"I have an understated style of leadership that way," says Anderson, a third-year UCLA doctoral student in education. During this academic year, she serves as the student regent-designate — able to participate in all deliberations of the UC Board of Regents, but not allowed to vote until July 2004, when her one-year term begins.
During this year of preparation, she sits on three regent committees: finance, investments, and grounds and buildings.
"Since I can't vote, I will be something of a diplomat," says Anderson, a Fresno native. "But based on my experiences as an undergraduate and currently as a graduate, and the fact that I'm studying higher education, I'm hoping to share some valuable perspectives and have input this year as appropriate and necessary."
Her list of concerns touches all students: the impact of budget cuts on student services, ensuring access to all UC-eligible students and keeping the opening of UC Merced — already delayed until fall 2005 — on track.
At the same time, Anderson — who earned her B.A. in psychology in 1994 at UC Santa Barbara — is continuing her work as a teaching assistant and as a graduate student researcher with the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute. She received a one-year fellowship from the Graduate Division to study the Center for Community Partnerships.
Anderson is well equipped to handle the role. She received an M.A. in 1996 in social policy and administration from the University of Nottingham, England. (She was awarded a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship to attend.) In 2002, she followed that up by earning an M.A. in education at UCLA.
For those wondering how Anderson has time to fit all these activities into her schedule, one need only look at her upbringing, she explains. A first-generation college student, Anderson says her work ethic is based on emulating her parents and grandparents, hardworking individuals whose jobs included working in the Central Valley oil fields, in a cannery, as a toll bridge collector and as a cafeteria cook.
"Even now, when I occasionally feel overwhelmed by my work as a student and researcher, I just have to take a moment to remind myself that I am truly privileged to be at UCLA studying something that I feel passionate about and preparing myself for a lifelong career in the field of education," Anderson says. "As long as I know that I am exerting as much effort as my parents and grandparents, I feel satisfied with myself and a bit less overwhelmed."