Upsilon Lab was founded in late 2017, by two UCLA physics majors in the class of 2018, just after they both finished the harrowing process of applying for PhD programs.
Both Jacob and Raj found it relatively difficult to find research positions as undergraduates before their senior year, since the skills taught in lower division and core upper division physics classes do not directly apply to most research. As such, they wanted to create a springboard into traditional undergraduate research positions.
Why Upsilon Lab?
When the founders were first figuring out what they wanted to do to help improve the department by providing students with the opportunity to gain research skills, they wanted it to be something “by undergraduates, for undergraduates.” With this in mind, alongside their mutual love for Greek letters as physics majors, they decided to use an analogue to the letter u- upsilon, of course- to stand for undergraduates.
Interested in founding a similar organization?
The founders have conveniently written a guide for this express purpose. Take a look at it on the Founding an Academic Organization Skill Guide page.