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 Honor Jenessa Shapiro
Posted by: Matthew Lieberman
Title/Position: Professor
School/Organization: UCLA
Sent to listserv of: SPSSI, SESP
Date posted: March 5th, 2019

We all lost a tremendous friend, colleague, and scientist when Jenessa Shapiro passed away at the end of last year. It was a painful loss for me personally and I continue to be inspired by the kind of person Jenessa was and how she lived her life. From the first time I met her during her job interview at UCLA over a decade ago until the last time I saw her, she was always full of life, humor, and commitment to the ideals she cared about. I’ve spent the time since her passing thinking about how best to honor Jenessa. I’ve done whatever I can to keep her research alive by trying to make sure that everything she was working on with her students and colleagues will be allowed to reach completion so that Jenessa’s scientific legacy will continue to build with her collaborators carrying that forward. But I wanted to find a keep to keep her memory alive into the future, for perpetuity.

To that end, I’ve worked with the UCLA Life Sciences development office to create a graduate student award in Jenessa’s name. The award will focus on the topics that Jenessa was passionate about - diversity and social justice. Jenessa’s husband, Noah Goldstein, has already worked to create an SPSP award in her name and so I wanted to create something that would honor her at UCLA. Noah also supports this and actually made the incredibly generous offer to match the first $10,000 in donations to this award. While the specifics of the award are still being worked out, the goal is to give the award to a UCLA graduate student whose research contributes to the study of diversity and social justice.

If you are able to contribute to this fund, no matter how small of a contribution, it will be greatly appreciated. Please make your check payable to the UCLA Foundation, noting Jenessa Shapiro Memorial Graduate Fund on the memo line and mail your gift to the attention of Janice Shintaku at UCLA College of Letters and Science, 1309 Murphy Hall, Box 951413, Los Angeles, CA 90095. My understanding is that any contribution is tax deductible.

You can also make a gift online by visiting the following website:

Please review UCLA and the UCLA Foundation’s Disclosure Statements for Prospective Donors at If you have any questions, you can contact me at or the development office via Janice Shintaku at or at 310-825-1530.

I hope you’ll consider contributing, both as a way to commemorate Jenessa, our friend and colleague, and to promote research in the area that Jenessa cared most about.

Matt Lieberman

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