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: $7550 (one award or split into multiple 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 a concrete vision for how you would implement your vision in your academic community and professional work at and beyond UCLA. How will this vision contribute to the Food Studies field and/or help support food justice, sustainability, and community health?
    • What is your vision for how you would like to implement the knowledge and tools learned in the Food Studies Minor in your academic work at/beyond UCLA and in your professional path? In addition, how will your vision assist in the development of the Food Studies field and/or in cultivating a healthier, more sustainable and equitable world?

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: 2020_20.m7cr9bpsibm095sh@u.box.com.

Application Deadline: Monday, November 8, 2021, 11:59pm



Thanks to the generosity of Ms. Marcie Rothman, the Food Studies Minor is pleased and excited to announce the recipients of the 2020-2021 Marcie Rothman Centennial Scholars Undergraduate Scholarship.  This year’s scholarship has been awarded to two students and one honorable mention – Desiree Felix, who received a $3,000 award, Ikuko Nakano, who received a $3,0000 award, and Lauren Barette who received a $700 award.

Scholarship Awardee – Desiree Felix

A close up of Desiree, a light-skinned Hispanic woman with curly dark brown hair, smiling directly at the camera. She is outside, with a background of a brick hallway. She is wearing a black dress, a necklace with a cross, and gold hoop earrings.

Desiree Felix is a graduating senior with a major in Environmental Science and minors in Environmental Systems and Society and Food Studies. Of Mexican and Salvadoran roots she hopes to one day own a small farm and grow the crops her father traditionally grew. She also hopes to travel the world in order to learn from others and advocate for improved food systems and equitable food access. One of her greatest passions is the interconnectedness of food for she believes it, like people, carries its own narrative. From shadowing local doctors abroad in Panama and Nicaragua to serving as an undergraduate caseworker for persons experiencing homelessness in West Hollywood, she hopes to elevate the narratives of others and highlight the intersections of food, the environment and public health through engaging in education, and perhaps even platforms such as film.

She would like to thank everyone from and outside of UCLA such as her parents, friends, first-generation community, staff, and educators. Whether it was a personal relationship or a small conversation, every interaction added to her life and worldview.

Scholarship Awardee – Ikuko Nakano

Headshot of Ikuko Nakano (she/her/hers pronouns), who is Japanese and tan with medium-length straight black hair, in a pantsuit smiling directly at the camera.

Ikuko Nakano is a second-year Civil Engineering major and Food Studies minor who was born in Japan but grew up in Los Angeles. Witnessing the housing crisis in LA growing up, she became passionate about food equity at a young age and how this can be achieved sustainable, economically, and reproducibly.

In her first year at UCLA, Ikuko became involved with projects in a variety of disciplines including sustainability, engineering, and community service. Working on a research project that studies mealworms that eat styrofoam, Ikuko became curious about the viability of the mealworms as a food source. Simultaneously, she also joined a team in the Renewable Energy Association, part of whose mission is to propose a closed-loop waste and energy management system at UCLA through energy extraction in the form of bio-digesting food waste on campus. Shortly after, she began volunteering at Bruin Shelter, a student-run homeless shelter for students, and witnessed the impact of a home cooked meal on the residents.

Through these experiences, she became aware of the intersection that brought many of these disciplines together: food.

She is still in the beginning of her journey, but ultimately, she hopes to utilize the knowledge, skills, and experiences acquired from minoring in Food Studies and her experience as the current Director of Resources of Bruin Shelter to found a shelter for the houseless community with an emphasis on economically, environmentally, and personally sustainable habits. Beyond simply providing immediate tangible relief, her goal is to provide a foundation for the residents of the shelter to find long-term personal success and emphasize that food choices can not only be healthy and locally-sourced, but accessible. She hopes to use her background in Civil Engineering to create a modular and easily replicable physical structure that integrates biophilic designs and natural features.

Throughout her life, Ikuko aims to lead by example in “thinking globally while acting locally.”

Honorable Mention – Lauren Barette

Medium shot of Lauren Barette outside of Royce Hall. Lauren is a 21 year old female whose preferred pronouns are she/her. She has red hair and is wearing a yellow shirt with a black blazer.

Lauren Barette is a senior majoring in World Arts and Cultures Dance and double minoring in Food Studies and Entrepreneurship. Lauren is passionate about sustainable development and desires to make an impact by reducing plastic waste and food waste within the restaurant industry.

Lauren has been involved in the restaurant industry ever since her freshman year of college, working at the restaurants in Ackerman. The summer following her freshman year, she studied abroad in Italy where she studied italian food systems. The following summer, she partook in a culinary internship with Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

This past summer, Lauren participated in a restaurant management internship with the Chicago based restaurant group, Lettuce Entertain You. As part of the internship program, she was chosen to be group leader for the restaurant concept project. In recognition for leading her team to victory, Lettuce Entertain You was generous enough to provide Lauren with the necessary resources to formalize an appropriate capstone project for the Food Studies minor.

Lauren chose to focus her project on sustainability in hopes of causing an environmentally cautious impact within the restaurant industry. Lauren is currently researching biodegradable and reusable packaging options that can be utilized amongst Lettuce Entertain You’s 140 restaurants.

While Lauren plans on pursuing a career in dance and entertainment post-college, she will utilize her platform and influence to promote sustainable development and healthy food practices.


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 – Juanyi Tan

Juanyi Tan portrait

Growing up in a traditional Cantonese family that strongly advocates a healthy and balanced diet, Juanyi Tan has developed a keen interest in public health and eating behaviors. Pursuing a B.S degree in Psychobiology with a Food Studies minor, Juanyi is interested in integrating these two disciplines to help initiate eating behavior changes, starting with students at UCLA.

Currently, Juanyi is one of the Global Food Initiative Fellows and working with Dr. McCarthy to design fiber-rich food promotion intervention strategies. As she has learned from food studies readings about the role of diverse dietary fiber intake in preventing fatty liver disease and diabetes, some of the leading causes of death in the United States, she wants to help others understand the importance of food quality and educate them on how to improve their food choices. Her goal is to improve UCLA students’ daily consumption of dietary fiber intake, both in terms of quantity and quality. With the help of the GFI program and the Healthy Campus Initiative, Juanyi will implement her project during the winter and spring quarter. Upon graduation, she would like to go into graduate school and pursue a dual degree in psychology and nutrition to implement her vision beyond UCLA and contribute to the prevention of excess weight gain on a national or even global scale.


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