Oral Histories

Interview of Michelle Ornelas

Graduate of UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health working as a social service coordinator.
COVID project
COVID-19 Pandemic
Biographical Note:
Graduate of UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health working as a social service coordinator.
Collings, Jane
Ornelas, Michelle
Persons Present:
Ornelas and Collings
Place Conducted:
Because of the necessity of restricting personal contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, the interview was conducted via the Zoom video conferencing platform.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, interviewer and series coordinator, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; Ph.D., Critical Studies in Film and Television, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording as transcribed by a machine transcribing program and audit-edited by student staff. The interviewee was given an opportunity to review the transcript but made no corrections or additions.
1.75 hrs
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
Interviews that reflect the experiences and the thoughts of members of the UCLA campus community on the topic of the COVID-19 pandemic . A number of Angelenos from the broader LA community participated in the project as well. Because of stipulations in legal agreements and other reasons, some oral histories in this series cannot be made available on line but are available on site at the UCLA Library. Please contact the Library Special Collections reference desk for further information.
First learning about COVID-19 and early concerns--Disseminating COVID-19 information through work--Working in retirement housing communities--Residents’ concerns--Taking precautions at work--COVID-19 testing for self and residents--Partnerships and gathering resources to support residents--Working through challenges in convincing people to get tested--Helping residents navigate challenges and bureaucracy--Residents’ concerns about finances and children’s mental health--Organizing resources for residents and addressing digital divide--Building culture of cooperation with public health measures--Challenges of remote learning--Community supporting each other--Developing leadership skills through many experiences advocating for self and others--Impact of protests in the community--Losing an uncle to COVID-19--Concern that people do not take precautions or will not get the vaccine--Hope to connect organizations and travel in the future--Importance of being community-minded--Evolving needs as the pandemic continues--Considering aftermath of the pandemic--Political engagement
Virtual programming at work--Importance of in-person programming for community--Organizing vaccines for senior housing facility--Losing a friend to COVID--COVID losses and desperation for vaccine--Resident eligibility and vaccinations--COVID precautions and programming for children--Internet vouchers--Programs building community--Organizing vaccine site--Pride and trust in programming and community--Disseminating information beyond residents--Meal programs--Helping residents navigate services--Personally navigating COVID precautions and socializing--Normalized COVID precautions--Prioritizing self care, appreciating community and being present