULU in Los Angeles, a collaboration between food activist Alice Waters and food writer David Tanis.

Most recently authoring This Bite Will Change Everything, a book of short stories published in 2021, Schecter has written a diverse range of work. Her plays have been produced by theaters across California, from Berkeley Repertory Theatre to PlayGround SF, and her creative nonfiction writing has been published by the New York Times Learning Network and Still I Rise Films.

Following an incredible UCLA travel study program focused on Italian food history, culture, and law during the summer of 2022, Sarah deeply connected with the Slow Food Movement in Italy, an organization that aims to preserve the cultural and social prominence of food by promoting food education, fair labor, and regenerative farming practices. She is currently founding a university chapter of Slow Food to address these issues at UCLA, in collaboration with the Resnick Center for Food Policy and third-year Food Studies student Anna Bettendorf.

Through the Food Studies minor, Schecter is excited to explore global and local food cultures through writing and cooking, and work to heal the disconnect between producers and consumers at UCLA and beyond.


Laila Adarkar – 2021
Major: Global Studies
Minor: Food Studies

Kristida Chhour – 2021
Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Minor: Food Studies

Desiree Felix – 2020
Major: Environmental Science
Minor: Environmental Systems and Society and Food Studies

Ikuko Nakano – 2020
Major: Civil Engineering
Minor: Food Studies

Carlene Francis – 2019
Major: African American Studies
Minor: Food Studies

Tierney Sheehan – 2019
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: Film, Television, and Digital Media

Saraí Ramos Gonzalez – 2018
Major: Chicanx Studies
Minors: Food Studies, Education Studies and Labor and Workplace Studies

Hannah Valenzuela – 2018
Major: Gender Studies
Minor: Food Studies

Pamela Lin – 2017
Major: Human Biology and Society
Minors: Food Studies and Geography/Environmental Studies



Honorable Mention – Kassandra Gooch 

A close-up of Kassandra, a white woman with shoulder length wavy brown hair. She is wearing a sleeveless black shirt and pink lipstick and looking directly at the camera.

Kassandra Gooch is a non-traditional graduating senior with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Food Studies. She grew up in Houston, Tx where she spent time in several different households, connecting with all her families through food traditions. Encountering differences in access, cooking styles, and flavor pairings sparked her interest in foodways and culinary traditions, leading her to culinary school.
Through her experience in the retail food industry, Kassandra became interested in the forces that impact food production and consumption and how sustainability and access affect food freedom. After spending time working in different levels of the restaurant industry- from factory, to retail, to fine dining- she decided to go back to school to round out her culinary knowledge with nutritional and sociocultural perspectives.
This past quarter she helped film a documentary about Bruin Plate, UCLA’s sustainability and ingredient focused dining hall, hoping to inspire other institutional restaurants towards more sustainable practices and encourage students to talk to the people behind the food on their plates. She is also helping to collect recipes for the Students for Integrative Medicine Community Cookbook and plans to collect and share food narratives in future research. She hopes to combine her culinary and anthropology training to make food and nutritional knowledge accessible through public health and/or visual media.


Lauren Barette  – 2020
Major: Dance
Minors: Entrepreneurship and Food Studies

Juanyi Tan – 2019
Major: Psychobiology
Minors: Food Studies

Chiara Phillips – 2018
Major: Geography/Environmental Studies
Minors: Food Studies, Geospatial Information Systems and Technologies

Jesse Garcia – 2017
Major: Anthropology
Minors: Food Studies, French, and Global Health