Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders Program

Haas LeadersThe Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders Program provides need-based scholarships and supports a community of undergraduate student leaders who have demonstrated a significant commitment to off-campus service activities.

Named in honor of legendary Cal alumnus Peter E. Haas, who was known for his deep compassion for helping others, the program seeks to grow a new generation of leaders committed to helping society.


Through a generous gift from the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, the Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders Program supports up to 20 financial aid eligible undergraduates with scholarships and training. This innovative program provides need-based scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $6,000, making it possible for students to serve 10 to 15 hours per week in off-campus social action activities. Students who are selected will participate in a year-long leadership development program through the Public Service Center.



  • Build leadership skills while participating in a community of student leaders serving the public good
  • Advising from faculty and staff
  • Recognition at Chancellor’s Awards for Public Service
  • Scholarships in the range of $2,000 to $6,000 that will complement student financial aid by decreasing the self-help expectation.
  • Students selected as sophomores or juniors are eligible to receive this award for up to two more years (through their 4th year of study).

For more information contact Fela Thomas, Student Leadership Programs Manager at

The application process for the 2016-17 academic year is currently closed.  Please read the Haas FAQ for general information about the program.


Application and Selection timeline for the 2016-17 Academic Year

  • March 9, 2016: Application will goes live - Application Information 
  • March 11, 2016 from 2:00pm-3:00pm in (151 Barrows Hall): Information session
  • March 16, 2016 from 10:30am-11:30am (160 Dwinelle Hall): Information session
  • March 30, 2016: Application process closes
  • April 13 & 14, 2016 between 9:30am-12:30pm:  In person interviews for applicants offered the opportunity (45minute each) - Interview information Sheet
  • April 26, 2016: Award offers sent out
  • April 29, 2016 by 5pm:  Award acceptance deadline

Criteria for selection includes

  • Student must be eligible for financial aid or Dream Act
  • A compelling case for why a scholarship would facilitate student's ability to be a public service leader
  • Proposal must be a significant service project that will have meaningful community impact (Can include continued leadership in exciting organization or role)
  • Project engages other UC Berkeley students
  • Ability to commit 12-15 hours a week to the project during the 2016-17 academic year
  • Ability to participate in the entire 2016-2017 program, including attending all required trainings and events


Students selected to participate in this year-long leadership development program will participate in two days of orientation, monthly leadership trainings conducted by community members, staff, faculty and peer students,  and other events. Each program participant will need to demonstrate a significant commitment to public service as well as need for financial support to for the academic year.

  • Attend:
    • Chancellor’s Awards for Public Service - May 2016
    • Peter E. Haas Program Orientation - May 2016
    • Thursdays 6-7:30pm leadership development trainings/reflections - two/month throughout the 2016-2017 academic year
    • Peter E. Haas Public Service Award Ceremony - Fall 2016
    • Student Leaders in Service Orientation - Late August 2016
    • Student Leaders in Service Retreat - Late January 2017
  • Complete and submit mid-year and final report
  • If invited, assist with selection of the next cohort of scholarship recipients

Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders, 2015-16


Aaron Cobian, 2016, Geography and S&E

Aaron Cobian

Aaron Cobian is a first-generation Chicano college student born in east Los Angeles, and raised in Compton. As the School to Prison pipeline was transparent, and inevitable, in his neighborhood Aaron felt the urgency to assist community members with the tools to break through the cycle of institutionalized social injustice that many of his younger generations continue to face today. While Aaron is an active member of the Haas Leaders he is also involved in the Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter at Berkeley, and a general member of “All of Us or None”. Aaron and two of his colleagues will begin a youth mentorship program in order to assist underprivileged students in obtaining a higher education. Aaron hopes to build a stronger bridge from institution to community and reduce the school to prison pipeline that affects many low income communities.

Adrian Chavez, 2016, Social Welfare

Adrian Chavez

Adrian Alejandro Chavez is a first-generation Chicano scholar at UC Berkeley, pursuing a B.A. in Social Welfare and a minor in Public Policy. He is a native of Azusa, CA, and was raised by a courageous single mother of five. Adrian’s familial experiences of parental separation due to incarceration and deportation have influenced him to become a community social work professional and university researcher. His research interests are centered in prison mental health treatment programs as they relate to health outcomes for system-affected children and young adults, specifically in regards to early death and suicide. As a Peter E. Haas Leader, Adrian will co-facilitate a Democratic Education at Cal course entitled “Prison & Society: Get On The Bus,” which focuses on how parental incarceration affects children, families, and communities psychologically and socially. Through public service and outreach, students will get hands on experience working within a nonprofit setting and affecting change in the local community.

Alejandra Lopez, 2017, Sociology and Social Welfare

Alejandra Lopez

Alejandra Lopez is a senior at UC Berkeley pursuing a B.A. in Sociology and Social Welfare. She is from Huron, CA, a predominantly rural low-income farm working community in southwest Fresno County. As the daughter of farmworkers, Alejandra knows firsthand of the harsh realities that farmworkers and their children face. Her experiences have prompted her to be involved with the Alternative Breaks program at UC Berkeley as a participant, break leader, and now as the Community Partnerships Director. Through this role, Alejandra will guide and mentor twenty-four break leaders to successfully teach a seminar and lead a weeklong service-learning trip. More specifically, Alejandra will be responsible for strengthening past community partnerships, as well as creating new ones. She will also strengthen and establish new internship opportunities for winter and summer break participants. Alejandra is also part of the Chicana Latino Student Development Center, Student Support Services (SSS) Scholars Academy, and works at the Cal 1 Card office. Alejandra strives to one day return to her hometown and promote social change for her community.

Alexandrea Henry, 2017, Sociology and Education

Alexandrea Henry

Alexandrea is a third year student pursuing a major in Sociology, as well as a minor in Education. When she was a first year, her passion for education equity was formed, when she became a preschool teacher through JumpStart, in which she served a community of children in Oakland by promoting literacy and social development. She has also served as a Program Manager for an arts-in service non-profit, called CREATE, as well as devoted her time to being a Student Director for a literacy mentoring organization, known as BUILD. This upcoming year, Alexandrea will be continuing her pursuit of social justice in the education system by developing curriculum for local community partners, as an Engaged Scholar through a campus American Cultures program, in order to make progressive steps towards closing the opportunity gap that heavily persists in communities of color in the Bay Area.

Amber Perkins-Ellis, 2015, American Studies

Amber Perkins-Ellis is a senior at UC Berkeley. Her major is American Studies with a focus on Carceral Landscapes and she is also minoring in Education. Amber was raised all over northern California, but the place she calls home is Sacramento. She is involved with the Afro House Collective at UC Berkeley as well as the Black Student Union; she is also a McNair Scholar. In addition to this, Amber is the main form of financial support for her family in Sacramento. This scholarship is especially timely and she could not be more grateful for the support. As the incoming Director of the East Bay Community Builder’s program (EBCB), Amber is excited to build community and solidarity within her cohort as well as build bridges with other fantastic programs at the Public Service Center!

Chance Grable, 2016, History

Chance Grabl

Chance Grable has lived in many places but considers the East Bay to be his home and currently resides in Oakland. In 2014, Chance transferred to UC Berkeley from the Peralta Community College district where he discovered his passion for education and social change. He is majoring in history because he believes that understanding the past can enable us to create a more just future. Chance is particularly interested in addressing the injustice created by incarceration systems and systems that exploit working class people. The Haas Leaders Scholarship will enable him to take time off from his job at a restaurant to do an internship at East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE). Through this internship with EBASE he is excited to contribute to their efforts to create economic and social justice for East Bay residents.

Cynthia Ann Leimbach, 2016, English

Cynthia Ann Leimbach

Cynthia Leimbach is a passionate force, dynamic academic, and successful single mother dedicated to her family, friends, and community through public service. Demonstrated through key leadership roles, Cynthia’s altruistic commitment to lead others by example compliments her desire to actively seek out justice and equality for all: by engaging vigorously within the non-profit sector. This proud UC Berkeley McNair Scholar is a senior in the College of Letters and Science, well on her way to graduate school where she will become a Professor of English. Further, Cynthia is committed to the eradication of food insecurity within her community. She is grateful for life, loves exotic travel, the arts and humanities, swimming at dawn, and appreciates water, reading actual books, savoring wine, vintage cars, feeling Zen, keeping plants alive, writing daily, and sharing time with witty humans prone to optimistic perspectives who actually care about tomorrow's leaders, finding solutions, and helping one another.

Drew McPherson, 2017, Mechanical Engineering

Drew McPherson

Drew McPherson is a nontraditional transfer student who has overcome many challenges on his long road towards a B.S. in mechanical engineering including becoming paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. But Drew has not let this slow him down as he continues to grow personally and serve others any way he can. He has become passionate about collaborating, sharing and creating assistive technology and devices to provide greater access for the disabled community to the tools they need to live empowered lives. Growing up in a tight knit community where community and family gardens and farms provided access to healthy, nutritious foods he saw the positive impact it had on his life and those in his community. Throughout his life he has worked to create greater healthy food access while working to dismantle the factors that create environmental injustice. To further this cause Drew is excited to be working as a co-leader for the Alternative Breaks Environmental Justice course and trip this year in hopes to continue learning while supporting and empowering others. As an Alternative Breaks co-leader and humbled participant in the Peter E. Haas Public Service Leadership program, he looks forward to working on becoming a stronger leader and follower and learning to effectively leverage the resources he has to join others in creating change in our world.

Edgar Gonzalez, 2017, Psychology and Spanish

Edgar Gonzalez

Edgar Gonzalez is a fourth year undergraduate studying Psychology with a minor in Spanish. He was born in an isolated rural region in Oaxaca, Mexico. After constantly migrating between Oaxaca and Mexico City, his family decided to permanently relocate to Bakersfield, California where he began working in the Valley’s agricultural fields at the age of 13. After high school, Edgar pursued higher education at Bakersfield Community College in large part because of the California Dream Act. He is passionate in his work with migrant scholars and high school students in their own pursuit of higher education. Edgar served as a student leader in the Pre-College and Yo Puedo Program Region V at UC Santa Barbara. Last Spring, he participated in the Alternative Breaks: Central Valley service trip, and this year he will be co-leading the Arizona 2016 service trip. This scholarship would help fund his studies this summer as well as help financially support his pressing needs. Through this service, Edgar seeks to learn and understand the social and psychological implications facing the immigrant population. He understands the difficulties of being an immigrant, and his dream is to be the first in his family to graduate from a University and further his education onto graduate school.

Erica Portillo, 2016, Ethnic Studies and PreMed

Erica Portillo

Erica is a first generation high school graduate and college transfer student, was raised in the San Fernando Valley, and is the eldest of seven children. Growing up in a low-income community she realized that the amount of resources a community has makes a substantial difference in how successful its youth become. As a Haas leader, Erica is determined to increase retention rates of minority, low-income students. Personally knowing the hardships disadvantaged students have to overcome to graduate from a top university has motivated her to develop a course to ease the harsh transition to the University of California Berkeley for transfer students majoring in the Sciences. Erica currently volunteers as a Spanish Health interpreter/translator, ESL Instructor and a Mentor/tutor for the Indigenous Pipeline to UC Berkeley. She plans on working to change health policies to provide access to affordable health care for all residents, including undocumented citizens.

Gabriel Tiscareño, 2016, Business Administration and Ethnic Studies

Gabriel Tiscareño

Gabriel Tiscareño is a first-generation college student born and raised in Southeast Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents. Gabriel’s path toward social justice work began at an early age when he started noticing the huge disparity between the affluent, white areas of Los Angeles and the low-income communities of color, like his own. The lack of available resources and increased presence of police harassment and drug and gang violence typical of communities like his made getting an education much more difficult for him and his classmates. However, thanks in large part to the guidance and support from his sister, parents, and community, he was able to overcome these challenges and attend the prestigious University of California, Berkeley where he has dedicated his time to serving communities like his. Through the Peter E. Haas Leaders Scholarship and in conjunction with All OF Us Or None, he and two colleagues have begun a youth mentorship program which will help under-privileged students attain a higher education and break the school-to-prison pipeline that affects East Bay communities. He is pursuing a career in consulting with specialization in protecting and advocating for marginalized communities whose human rights are violated by businesses seeking profit at these communities’ expense. He is currently studying Business Administration and Ethnic Studies.

Jesús Vásquez-Cipriano, 2016, Alternative Community Economic Development Models for Marginalized Neighborhoods

Jesús Vásquez-Cipriano

Jesús focuses on helping impoverished peoples of color (IPC) gain greater economic control over their bodies, behaviors, and communities. Too often he has experienced the power and goals of IPCs be compromised and/or diminished due to their lack of economic independence. Through the assistance of the Haas Leaders program, he will work with a local non profit Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA), who uses art-making as a form of empowerment for dozens of its underserved youth. YSA is striving to become more financially independent and create jobs for local youth through an emerging screen printing social enterprise. Generating revenue from the enterprise would help YSA improve and expand their program services—all while creating a handful of printing jobs for youth. Beyond assisting YSA, Jesús feels this enterprise is invaluable in the path toward changing economic systems/institutions in ways that assist IPCs to achieve higher levels of autonomy.

Jonathan Verdugo, 2016, Political Science

Jonathan Verdugo

Jonathan Verdugo is currently a senior enrolled at UC Berkeley pursuing a BA in Political Science. Jonathan became a father at age 19, permanently transforming his life with a promise to himself that he would provide his own son “with the life and father” that he never had. Growing up in San Diego, he experienced what racial profiling by police in his community could do to the life of a young man. He found himself embroiled with the juvenile justice system, occasionally homeless, feeling invisible and believing that there were no programs to help him reach for a successful future. One of his brothers was imprisoned, further promoting his desire to search for a different path. He plans to attend law school and ultimately work as a public defender. With the support of the Haas Leadership Program, Jonathan plans to reach out to and empower non-traditional students in community college who are interested in pursuing a legal education but who do not have the resources or tools to do so. Additionally, Jonathan currently serves as the Executive Director of the Latino Pre Law Society at Berkeley and is part of Revolutionary Scholars where he serves as a mentor to non-traditional students from his community college.

Judy Li, 2017, Business Administration, Economics, and Asian American Studies

Judy Li

Judy Li is a third year pursuing simutaneous degrees in Business Administration and Economics with a minor in Asian American Studies. Judy is currently the Community Partnership Director for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program at UC Berkeley. Judy serves as a liaison between Cal and the Bay Area, communicating with seven credit unions and community development centers in Oakland and Berkeley. Judy also presides over the UC Berkeley VITA partnership network and is working with her co-directors on establishing an internal and external coalition of tax organizations throughout California. Previously, Judy has worked for years as a site leader and a volunteer at the Lao Community Development Center, filing taxes for low-income families in Oakland. Judy is passionate about volunteering and dedicated to reversing income inequality in the Bay Area. As a 1st place recipient of a $10,000 grant award from the Big Ideas at Berkeley Contest, Judy and her co-directors will be planning and organizing UC Berkeley's 1st Financial Literacy Conference on April 2016. Judy is overall interested in philanthroy and plans to establish her own non-profit development center in the future.

Julian Ponce, 2017, Public Health

Julian Ponce


Julian Ponce hails from a rural, low-income, agricultural community in the Central Valley called Avenal. As the son of a farmworker Julian has experienced the axes of oppression in terms of negative educational and health outcomes faced by rural farm working communities. Julian will be co-leading a program which consists of facilitating a class to UC Berkeley undergraduates on issues happening in the Central Valley as well as planning a weeklong community service trip in Central Valley communities during spring break. Julian is working as a tutor for Biology 1B while serving as President of SACNAS (Society Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) as well as Networking Director for CHE (Chicanos in Health Education). Being a recipient of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader Scholarship, will grant Julian the opportunity to continue serving in his leadership roles without having to work a second job.

Kelechi Emeziem, 2016, Business, Economics, and Sociology

Kelechi Emeziem

Kelechi spent the early portion of his life in Richmond, CA and grew up Antioch, CA as a witness to the barriers that people of color face when it comes to academia and living. He has worked as a tutor and educational consultant, and with campus organizations working around battling the school-to-prison pipeline. He is heavily involved in being Black in America, working to help push forward the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Through the help of the Pubic Service Center, Kelechi will be working to engage young people of color who have grown up victimized by the “war on drugs” through education programs geared to supporting their knowledge of drug policy and their rights.

Kenneth Hahn, 2016, Public Health

Kenneth is a fourth-year studying Public Health. He is passionate for health equity for underserved, particularly homeless, populations. Raised in Fullerton, CA by a father who’s a pastor, Kenneth trailed his father from an early age doing outreach to people experiencing homelessness. Coming to Cal, Kenneth traced back to his roots, and during his first year, pursued an opportunity to serve the homeless and low-income population through an organization called the Suitcase Clinic. The Suitcase Clinic is an entirely student-run, multi-service agency that offers a safe space and free health and social services to community members in need. Currently one of the Clinic Directors, Kenneth helps lead the organization and coordinate the services the organization has to offer. During Kenneth’s time with the Suitcase Clinic, he’s witnessed the detrimental effects that one’s social circumstances and built environment have on health. He plans to develop the advocacy and medical arms of the organization by empowering clients to get their voices heard and connecting them to primary care physicians. Receiving a scholarship as a Haas Leader will allow Kenneth to apply more of his time and energy to these unpaid positions.

Maria Rubalcava, 2017, Anthropology

Maria Rubalcava

Maria Rubalcava is a third year majoring in Anthropology who is a native of Firebaugh, CA, a small agriculture-based town in the heart of the Central Valley. Having been raised in this community among many hard-working Latino immigrant farmers, she has developed a passion for serving underrepresented communities such as this one. As a result, she is humbled to be co-leading the Alternative Breaks Spring 2016 service trip which will focus on addressing and bringing to light some of the numerous social justice issues in this area that are so often overlooked. She feels honored as a recipient of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader Scholarship, as she will be able to focus her time on this public service project and continue to work to cultivate social awareness in various communities.

Marisol Lopez, 2016, Peace & Conflict Studies, Legal Studies, and Education

Marisol Lopez

Marisol was born in Bolivia and raised in Los Angeles, CA by Bolivian immigrant parents. She is the youngest of three children and is the first in her family to attend a 4-year University. Marisol is currently at University of California, Berkeley pursuing a career in law. Marisol is passionate about immigrant rights and her career goal is to be an immigration attorney. Marisol has been involved with a private firm by helping on DACA/asylum cases. With that experience she was able to study abroad with the Advance Parole process as an undocumented student, spending her summer in Granada, Spain. In addition, Marisol's project is providing workshops about Advance Parole. Her goal is to reach 4-year Universities and community colleges students to support them. She plans to reach out to undocumented students who have interest in studying abroad thru Advance Parole. Marisol is passionate in helping undocumented students and providing the necessary resources.

Matthew Lloyd, 2016, Nutrition Sciences and Education

Matthew Lloyd

Matthew Lloyd is a nontraditional first-generation student parent returning to UC Berkeley for his final year. He is studying nutrition and education as he believes these are two areas he can uplift people's from urban landscapes. Matthew will be working with the Magnolia Project and the Alternative Breaks program where he hopes to learn alongside partner organizations leadership skills and develop his empowerment toolbox for future endeavors. He has previously worked in development, healthcare administration, and education in Haiti and India. He is passionate and determined to use all he has learned to uplift people's of his home in Detroit, and in the East Bay Area. Most importantly he is interested in working to help create an equitable and mindful world that his son will inherit along with billions of others.

Melinda Perez, 2017, Integrative Biology and Anthropology, Pre-Med

Melinda Perez

Melinda grew up in Inglewood, CA and witnessed first hand many of the social and health disparities within her community. Ultimately, Medicine became her primary passion as she entered Cal to pursue her dream as a physician. Due to devastating economic turmoil, Melinda took on the financial leadership of her family by returning home. On her journey back to school, Melinda became a mother. Melinda not only lived through many of the challenges as a child of instability, but witnessed first-hand mental health among children being suppressed throughout their years. Melinda hopes to create an evening child development center, a safe environment where not only do children have the stability to learn and thrive, but give the chance to other student parents the resources to also succeed in school and achieve their dreams. Melinda is deeply grateful for this scholarship because it will provide her a step closer to the stability she never had as child, and thus make sure her daughter does.

Melissa E. Candell, 2016, Latin American Studies

Melissa E. Candell Melissa and her single mother immigrated to the United States from Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 2001. The stigma of being undocumented brought Melissa and her mother unexpected obstacles that challenged their ability to remain in this country. Despite their reoccurring hardships, Melissa found strength in her struggles and dedicated herself to community involvement. From spearheading workshops to inform undocumented families about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to organizing scholarship fundraisers to assist undocumented students financially, Melissa believed that she was providing people with the resources necessary for a better future. Now, Melissa is excited to embark on a new journey of service work. Through the Arizona Alternative Breaks program, Melissa believes that she will have the opportunity to inform her peers about the injustices that communities of color face in Arizona. Melissa is grateful to the Peter E. Haas Scholarship Foundation for providing her with the resources necessary to make the Arizona Alternative Breaks course and service trip an incredible, life-changing experience for her peers.

Meli Catalan, 2017, Legal Studies and Chicana/o Studies

Meli Catalan Meli is a proud 1st generation queer Chicana/Chapina who was born and raised in Compton, Inglewood, and Hawthorne. She takes pride in being the vice president of Gamma Rho Lambda, the academic coordinator for the Chicanx/Latinx Student Development Center, and the co-director for the Queer and/or Trans* People of Color Collective. In order to focus on being an activist and student, Meli is using this scholarship to use more of her time to be of service to her communities rather than working full time to attend Cal. For the academic year, Meli will be involved in organizing two different projects. The first will be the Queer and/or Trans* People of Color Conference which will take place on campus Spring 2016. The second project, which will be her focus for the Haas Leader's project, will be being a co-facilitator for the Alternative Breaks Program. Her trip will focus specifically on migrant lives and struggles along the San Diego/Tijuana border. She with her co-facilitator, will develop a course during the spring semester that will hold space for different dialogues around the lives of migrants coming from under resources countries. Meli continues to strive for social change by centering community, vulnerability, and love in her social activism.

Michelle Tong, 2017, Public Health and Molecular and Cell Biology

Michelle Tong Michelle is a third year pursuing a double major in Public Health and Molecular and Cell Biology with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. Originally from New Orleans, Lousiana, she relocated to San Francisco immediately before Hurricane Katrina and became interested in studying poverty alleviation and socioeconomic injustices in relation to health outcomes. As the current president of the Molecular and Cell Biology Undergraduate Student Association, Michelle is interested in pursuing a career that integrates her love for biology and her passion for working with the underserved through social work and advocacy. As someone pursuing work on healthcare policy aiming to alleviate health disparities that manifest in safety net hospital settings, she has been involved as a volunteer advocate, shift lead, and program ambassador of the Highland Health Advocates, a program that mobilizes undergraduates, community members, and law students to assist low-income and uninsured patients with their social needs.

Munyaradzi Mahiya, 2018, Political Science and International Relations

Munyaradzi Mahiya Munyaradzi (Munya) Mahiya is an international student from Zimbabwe. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Political Science with a concentration on International Relations, and Policy and Government. Munya is part of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars program,a scholarship program that seeks out high achieving students from Sub-Saharan Africa and gives them an opportunity to advance their education in the US as a means of training Africa's next generation leaders. He has a passion for disability rights education and advocacy, and has been a part of many organizations in Zimbabwe that are involved in the disability rights movement. Currently he is interning at the World institute on Disability, where he is researching policy formulation and also at the Center for Independent living, where he deals with policy implementation. In his free time he plays wheelchair basketball with the Bay Area Outreach and Recreational Program and that is also one of his passions, to play the sport, learn more about it and so that he may go back to Zimbabwe to teach everything he has learned in the US.

Myrna Ortiz, 2016, Urban Studies

Myrna Ortiz Myrna is a fourth year transfer student pursuing a degree in Urban Studies. While attending community college, she became interested in the issue of affordable housing and began to work with Resources for Community Development, coordinating after-school and summer programs for youth living in affordable housing sites in Oakland. The Haas Public Service scholarship will allow her continue this type of work by giving her the time and resources to host college access workshops for low-income and immigrant youth living in this type of housing. As the Outreach Coordinator for the College of Environmental Design Admission Ambassadors program, which outreaches to prospective college students, she will be coordinating educational workshops as well as a mentorship program for the youth involved with the East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO), a community-based housing justice advocacy group. Her goal is not only to educate the youth and their families on the various pathways to college, but also to encourage low-income and immigrant students to consider careers in urban planning, sustainability, landscape, or architecture in order for them to become the next generation of decision-makers and urban planners these neighborhoods need to become more healthy and equitable communities.

Natalie Ruiz, 2016, Sociology

Natalie Ruiz Natalie is a transfer student from Vacaville, studying Sociology and Social Welfare. She expects to graduate in December 2016, then pursue a Masters in Social Work. As a student mother living in the UC Village (family student housing), Natalie understands the needs unique to students who are also parents. As a Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader, she will continue coordinating the Whole Foods Donation Program which distributes free healthy food donations to students parent households three times per week. Her project is grounded in the belief that students balancing parenting responsibilities with the academic rigor of Berkeley should never be at risk for dropping out or failing out due to food insecurity. With the support from the Peter E. Haas Leader scholarship, Natalie is excited to devote time into creating for this program a sustainable model that will feed families of student parents at Cal for years to come.

Pilar Manriquez, 2017, Interdisciplinary Studies and Public Policy

Pilar Manriquez Growing up Helm, CA, a low-income and unincorporated town, Pilar experienced the struggles of farmworking families and saw firsthand the educational and social barriers that exist in rural communities. Her background has motivated her to take on a leading role as a Training and Sustainability Director through UC Berkeley’s Public Service Center - Alternative Breaks program. As Director, she will guide her peers to develop a social justice, anti-oppression framework to collectively create a program that will focus on the economic and socio-political realities facing several communities. Being a recipient of Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader Scholarship, will grant her the opportunity to provide service while maintaining her role of being a student parent. Pilar hopes to create social change in her community that will benefit future generations, including her two-year old daughter, Adilene.

Rodrigo Froggy Vazquez, 2016, Political Science and Ethnic Studies

Rodrigo Froggy Vazquez Rodrigo Vazquez, also known as Froggy, was born and raised in Boyle Heights, East LA Aliso Village Projects. He got involved with an organization called the Youth Justice Coalition at the age of 18. The YJC is where he started organizing and developed his passion for organizing and community work. As a Youth Organizer and also a Youth himself, He found it difficult and privileged to have an opportunity to organize people like him. Most of his organizing has been centered around the prison industrial complex, ending new jail and prison construction, gang injunctions, gang database, policies affecting young people of color, like the war on drugs. He has over 12 years experience organizing now and has been teaching organizing and organizing strategies to many people and organizations. He is a strong believer in empowerment and the creation of strong leadership, critical thinking, and trying to bring an international perspective to how we might see things or not. His definition of a strong leader is to create even stronger leadership. He just transferred as a Spring Admit to UC Berkeley from LA, and he has strong connections to the Bay with the networks and friends he has met through organizing. He is really excited to be connecting his community work to his experience as a Cal student. He will be developing and teaching organizing to strengthen the base for an organization called All Of Us Or None, an organization where he calls his family. Froggy will be developing a youth mentorship program in East Oakland to support an underresourced community and try to interupt the school to prison pipeline.

Toure K. Owen, 2016, Political Science (and Life)

Toure K. Owen Toure is a transfer student from San Francisco State University entering his third and final year at Cal. Having experienced the transfer process he is passionate about helping community college students apply and newly admitted transfers adapt to the wealth of challenges and opportunities Cal presents. Professionally, Toure is pursuing a career in finance, interning at BlackRock Investment Management in NYC during the summer of 2015 with the goal of returning full time after graduation. Along those lines Toure believes financial literacy and professional development in communities of color is an issue that must be addressed if we hope to increase access and opportunity in those communities. With these backgrounds Toure hopes to get more transfers and students of color to consider the opportunities available to them in industries or careers that they may think, “are not for people like them”, such as finance. Toure hopes to accomplish this goal through involvement in various on and off campus partners such as the Haas Undergraduate Black Business Association (HUBBA), Stiles Hall, and Berkeley City College.

Ulises Garcia, 2017, Social Welfare

Ulises Garcia Ulises Garcia is a senior at UC Berkeley studying Social Welfare and wants to pursue a Masters Degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education. From Montebello, CA, Ulises is a first generation college student and hopes to dedicate his accomplishments to his parents—for doing everything possible to give him a life they never had. He is very passionate about helping others, especially those of his Raza. During his first year, Ulises found the Casa Magdalena Mora Theme House Program—a community of people who identify as Chicana/Latino. Casa Mora gave Ulises a second familia and it ignited his passion to learn and advocate for social justice. Throughout the course of the year, Ulises will be working very closely with Casa Mora, the Chicana Latino Student Development Office, the Multicultural Community Center, the RAZA Retention and Recruitment Center, and the Public Service Center (amongst other great spaces on campus) to host Casa Mora’s first Chicana/Latino Conference! Ulises is excited to give back to his community and is ready to do everything possible to make this conference a huge success.

Valeska Castaneda, 2016, American Studies

Valeska Castneda Valeska is a senior working on her B.A. in American Studies with a concentration in race, class, gender and immigration policy, a reformed gang member, survivor of domestic abuse, survivor of childhood sexual assault, teenage parent, and child refugee who immigrated here under political asylum, but above all an advocate for human rights. In the Spring of 2014 her desire to create change on campus and within the community manifested itself in different areas the most profound one led her to found A Trail For Humanity. A Trail for Humanity, moves local communities on campus, and allies to raise awareness on a global scale about the atrocities occurring along the US-Mexico border. In an era of violent and unjust mass deportation, incarceration, and criminalization of mothers and children at our southern border, Valeska was moved to take action. She poured her heart, spirit, and energy towards bringing together communities to journey 26 days over 300 miles on foot, from Merced to the U.S. Mexico Border, for the dignity and humanity of all people. Her inspiration comes from her young daughter's courage and love while standing in solidarity with her, and the wisdom in the Mayan proverb - In Lak' Ech Ala K'in, which says I am another you and you are another me. For her A true revolution cannot exist without womxn at the forefront, and her work has supported both the creation of space for womxn in organizing and the resistance of patriarchy and sexism. This semester Valeska will be focusing on organizing the community to once again take a stand for A Trail for Humanities march in the summer of 2016.

Vanessa Rivas Villanueva, 2016, Environmental Economics and Policy

Vanessa Rivas Villanueva Vanessa Rivas Villanueva is a senior majoring in Environmental Economics and Policy and minoring in Conservation and Resource Studies. She immigrated to California from Mexico at the age of eight, which has shaped her interests and passions. Her focus lies on working towards the coexistence and prosperity of both humans and nature. She hopes to work with communities impacted by the privatization of natural resources as well as help develop economical and sustainable practices of natural resources. Her project consists of having a mentorship program for undocumented students in Berkeley High School. One of the most difficult aspects of being an undocumented student is finding a support system, which is why Vanessa hopes to continue to create a space for these students in which they can explore their identities and potential. One of her biggest goals is to help facilitate their educational journey by providing computers and scholarships.

Violeta Alvarez, 2016, Political Science and Ethnic Studies

Violeta Alvarez Violeta Alvarez is a transfer student from San Diego, CA who is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Ethnic Studies. She was raised by a single mother who immigrated to the US from Mexico. Her experiences as a first generation, college student/student parent, previously incarcerated, and woman of color have shaped who she is today and have motivated her to be a social justice advocate. She is extremely passionate about transforming/challenging/addressing the Prison Industrial Complex and has dedicated her time here at Cal doing activist work around that. Violeta currently co-facilitates the Teach in Prison DeCal and is a Board Member of the Underground Scholars Initiative. The Peter E. Haas Public Service Program will allow Violeta to collaborate with a volunteer legal team who works with women who are currently incarcerated and seeking to overturn their sentence. Most of these women don’t speak English and are domestic violence survivors. Violeta plans to pursue a JD/MPP to help represent low income folks within the judicial system and to help change policies that are structured systematically to disadvantage people of color.

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