Student Spotlight – Jamie Jiang

Meet UCLA undergraduate researcher Jamie Jiang!

Jamie Jiang majors in Linguistics and is in our Undergraduate Research Fellows Program (URFP)! The title of her project is “Cops On Campus: The Untold Story Of The UCPD.” Her goal is to help the community shape the future in terms of police presence on campus. Her best piece of advice is to get all the help that you can and not be afraid to talk to people!

How did you first get interested in your research project?

I started this project independently at the Daily Bruin and continued after I left the paper. I first got interested during the summer of the George Floyd murder and Chauvin case. This project kind of fell into my lap — all around me were people attacking and defending the UCPD, but it suddenly occurred to me most people had no idea why the UCPD was even created.

What has been the most exciting aspect of your research so far?

I’ve loved interviewing and finding sources. I got to interview a giant in the podcasting world, Chenjerai Kumanyika, who brought me into this sort of fold of journalists who write about police. I’ll forever be grateful for that.

What has surprised you about your research or the research process?

I’ve been surprised by how slow it can be. Journalism is a lot faster, even investigative journalism, which happens kind of at a breakneck pace because you’re trying to outrun other investigators. This project is much slower and tests my ability to complete long-term projects a lot more.

What is one piece of advice you have for other UCLA students thinking about doing research?

Get all the help that you can! Don’t be afraid to talk to people! A graduate student mentor at the URC told me to apply for URFP. At the time, I was just talking to him about my *idea* for a project. I had no idea you could get money for doing research. Take advantage of the community you’re in!

What effect do you hope your research has in your field, at UCLA, in your community, or in the world?

I hope this work puts valuable information in the hands of Bruins about why their world is the way it is. I hope my podcast helps the community shape the future in terms of police presence on campus.