Reflections of Sean Diaz, Alum & Nonprofit Administrator

Sean Diaz, Alum & Nonprofit AdministratorSean Diaz graduated from UC-Berkeley in 2009 with a major in English. He lives in Los Angeles and is a Program Coordinator with Spark, a national nonprofit that organizes one-to-one apprenticeships for middle school students. He helps manage Spark’s strategic partnerships, recruiting volunteer apprentices from businesses and organizations. “I love finding partners that will get middle school students really excited about their future career opportunities,” he explains.

In thinking about his own career path, Sean realized he found his niche in education through the Public Service Center. As a transfer student to Cal, he wanted a way to get involved in campus life quickly. He found the Center and discovered he could work as a BUILD tutor, earning Work Study. After a year, he became a BUILD Director at Berkeley Youth Alternatives. As he explains it, “I learned a lot through Cal Corps and one really important lesson was that even a very small group of committed people can do really amazing things. Our group of BUILD tutors was not huge, but we ended up serving a lot of students.” The hands-on experience felt like it rounded out his UC Berkeley experience. “In classes I was learning about big ideas and why they mattered, but at Cal Corps I was learning put them into practice.

After graduation, Sean relied on his BUILD experience managing a collaborative partnership and working directly with youth. He became a National Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools, which organizes professional apprenticeship programs for middle school students, and then began working for Spark. “At the Public Service Center, I got to learn by doing, and that taught me the importance of creativity and a hands on approach.  Now I get to help give young people the same kind of experience, to learn about a job they are excited about and to try it out for themselves."