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From El Camino Student to Space Intern

Hello! My name is Riana Basuel, and I am a SPACE intern this fall quarter. I am a first-year transfer student from Torrance, California, and I am a recent graduate from El Camino College.

El Camino (or ElCo, as the locals call it) is the only community college SPACE serves, and honestly, I only heard about SPACE towards the end of last school year. I encountered a SPACE booth during Bruin Day Weekend, and when I discovered they had peer advising sessions at my community college, I was shocked. How did I not know about this? I visited the Student Activities Center many times as an ElCo student, and my counselors and professors never mentioned anything about the program. Had I known about SPACE earlier, I would’ve immediately taken advantage of it.

After that weekend, I wanted to attend SPACE peer advising sessions. I consulted my peer advisor, Josh, on tips to assist me in my transition from community college to a four-year university. He encouraged me to get involved in clubs and organizations on campus, and live on The Hill (the dorms at UCLA) my first year. These tips have so far been very helpful, as I was able to quickly find myself a community here at UCLA. I found great Currently, I live on The Hill, and I am involved in Pilipino Transfer Student Partnership (PTSP), SPACE, and the Alumni Scholars Club (ASC).

I came on board as an intern at an exciting time in its history. UCLA was celebrating its 100th birthday, and SPACE was celebrating its 20th anniversary. My class of Fallterns was the biggest in SPACE history, and it also had one of the biggest transfer intern classes in history. It was comforting to see so many transfers participating in the internship, as it made it easier to make friends and meet people that had similar experiences as I did transferring to a four-year university.

The weekly discussions through SPACE gave me a great perspective towards my Pilipina identity. This internship taught me to embrace my Pilipina heritage, and not cower from it. It taught me issues that surround the Filipino community not only in education, but also Filipinos all across the world today . These weekly discussion also made me reflect on my upbringing as a Filipina-American. While the Filipino community has a presence in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, I grew up very distant from it. I spent most of my life in the cities of Torrance and Gardena, where most people were either Japanese, Korean, or Caucasian. Hardly any Filipinos lived in my area, and as a result, I never bothered exploring my Filipino identity.

On top of these weekly discussions, I also had the great pleasure of working with with Tracking and Marketing (TAM) workgroup. With this workgroup, I learned how to apply knowledge of my major towards helping my community. This quarter, I was able to integrate my knowledge from my Communications major classes in facilitating the SPACE social media accounts and creating multimedia content for events such as site visits, fundraisers, and workshops.

Overall, SPACE has been an enriching experience for me, and I can't wait to see where there program takes off in the future :)

Me after a session at El Camino!

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