Undergraduate Research & Practice


Blacklimated in one of the retention initiatives launched through Project Lumina (see Lumina page for more information). As an intervention, the class has been designed specifically for first year (freshmen and transfers) African American men at UCLA. Launched in 2011, Blacklimated seeks to provide a space for undergraduate participants to engage one another in meaningful dialogue that is relevant to the individual and collective experiences of transitioning into UCLA. The class provides both a safe space for the sharing out of African American male experiences and a critical thinking arena to unpack those experiences and foster clarity and understanding. The curriculum is designed to introduce participants to a number of pertinent resources that help establish a community for empowerment and successful navigation of UCLA.  Since 2011, the BMI has provided nearly 150 undergraduates with the tools and resources to persist and graduate from UCLA.

Project Lumina:  

Launched in 2010, nearly 40 UCLA undergraduates have participated in this year-long research course in which participants are introduced to the fundamentals of conducting research.  Project Lumina began as an initiative to critically examine Black male retention at UCLA, serving as the impetus for the creation of the Blacklimated course, a retention project for first-year undergraduates (see Blacklimated for more information).  Lumina provides a venue for UCLA undergraduates to gain important research experience, by examining the experiences of Black men in the K-16 educational pipeline, and at UCLA in particular.  Through this class, students are able to further scholarly dialogue on African American male and female retention and engagement in predominately white institutions of higher education.  Using a research-practitioner based model to asses the needs of African American male students and implement retention initiatives.


Initially as a “sister” course to Blacklimated, Sister-to-Sister (S2S) has quickly grown to become a staple of Black women’s undergraduate experience on the UCLA campus.  The course is designed to provide a safe space for undergraduate African American women across the Diaspora to create meaning out of their collegiate experiences.  Taught by Dr. Jonli Tunstall, Maisha Beasley, and Dr. Samarah Blackmon, the class explores Black women’s campus experience through the themes of sisterhood, self, and university experience. Topics examined in the course include, but are not limited to: the building and power of community, social-emotional health and wellbeing, sexual assault in the lives of Black women, relationships, and being a scholar of color.  The overarching goal of the course is to facilitate community building and networks that will lead to a more enriched college experience for undergraduate participants.  Since launched in the spring of 2014, more than 120 undergraduate women have taken the course.